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AS I STARED at the sunset, I marveled at its beauty. The scenario got me thinking about an issue a friend had brought up sometime ago. It was a very ticklish matter, one that seems to perplex everyone ? even the so-called professionals.

"Are people faithful?" the question replayed itself in my head. I had looked at her for a while then, and gave her a laconic answer; "Maybe, ah I don't know."

Now it was not such a child's play anymore, it was a question that had to have an answer.

I was prompted to put pen to paper because of some recent developments. Developments that I never envisaged, and could not really point a finger at.

Is someone being 'unfaithful'? Is everyone being 'unfaithful'? That is the confusion, and even the 'unfaithful' that are caught in the act deny it. If their denial holds no water, they back it up with irrational excuses.

The events that unfold with each passing day, and with deceit, cheating and heartbreak everywhere, a person is geared up to deftly take 'unfaithfulness' in the face without batting an eyelid when hit with it because they saw it coming. Even this is not enough to stop heartbreak or prevent the affected from feeling dejected after falling prey.

But why should one be 'unfaithful'? Why deceit? And why cheat?

The human being is like a machine, or rather, a programmed robot with embedded, mature buttons. A push of a button displays a character trait ? jealousy, cheating, hatred, love, lost, confidence, rebellion, sympathy, joy, aggression, ego, belief, unbelief, unfaithfulness etc., just to mention a few, are part of these inbuilt buttons.

People are animals. The only thing that differentiates them is massive brain development, the ability to decipher between good and evil; to turn away from, or embrace a situation; to feel emotional pains; and to control our emotions ? trigger them or muffle them. But the animalistic nature of humans still lives within them ? comes on and goes off. This could be kept in check though.

It only takes a push to evoke or bring to life one or all of these aforementioned character traits.

Now 'unfaithfulness' is the topic of focus. Man's 'unfaithfulness' may not have a clear origin, but as far as I know it is as old as man himself.

The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defined 'unfaithful' in a brief but concise manner, thus; having a sexual relationship with somebody other than one's lover; husband etc. According to the thesaurus, synonyms of 'unfaithful' are infidelity, deceit, disloyalty, treachery, falseness and treason. And the synonyms of those synonyms are untrustworthiness, fickleness, lying, duplicity, pretense, inconsistency, capriciousness and vacillation. The sub-synonyms of those are changeability, deviousness, fraudulence, unreliability, undependability, uncertainty, insincerity, untruthfulness, double-dealing, make-believe, charade, contradiction, whimsicality, frivolity, irresponsibility, volatility, indecision, fluctuation and ambivalence. When a loved one cheats, he or she is guilty of all of the above. And should be lynched or guillotined, if I am permitted to use those literal terms.

'Unfaithfulness' deals a devastating blow to the partner. They feel crushed, betrayed, like a part of them has been ripped out. They will be very angry or sad, or even both. It is not only because their partner wanted and had sex with someone else, and also had the ultimate expression of love with the other person, but because they lied, murdering the partner in their conscience with little regard for their feelings.

This article tends to look at the near causes of unfaithfulness, possible preventative measures and equally possible eradication processes. It is just an attempt, not a proven and/or certified cure to a disease that is not caused by a virus or a parasite, yet a much deadlier culprit.

Causes of 'unfaithfulness' could vary from individual to individual; but from the writer's perspective, this damaging and provocative attitude could arise from the following...

In a long-term relationship, it could be easy for partners to start taking each other for granted, and this could lead to 'unfaithfulness', as either one or both of the pair would want to experience what it is like to get involved with a different folk. He/she could think they are being imprisoned by their partner and would be desperate to break free of their choking grip. The catalyst in this case is boredom, which could be compounded by unnecessary irrationality, dished out by the unsatisfied partner.

The feeling that someone sticks to them like a leech; monitors their private lives; and tells them what is best for the relationship galls them and prompts them to be unfaithful by seeking refuge in the arms of another woman/women, or man/ men, as the case maybe.

Lack of dialogue is another relationship killer. Some partners do not have the time to sit down and have a hearty chat; they are either preoccupied with their work, feel it is unnecessary, or are constantly "making out", even when it is not the right time. 'Action speaks louder than words', but in this case the reverse does the magic.

Sex is subsidiary to love. Some people think that when they engage in it with their partners, they are really binding the relationship, but that is incorrect. Sex is borne out of the urge to satisfy the flesh more than it is borne out of love. One could constantly make love to a person of the opposite sex without really loving them, or making them feel loved. Dialogue includes telling a partner how much you love them; where you place them in your preference of women or men; the joy they have brought in your life; the vacuum they had filled so fittingly, etc. You could also talk about their dreams, aspirations, encourage them, presenting yourself as a pillar of support, and let them confide in you and you in them. Adults are like children in the sense that they like to be cuddled, spoken softly to, praised and loved, irrespective of their gender. Some schools of thought think only the female craves for such attention, but this is far from the truth; the male gender equally feels the same way.

If and when this remarkable aspect of relationship bonding is neglected and not utilized, it gradually breaks the partners apart. One or both of them will feel unloved, unwanted, not cherished, neglected, unimportant, and subdued, and will even feel as if they have lost their allure.

'Unfaithfulness' seems to be the only answer, as they tend to get back those sweet moments they have lost, or better, still seek for someone who could tell them what they want to hear and make them feel loved.

Intimacy, passion, excitement and adventure are other ingredients in the recipe of a lasting relationship. In a relationship were all these are missing, the ugly face of 'unfaithfulness' will definitely reveal itself. If one or both of the partners finds out that the relationship lacks intimacy, they could conclude that their partner is tired of them. A relationship lacking passion, excitement and adventure, eventually crashes like a pack of cards. One or both of the partners could seek solace and try to recapture these missing bits in another person, thereby committing infidelity.

In our society, where more than half of our nation's populations are schlepping under the cumbersome weight of poverty, material needs could force a partner to become unfaithful. This usually affects the females, since they rely on the male partner to provide financially; however, this does not completely exempt the male gender.

'Money is the root of all evil', they say, and in this case it could be the root of infidelity as well. Like the evil it is, it grips the relationship by the scruff of its neck and forces one or both of the partners to damn every consequence and go after someone more financially capable.

This is a major hiccup and threat to a lasting relationship. People discard their sense of humour, their ego, their self-esteem, their pride and their personality for the money, thereby unleashing an animalistic habit. They hush their conscience.

When I talk of money as being an infidelity stimulant, I do not generalize it on only physical cash. It also includes other things that could bring wealth, power or fame. Immediate want of favour is also included. Good demeanor is hibernated. Love of money in this case overtakes good judgment. Infidelity can also be caused by an intruding ex-lover, who had been in one of the partners' lives. Old fires could be rekindled, and old fires do not take time to ignite because the intimacy between them has already taken root. This could be made worse if the old lover's break up was not caused by any fracas.

Past emotional moments could be relived and the playback serves a tricky role in loosening the defensive guard of a partner who is under this pressure. The partner in question could find himself/herself attached to this old lover until the urge to repeat past experiences sticks in their head and refuses to go away.

If the ex-lover is desperate, he or she could keep harping on about what they had shared together in the past, setting the flesh of the victim on fire until the urge paves way to sheer animalistic desire. Then 'unfaithfulness' is reborn. It may even become a constant practice as the person becomes obsessed with the interloper of an ex-lover.

The person's present lover may or may not find out about the illicit transaction of passion between his/her lover with an ex-lover, but this does not make any difference, since the transgression has been committed.

Distance ? this always presents an unnecessary and lame excuse for 'unfaithfulness' to take the centre stage. With the lovers far apart, the feeling of loneliness gradually wraps its cold arms around one or both partners.

When the feeling of disparity engulfs one partner or both, the end product is always 'infidelity'. They could feel very lonely and long for the company of the opposite sex. Libido could start rising, making it difficult for the one in desperate need of his/her partner, who is miles away, to stay aloof from jumping onto another's bed.

Nymphomaniacs and philanderers are very vulnerable to this massive distraction in a relationship, but this is a topic for discussion in another article.

The preventive measures and cure to this problematic and damaging character trait are not impracticable. The unseen buttons of character traits that are embedded in every one of us could be controlled by us. I believe that 'unfaithfulness' sits quite calm in one corner, like all other characters of our robotic creation, until we prick it on, or tap it into action. Then it gradually comes on; it could be reversed ? the mechanism is not very different from that of a remote control electronic that comes on and goes off at the push of the same button.

Boredom, as was discussed, could be an 'infidelity' prompter; however, this could be cut off even before it is turned on. A couple in a relationship could prevent boredom from creeping into their affairs as long as the enthusiasm that was in them at the beginning of the relationship stays alive. How can this be accomplished? Might be the question that comes to mind: simple ? there should be full understanding. There should be fire to keep the relationship burning. Both partners should constantly explore each other, learn more about each other, get as close as they can and shut out any other intruding persons of the opposite sex with the vive to turn their minds towards him/her. They should see each day as the very first of their romantic escapade with their partner and re-live quixotic times they had had together, seeing thier partner as the greatest among their gender. Only then will boredom not pose a problem.

Relationships are durable when dialogue is always called upon. Relationship should not live by bread (sex) alone, but by the words that come out of each partners' mouth. It has a psychic power of bringing people very close together. Talking about the kind of life a partner wants to lead; whispering into each others ears; encouraging each other when personal life encounters glitch; being there for a partner and presenting oneself as a solid rock of comfort; and making a partner feel he/she cannot get positive and genuine comfort from anyone except from them. They should lay their hearts bare and lead each other to their private lives. People tend to stick with you when you tell them the truth about yourself and about themselves. There cannot be any dull moments in the lives of partners if they make dialogue a stepping stone in their relationship. Refrain from telling a partner what he/she is not just to impress or make them happy; this is uncultured flattery, which in most cases, backfires and the partner feels they are being played for a sucker.

Intimacy, passion, excitement and adventure cannot and should not be overlooked if the partners want to stay glued to each other. Partners have to be romantic to each other, caress and make each other feel ecstatic. Not just an acidulous dose of sex, but a passionate and head spinning affection of closeness and intimate love shared. A candlelight dinner once in a while; a short walk on the beach or in a greenish garden, where only the chipping of birds could be heard besides the pounding of their hearts; or a picnic in a romantic, remote place with great landscape can do the magic. A psychic book I once read said that the mind takes in such scenarios and magnets it, because only nature was the third party; and because nature is everywhere, the feeling is remembered more often than not. Romantic gifts are also great in keeping a relationship. Both gender has to give. The uncivilized thinking of some people is that only the male should shower their female partners with gifts, but that is very wrong. Gifts should be reciprocated. Each time a partner picks up a gift he/she has received from a lover, the mind always flashes back to the giver and a smile ? in most cases ? caresses the lips. The partner has to remember at least one goodtime they had had or else the relationship is under threat of crashing; thereby, opening a door for 'infidelity' to infiltrate. What good is it sticking with someone whom a partner cannot daydream about or remember one little gesture of generosity about them?

Ex-lovers ? what about them? They could come creeping in with the ulterior motive of getting an erstwhile lover back; or in most cases, have one final "make out" with them. What would an ex-lover possibly want that they had not tasted in the past, when they decided the person was not good enough to be theirs? They only parted in the first place either because they were not satisfied with the relationship, or were rejected by the lover involved. Here, what carries the day is total resistance and an adamant resolution not to fall prey to a tempting intruder. Avoidance is one tactic that would work like a charm. Staying away from the encroaching ex-lover and seeing less of them would put a big ditch between the two parties involved; and as time passes by, the feeling of obsession and loss they have would gradually die off.

In conclusion, love is the ultimate in any relationship. Love changes everything. It may not change who the partners are, but it sure makes the differences between them less important. Love endures. Love perseveres. Love withstands torture. Love passes the test of time. Love overshadows all other negative emotions. There has to be genuine love shared by partners. Love should and must be immeasurable, with both partner knowing no doubt, nor too shy to act. It is the foundation of an everlasting relationship ? love, not lust, not a crush - love. Love does not hibernate, it remains forever strong. The partners have to love each other greatly and there will be no room for 'infidelity'.

I am twenty years of age, born into a family of 4 children and a Nigerian seeking for admission in a tertiary institution. The cost of education in my country is a major setback in my crave to study Computer Science. Am an avid reader and also takes great pleasure in putting pen to paper. I believe that with the right expression of words written with my pen people could change for the better and correct or curb some ills eating deep into our system of government or life in general. Poverty has always being Africa's most dreaded disease and Nigeria is no exception.

Article Source: Messaggiamo.Com


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