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.
FIRST PERSON | 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 that never indulged in the fast life or boyfriends, I thought there was no doubt he had my attention.
We did normal things, like going to the park to eat Cuban sandwiches, made famous in our hometown of Tampa. The only thing missing was a good Tampa cigar. We drove around for all our friends to see that we had found each other that we had found true love. It was spectacular going skating and have the couples dance come over the loud speaker. We would skate with such attitude. Look at us the good girl and the bad guy.
My dad was a strict Sicilian father. There was no doubt from the beginning Dad realized I was no longer his little girl; remarkably, he agreed to let The Cuban come see me at home. (No, we didn’t have to sit in front of him or be chaperoned, but we did have to stay inside.) The kisses were the best — deep and loving. I had no doubt he loved me. 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.
There was no doubt this was going to lead to sex, which it did, and I got pregnant. It was your typical wedding, except it wasn’t a shot gun wedding; he wanted to marry me. On Sept. 25, 1983, I was married at a courthouse with my mother and father as witnesses. My son was born on Dec. 10 that year.
But 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.
I remained married to the Debonair Cuban, as I called him, for 15 years. (We had another child at 19, my daughter, in 1986.) I was the burned-out good wife. I never questioned. But I now realize I lived in a dream. I was laughed at behind my back, and I should have divorced right after my daughter’s birth.
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. But I am a romantic. One true love for the rest of my life would have sufficed. Years later, we became friends or whatever it is you become when you try to keep the peace with grand kids. And I opened a Pandora’s box and asked him about the who, what, when, where and how of his cheating. I was right: Other than having to feel needed and sexy, he had no reason to cheat. It was his own fault, not mine. It was his insecurity, not mine.
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. It takes a greater man and woman to stay true to each other than to be weak.
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?