Male Infidelity – When “Boys will be boys”
By JBlair Brown
In the world of “Boys will be boys,” comes a hard look at male infidelity and the high costs that come with that philosophy. This article will examine three individuals who live by that creed, and why.
While accepting her speech for receiving the 2010 Academy Award for Best Actress, some noticed that actress Sandra Bullock did not make mention of her husband, Jesse James, although he escorted his lovely wife to the event and was seated in the audience.
Days later, news broke of his infidelity and several women came out of the woodwork with allegations of affairs that have been going on for months and, in at least one case, years.
Bullock moved out of the family home. In short: her best year will likely prove to be her worst.
Several months ago, Tiger Woods and his wife also split amid allegations of unfaithfulness on his part, with at least 12 women admitting to affairs with the golfer.
Certainly, male infidelity isn’t restricted to the famous (or infamous). In fact, a recent survey revealed that at least 25 percent of married men have relationships outside of their “main” one (compared with just 17 percent of women). The survey also revealed that 65 percent of marriages break up due to adultery.
Indeed, male infidelity is the number one cause of marital discourse. Yet, when asked, many men who are guilty of male infidelity will tell you that they love their partners. So I asked three individuals to explain their own philosophy on this topic.
Mending a broken heart
We’ll first take a look at “John.”*
John is married with four children. He and his wife have been together over 22 years. In the beginning, John says that he was extremely faithful to his wife – for several years. And then he “met an old friend in the grocery store,” and one thing led to another. Before he knew it, John was in a full-fledged affair with the woman who is now mother of his fourth child.
John’s wife was devastated. She went so far as to seek out a divorce attorney and threatened to take away their three children. In the end, John came to his senses. He admits that his situation caused him to see just what his family means to him. Though he and his wife are still together, he says that infidelity has caused a strain on his family that will never heal.
Though he supports his child (out of wedlock) financially, he still hasn’t told his children that they have a half-sister who lives in the same city. She is now seven years old and rarely sees her father.
For John, male infidelity proved to be a farce. He says, “I have a good wife, great children, and I had a wonderful marriage. I know that I broke it and it can never be what it was, but I’m willing to try to make it work.”
When asked why he succumbed to male infidelity in the first place, John says, “I was a dummy. I forgot that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”
Living the Dream?
“Curtis” is in his mid-40s and has been married twice. He is now a single man, “living the dream” as he calls it.
Curtis admits that male infidelity is the reason both marriages failed.
“I’m gonna be a man regardless,” he proudly claims. “I can be single or I can be married – but I’m gonna do what a man does – and there’s no shortage of women out there do it with.
“I never took a woman by force, but if she’s willing to give it to me…,” his voice trailing off.
Curtis makes a valid point – there are women who enjoy luring married men (for whatever reason), and other women who simply get “caught up” in a relationship with a married man. Regardless of the reasoning behind the actions, male infidelity often ruins entire families.
In Curtis’ case, although he claims to be “living the dream,” he lives alone and rarely sees his three children. To add to his pain, there’s the topic of financial support: more than half his paycheck goes toward child support and he sees no way out of the situation.
When the damage cannot be undone
…And then there’s “Robert.”
Robert is a hard-working man. He’s dedicated to his family (he and his ex-wife share custody of their two children; she is remarried).
At one time Robert had everything he ever hoped for: a devoted wife, appreciative kids, and a solid career. But like the others, Robert succumbed to male infidelity when he began having an affair with a co-worker.
“I was caught up in a rut at home…you know, the same ol’ routine. Someone at work took an interest and I fell for her.”
Big mistake. What Robert hadn’t realized was that his co-worker was mentally unstable.
“It was right out of Fatal Attraction,” he says. “She was a basket case.”
In fact, “Sybill” not only lost her job because of her actions at work, but caused Robert to lose his as well.
“She wasn’t discreet at all. We’d be in a meeting and she’d throw out these comments about us being together the night before – and everyone knew I was married!”
When Robert tried to break things off with Sybill, she spiraled out of control. According to him, she broke his car window (which was then parked in the lot of their job), called his boss and told him in detail every aspect of their intimate relationship, and threatened to burn down his home.
Robert eventually filed charges with the local authorities.
“The hardest thing I ever did was tell my wife about her after I went to the police. But I had to in order to protect my family,” he says.
“She left me about three weeks later. I miss my ex-wife, but it just breaks my heart that my kids are living with some other man. That should have been me. I messed up bad.”
When asked what he thinks of male infidelity, given all that’s happened to him, he says simply, “It’s not worth it.”
Male infidelity humbles.
In recent statements made to the press, both Woods and James apologized to their families for the pain caused. And though their cases are different in that they are made public, male infidelity is a damaging component in any marriage, whether the guilty party is prominent or not.
To be sure, before any man considers having an affair outside of his marriage, he needs to take a good look at those who have fallen from grace due to lack of self-control. Infidelity not only diminishes your integrity, but it robs children from their fathers and causes heartache beyond all hope. It destroys the family unit.
In short, male infidelity is not worth the risk.
*As you would guess, all names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.
Brown is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.