Why are we appalled when the 'other woman' is a man?

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
It is not strange for men and women to cheat with a partner of the same sex.
It is not strange for men and women to cheat with a partner of the same sex.

"The other woman" is an unmistakable concept.

We all understand the implications of the history, existence or possibility of there being another woman in our cushy relationships.

The other woman rattled our homes, awakened our insecurities and headlined our prayers in the war-room.

We have even dedicated lectures at prenuptial counselling sessions where an entire community of women focuses on arming the bride with coping mechanisms and ways of protecting herself.

But ladies, we are too late in the century to still be assuming that the only likelihood is that our loved ones will cheat with a woman.

In fact, the phrase "the other woman" is outdated and is reflective of our exclusionary view of relationships, boarding on homophobia. Yes, homophobia!

Let's face it, we are not willing to accept that our precious heterosexual relationships do have a third person - but he is a tall, dark and bearded man who doesn't have a womb.

He may not even be the jumpy, flamboyant, girlie character we tend to associate with gay men.

There is a side of our homophobia that most of us women neglect to acknowledge, discuss and correct - a phobia that we need to cleanse ourselves of, and educate the next generation to disabuse themselves of the same beliefs.

That thing inside us that makes us believe that "it is worse for a man to cheat on us with another man, than if he had just philandered with a woman".

We dread to think that our male partners may just not be as strictly heterosexual as we think them to be, and are repulsed by the thought.

In essence, we believe that because we are not open to dating across the gender spectrum, then whoever dares love us must relinquish any right and desire to love people in the sexual minorities.

The reality is that there are plenty of men out there who are attracted to our partners and are just as excited about the ability to have romantic relations with them as we are.

And none should bear a mark on the forehead warning us that they were, are or might be queer.

You hear women saying that a man must be open and honest about his sexual past and preferences because somehow we forget that everyone has a right to privacy and to make choices about their bodies and sexual engagements.

We demand transparency on the possibility of our partners not actually being heterosexual not for their own good, but because we have associated the possibility with our personal dishonour.

And the whole set-up is our very worst of humiliations.

There seems to be a mild retardation that compliments the need to ensure that because we are staunchly dedicated to heterosexuality, then anyone who dares love us, is forbidden from loving whomever else they want.

So let us ask ourselves - why do we believe that our man cheating with a man is worse than him loving another woman?

X