MONOGAMY is a cultural ideal for most western couples. Unfortunately, infidelity remains one of the most common problems couples experience. And while this intimate betrayal may mean an automatic end for some relationships, there are others where the offending party decides to stay, all while battling the pain of the betrayal and all the conflicting, confusing emotions associated with it.
Here's why these seven women decided to give their men a chance, even though they knew that there was a strong possibility that they were being judged and labelled as weak, lacking self-esteem, shameless, among other unflattering adjectives, for their decision.
Kerry, 29, teacher:
I took him back to save face. I smiled for the camera, because, well, we were a power couple, we did well, we were in business together and for the most part were happy. And to be honest, things worked.
Marsha, 33, administrative assistant:
After I confronted him and he lied, I just said that moving forward, for my safety, we would use a condom. I am with him out of loyalty, but I'm praying that he decides to leave. Until then I continue to find ways for him to fall out of love with me.
Sandra, 39, health aide nurse:
I looked past him cheating because of the children. I can't uproot them. I just have to know to protect myself — both from disease and my heart. He doesn't deserve me but my kids do, so he is not going to send me to an early grave.
Verona, 43, florist:
I looked past him cheating because I was pregnant and I had been the one who pushed him away. I don't know if he would have been quite as forgiving had it been the other way around. I will say that if I am to be honest, that is the only thing I could leave him for. In every other way he is a good man. I didn't want it to be a case where I would end up swapping black dog for monkey.
Antoinette, 38, nurse:
I turned a blind eye to his cheating because I was a kept woman. I had low self-esteem and I cared about keeping up an image I couldn't afford on my own. It took a broken jaw for me to pack up. Reflecting on everything now, I would say that I forgave him each time he cheated because I didn't love him anymore. His actions towards me — being physically and emotionally abusive — made me lose everything for him. So for the better part of 10 years I was in a relationship with his money and his things.
Tanisha, 29, student:
I stayed because I was scared to leave. He was manipulative, emotionally and physically abusive, and I did not want to risk him killing me with all the threats he had made. I waited four years for my mother to help me sort out myself, then left one day when he went to work. I have not talked to him since.
Charmaine, 38, part-time masseuse:
I turned a blind eye for three main reasons — I can't afford to leave just yet, he is a spiteful man, and he is the main breadwinner for the family. The second thing is, I believed that he could change. He blamed the first incident on being drunk. Now I no longer know if he is capable of changing. Thirdly, I still love him very much and I want things to work and maybe with counselling I can fall in love with him again and it can feel like how it felt before I discovered he was romping behind my back.