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Who is responsible when a person cheats?

December 3, 2011

All kinds of odd things catch my eye when I’m looking for shows to DVR. I like to have things recorded so that when I want to watch TV, there’s something good to watch. One of the channels I really like is Biography and the show also called Biography . This morning, I watched an episode called Celebrity Mistresses.

I came in here and googled “celebrity mistresses” and there are more than 2.5 million results. Mostly gossip sites like TMZ and RadarOnline, which all had the sort of thing you’d basically expect: celebrity gossip. That’s what they do, so no surprise there. But I kept going and I eventually found blogs. Oh, my. I’m not going to link to any of those blogs – they do NOT need the publicity.

I wish I could tell you that I was shocked by what I read but I can’t. I wasn’t shocked. Disgusted, yes, but not shocked. To sum it up: apparently, when a famous married man has an affair, the man himself is completely blameless. The person responsible for destroying his life (if that even happens, because often it doesn’t) is not the man, but his mistress.

Really?

Did SHE make a wedding vow to forsake all others til death do they part? I’m certain it’s the man who made that vow. Why do we not hold him accountable? Where is the outrage that Ashton Kutcher had an affair? Or Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or any of the famous men who have had affairs, for that matter. The anger and outrage and vitriol has been reserved for their mistresses.

There are only two types of men who get blamed for their own bad behaviors: religious men (such as Jim Baker) who have affairs and men who have affairs with other men. Other than that? They seem to have a free pass. At least if they are famous. Hell, they can have sex with their wife’s daughter (Woody Allen) and no one truly seems to care.

You know who broke up Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s marriage? Arnold. The end. His mistress isn’t a shining example of virtue, but she wasn’t the one married to Maria. She couldn’t have “lured” him into illicit sex if he wasn’t willing.

Women are so quick to blame The Other Woman. She’s actually irrelevant. If it wouldn’t have been her, it would have been someone else. She isn’t that special – she was just in the right place at the right time and willing. I’m not holding these Other Women up as an example of good behavior or something we want to emulate. I have no respect for people who cheat – male or female. Still, the man has the responsibility to his wife and HE is the one who broke his vow.

The other thing?

These people are stupid. Do they truly think that in the age of cell phones, text messages and twitter that they can get away with it? They send their mistresses text messages and emails. For pete’s sake. Do they not know how easy it is to forward those messages? And voicemails? You can forward voicemails too. For the famous men, let’s not forget the ever-present paparazzi. Someone is going to see you and take a picture and that’s that. You’re busted.

Men like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ashton Kutcher can flaunt their affairs but no one is questioning the right of men to get married. They are the ones making a mockery of marriage. They are the ones demeaning marriage. (And both their wives and their mistresses.) Of course, that mockery-making and demeaning has been going on since the beginning of time, so I suppose it’s par for the course.

What are your thoughts? Who is responsible when a person cheats? Is it the cheater or the person with whom they cheated? Or both?

PS For the record, yes, women cheat, too. But no matter how famous they are, they don’t get the pass that men to. If I’m wrong about that, leave me a comment with an example of who. I’d love to know!

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