Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Hugh Grant, David Letterman, Mel Gibson, Bill Cosby, Frank Gifford, John Edwards, husband of Vanna White, husband of Christie Brinkley, husband of Sandra Bullock …
What do these guys have in common? I mean what do we know? I mean really know about them? Just the facts that we KNOW.
1.) They have all been drawn to another woman while supposedly in a committed relationship with what appears to be a charismatic, attractive, supportive mate.
2.) They were all allegedly “caught” in some way, shape or form of cheating.
3.) Um … that’s it. That’s all we know.
Everything else is an assumption. We draw quick conclusions and most if not all of them seem well-founded, but we don’t KNOW. One of the universal assessments that pops out immediately is the simple conclusion that wealthy, successful men think they are above the rules of society, that they have a special exemption to engage in a different set of laws.
Then, typically, people will extend that and say it is not only successful men, but really all men. We all think that rules of loyalty and dedication can be bent or ignored. “If the opportunity presents itself men are too weak to pass it up. Typical man,” they say.
Well, folks, this is a blog and that means you are welcome to have a voice as well. In the spirit of open debate, I’d like to propose a side to the story that is never considered. I am not defending the accused and I am not taking a position here, but isn’t it only fair to assume that something was going on or NOT going on between these couples that triggered this behavior?
Again let me clarify. I am not making excuses. I am not saying that the wives and mates of these guys deserved to be deceived in any way. I am truly not justifying the behavior, but isn’t it assuming a lot to think that the only reason these guys were out there looking around was simply because they are typical, untrustworthy men? I mean, are we sure that in at least a few of these cases the wife doesn’t bear at least some of the blame?
In my world, I know plenty of men who are divorced that have a side to their own personal dramas that makes them sound more tolerant than self-indulgent. They talk about mates that have taken total control of the marriage and only dispense love and affection when they see fit. Like the guy has just become a necessary cog in the wheel of supporting the house, the kids, the cars and the annual vacation. And when a guy becomes used to that, the relationship does as well, and the mediocrity of life becomes a way of life.
We always hear about the husband getting bored with the marriage and walking away, but on the other hand, that is not always the case. Jack Nicholson was once quoted as noting that women meet a man that excites them and they are drawn to his daring, cavalier ways, so they immediately seize him and try to harness the raging bronco for the excitement and challenge of it and only when they have ridden all independence out of him and have won complete control are they happy. And then they say, “You are so boring. You used to be fun.”
Resentment and anger fester therein and as we leave the garden unattended, the weeds begin growing and choking off all healthy things. Communication shuts down and instead of working it out, one or both of them go looking elsewhere for the very thing they once treasured together. It’s around that time the covenant is broken and blame is laid at the foot of the exposed cheater.
That shouldn’t detract from all that led up to it, though. There is usually, I find, enough blame to share.
That’s my two bits. In short, I submit that cheating is a poor solution to a bigger problem, but I think it is rarely the fault of just one side of the marriage.
A friend that was divorced years ago told me that when her ex was found to have a girlfriend, she was only mildly surprised. Not because he was typically that way, not because all men are liars, but because she knew in her heart she had not put any effort into their relationship for years and he had been trying and trying and begging for her attention and affection. And although the right thing to do was to be upfront and separate as husband and wife, he cheated, got caught and paid the price.
“But maybe it didn’t have to happen at all,” she said, “if we’d have kept all the other promises we made to each other the day we got married.”
Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.