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Valentine’s Day feature: Why do cheating men deny it?

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The Mighty Sparrow may have done it best in his song “Lying Excuses”:

“Whatever you might see me do
Know my love is true
I’m not being unfaithful to you
De woman you catch me with in de bed

Really didn’t have no place to rest she head
usiness close down, she lost she wuk
Disappointed, suffering from shock{{more}}

So ah take she home just relax and cheer she up
I exhausted she said to me
Boy ah so tired and so sleepy
Casually she sat on de bed
And ask me to massage she leg
That is all, that is all, that is all”.

While Sparrow showed men in his 1987 classic how they could worm themselves out of delicate situations using excuses, dancehall artiste Shaggy recommended outright denial in his mega hit, “It wasn’t me”:

(Yo’, man) Yo’ (Open up, man)
What do you want, man? (My
girl just caught me) You let her
catch you? ‘I don’t know how I
let this happen) With who? (The
girl next door, you know) Man (I
don’t know what to do) Say it
wasn’t you (Alright)

Shaggy’s advice is nothing new. For generations, Caribbean men have advised each other never to admit to infidelity.

One man in his late twenties told SEARCHLIGHT that he learned the hard way that honesty is not always the best policy. “When I was in my early twenties, I went to a party and spent the night dancing with a girl. Trying to be honest, even though nothing really happened between me and the girl, I told my girlfriend about it. The way she reacted eventually caused the relationship to break up! I will never make that mistake again.”

“Even if my wife finds me in bed with another woman, I will deny it!” This was the bold assertion of a married man in his fifties. “Once you admit, you will never hear the end of it,” he said.

However, one single woman in her thirties told SEARCHLIGHT that she would prefer to be told the truth. “If I sense that he is truly sorry and he shows by his actions that he is working to turn things around, I will try to forgive him,” she said.

However, men’s ‘excuses’ and ‘denials’, and some women’s willingness to accept the explanations, despite knowing the truth, are tied to the different psychological makeups of men and women.

This is the view of pastor of the Hilltop Tabernacle Church George Frederick, who explained that it is all in the psyche of ‘men versus women’. He explained that a man’s highest priority is to secure respect, while a woman thrives on the need to be loved and to feel secure. A man, Frederick added, will go to the extreme of lying to protect his dignity.

“He will do anything to maintain that respect mode,” he said, even if it means lying. Pointing out that it is never okay to lie, Frederick said the motivation behind the lies, which is a man’s need to feel respected, must be taken into consideration.

On the other hand, the woman thrives on the need to be loved and to feel secure. Frederick stated that women may believe these excuses, because they sometimes prefer to live in denial, and to dismiss anything that may erode that sense of security. Frederick ties it all back to men understanding women and women understanding men, getting into each other’s heads, he explained.

But why do some men think that it is acceptable to cheat? Frederick attributes this mentality to the whole ‘macho’ concept that society has of men with ‘women on the side’. “They feel it’s the macho thing to do, and I tell you, there are some people who feel that if a man sticks with one woman all the days of his life, something is wrong with him,” he said.

The key to a man admitting that he has cheated, Frederick says, depends on the man’s ability to maintain his respect as well as the willingness of the woman to forgive. “If he is in an environment where his respect can be gained, he can readily admit,” he said. Meanwhile in an environment where a man may feel that the woman may cause him to lose his sense of respect, he may just continue to lie about his actions.

“If he knows that there is forgiveness coming, that would lead to reconciliation. He would more readily upfront admit. The thing about it is, if he feels that it would make things worse, he would lie his way through,” he said. He, however, noted that nothing beats an honest confession, genuine repentance, total forgiveness and reconciliation in order to help the relationship.

Noting that the issue is a psychological and physiological one, Frederick maintained that the spiritual component is the most important, the whole idea of knowing who you are and whose you are. He stated that once a man understands who he is in Christ, his values are changed.

“When I understand who I am and whose I am, my sense of values are regulated. Therefore, there is no need for me to have to do certain things to prove what I already am,” Frederick said, referring to men who may equate having several affairs to being manly or macho. He further stated that though there may be sexual temptation, once you recognize who your God is, and that you are a person of purpose, proving your manliness otherwise would not matter as much.(OS/CK)