TV evangelist Pat Robertson caused a stir this month when he told a female caller on "The 700 Club," who had been cheated on by her husband, that she should "stop talking about the cheating" and focus on why she's likely at fault for his infidelity.
Yahoo News asked women and men who have been cheated on (and who have cheated) to tell their stories and consider Robertson's remarks. Here are some excerpts from their first-person accounts they shared with us.
'A cheat is a cheat': In 2009, the job market was terrible in the United States, so my wife suggested I go back overseas. I had just come home from time in Iraq, and I didn't relish the idea of leaving my family again. But a man does what he has to. Feeding a family of eight isn't cheap.
We had been married for more than 20 years, and I trusted my wife. I knew she had cheated on me once in the time we had been married, but I had forgiven and moved on. I was a fool. A cheat is a cheat.
Six weeks before things fell apart, I had left the United States for a position in Kuwait. Then I got a phone call from my wife. She was filled with remorse. She told me she had not only cheated again but was in love and was going to see a lawyer about a divorce. She was sorry, never meant to hurt me, and it had just happened—all the usual stuff.
I listened to Pat Robertson's advice to a woman who called him about a cheating husband. In my educated opinion (my ex-wife educated me), Robertson's advice borders on insanity. His telling her to move on and forget may work (though I have doubts) if the marriage is important enough to both of them. His advice to make home so nice he won't do it again is lunacy. It's akin to your dog biting you, and you pet it and give it treats as a reward for misbehaving. Try this method and see if you don't get bit again. I did.
— Gregory Lovvorn, Alabama
Marriage now stronger after facing its ugly side: Pat Robertson says you should stop talking about adultery. Men are men and they will stray, and it is my job as a wife to keep them from straying.
Do I agree? In a way, I do agree with him. I do not agree that men are wanderers and we must entice them, but I do agree that it is important to stop talking about adultery.
I believe this because my husband cheated on me. I know the pain of betrayal, the embarrassment of being ashamed, and the anger that someone I loved could stab me in the back.
I remember the day I found out my husband had cheated on me. It was 1999, and I was 21, living in Joplin, Mo., and seven months into my first pregnancy. It was Thanksgiving night and I was forced to work. I do not remember the man's name, or even what he looks like. However, I will never forget what he said to me. I was working in a convenience store and he was a regular customer. He walked up to the counter and said, "You have always been so nice to me I feel I need to tell you the truth. My girlfriend is pregnant and your husband is the father."
That was what being nice got me—pain like I never knew. I felt as if I had been punched in the gut.
After I left Missouri with our 6-month-old son, I came to realize that I was also to blame. My husband felt as if he had failed me. His belief led him to wonder. We got back together in 2007. Accepting the truth, I was able to forgive him and trust him. I may never forget the pain I felt but I can say with all my heart that neither he nor I ever want to feel that pain again. Our marriage is stronger now because we faced the ugly side of life.— Teresa McLaughlin, Missouri
Robertson's remarks are an embarrassment: First loves last forever, as far as I was concerned. It was 1980, and I was 16 and in love with a handsome 18-year-old Cuban. It seemed like a dream come true.
No hot steamy novel could compare to this. He was beyond handsome, with black soft curly hair, tanned skin that people pay for and a love of the wild side of life. As a quiet Catholic School girl who never indulged in the fast life or boyfriends, I thought there was no doubt he had my attention.
But since Day One, he had a roaming eye; his attitude was that a woman should only have one man, but a man—especially a Latin one—should have girlfriends on the side. It was almost like the "Goodfellas" movie in which the wife stays home with the kids and the hubby gets to go handle business with the "boys"—no questions asked.
So I asked no questions.
He roamed. I did not want to ever face the fact. He loved me too much, I thought. In his mind, he thought he was doing the right thing, the manly thing. It is a sad mindset that men to this day carry and share.
So, no, Pat Robertson, it was not my fault getting up every morning at 5 a.m. and cooking three squares, while taking care of two kids. I still can't figure out why he had to roam.
I am now happily married to a fireman. He has never given me any reason to doubt his fidelity or love. It is a relief to have him come straight home and not wander. It is a joy to have that romance in my life.
Robertson, shame on you; it's not the woman's fault. It's the fault of the cheater, who cannot keep his vows. Vows, to me, mean two people growing old together with no secrets and all loyalty and trust.
Robertson's remarks are an embarrassment to himself and to "The 700 Club." Still today it is perceived the little woman should remain home and not wonder, question, or think about where her husband is. After all, he is providing—or trying to in some cases. And if he happens to have a roaming eye or wanders, it's not his libido? It's something the little woman has done at home?
— Tonimarie Perna, Florida
- Family & Relationships
- Pat Robertson