“Most of us are never satisfied, and it’s impossible for one person to fulfill your every want and need. So if there’s a chance to cheat, we jump at it. I once cheated because the relationship just stopped making progress. —Alain P., 31, operations analyst
“The reason men cheat is because our society accepts adultery and the media sensationalizes sex. When given the opportunity to choose between beautiful women, cheating seems like the best option for a man. It’s no wonder infidelity is the main reason for the breakdown of a lot of Black families.” — Seth T., 55, English teacher
“Yes I cheated in a relationship once, but only out of revenge on a woman who had stepped out on me first. What she had done to me was really on my mind, and at that time someone else was offering what she wouldn’t give me in the bedroom. I think that I just got caught up in the heat of the moment. —Douglas G., 26, administrative assistant
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON BREAKS IT DOWN
“Why do some Black men cheat? Because they can. The usual reasons (or excuses): She doesn’t understand me; she doesn’t take care of her body; she’s too busy with the kids; she loves her career more than me. Notice all of this deflects attention from us. The first sign of difficulty in a relationship, we’re in the arms of another.
There are different kinds of cheaters, but the most common are the accidental, occasional and habitual ones. Accidental two-timers step out because of circumstance. Met her at the bar on the way home from work and hit it quick. They’re usually not repeaters and are very remorseful. Occasional cheaters take advantage of amorous relations at their convenience, wishing not to disrupt home. Habitual cheaters sleep around as often as they can. They’re always working late, going on business trips, or conveniently turning off their cell phones.
Dealing with infidelity isn’t easy, and a woman should never blame herself for her man’s affair: He’s responsible for his behavior. She just has to decide what kind of cheater she has on her hands to determine what to do—keep him or kick him to the curb.
Michael Eric Dyson is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania.