Life: Trust (or “How Ghanaian Women Encourage Their Men to Cheat”)

Warning: no stereotype was left unturned in the making of this blog post…

I said it. Feel free to sue me. Of course, I’m using broad generalizations. Nevertheless, I’ve observed some distressing trends since moving to Ghana. My title pretty much sums them up.

It shouldn’t really make sense, as I don’t think I’ve come across another group of people more aggressive about combating infidelity than Ghanaian women. Nevertheless, “we are where we are.”

It all boils down to the popularly-held notion that “all men are weak”.

The basic idea is that women have more sexual self-control than men. The latter will pretty much jump on top of any female in a fifty mile radius who so much as accidentally wobbles an ass cheek in their general direction. Since men (supposedly) cannot control themselves, the women in love with them have a responsibility (to all parties concerned) to protect them from such advances.

Team “All Men Are Weak” treat a man’s sexual appetite like an unstoppable force of nature. “Don’t waste your time trying to stop the man from cheating”, the thinking goes. No: instead, “focus your attention on swatting away the pretty young things buzzing around him. Pull out a weave or two if necessary.”

The problem with this approach is that it puts no pressure whatsoever on men not to cheat.

After all, it’s not as though Team AMAW will dump their philandering boyfriends/husbands in favour of better, more faithful philandering husbands. God no… don’t be silly:

1. All men cheat. So whichever man you get, he will cheat.
2. Being alone is far worse than being cheated on.

To be fair, I think that – again, as a group – Ghanaian men are just as insecure. I’ve never come across a group of men so PARANOID over their women (and what they get up to and with whom).

Serves us right, really.

What? You thought you would neglect her needs (emotional and otherwise) in favour of others’ for that long and she would sit there waiting, throw a small hissy fit, forgive you and move on? Dey there.

‘sia.

Personally, I’m too lazy for all the above wahala. I think there’s another approach that makes more sense. It involves short-term strength but reaps more reward in the long-term. It involves two things:

Trust and self-control.

It is possible for men to exert sexual self-control. Of course, if you don’t give them a need to, don’t be surprised if you see a complete absence of it in the men around you.

Whether you want to hear it or not, men don’t inherently link love and sex the way women often do (often. Not always). We do sometimes, but most of the time… no. It’s just the way it is. Some women are the same and this rule applies to them too: love is not enough of an incentive in and of itself to stop you cheating on someone (like I said, don’t try and apply logic to it. It is just how it is). Rather, to not cheat requires the development of self-discipline.¬†If you don’t foster that (and you think he won’t cheat simply because he loves you), then I’d advise you to brace yourself.

Trust is the other thing. It should supposedly be the foundation of every relationship. So show it. Trust your other half. If they betray that trust, forgive them… maybe once. One more time? Dump them.

That simple.

Yes, it involves being alone sometimes. Or having short relationships. This is perfectly natural though. Relationships are way more complex than just meeting someone, falling in love, hooking up and compromising. Not everyone is supposed to be with everyone else otherwise we could all step out onto the street, find the first person we think is cute and make things work.

No: some are better matched than others. Being alone gives you time to get to know yourself better. Once you know yourself better, you have a better understanding of the type of person who better complements you.

Then take your time and look for that person. It will take time. You will make mistakes. You will also recover from them and move on. Eventually, you will meet someone with proven self-discipline who you can trust not to cheat on you. Moreover, if you admire them as much as they admire you, you will have one more reason to focus exclusively on each other: respect.

Too often in Ghanaian relationships, I see men with women who they don’t look up to in any shape or form, but who they are with because they are good homemakers. No wonder they go on to find their stimulation elsewhere. It’s not right.

Neither is it my portion.

This post is the result of a conversation I had with a colleague. She claimed that my “trial and error” method results in the same thing as the AMAW technique. With one, you suffer being alone or several short relationships (ie. female societal kryptonite) and end up with someone who – in my friend’s opinion – will probably cheat on you anyway. With another, you accept the cheating, get into one long term relationship and live ‘happily’ ever after.

I completely disagree.

Besides, if – for fear of being alone – you are going to settle for mediocrity, then what right do you have to call anybody ‘weak’?

10 thoughts on “Life: Trust (or “How Ghanaian Women Encourage Their Men to Cheat”)

  1. Tosin Otitoju

    I couldn’t cheat. I would prefer my partner not to cheat, but seriously if my partner is so disengaged as to be sleeping with somebody else, I would have also been disengaged (how do you relate with somebody who is not relating back?) and I would have sat with this partner in a meeting in which I said – Sweetie Pie, it looks like you’re just not into me anymore, what should we do about it? then of course, likely that sweetie pie would hem and haw and try to keep his/her options open and I would understand and say hey, let’s split up (or if I don’t care, I’ll say, hey go screw whoever you want, I’ll be here waiting, or I’ll be out shagging, or whatever.)
    But all the lies – just immature.
    I could never promise monogamy. That’s like saying I know the future…well, I know the future, and I will be honest with my partner/partners. It just shows self-respect.

    Reply
  2. Oumou Gueye

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Senegalese men are very much the same except they have the added ‘bonus’ of living in a polygamous society that encourages them to chase women up until they’re 70! Trust and self-control would definitely change the relationships game on its head.

    Reply
  3. Yoku

    It is gratifying to know there are Ghanaian men thinking right.I am glad this is coming from a guy.well done Kobby! We should chat sometime.

    Reply
  4. Abena Serwaa (@abena_serwaa)

    Great piece Kobby. Personally, I’m not fan of generalizations but I think you hit the hammer on the nail with some of the, shall we say, prevalent relationship norms that underpin contemporary Ghanaian society. I think Ghanaian society (made up of men and women) rather “encourages” men to cheat.
    I agree that many people subscribe to the notions that 1. all men will cheat and 2. It is better being cheated on than alone.Ever since I moved to Ghana, I was struck by the fact that women choose to settle for mediocrity out of fear of being alone. Indeed, societal norms frown on women (and to some extent men) being alone especially at a certain age. I think these societal dynamics are replicated all over Africa and of course other parts of the world…It is grim.

    Reply
  5. Lesley

    Its soooo refreshing to hear a man say ‘yes, we can…exercise sexual control’.

    Whatever the stereotypes men have all too often said ‘We can’t ‘

    Shouldn’t we believe them? And perhaps pity them. I used to think it sad. Enslaved by their hardon’s.

    I agree that there must be consequences for a man that cheats to stop cheating. No not indirectly through the girl he cheated with. Directly. To him.

    But we must also be fair. And recognise. When cheating is not cheating. When its by mutual agreement. Or even for mutual titillation. Don’t be too quick to judge. There is a diversity of ways to love.

    As Tosin says, its about honesty. And. Honestly is the foundation of trust. I trust no one that says ‘Trust me’. Trust is earned. I will not trust you by default. You will earn my trust if you care. Enough

    And happily ever after is a lifetime of work, commitment and compromise.

    Reply
  6. MAJA

    Hello everybody – I have a question concerning the concept of sexual self-control in ghanaien society. Do you discuss sexual self-control a lot? And if, why – what does it mean to you? I would be very thankful for opinions from people living in Ghana!!

    Best, Maja

    Reply
  7. Teema

    I’m glad you mentioned respect. It’s missing in a lot of relationships. A little alone time might be what people need so they can focus on what they love and honor in themselves. Then it might be easier to say peace if someone tries treating you like less than you know you deserve.

    Reply
  8. georgecaleb752@yahoo.com

    when we talk about relationship me mean oneness.one person alone cant form a relationship it take two to form a relationship. relationship is all about trust and love.
    the kind of relationship you are depend how long you will live on earth because relationship come from the heart. and anything that happen to the heat might led to death or something dangerous.
    that is why is advisable for you to wait an pray that GOD should give you your bone tone and flesh to flesh . any thing that is from GOD is joy, peace. goodness. and so more..
    if you want to contact me you can call my number
    0543879675
    thank you and GOD bliss

    Reply
  9. Nii

    Frankly Ghanaians do not understand the concept of agape or charitable love. Romance is still the rage after centuries of Christianity. Romance demands 100% love but Charity demands both 100% love and 100% trust as well. As the Akan proverb says,”If you are afraid of divorce you won’t get a good marriage”.
    Trust comes in two forms. Faith which does not require evidence and confidence which requires it. Most people who demand that partners are trustworthy want confidence but will not get it because humans are not trustworthy. If however you can decide deliberately to believe that your partner loves you as himself no matter what you will be a faithful partner. A faithful partner can give and recieve love and not be hurt easily. And if two people decide to trust each other unconditionally they will love each other unconditionally as well. That is the import of the proverb. When you are full of faith you are not afraid of being alone if needs be but you also give room for your relationship to flourish. However most unfaithful people will demand love but never trust. If you give them faith they will recoil.
    Nevertheless when they learn they are better lovers than those who demand 100% pure love. Faith worketh by love.y

    Reply

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