Assalam 'alaykum people,
I have purposely taken about 2 days before finally sitting down to write today's post. You may wonder why on earth I would be taking such a long time to think about a post but I guess you'll find out my hesitation as you read on. Today's topic is a topic I have never approached on this (or any of my other blogs) and you could say the topic is a little sensitive. But, we're all adults here (I hope) and I will -of course- be politically correct. Warning: this is a long one folks!
This was a short sweet little disclaimer.
About 2 days ago, I was just chilling and watching some YouTube videos. When I used to live alone, I was an avid watcher almost an addict to YT and I used to watch a lot of family vlogs, pranks, beauty related videos, chitchats and of course, Islamic lectures (did I really need to add this one in?). I guess because I had so much free time, especially in the evenings, I particularly enjoyed ending my evenings watching Judy's life or the SacconeJolys, Ellie and Jared or Lily Pebbles just to mention a few. However, lately I have no time -ironically- for YouTube at all and when I can find a rare moment then it is to watch fitness related stuff. Interesting how our interests shift so much in a short time.
Anyway, I was on the YT app and I don't remember exactly how but I ended up watching a scandal video about a famous family channel. You may have heard of it if you are into the YT vlogging community as this family owns one of most popular channel with, I think, about 4M subscribers. Personally, I have never watched their videos but I had heard of them. The family is made of 5 kids and the parents, they've made millions with YT, built a huge house and have been very successful. Since watching the scandal video (which I will talk about in a second), I decided to watch several other reaction videos from people who loved the family and it was clear that the father in particular was very loved by the audience and looked up to. A lot of people mentioned how this family and their vlogs changed and positively impacted on their own lives and how the father (ShayCarl) was almost like a father figure for them as well. ShayCarl is the kind of guy who is charismatic and lovable from the beginning so I can see why a lot of his subscribers held him in high esteem.
The family are practising Mormons and they are apparently very religiously inclined, as most Mormons are. Who says religious also says high moral standard right? Interesting.
So, this guy -ShayCarl- whom everyone seems to love, has a very successful career, healthy kids, a huge house, a dedicated wife and in general, seems to have a good pleasant life will ruin everything by committing a fatal error. The scandal, that came out about a month ago, was that a saqajaamad callgirl exposed a number of DMs that ShayCarl and her had exchanged over a period of 3 months. She posted the messages on Twitter and tagged Shay's wife. Now, the messages were of such a disgusting and sexual nature that one would almost not believe they were written by ShayCarl or anyone who deems themselves 'religious'. But, the guy sent his picture in one of the DMs and it was impossible to deny that it was him who was indeed communicating with this woman in such a way.
This caused a crazy spark all over social media. Subscribers couldn't believe that these messages were written by the man they had idolised during all these years. They were disgusted, shocked and outraged. Then, the out-pour was driven towards his poor wife who had always been such a sweetheart and always been at her husband's side. What about the kids? This scandal is now on the internet for ever, how could he do this to his family? ect.
This, in a nutshell, is what the scandal was about. I'm not going to lie but this scandal also had an impact of me despite not knowing anything about this guy or his family before that day. I was disgusted that a married man of 5 kids would fall so low in morals to message a saqajaamad and talk in such a lewd, unrestrained manner. I was disgusted that he was apparently this righteous Mormon in his videos but in the privacy, he would have such madness in his mind. I felt sorry for his wife who was described as the best wife. And then.. it made me think.
For a good couple of years, I have observed a reoccurring pattern.
Men who are married, with kids, with an apparently happy and content family life, a comfortable lifestyle and a devoted wife will, at the impulse of desire, put all of this at risk. What makes a grown man who has everything in his life, be willing to put everything at risk? Another pattern I see is that the women involved in these marriages are usually the most sweet, hardworking, loving wives. They usually are the kind of wives who support their husbands through thick and thin, who are willing to sacrifice so much for their husbands and family, they are their husbands' shadow and are totally oblivious of the other facet that these men can have. Maybe they are too innocent? Interesting.
Another famous incident I could like to recall with ya'll is the Lewinsky affair. Bill Clinton, then president, was found guilty of having an affair with his young secretary. Normally, if a president is found guilty of adultery (at least back then), then he would have to be removed from power, however due to the American legislation on adultery, he was found 'not guilty' (despite sperm residue being found on the woman) because they was no evidence of vaginal intercourse despite evidences of other sexual activity being proven (which shows how messed up human laws are, uff). Hillary Clinton clearly in this torment still chose to remain on her husband's side and did not divorce him. Why? There are probably a million and one reasons why she chose to remain with her cheating husband. It is also proven statistically that men who cheat once will more likely repeat.
Another famous French politican called DSK comes to mind. He was known for his adulterous affairs with women while being married. I watched a documentary retracing his life a few months ago and I was disgusted. In short, he is the kind of man who can't keep his pants on. He got divorced 3 times and each time, it was to settle with the woman he was cheating with. The biggest scandal that tarnished his career was the ''rape'' accusation in the US of a black room cleaner. His wife, at the time, had stood by him through the case which was a long difficult one yet I believe he cheated on her multiple times.
I guess the limit of where the cheating occurs may differ for people. For some, looking at another person with lust is cheating. For some, all is good until there is intercourse. For others, being emotionally connected with another person than the official spouse is cheating. Seriously though, alhamdulilah for Islam where we do not have to question ourselves on where the limit is!
I have always said that men get crazy when they reach 40-50. I used to say that because I would often hear of Somali men in that age range who would go back home to secretly get married to another wife. It is common to joke about a man who wants to travel abroad alone (if he's 40 to 60) that his intentions are not for tourism but for something else. The wives of these men do not have a settled mind during the duration of his trip. I have always had a profound disgust for such behaviour and would *smh* whenever I heard of a Somali uncle in his 50s or 60s secretly getting married.
Maybe it's a good idea to mention here that for the past 7-8 months, I have been particularly interested in looking at 'love' from a psychological and sociological lens. A lot of the books I have bought and read in the past few months mostly deal with the subject of love; to the point where I get a little embarrassed when we have guests and they go through my shelf of books which is sadly placed in the living room. They probably wonder who in the family is reading this kind of literature?!
I don't recall precisely how I started to get interested in this subject but it is something I find pertinent. In general, I'm the kind of person who likes to know about things before getting involved in them. So, I thought.. if I'm going to get married (some day) then maybe it's a good idea for me to get some knowledge on the subject. Deen-wise, the topic of marriage is probably one of the few topics I'm proficient in (lol) due to listening to so many lectures (YT), books, events ect. Therefore, it was only natural for me to also turn my attention to the more secular aspect of knowledge surrounding marriage, love and the rest of it.
I have learnt a lot from my books and from listening to psychologists and relationship experts. I have looked at the theories of attachment, love languages, the psychology of falling out of love, the single trap ect. The book I'm reading now however, comes at a perfect time with regards to the scandal I mentioned above. It is a book that explores forbidden/hidden love or clandestine love; in other words, it talks about infidelity. The book is written by a sociologist who is looking at the social aspect/impact of adultery and infidelity in 30 couples who are secretly involved in extra-marital relationship that their official partner is not aware of. She has gathered testimonies from married men who upkeep secret relationships with one or multiple women (and vice-versa for women). Oh and I should mention also that most times, it's not only one secret relationship but there can be several hook-up partners thrown in the mix as well. (imagine your partner, your world, your boo having a secret and parallel relationship with someone else? *floodgates*)
Of course, as a Muslim, these testimonies for me are crude and shocking but I find the questioning of what makes these men and women go for these secret relationships and hook-ups worth looking into. Clearly, ShayCarl -a religious guy- made the choice of seeking sexual involvement (even through virtual means) but why? Likewise, it's not just gaalo (non-muslims) who have these behaviours.. oh no, unfortunately our brothers are not safe from it. So what causes a Muslim married man to seek emotional or sentimental involvement with a woman other than his wife? What makes our Somali uncles want to secretly elope back home? What is it that happens around 40 for men that seems to deny any logic and reason to their actions?
I am not a psychologist nor a sociologist nor a counsellor nor a social adviser.. but I want to share my thoughts and my readings with you.. who knows? It might help some people..
1) Regarding my stone age theory about middle-aged men becoming uncontrollable hormonal creatures.. well, it's actually been proven clinically that, as men hit 40, there is a shift in their minds regarding their sexuality. It is said that upon reaching that age, a lot of men become concerned with not being able to be as efficient in the bedroom. They also have a surge in the production of testosterone which increases their sex drive (likewise for women who will experience a rise in testosterone as they approach the menopause). Experts also explain that longevity has something to do with this phenomenon. With life expectancy and good health increasing for most people, as man reaches 40/50, he still has a good 30 years or so ahead. They will have usually achieved and worked hard for those 40 to 50 years and desire to 'kick back' as they enter that new age. Ofc for gaalo people, kicking back has many meanings!
It is also proven scientifically that the 10 years between 40 and 50 for a man are a period of huge changes, they experience a second teenage-hood.
For men, there is also this need as they age to prove to themselves that they can still attract women. A man can have everything going smoothly in his life (i.e: ShayCarl, Bill Clinton, Adeer Farax), yet they will always want to see if they can catch a new fish... sometimes just to see if they can, other times to fill in an empty spot, sometimes for sexual motives, sometimes for the excitement and adrenaline. I find that most men enjoy the excitement and passion of a new relationship, I feel like they live for that high, crazy passion of early days and as the passion declines... their interest will also decline and they will move on to the next prey. They are always in need of high emotional intensity.. but by doing that, unfortunately, they mess up with their neuron and brain electricity which causes them to have a patchy image of what the difference between lust and love is.
2) Let me move on to the women in these marriages. What makes one's husband go and look for things outside of his wife? Even though, it is sometimes the wife's shortcomings that pushes a man away.. I really believe that some men are just designed to be forever chasing. In the book that I'm reading, the cheating husbands all say that they will never leave their wives to live with their secret partner. Likewise, our Somali uncles who go back home usually have no intention of hurting their wives nor do they hate them or want to divorce them. The cheating men at age 50 will usually have been married for 20 years, they have children, they have a family and they are not looking to compromise all that they've worked for but.. still there's something missing for them. Usually that something is to do with sex in one shape or another.
Usually (I'm using this word a lot today because I don't want to generalise), they have a double face/a double life. What I mean by that is... they've been married for 20 or so years, there's definitely a routine with the wife, most likely intimacy is not really happening and living in this hyper-sexual world, being married and not being able to fulfil your desires is a pain. I can understand that (and it is also said that in couples who have been married for decades, the women are often the ones who control the intimacy that happens or that doesn't happen which takes the man in hostage in some cases). So, these frustrated men turn their desires to other women and will thus show their second face (note: I'm talking about the gaalos) which is a face of sexual frustration as is the case with the ShayCarl scandal or in the Lewinsky case.
Sadly, the women of these cheating men have typically no idea of what's happening. Their husbands don't necessarily open up regarding their uncontrollable libido or they repress it and act like all is good. They (the ladies) get too comfortable or they get too occupied with day to day life and the kids that their husband's desires is the last thing on their mind? Also, after being married for such a long time, after going through ups and downs as a couple.. I guess there comes a certain peace of mind that your partner would never do something to hurt or damage the family, right? WRONG.
Sometimes, I think that these women are too naive? How can you not see signs or clues that something is not right? Could Hillary Clinton have foreseen that Bill would at some point trespass the sacred ties of marriage? Could ShayCarl's wife have imagined that her husband was entertaining a call girl with such graphic pornographically inspired messages? Are there not warnings and signs of infidelity before they occur?
Some women also cheat on their husbands (20%) but the reason is typically different than men (34%). The women who tend to be overworked, under-loved and underappreciated by their husbands are at a higher risk of finding themselves searching for appreciation and compliments from other men (especially if that's her love language). Cheating women are usually in search of affection and compassion whereas cheating men are usually in search of intimacy and new sexual experiences (also the case for some women who feel the need to be liberated in that sphere). I find it interesting that despite not being sexually fulfilled with their wife of 20yrs, men will still rather stay with her instead of divorcing her and getting with the mistress. They much rather keep their family life intact and have the side mistress for the sole purpose of relieving their desires. It is mentioned that if the mistress displays signs of love and attachment towards the cheating man, he will leave her and search for another one as he is not interested in a love relationship. Whereas the cheating women believe that they can have polyamour (loving 2 people at the same time) just like a mother loves her 2 children. Gaalo people be craaazy sometimes.
The question now is.. is it truly possible in 2017 to be a monogamous couple with neither partner searching for something outside of their couple? Is it possible for a man to be fulfilled (in all areas) by a single woman and vice-versa? Is it feasible for a woman to feel 100% sure that her husband is exclusive to her? Is emotional exclusivity important to people nowadays?
I have personally seen married Muslim practising men looking for 'friendship' with other women other than their wives. It goes back to the double-face personality I described above. I really believe that some men (maybe the religious ones more than the others) fail to be able to fully communicate with their wives regarding their needs and/or desires. Because how is it that they are looking elsewhere then? What made ShayCarl cheat on his wife (even if he never had physical intimacy) with a call girl when his wife is under his roof and loves him madly?
After a few years, I guess some couples go through a cleavage which make communication tough. Men and women are maybe no longer looking for the same things in the marriage. They've build a successful family life with good kids but their love has become flat. Issues such as sexual incompatibility may creep up with one partner constantly feeling let down by the other dis-obliviously. I feel like this issue is definitely not spoken about in our communities and especially our parents' generation. Do you think so many uncles would be flocking back home if the wives knew that their husbands just needed more intimacy? I don't think so..
It's kinda sad in a way that a lifelong relationship can disintegrate and fall apart because of something as mundane of a lack of intimacy but it happens more than we want to admit. We, as women, need to stop being naive and stop thinking that our husbands are superheroes because they're Muslims and therefore are free from low desires. It's already ''bad enough'' that a lot of women (incl. me) don't feel themselves able to tolerate their husbands to marry a 2nd wife (the right way, emphasis on the word RIGHT), but it's terrible that they can think that this man can live with no to little intimacy until his death. That's naivety and innocence ladies. Educating ourselves on the male mindset and being open with the partner is crucial. However, there are men who can't be pleased no matter what. It reminds me of the hadith about owning a mountain of gold and wishing for a second and always wanting more.
Slightly a different topic but still related to the main topic is this..
About a year or so ago, I remember reading about the divorce of a well-known Muslim speaker and I also remember very clearly feeling sad for the rest of the day. He and his ex-wife had been married for years and years, he used to mention her in his lectures sometimes. They had about 8 or 9 kids.. so clearly one would imagine a strong couple right? The news of the divorce had a bombshell effect on me.. I was hurt and I couldn't understand what makes a couple with 9 kids want to divorce and go separate ways? This is the woman who gave you all these kids? This is the woman you've shared probably half or more of your life with? This is the woman who knows everything about you? What can be so deep and so serious that needs the both of you to go separate ways? Isn't forgiveness and looking over mistakes possible after so many years together? I couldn't and still can't comprehend that.. maybe I'm also naive.
Through my reading on this topic at large, I am realising that communication and HONESTY are key ingredients for a successful marriage. I don't know if most men can remain monogamously exclusive to their wives only for 20, 30, 40, 50 years of marriage. I don't know anymore but .. who knows?
I also used to believe in everyone having one soulmate, this belief has changed as well.. I'm learning that a person can have several soulmates and be compatible with more than 1 person. I believe that love is a choice. People either choose to love each other or they stop. I also realise that love does not just happen, it is made. It is created by two people who want it. I'm learning that intimacy is probably more important than we think especially as the couple is growing and maturing. I'm learning that as the years in the marriage increase, the two partners need to be even more closer in all spheres and they can only be close if they have honest communication of their wants and needs. Compatibility is the intimacy department will either help reinforce the couple's strength or it will weaken it. I'm learning that not all men are the same. That some men will be chasing other women until their grave and that by learning to observe more and try to look for fore-running signs and clues, these guys can be spotted.
You know, everyone has irrational and crazy fears right?
Mine are: infidelity and infertility. (don't laugh :p)
As for the 1st one, I think I'm a very loving person and when I honestly love someone.. I love wholeheartedly and I want to be beloved too. So, the thought of my husband looking for love or lust outside of me is unbearable. I don't know if I could be like Hillary Clinton and keep such a man in my life. I often ask Allah (swt) not to test me with the people I love the most because that's the hardest thing for me. Your spouse or your own children being a test in this dunya for you is something I seek refuge from.
As for the 2nd one, well.. most girls also have this stupid fear and I guess it's because maternity is part of our femininity (even if these ultra-liberal feminists try to say the opposite), most of us dream to be mothers one day and so, being infertile is a real phobia. I know that many girls also share this irrational fear with me.
What are your thoughts on this topic?