Tag Archives: Cheating

Polygamy and Cheating: A Thin Line?

Background

This post relates to the apparent rise in relationship cheating among Hausa men of Nigeria. The Hausa are predominantly Muslims and Islam allows for Polygamy. I explore the relationship between Polygamy and cheating (if there is any).

We hear about (and see) married Hausa men cheating. Even though some are of the ages of our parents, cheating became popular within the last twenty years (according to people I talked with). What could be the cause? Is it decadence of both sexes, is it men liking more women, is it women liking more married men?… These may have a part to play but I want to argue that the answer lies in Polygamy and Boyfriend-GirlFriend-Paradigm. However the cause of it is Moral Corruption.

Single Marriages: Then and Now

Tales of how our parents met each other has the innocense of a primary school kid, even the most adventurous of them. There was as much formalities as there is today around weddings; probably more. The reigning conservative mind-set made it easier for couples to have minimal (or supervised) interactions. Today, a few years later and thousands of romantic movies (novels and songs) later, we prefer to have boyfriends and girlfriends before becoming husband and wife. Basically, the methods of pursuing marriage has changed.

Scenario: Conservative First Marriage

– Boy sees girl or meets her briefly or visits her at her parents’ house
– Boy likes girl, boy tells daddy or mummy
– Daddy talks to girl’s daddy
– Girl’s Daddy asks girl and (hopefully) girl agrees
– Marriage is arranged

Scenario: Adventurous First Marriage

– Boy sees girl or meets her briefly or visits her at her house (or parents’)
– Boy takes girl out privately or Girl comes to meet boy. They meet in fun spots and apartments; Girl’s parents know not
– Depending on the what is considered romantic, they do some of it or all of it
– Boy likes girl, boy tells daddy or mummy (it is official now)
– Daddy talks to girl’s daddy
– Girl’s Daddy asks girl and (hopefully) girl agrees
– Marriage is arranged

Cheating: Then and Now

Cheating is an area that has been greyed by several definitions and many people’s tolerance as to what they consider cheating and what is innocent socializing. In all of this the fundamental feeling of guilt and inappropriateness of cheating has remained the same. Moreover, cheating methods have hardly changed from the old skool days to today. Whereas methods of pursing marriage has changed drastically, methods of cheating has changed trivially. Most of what was considered cheating will still be considered cheating today.

Polygamy

What constitutes pursuing marriage has been stretched so wide now that it has overlapped (or engulfed) what can be considered cheating. Polygamy gives the husband the right to add a wife (the legimacy of this is not the purpose of this post). It is important enough that this is what most Muslims in West Africa accept. The question is how do the men go about it? Do they approach it using methods on the conservative end of marriage methods or do they wander in to the adventurous end (which overlaps with cheating)?

Scenario: Conservative Second (or third or fourth) Marriage

– Man sees girl or meets her briefly or visits her at her house
– Man likes girl, Man makes it known through his Father, Uncle or Friend
– Man’s representative talks to girl’s daddy
– Girl’s Daddy asks girl and (hopefully) girl agrees
– Marriage is arranged

                – Scenario: Adventurous Second (or third or fourth) Marriage

– Man sees girl or meets her briefly or visits her at her house (or parents’)
– Man takes girl out privately or Girl comes to meet Man. They meet in fun spots and apartments; Girl’s parents know not
– Depending on the what is considered romantic, they do some of it or all of it
– Man likes girl, Man tells his representative (it is official now)
– Man’s representative talks to girl’s daddy
– Girl’s Daddy asks girl and (hopefully) girl agrees
– Marriage is arranged

Moral Corruption

The dynamics of Moral Corruption in atmosphere of Religious Approval is the cause of cheating. The religious approval of polygamy gives the husband license to pursue additional marriage. Based on the scenarios on polygamy, it seems the Conservative Polygamy Approach does not fall in to a cheating phase. However steps (second and third) of the Adventurous Polygamy Approach can be considered cheating. Therefore an adventurous polygamy-approach passes through a cheating phase.

This is the interesting bit; where moral corruption (or the devil) comes in. A married man becomes a habitual cheat but he convinces himself that it is his right to pursue another marriage if he wills. He decides he likes the Adventurous Polygamy Approach. However he enjoys steps (second and third from the scenario) so much that after that steps are done, he pulls out from his endevour. Then moves to the next prospect for another adventurous endeavour. He doesn’t really intend to marry again but he tells himself that it is his prerogative. He conveniently forgets to asses his adventurous approach on its own right as if the religious approval of seeking marriage has compensated for any wrong done in the process. As if the end justifies the means.

If we agree that Cheating is wrong, then even if a marriage is resulted from an Adventurous Polygamy approach, the cheating phase remains as wrong as farting loud in front of your in-laws.

Who is Polygamy for?

I prefer to answer the negative equivalent of the question. Clearly Polygamy is not the issue here, the issue is cheating which is concealed in seeking of polygamy. Based on the scenarios, Polygamy is not for the Adventurous; not because of problems with Polygamy but the method of reaching it.

It is interesting that only the cheat seems amnesic to the wrongness of his actions. The mistress (girl involved) may be fully aware of her part.

Final Note

I’m sure people who don’t endorse Polygamy are very clear with themselves when they are cheating, whereas those who endorse it don’t display as much guilt. When there is high number of reported cheatings, it is probably exactly what it is; reported. The same amount of cheating may be going on at two different times but some are concealed and others are reported. Those that don’t hide it may not just be brazen but may be convincing themselves that they are not cheating, just exercising their rights. Hence the ubiquituous reports of guilt-free pro-polygamy cheats. The anti-polygamy cheats don’t get the luxury of flaunting it and so must conceal it.

I have failed to explore the girl involved in the adventurous polygamy approach, her situation may be more complicated as far as cheating is concerened. The complication depends on how much she knows and her intentions (not her actions). She is not the subject of this post.

The polygamy-oriented should be cautious of what justifications they use for being adventurous when adding wives. I am sure the right to polygamy did not include that license. Look in to your hearts… and better don’t be thinking of the red valentines-day heart, I mean your conscience!

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