Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Black Woman, Black Men and The Down Low

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Recently, New York Knick’s basketball player, Eddy Curry, a married father of several kids, received notice of a sexual-harassment lawsuit by his former limo driver, Kuchinsky. Kuchinsky is alleging that Curry tried to solicit gay sexual activity from him while working as a 24/7 chauffer for the NBA hoop star and his family.[1] With the national press coverage of this story, I am reminded of the movie,Cover, which explored the current situation that appears to be facing many black families. Cover is a film about a devoted, churchgoing wife, and mother whose faith is shattered when she discovers that her husband is living a secret double life.[2] Also, there is a 30-minute internet movie, Results, which tackles the same type of betrayal and shows how the couple tackles it in the span of one night.[3] So, as it relates to married men who happen to cheat on their spouse on thedown low, I ask, what’s love got to do with it? I understand the question is paying tribute to the hit single by Tina Turner. However, I think people should explore the reasons why married men choose to cheat on the down low and should a wife, who takes a vow of fidelity with her husband, continue in the relationship after discovering the betrayal.

People might ask why a lawyer would write an article on a social topic such as married men who cheat on the down low. Well, a lawyer is considered an attorney and counselor at law. When a wife chooses to get a divorce due to infidelity from their husbands cheating on the down low, it is important for lawyers to understand the origin of the relationship and what caused the heartache to their client so that they can effectively provide legal advice and counseling for their client. In a majority of states, infidelity is just one factor in how marital property is divided between former married couples. Even though a wife might want her husband, who cheated on the down low, to get nothing and pay dearly for the betrayal, the courts in a majority of states will not find fault (e.g. infidelity) a determining factor in the division of marital property. Therefore, it behooves the lawyer to try other methods of counseling to explain the law to jilted married clients.

This article will analyze the meaning of love, the reasons why people get married, and what actions people should take to minimize the potential of being married to men who cheat on the down low.

Meaning of Love

Love has many meanings. Webster dictionary defines Love as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (e.g. maternal love for a child).[4] Also, love is an attraction based on sexual desires (e.g. affection and tenderness felt by lovers).[5] Love is also an affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (e.g. love for old schoolmates).[6] Also, love is a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion (e.g. love of the sea).[7] Love can also be used as a term of endearment.[8] Love is also the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.[9] Love is a sexual embrace.[10] In all, love embraces a form that is erotic, romantic, familial, platonic, and religious.

Similar to Webster dictionary, Christianity embraces four forms of love: Agapē, Philia, Eros, and Storge.[11] Agapē means charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional.[12] It is parental love seen as creating goodness in the world.[13] It is the way God is seen to love humanity and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for others.[14] Philia is defined as the human response to something that is found to be delightful.[15] Also, it is known as "brotherly love".[16] Eros is defined as sexual love.[17] Storge is defined as the needy child-to-parent love.[18]

One thing that is fascinating is the explanation of what Eros is. Eros is a very passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.[19] In the classical world, the phenomenon of love was generally understood as a kind of madness or, as the Greeks put it, theia mania ("madness from the gods").[20] This love passion is best illustrated by a scheme involving “love arrows” or “love darts.”[21] The source of the arrows is said to be the image of the beautiful love object itself.[22] If the arrows arrive at the lover’s eyes, they would then travel to and ‘pierce’ and ‘wound’ his or her heart and overwhelm him/her with desire and longing.[23] This creates an image of an “arrow’s wound” where an oxymoron of pleasure and pain is created.[24]

As illustrated above, love has different meanings. Saying “I love you” to a person can mean a variety of things. The issue for married couples who are dealing with husbands who cheat on the down low isnot whether they love their wives. The issue is what type of love does husbands who cheat on the down low have for their wives. In my opinion, this is the heart of the conflict that exists between married couples who have husbands who cheat on the down low. Next, it is important to understand why people marry.

Why People Marry

Marriage is a social, religious, spiritual or legal union of individuals.[25] People marry for many reasons, but usually they marry for one or more of the following reasons:[26]
· legal, social, and economic stability;
· the formation of a family unit;
· procreation and the education and nurturing of children;
· legitimizing sexual relations;
· public declaration of love; or
· to obtain citizenship

In almost all Protestant forms of Christianity, they hold marriage to be ordained by God for the union between a man and a woman.[27]They see the primary purpose of this union to be to glorify God by demonstrating his love to the world.[28] Other secondary purposes of marriage include intimate companionship, rearing children and mutual support for both husband and wife to fulfill their life callings.[29]

Like love, people marry for a variety of reasons. What is extremely interesting is that when protestant Christians marry their primary purpose is for the union to glorify God. One example of the betrayal for protestant Christians is when married men cheat on the down low. This action is not one that glorifies God especially when the bible states that men (or women) who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God.[30] So, the conflict exists and men and women need to be aware of who their partners are before entering into marriage.

The Reality of the Conflict of Down Low Activity with Marriage

Some married men who cheat on the down low believe that down low activity is similar when men cheat with other women. I beg to differ. As these movies illustrate, a woman cannot compete with a man sexually. Women and men are not equal in physical form. Men and women have different sexual features and different purposes of use for these features. I equate the differences between men and women similar to placing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. Do like parts unite or do opposite pieces fit together?

If a married man cheats on the down low, they have a sexual attraction for another man. Sorry ladies. Physically, there is nothing you can do, except do a sex change, to sexually fulfill a man who wants to sleep with other men. A married man might love his wife, but the sexual love a wife is craving from her husband does not exist the way she wants or believes it should exist especially if this type of infidelity occurs after the coupled exchanged wedding vows to be married. There are always signs of men who have a sexual attraction for another man. However, you have to open your eyes and find out who your spouse truly is before you enter into marriage.

Attributes of Counseling Before Marriage

One way to discover whether your significant partner is ready to be married is to participate in marriage counseling. In essence, you are treating your marriage as a long term investment and gathering as much information about your spouse before you enter into marriage. As illustrated above, love has many meanings and people marry for different reasons. Just because someone says “I love you” is not all you need to know to venture into marriage. What a man and woman need to find out from each other is what type of love exists and is it reciprocally felt. If your potential spouse only feels an admiration for you and you feel romantic love for that person, then you need to find this out before you venture into marriage and not get married to the person. Also, what are the reasons why the man and woman are getting married and is it reciprocal. If your potential spouse wants to get married to obtain citizenship and you want to get married public declaration of love, then you need to find this out before you venture into marriage and not get married to this person.

Ideally, married couples expect their spouses to solely want them only. They believe their spouse will be the complement human being to help fulfill their needs mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. No one is perfect, but the union of a man and woman is expected to be one that works to perfection as seen in God’s light. When married men cheat on the down low, there is an erotic and sexual attraction for people of the same sex that their wife can’t fulfill. A potential spouse needs to know this before hand and not marry the individual especially if they seek their spouse to solely want them only.

Effective marriage counseling will be able to discover the compatibility of the couple. Marriage counseling should emphasize substance over form. The counseling should explore the type of love that exists and if it is reciprocally felt. Also, marriage counseling should explore the reasons why each person wants to marry and whether it is reciprocal. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with doing an extensive background check on people before getting married. When you choose to marry someone, you are making a societal and private contract that this individual is someone you will honor and cherish, to have and to hold, until death do you part. With any type of long term investment, you need to know what you are getting into. This is not to say that marriages will not have problems, but if you choose someone to be married to you, you are making a long term investment in that individual expecting that the good will outweigh the bad. Know what you are getting into so you canminimize suffering betrayals like having married men cheat on the down low.

Legal Disclaimer: This site provides information about the law designed to keep readers informed of pertinent legal matters affecting the African-American community. But legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer in your specific location if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

[2] http://www.coverthemovie.com/
[3] http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3195994137/
[4] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Love
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.
[10] Id.
[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_(religious_views)
[12] Id.
[13] Id.
[14] Id.
[15] Id.
[16] Id.
[17] Id.
[18] Id.
[19] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eros_(love)
[20] Id.
[21] Id.
[22] Id.
[23] Id.
[24] Id.
[25] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage
[26] Id.
[27] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_of_marriage
[28] Id.
[29] Id.
[30] 1 Corinthians 6:9

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