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Line training on the Airbus 330 flew by in a blur. I simply can not recall a thing. Yet, I relive my second night stop with crystal clear memory.
My colleagues and I claimed the middle booth at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Bed hair still evident, I armed myself with enough food to feed a small army. And then, between stuffing my face with sashimi sushi and cream pudding, I received a pep talk about unfaithful men. “God gave us two eyes, open one and close the other”.
I struggled to apprehend their message.
Because, I was taught that a cheating man losses standing in his family. He surrenders the right to push his children in their studies, or to clean their room, nor to brush their teeth before bed. It is an offense redeemable solely by repentance.
It has been impressed upon me that a real man honors his marriage vows. He regards his wife’s dignity and feelings over his own pleasure. He respects her insecurities, and does everything in his power to ensure her emotional security.
This explains my shock at this alternate standard. Many Chinese women, like my well- meaning coworkers, are taught that if he puts food on the table and comes home every night, what he does outside the confines of his home is his own business.
I beg to differ.
If I may, infidelity represents the highest form of blatant disregard one could direct at a spouse and family, made worst only by lying. Lies do not cover up your wrongdoings. On the contrary, it deepens the wounds and heightens the pain. Denial in the light of a wife’s suspicion chisels mistrust, the outset of a downward spiral. This is because a woman trusts her instincts. And suspicions are the only proof she needs.
Pause to consider the implication of your actions. Infidelity breaks up a family with surprise efficiency. You sow suspicions and hurt. Children receive mixed signals about romantic love. And nothing tears a nuclear unit apart like the threat of its parents’ dissolution.
Serial “sluts” (for lack of a better word) are often traced to a cheating parent. Sufficient research proves that “like father, like son” (“Like father,” 2011), and Mail online advice; “look at your father in law to predict your husband’s faithfulness”. Here, you jeopardize not just your immediate family, but also your daughter in law, and any potential family she might share with your son. Thus begins a melting pot of misgiving, fear and hurt.
In Michelle Obama’s words:
“There is nothing that threatens the security of a wife than the thought of another woman competing for the attention and affection of her husband. Nothing is more painful. Nothing is more disrespecting. Nothing is more insulting. Nothing is more belittling and degrading.” (Srivastava, 2017)
And the pain, disrespect, insults, belittling and degrading are made worse by her husband’s disregard. The man who thinks her fear is unfounded.
Justification pars deceit. “But we didn’t have sex” he insists. To the doubting Thomas, the umbrella of infidelity extends beyond the sexual aspect of relations. There is no such thing as “harmless fun”. If your woman trusted you before, and she doesn’t now, chances are, you are the problem.
In cheating, you forfeit your right to privacy. You forfeit your freedom. You forfeit your authority as “man of the household”. And as sure as rain; forfeit the respect of your family.
Do your peers exalt your “victory”? Do they support your “activities”? Are you respected for your antics? Does the scruffy old man at the bar celebrate your “success”?
For your sake, I present you the ugly truth, old man.
You just plunged from hero…
… to Zero.
Like father, like son: Men more likely to cheat on wives if their fathers were unfaithful, survey shows, (June 27, 2011). Mail Online. Retrieved April 27, 2017 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2008368/Cheating-runs-family–future-father-law-unfaithful-likely-husband-too.html
Srivastava, S. (Jan 30, 2017). Michelle Obama’s marriage advice to every couple. Speaking Tree. Retrieved April 27, 2017 from http://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/michelle-obama-marriage-advice-to-every-couple-must-read