Research shows that multiple lovers have become even more popular in the modern age. Khaya Dlanga looks at why.
A study conducted by Christin Munsch, a sociology PhD candidate at Cornell University, claims men who earn less than their partners are more likely to cheat. And men who are completely dependent on their wives' salaries are five times more likely to cheat than a man who isn't dependent on his wife.
According to Munsch, "Men more often cheat as an escape from their own lives or selves, rather than because they are dissatisfied with their partners – and one of the things they might want to escape from is the feeling of financial inferiority."
On the other hand, Munsch says men who make a lot more money than their wives are also more likely to cheat, she says they cheat because they can while broke men cheat because they are unhappy.
From what I've heard, there are many justifications for the behaviour.
People believe themselves to be faithful to their partners even when they are not. They then apply myriad reasons as to why sleeping with someone else isn't actually being unfaithful. One fellow told me how he fought tooth and nail to keep his woman when he was caught in the act instead of paying attention to his side-chick. "I'm faithful and so is my heart," he said. "My dick on the other hand isn't so faithful."
Although he appeared to be joking, he seemed convinced by his faithfulness.
Another guy I spoke to, said he never lies about his relationship when he meets a new side-chick. He tells her up-front. That, according to him, determines if she's willing to live with the arrangement; knowing that he will never leave his girlfriend for her. He even went on to say he had no idea what he would do without his illicit partner. I didn't know whether that was romantic or tragic.
There was one man who told me he likes his side-chick more than he likes his girlfriend. His girl bullies him and makes him unhappy but he doesn't want to leave her. He worries that if he leaves his girlfriend for his side-chicks his life won't be the same anymore. "There is something I enjoy about the stolen moments," he said. "She makes me feel alive. To tell you the truth, my girlfriend has totally ruined my confidence to such an extent that I don't remember what my dreams are anymore. When I leave I feel like I can do anything. Maybe I will leave her," he said, "I don't know."
On the flip side of the side-chick coin, one woman told me that she has a side-guy. She liked the lack of emotional attachment she has with her side-guy. Also, she let me know that she doesn't feel sexually satisfied by her boyfriend but loves him, and couldn't possibly leave him.
Another woman told me: "He [the side-guy] made me realise how I should be treated in a relationship. I had never been treated the way he treated me. Although I know that we were doing was wrong, it never felt wrong when we were together. I had honestly never been treated with such respect and dignity by anyone I had ever dated."
Mark Regnerus, co-author of Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying, says: "The women wind up competing with each other for access to the men, and often, that means relationships become sexual quicker." His research suggests that there are fewer good quality men for women to choose from. Since there are fewer good quality men, good quality men are in high demand. Therefore they are in low supply and high demand. Men have a wider pool than women. Before, men were sought after because they could be providers. Now that women are starting to surpass men in terms of income, men with a good education, up bringing and great job are in demand still because there are fewer of them.
"Men don't have to work as hard as they used to, to woo a woman," Regnerus, a professor by profession, says. "I've talked to various interviewees who had never been on a date, which doesn't really make sense, given they're pretty attractive. It's just that less seems to be required to be in the company of a woman."
In this environment, I think people are more likely to take their chances because they know they are in demand.
So we go on living our lives in the fragility of our weaknesses, which sometimes become our very own undoing. Even pastors and priests – people who are meant to be moral compasses of society – have been found wanting on many occasions. People will justify anything in anyway to find a life with which they know they should not live.