The other day i was having a chinwag with an Australian working as a sexual health expert in Africa about what she thinks about cheating rates in Africa compared to Sydney where she hails from.According to her, cheating is common here in Africa. Statistics suggest about 58 percent of men and 51 percent of women have cheated in their marriages. Three in five African couples who divorce say the reason was infidelity, according to her recent work.In South Africa alone, a survey conducted online and social networking sites, 65 percent of men and 54 percent of women say they’ve cheated on a partner.The more stories she heard, the more she believe that infidelity is common in Africa. Many Africans find it acceptable to have a piece on the side, and it’s not just men. And being single for so long and working in different countries in Sub Saharan Africa, the amount of men who I know have multiple girlfriends and wives are terribly high. In Africa, men and women do not care to chase men or women who are attached,” she told your blogger.In South Africa, locals appear to be increasingly turning to affairs in what they claim is an attempt to save their marriage.They don’t want to leave their partners but the sexless chill in the bedroom makes them frustrated or restless.The idea that a liaison outside marriage is harmless, even healthy has become so widely accepted there’s a couple of websites devoted to facilitating adulterous liaisons in various cities in South Africa.In Johannesburg alone, more than 100,000 people are actively seeking affairs online. They are members of infidelity dating websites that are available in multiple languages. The websites in Pretoria, Cape Town and Johannesburg operates the same way as traditional dating websites, but with a few key differences.
For example, one website your blogger was referred to, when you type the domain name into your web browser, you are greeted by a picture of a woman’s contact, image and other necessary details. Another key interesting convo was why infidelity exists in every culture whether in developed world like western countries or developing regions like Africa, even where it is punishable by stigmatisation. Perhaps, that’s the definition of biological desire that can’t be wished away. A Kenyan website launched last year has attracted more than 200,000 members while another one owned by a Lagos based tech company which launched in 2015 has more than 1,000,000 users and data shows a person joins that site every two minutes.In Africa, a morality poll conducted couple of years ago found only three per cent of people believe extra-marital affairs are morally acceptable. But one wonders why then cheating has taken root in the continent. As someone familiar with some regions in Africa, I know statistics on infidelity are scant, but a study of divorce and related issues in East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania found that about a half of divorced East Africans blamed infidelity as the primary cause of marriage break-down.The study was conducted by some conservative religious non governmental organisation in a bid to understand why marriage breakdowns had increased from about 5 per cent in the 1980s to about 50 per cent in the 2000s.The sexual health expert said cheating sites, in particular those geared at setting up liaisons rather than establishing relationships provide people with fast gratification but with HIV AIDs rates in Africa, quick hit can ultimately be more trouble than it’s worth.The Sydneysider believes that, if the sexual connection has been lost in a marriage, the best approach is to work on it with the partner.
Sydneysider works with many Africans who love their spouse and don’t want to leave the marriage, but don’t know how to reignite their sexual spark. But having the affair is not satisfying in the least,” Sydneysider says, adding that humans are not robots who just need “mayonnaise”. In his experience, the perpetrators of an affair often become more distressed and upset than they were before. Married people know that sex isn’t the most important thing in a marriage and they aren’t going to simply or quickly leave. They also aren’t willing to settle for abstinence for the rest of their lives, so that’s when they look for an external solution. This is a last resort according to the Sydneysider.Some Africans who seek Sydneysider’s support after being cheated on by a partner say the feeling is similar to the grief associated with a loss of a loved one or post-traumatic stress.That got me thinking, do people think they can maintain family and a mutual commitment while breaking the boundaries? Well, who am i to judge but I think such folks are deceiving themselves. The trauma of infidelity can just cause such a huge impact on the betrayed that it’s very hard for me to see that it would have a positive impact.In my view, an affair doesn’t have to be disastrous but partners need to be realistic about the changes relationships undergo over a long period of time. Sydneysider says African couples need to set boundaries and expectations, to help husbands and wives avoid complacency or temptation. The empathy or interest of a co-worker, friend or someone online can seem appealing to a person whose marriage isn’t meeting all their needs, and couples have to work to retain the things that make their partnership rewarding, Sydneysider told your blogger. In conclusion, as a libertarian, i think no one should question the wisdom of people creating a space that makes cheating easier but I do believer we need to reject the notion of infidelity as a constructive tool in life. But who am I to advise people on whether to cheat or not to? Feel free …..