I came across an article on Bella Naija written by Glory Edozien asking the above. It was an open ended article that put the question of infidelity to the readers, asking at what point they would walk away from such situations. It inspired me to write a rejoinder as regards relationships and the not too savory that come with it, the abuse (emotional and physical), the infidelities, the scars, the trials etc.
When does enough become enough for the ‘victims’? When does it become okay to walk away from these situations?
I wish it was cut and dried, black and white and not all patchy grey. I wish there was a manual we can consult that lets us know what to say in every situation, how to react to every action, even maybe going as far as to tell us how to pre-empt actions and how to counter them before they come.
It isn’t so easy, such doesn’t exist. Instead we are left with this treacherous heart of ours that doesn’t really make the best of decisions but that we still have to live with.
There have been cases of battery gone wrong resulting in death of either the victim or the batterer(self-defence) and sometimes the victim ends up going to jail for manslaughter. This is certainly a sad scenario, but what to do? Do we say, she shouldn’t pay for her crimes (of murder, because even though he was a batterer, he is human first and his right to life has been violated by her)? Do we say that she leaves before it gets to that stage? If you haven’t been there before, they will tell you it isn’t easy to leave (whatever that may mean). We the “holier than thou crew’ might spew holistic comments like ‘its always easy’, ‘if you are strong enough you would move on’, ‘she needs to leave his ass already’, I mean, I wouldn’t lie, I used to say these things, but now, I would say you never know until you know.
We all are a victim of it, directly or indirectly. Everyone has witnessed this in some form in their life, as part of familial relationships, romantic relationships; even friendships have their own form of infidelities (cheating to you).
The most hurtful as seen by people’s reaction would be the one that occurs in romantic relationships. The man cheating. The woman cheating. It all hurts the party at the receiving end. Their reaction to this is what is in contest in this note. How do we react to cheating? When is enough really enough?
What with the sludge of infidelities being recorded by all and sundry from the average man to the powerful, the popular, Tiger Woods, Jesse James, the IMF boss, Arnold Swarzzy, etc and more to come. The women become victims of these men and their desires and the inability to control themselves. When then can these women say enough is enough? And not just these women, but every woman in this position, when is enough really enough? The first time? Second? Never?
We young people unanimously agree to walk out of any marriage that includes a cheating husband because this isn’t what we signed up for. It’s sadly more complicated than that. How many marriages then are you going to walk out of? In the pool of people of this world that are men, how many would never cheat on a significant other? Of that population, what is the probability of you meeting one of them and marrying them? You do the math, don’t worry, I’ll wait…
My take on this issue is simple; enough is enough from the first time it happens and/or according to the elasticity of the heart of the person at the receiving end. Your reaction to the situation is what actualizes this ‘enough’ position. Do you move on without the man? Do you forgive him? I say the afore-mentioned options are one and the same, we claim to move on, but we move on with the scars left by that man and it affects the next man because we strongly believe in once bitten, twice shy… also when we forgive, do we truly forgive, or is it repression? Because I have seen cases of when this so-called forgiveness occurs and the moment another ‘moment of indiscretion’ occurs, old hurts come to fore and are reiterated … I thought the phrase was ‘forgive and forget’?
Like I said, I wish it was so easy to actually give a step by step account of how to deal with these issues. It isn’t. And some will continue to deal with them, not because they deserve to, but because the man they are with don’t deserve them, and they are already too jaded to not believe that the next man wouldn’t act the same way, which might be entirely true(or not).
You never know until you know, so when is enough really enough?
* Article by Munira