RELATIONSHIPS: My partner wants to sleep with someone else!

By: SHADRACK KIRUNGA

A young man types his confession on an online forum. The responses come in thick and fast, most of them advising him to count his loses and take a walk. “But I love her”.

He says, sounding really desperate. But the mob only gets more vicious in their comments, calling her all sorts of names. It reminds you of the story of Jesus and the woman caught in the act of adultery, men holding rocks ready to stone, Jesus challenging the sinless to cast the first stone, and then the men, blue with shame slowly dropping the rock and walking away.

If we were dealing with a case of someone caught cheating, we would probably have a lot of answers because that is a common issue in relationships.

But this as it were, is a case of someone seeking for your permission to cheat. What could possibly lead to such a scenario and how should one respond? Let me share a few thoughts (not answers!).

GUILT

One of the views expressed by some people in this issue is that very likely; the person may already be cheating and is struggling with the guilt of the action.

Even if he/she has not actually done the deed, one may have considered it seriously enough to create guilt that might drive one to make such a request.

MISTRUST AND FRUSTRATION

Another possible scenario is when a partner has enough reason to believe that he/she is being cheated on.

This writer has encountered this particular approach in which an individual who thinks he/she is being cheated on directly states the intention to cheat.

In this case, it really is a shout for attention from a partner who might have ignored earlier pleas to address the issue.

Closely related is the possibility that a partner who feels neglected in regard to intimacy takes this last stand to draw attention to his or her plight.

In the story in the introduction, that was the response of the lady; she told her boyfriend that he had been unavailable for her but she still loves him. All she needed was satisfaction; and would he let her get that from someone else? Hmm!

RESOLUTION

It is difficult to find a clean cut resolution because each relationship is unique just as the reasons for such an occurrence are numerous.

But here are a few thoughts on how it can be resolved. First, everything a partner says, however weird or uncomfortable it might sound is worthy listening to.

Obviously, when it is said, it appears as an affront to us, a betrayal, or an out of this world sort of thing. It will probably shake us to the roots, especially if we did not see it coming. But it is communication and we are better off if we hear it than if we don’t.

Second, look into the relationship for anything that might suggest why things are that bad, because if it has come to that, things are really bad! This notwithstanding, relationships are like systems; they generate their own problems and also have the capacity to heal themselves. Be honest with yourself, introspect deeply and look critically into the relationship before you make a decision.

Third, clarify your options: It will amaze you how such an occurrence helps us to address questions we probably would never have asked. For example, you need to clarify how you would respond to cheating if it were to happen.

Would you forgive? Would that be only once or twice or more? Would you end the relationship? This is important because whatever your spouse does after asking such a question might have little to do with how you answer them. In the end, it is your attitude towards the issue that will help you to make an informed decision. Over to you.