Agony Aunt Annie offers advice to a reader whose partner cheats – but her parents tell her to accept it…

Dear Annie

I’m a mother of two cute boys and my partner paid lobola in 2012 for me and we had our first child together in 2013.

Everything was perfect then – even if he was cheating

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It was not like how he is now. Ever since I’ve known him, he has been cheating throughout in this relationship. I would confront him and he would apologise.

So three months ago I met someone at work and we started calling and texting one another. One thing lead to another and we started dating. Please bear in mind that I work with my ‘husband’ but different operations.

The same month that I found that my husband had been cheating for three months was when I decided that I’m tired of this and I’m ending things between us. I told my mom that I’m done, I can’t bear this, it’s just too much, I can’t anymore.

My parents told me that it’s not acceptable: I must just stay in the marriage, and all men cheat

My family really loves my ‘husband’ but I’m not in love with him anymore. I’m in love with my ex colleague, but the problem is since he resigned at work, we haven’t seen each other for two months now as he is claiming that he is busy with his farms.

We do talk every day – almost eight times  – and I can call him anytime. So between the two I don’t love my husband with his cheating ways and physical abuse of me.

Earlier this year (on my birthday) he beat me up because I went out with my friends and came back late 

He actually doesn’t want me to have friends, I must be indoors all the time. I love my lover so much but this is also hurting me as he doesn’t make time for us and I don’t know much about him, though I have been to his place twice.

When I asked him what his intentions are, he said we needed to sit down and get to know each other because I don’t know him and he doesn’t know much about me, then after that we can decide if we have a future together.

Please advise – I’m so confused and don’t know which route to take in this complicated life.
Love Lebo

Dear Lebo

Thank you for your letter. Life is indeed complicated and love, or the pretence thereof, just makes it even more so.

Let’s talk about the culture that your parents refer to as normal: ‘all men cheat’

Who are they cheating with? Do the women that they cheat with know that they’re married? If women knew their worth and refused to be with a man who was already with another woman, who would the men be able to cheat with?

Women are teaching men what is and isn’t acceptable, by not only tolerating cheating scoundrels, but by willingly getting involved with unavailable men who have regular home-cooked meals but would like a little fast food on the side

Maybe if we stopped selling ourselves so short and demanded commitment before they got their hands in the cookie jar, men would start stepping up.

I assume your lover, who you adore and are available to any time of the night or day, knows that you’re married?

You willingly let him sample your wares, give him your undying love and commitment, pine away for him and in return he responds to your text messages and says that he doesn’t really know you!

As for the abuse… no real man hits a woman. Period

You do not want to be with an abuser and you do not want your boys to grow up thinking that disrespecting, abusing and cheating is just what men do.

You need to teach them to respect women. The best way that they will learn that is by watching you respect yourself and demanding the same from any man who you’re with.

Don’t ‘settle’, and don’t sell yourself short. Your sons’ wives will thank you one day!

You are beautiful!
Love and blessings
Annie