13

Cheating is Not a Military Thing

Since the news broke of Gen. Petraeus’ extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, the opinions of folks have been flying. There has been a VERY large group of people who are screaming “conspiracy” because of the timing of the announcement and the correlation to the September 11th attack on the Embassy in Benghazi, since General Patraeous was preparing to speak about that attack.

Beyond the conspiracy theorists there has been another group of people saying some things that just bother me. I have heard that “we shouldn’t be shocked because adultry is common place in the military.” I have heard “just another US Military Officer using his power” and that “an example should be made out of him because it seems too often the higher ranking you are the less punishment you face for adultry in the military.”

That one is spoken when no one even knows if he was actually in the military when the affair took place. And if he wasn’t, he did nothing illegal (depending on the state). Just something absolutely and disgustingly immoral.

Another thing I have heard that just bugs the ever-loving-snot out of me is that Mrs. Broadwell, who is a Lt. Col. in the US Army Reserve, “did like all those female soldiers and slept her way to the top.”

Every single one of those things I just mentioned have greatly bothered me. Why? Because in each statement people are being clumped together and stereotyped. And I HATE stereotyping. As I mentioned, if early reports are correct, Gen. Patraeus did not have an affair, David Patraeus, Director of the CIA did. But to say “another Officer abused his power” and that he should be made an example of makes it sound like our military is filled with adulterous men and women. Which isn’t freakin’ true!

Hearing people say Mrs. Broadwell had an affair because “she is another female soldier sleeping her way to the top” COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY pisses me off. That statement makes it sound like “all” female soldiers are trying to hook-up. It’s my opinion that the majority of our female soldiers/sailors/Marines and airmen rarely want anything to do with 99.9 percent of the guys they work with. While the guys may think they are “God’s gift to women,” the ladies see them for who they really are, just a guy they work with.

The one that simply drives me bat crap crazy is that somehow, someway, because David Petraeus WAS in the Army and because Mrs. Broadwell IS in the US Army Reserve, this affair is a “military thing,” because “affairs happen ALL THE TIME IN THE MILITARY.”

I am sorry, but I am so sick and tired of hearing about affairs being so commonplace in the military. Are they? Quite possibly. But in reality, they are happening all around us. Everyday. Everywhere. It happens at WalMart. It happens at IHOP. It happens at Big Joe’s Diner and heck, it even happens in places we wouldn’t expect it to happen like school’s and religious institutions. So yes, affairs happen in the military.

I will admit, I am still relatively new to the military life, but I know of only one person who has had an affair in a military family. Yet I know dozens upon dozens of married adults in my former life, my civilian life, that have had affairs. So it really irks me when stereotyping happens. Especially when such a noble and honorable profession filled with people with high integrity and that possess high moral character are clumped together.

The thing that really gets my goose is that the people who are stereotyping are our peers. It is our military members and MilFamily members who are painting so many in a negative light.

Maybe I wear rose colored glasses. Or maybe I am just a realist. There is not one part of me that can buy into infidelity being a military thing. It is a human nature thing. People have been doing it a lot longer than America has been a country (shall I thump you with a Bible to show you?).

So do me a favor … no … do all of our military families a favor: stop making it out like adultry is a military thing, cuz it’s not. The next time someone says “you know how THOSE Army wives are……” or “downrange is like Vegas, what happens there stays there” or any of those other things that would imply infidelity is as common in the military as trees are in a forrest, stop the person saying that. Whether it’s online or in person, call them out on it.

While nearly all of us knows a “cheater,” it doesn’t matter if you are military or not. And I am honestly tired of hearing that it is.

About Wayne Perry

Wayne Perry is a male military spouse (or as he likes to say, a MANspouse). He and his wife have been married for nearly seven years and she has been in the Army for three. Wayne is a stay-at-home dad with two boys that keep him extremely busy. Wayne is also an advocate for MANspouses, inspiring them to get involved in the military community and support each other. Through the facebook page MANning the Homefront he hopes to connect MANspouses with one another.