Why do women feel they have to stay with cheating men?

Cheating is often viewed as a cardinal sin.
But many still do it, and women forgive an forget, writes Nokuthula Zwane

Cheating is not a new phenomenon  and no-one is immune to it. Some of the biggest scandal involved some of our own celebrities.
Among these are club DJ Zinhle Jiyane, Nomachule Gigaba, Enhle Mbali Maphumulo, Tshepo Motsepe and many others.

Clinical psychologist and relationship expert Anthony Nhlapo from Pretoria says cases such as these mean women take back cheating partners for reasons that fit into their hopes, wishes and desires.

“Cheated women have not fully understood that they can forgive the  cheating partner and not reconcile with him. There is this pressure of having to think about forgiving or not forgiving. The cheating partners take advantage of this confusion. And a lot of cheated women fall into the trap of reconciling without having dealt with the emotional pain,” he says.

According to experts, society needs to understand that relationships are complex and that cheating in itself comes in many forms. Nhlapo says, though, that cheating is a selfish act regardless of the reason.

“It’s about satisfying one’s emotional need. Many of my male clients do not think about the pain and impact their cheating  behaviour had on  their partner. They do not think about how they broke the trust. They focus on being forgiven and taken back without fully acknowledging the woman’s pain and distress. The woman is made to feel guilty as though she is the one that cheated,” he explains.

He says culture also plays a major role when it comes to women who take back their unfaithful partners. “Some cultures and religions, especially those that focus on gender stratification, play a role.

Married women will be told that ‘all men are weak’, she’s the pillar of a home or family or that the grave of a woman is at her matrimonial home.

”These everyday words and statements are inculcated in women and they are made to believe that they represent how women must deal with difficult partners, including cheating ones,” adds Nhlapo.

Nhlapo advises that cheated partners first go for individual psychotherapy with a social worker, a registered counselor or psychologist before jumping back in. Advice from religious or spiritual leaders, parents and selfhelp books can also be useful.

Last month twitter was up in arms when actress Jessica Nkosi revealed that  her baby daddy Ntokozo “Tk” Dlamini was cheating on her. Various tweets came to her defense while other were confused by why she decided to oust her ‘bae’.


  • Having known the partner for a long time and believing that he or she has changed and therefore there is potential that the relationship could work.
  • Believing that they don’t have enough energy and strength to restart a “dating game”.
  • Believing that the partner has the potential to become a great partner and that they just need to change a few things, such as bad company,
  • drinking and having too many male or female companions and the relationship will surely work.
  • Believing that the partner cheated because he or she was not good enough and after “fixing” themselves believe they are now a perfect match.
  •  The cheating partner is known by the family as a good person and not a cheater. They avoid telling the family the true reasons why the relationship ended. Wanting to protect their partner’s image.
  • The cheating partner is able to provide materially and they believe they may not survive without the financial support.
  •  Having a child and not wanting to raise a child with another man.
  •  Influence from friends and family, including the cheating partner’s family, especially mothers. Women, for example, will be told that all men are the same and that she might meet a man who is worse than the cheating partner. So, she might as well stay and deal with his cheating behaviour.
  • Believing they will not be able to love another person the same way they currently love someone.
  •  Believing God told them this was their “soul mate”.

Enhle Mbali

The media personality and wife of DJ Black Coffee experienced two scandals that she addressed on a show called Simply Enhle on THD24 and YouTube.

“There was a sex tape, one was just rachetness and I remember in my pain, in my tears, in my strength and in my stillness… there was one day when I thought ‘why do I care so much? Why do I want to listen to society say ‘he’s cheated on you twice, leave’. What is my heart
saying? What is my spirit saying? And my spirit said ‘you love him, sit your a** down and do what is best for you and your family’,” she explained on her YouTube channel.

Tshepo Motsepe

Medical doctor Tshepo Motsepe, wife of President Cyril Ramaphosa, was caught sleeping when it was revealed through the media that her husband was involved in an alleged cheating scandal in 2017. She too, in her defence, tried to express her hurt about the rumours of Ramaphosa’s affair.

DJ Zinhle

DJ Zinhle’s baby daddy, Kiernan “AKA” Forbes, was in the prime of his career when his cheating drama surfaced. He became involved
with the equally successful Bonang Matheba. AKA cheated while Zinhle was pregnant with his child in 2016. Zinhle also spoke out on Enhle Mbali’s online show that her decision to reconcile with the rapper had nothing to do with their child. “I don’t rob myself of things that I want and can acquire. The decision to be with the father of my child has nothing to do with my child. It sounds pompous when I say I acquire the things I want, and I don’t rob myself of things that I will question later. If there is an opportunity for me and someone to reconcile, and if I feel I want it, I will take a chance, because I don’t want to question myself four years later,” she said in the interview played on TouchHD.

Nomachule Gigaba

In an interview with eNCA, Norma said she had dealt with the affair tha former finance minster Malusi Gigaba had with mistress
Buhle Mkhize, and that they had reconciled. Her way of dealing with the saga was to remember that “the secret of change is to focus all of
your energy, not fighting the old, but building the new”. “There are no endings, but new beginnings. All you need is a positive mindset, not shaken by circumstances but flip the page and get started,” she wrote on her Instagram page.


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