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Moira and Jason: Cheating is Cheating, Even if Men 'Man Up' to It

When separation due to cheating becomes everyone's business.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: Facebook/Jason Marvin

Singer Moira dela Torre and husband Jason Hernandez on Tuesday made thousands on the internet question the existence of love, after the Christian couple, known for performing romantic songs together, announced their separation after three years. 

Hernandez confessed to infidelity on social media, adding he was taking "full responsibility" for his actions, giving gossip-crazed Filipinos online another story of love, cheating and heartbreak to dissect for days to come.

"Moira" is trending with tens of thousands of Twitter posts two days after her ex-husband's admission, showing how Filipinos treat heartbreak caused by extramarital affairs: high on the "Marites" agenda and often with misplaced compassion that reinforces long-held double standards on gender. 


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"Makikita mo agad sa comments section, andun pa rin talaga 'yung problem with us, 'yung double standards natin when it comes to the issue of infidelity. Na ultimo 'yung gesture ni Jason of admitting to cheating on his wife, may magcocommend pa," sociologist Janice Zamora-Morales told reportr, referring to how many Filipinos on social media glorified Hernandez's honesty, seen by some as an act of "manning up". 

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"Nag-ooperate pa rin kasi 'yung ganong klaseng culture: na mas bumabango sila dahil lang lalake sila. Sa babae hindi nangyayari 'yun. What's sadder is that, even women themselves are complicit to this, whether as the mistress or 'yung simpleng pag-agree lang na 'lalake kasi'. It’s really a problem in terms of socialization," Zamora-Morales added.

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'Cheating is cheating'?

Men tend to get more of a free pass compared to women when it comes to infidelity or  having multiple sexual partners. Scores of research reflects this, including a book by American evolutionary psychologist David Buss, who laid out how throughout history, the male gender is used to being tacitly condoned for having affairs.

Women are meanwhile criticized more despite not committing it as often

It's no wonder how many on social media felt like they had to point out still that "cheating is cheating" and that it can never be justified, not even when the person who did it was "man enough" to admit (a sexist idea of its own), or was a man of God.

To their credit, dominant opinions on social media now increasingly take the side of the jilted, including Dela Torre. But there also remains this concern: if it were the other way around, and she was the one philandering, will the same people giving her husband the benefit of the doubt grant her the same compassion?

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"Hindi lang lalake may problema dito. Us women are socialized to be subjugated by men, kaya for some, okay lang 'yung ganong klase ng infidelity and 'yung lalake naman, part pa ng kanyang machismo 'yung sexual prowess niya, 'yung pagkakaroon niya ng maraming chicks kaya cyclical 'yung ganong klaseng kultura. It's really deeply rooted," said Zamora-Morales, the sociologist. 

As one Twitter satire account put it: "CHEATING IS BAD BUT I AM A FILIPINO AND I STAND WITH JASON."

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For those looking from the outside in, including this piece, there's also a need to confront how there seems to be an entitlement that allows people to point out what's right or wrong in a problem between a husband and wife. 

According to marriage counselor Nathaniel Chua, there's none of these judgments in couple's therapy, where compassion is assured for both the aggrieved partner and the cheating partner. 

"What I usually tell couples is that there’s no right or wrong here. I'm not there as a therapist to dictate rules on how a couple should live. The client is the relationship, not the individual," he said, noting how in these sessions, the issue of extramarital affairs isn't viewed as black and white to make space for their experiences to be understood, not necessarily justified. 

"In general, judging a person for their actuations is very hard. We all need to be sensitive to someone's context, which in this case, we don't really know in full. So I personally think the best way to go reserve our opinions to ourselves, considering how there's a grieving process at play here and the couple requested for privacy," Chua added. 

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Society has failed everyone

There's another character in this situation that needs to be "understood", Zamora-Morales said. The third party is complicit, yes, but like everyone, they're also a product of their own circumstances. 

"Kailangan intindihan why people, especially women, end up entering such a relationship. Kasi it can be the case na pinalaki sila na normal 'yung ganitong buhay, na ok lang magmahal ka kahit may maapakan ka. Also as a feminist, siyempre nakakalungkot 'yung ganito kasi ang ending, kapwa mo babae 'yung naapakan mo," she said, noting how this leads women to be pitted against each other, instead of the other way around. 

"If you really want to change the position of women nowadays, it needs to be a concerted effort among all women. How can we empower ourselves if tayo mismo, we are an accomplice to a system that commits violence towards our fellow women?," she added. 

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"Divorce" was also trending after thousands blamed the lack of it in the Philippines for continuing to "trap" couples, denying them a compassionate way out when the love is gone, or when love hurts too much. 

In the end, Zamora-Morales said there is really that "decay of our institutions that are supposed to hold our moral fiber", which enables infidelity to remain popular as both an act people do and a topic to gossip to. 

"When one of our institutions fail to fill in a specific need we have to hone our moral values, that's when the problem starts. Matingkad diyan 'yung religion or the family for example, 'cause they each play a role in inculcating values that would make people understand infidelity," she said. 

"Produkto tayo ng lipunang ginagalawan natin, so hindi talaga sapat sabihin na iisang tao lang 'yung problema. Bottomline is, regardless of your gender, we all need to be taught na hindi talaga tama mang-apak ng sinumang tao," she added. 

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