Social media has been awash in the last week with reports and speculations of superstar entertainers being accused of being unfaithful to their spouses or partners. Whether you call it cheating, straying, infidelity, adultery, unfaithfulness, extramarital affair or playing an away game, the exposés about these acclaimed individuals allegedly breaking their commitment or promise to their partners trended vigorously around the world.
The first story that hit the newsstands was the report by a popular blog which accused entertainer, music record executive and politician Bankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, of cheating on his wife, actress Adesua Etomi. The dust had yet to settle when the U.S. rapper Offset accused his wife, Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar Cephus, a rapper known professionally as Cardi B, in a now-deleted post on Instagram of infidelity. At first glance, it looked as if Cardi B attempted to fulfil that timeless adage, “What a man can do, a woman can do better.” After all, it’s the men who are largely accused of “playing away games” in marriages.
Talking about “Timeless”, the rave of the moment in the Nigerian music industry, David Adeleke, better known as Davido, was not even allowed to completely relish his spectacular performance at the just-concluded BET Awards when a U.S.-based businesswoman accused him of impregnating her and attempting to make her abort the pregnancy. The “gbas gbos” from this shocking revelation was still ongoing when a French lady dragged the “Unavailable” crooner into another messy web of alleged paternity drama. She even dropped “receipts” to indicate that she has been close to the singer on several occasions and that she is allegedly carrying his child (child number what now…).
While Cardi B has outrightly denied the allegations levelled against her, Banky W expressed an interesting proposition of “the devil is a liar” as he seemingly denied the accusation. On the other hand, Davido has remained unavailable (or probably available for certain people) and has not responded to the “preg-a-thon” allegations against him – as of the time of this piece’s publication.
So, while numerous people have been dropping their two cents on the aforementioned instances, it is pertinent to ask: What is the big deal about infidelity? The question, I presume, seems weird, especially as the persons involved in these scandals from Nigeria seem to be in a monogamous marriage – “one man, one wife”. Exponents of African traditionalism will even contend that monogamy is alien to the continent’s diverse cultures and insist that our forefathers had numerous wives to satisfy themselves before the coming of the colonial masters with their imported religions and the introduction of modernist philosophy.
After all, when monogamy did not work twice for the revered Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, he reverted to the ways of his ancestors and has since managed to avoid the marriage scandals that plagued him in recent years.
Is infidelity, therefore, a sign of unfaithfulness by spouses to their moral obligation of upholding their wedding vows? Anthropologists tend to believe humans are neither completely monogamous nor completely polygamous. However, Deborah Blum makes an important point that humans are “ambiguously monogamous” and slowly moving away from the polygamous habits of our evolutionary ancestors.
Since we now live in contemporary times and a large number of the global populace live their life based on the dictates of the modernist philosophy, it is important for intending and married couples to always define their relationships before beginning the journey of “I do”. For instance, for adherents of the Islamic faith, men are permitted to marry more than one wife. The men are also enjoined by the Holy Book to have discussions with their current wives if they choose to multiply their homes with more women.
For Christians and liberalists, the dictates of their varying philosophies are clear on marriage: “one man, one wife.” There is no need to rock the boat by engaging in sexual or romantic relations with a person other than your significant other if you want to just have one soul in your life. Irrespective of the nagging circumstances or the fetish fantasy that you may be enticed with, it is important to keep the home happy and united.
More importantly, all married people must cherish and respect their vows. The vows made, whether in a church, mosque or marriage registry, are not just mere words printed on a piece of paper and recited by people on wedding days. These words are sacred vows made in the presence of God; (and for those who do not believe in the existence of God) witnesses to the marriage and, essentially, a commitment by one individual to another individual.
Whenever infidelity rocks a marriage, it triggers powerful emotions for both partners. The offended half of the team would naturally be traumatised by the turn of events, and he or she would feel a betrayal of trust and loss of emotional safety. Such feelings may subsequently lead to dangerous repercussions such as depression, heightened anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or even suicide. It is not enough for people to pinpoint or ascribe their infidelity to sex addiction, personality traits, dissatisfaction, emotional instability or cultural and societal norms. Married people must be responsible and intentional about what they want and communicate their ideas to their lawful partners.
And speaking about responsibility, married people must know the status of the law regarding marriages in their areas or territories of residence. While adultery may have been repealed as an illegal law in parts of Europe and Latin America, it is still a criminal offence in many parts of Africa and, interestingly, in about 21 states in the U.S.
In Nigeria, for instance, adultery is a crime punishable by law under the Penal Code (applicable in Northern Nigeria). In Southern Nigeria, Europe and parts of the U.S. where adultery is not decriminalised, the offended spouse is at liberty to institute a civil action against his or her partner on the following grounds: the loss suffered by the offended party/petitioner, injury to aggrieved party’s honour and feelings, the degree of hurt to family life of the aggrieved party and value of the adulterous spouse to the claimant.
Asides from the estranged marriage being dissolved by a court, the aggrieved spouse may be favoured over issues such as property settlement, the custody of children and getting alimony (usually in large sum) from the offending party.
Finally, the drama surrounding these acclaimed celebrities should be an eye-opener to people that while it is good to have role models, they should be careful about deciding who they want to admire. In Nigeria and across the world, many people have, for years, looked to entertainers as their role models. While their hard work and commitment to their craft are undeniable and worthy of emulation by all and sundry, the imitation of other aspects of their lives, especially relationships, should be put in check by the wannabe admirers for their sanity.
So much about infidelity, eh?