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 the Author

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.

14 Comments on "Cheating is Not a Military Thing"

  1. Reality Check | November 13, 2012 at 8:36 am |

    Although I see your point of view and believe that not everyone should be clumped into a group because this is now so out there, adultery is a common thing everywhere, not just in the military.

  2. THANK YOU! I am so sick of people asking me if I'm worried that my husband is going to cheat on me while he is deployed! Who asks that? My opinion, yes, divorces happen. Yes, cheating happens. No matter what the spouse's career, your marriage has a lot of work to do to beat the odds. Divorces, cheating, etc. very rarely happen "because of the military". Being a military family is a refiner's fire, so it might speed up the inevitable devise of some marriages, but I rarely think it the sole cause of a divorce. I think most of the people who cheat would have done it eventually, no matter what their job. Slept with a fellow soldier? Probably would be sleeping with your secretary right now if you were an engineer. So no, I'm not more worried that my husband will cheat on me than I would be if he was a schoolteacher, or a police officer. CHEATING IS NOT A MILITARY THING.

  3. Thank you. I've been married to a sailor for six years, and I see red every time some troll posts a smug, nasty comment on a reunion picture.

    Do people in this community cheat? Of course, people cheat in every demographic. It may be easier to cheat when a couple is separated by great distances. But the cheating isn't due to separation; it's due to some people being cheating cheaters who cheat, which is a pre-existing condition.

  4. The Liberals are all over this because they hate us with a passion.

  5. I spent 10 years active duty as an officer in the submarine service! In my opinion, it's not about being "military", it's all about individual moral fiber and commitment! I was always flabbergasted at some of my young sailors waving goodbye to their families as we boarded the bus to the airport, only to turn to their shipmate and tell him he couldn't wait to get to Scotland to "get some"! Being separated only provides opportunity, whether it's on deployment or on a business trip! Individuals make the decision to cheat on their spouses!

  6. Infidelity happens when there’s a break-down in the relationship, it has nothing to do with career choice. Civilians tend to see military men as high testosterone guys who are away from home all the time in exotic lands so … Besides, BDUs, boots, a bun, blast glasses, weapons & kevlar ain’t exactly sexy attire for the most part. The next time a civilian has the temerity to question you about fidelity in the military just say you’ll take your chances on a well-trained female soldier/sailor over a mini-skirted, cleavage-showing office mate any day. Let them think about that one.

  7. The author is very fortunate to not have seen epidemic infidelity, but I have more often than I care to admit. In units where families, marriages, and morale were an emphasis, rates were significantly decreased. However, when leadership pushes ethos that disregard basic core values of integrity and honor, infidelity seems practically required. Command needs to set a better example and we need to return to moral high ground.

    Yes, all demographics cheat, but per UCMJ we are not allowed to. We are the 1% of the country that is held accountable for our every action. This grave responsibility is what sets us apart from our civilian counterparts because without discipline and accountability, missions do not get accomplished.

    I'm a daughter of a Vietnam veteran, an OIF veteran myself, and a military spouse. I appeal to our leaders to take infractions more seriously. Stop allowing infidelity to be a military thing.

    • military vet/spouse | August 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm |

      well said

    • I am a civilian from overseas cheated on by one of your quite highly placed military man, when I found out he was married we agreed to end it hoping he'd work on his marriage, only to discover him pleasuring himself with a thai bar woman while transiting to duty station, now thai woman is a bar/waitress in Dubai and I think he has changed his route to fly via Dubai while transiting for work. Is that not monitored? someone at Lt Col level I would expect would have integrity while he has a wife and 16 year old daughter back at base. Wish his wife would see it

  8. new to military life | August 20, 2013 at 11:06 am |

    Thank you for this post. Everyone has been tellin me my boyfriend will cheat while in the Marines. I know he is not that guy but I have read a lot about faithful men cheating because they can. I feel better after reading this.

  9. My husband, a reservist in his 40's and an officer, had a field day last year during a 4 month deployment in Ashcanistan on When he returned, I couldn't figure why he was so hard to reach during the day during his post-deployment leave. He was working 3 different women he had met online, all of them thinking they were the only one in the newly-returned "war hero's' life at the time! I had no idea he even had access to such a website. I also thought he had too much dedication and integrity to do such a thing…….

  10. The enemy is right next door. You worry about your spouse cheating while deployed. I would worry about your neighbor, souse of a another military wife It is true , cheating happens. But in today's society is used as an excuse. I was lonely. Well it takes two to tango. Wives cheat as well. with other military spouses. The issue does not fall on who is labeled or not. It is our values that I question. Our commitment to our spouses and not seeking emotional help from another husband. Stick to your own man.

  11. I understand your pain, but also agree with the author-being a retired soldier myself who is married to a soldier who has over 22 years, I've seen both the military world and the civilian world now. There is infidelity in both places, IMO, and regardless of which world, it's painful for someone involved. Also, just because you kept that silence does not mean you should have. That was your choice, painful as it was and though you may have felt it was your only choice. The stereotype has to change, and the change begins inside our own ranks.

  12. I am in your same situation. I was so stupid in thinking my husband could be faithful. People should just as you call yourself have a reality check. I am not divorced yet dont know how to let go but i just feel that infidelity in the military is too much

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