Marriage Builders®
Posted By: Aphelion Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/16/12 08:35 PM
From a military wife and marriage consultant (whatever that is). Sounds like this couple knows MB, at least in principle. I wonder what her site says about MB.

I find this whole sordid affair more than ordinarily interesting. Perhaps because my wife’s OM was both scumbag and Navy pilot.


Semper Fi, Honey?

MY husband looks more like Cary Grant in “Operation Petticoat” every day — accomplished, senior and ravishingly handsome. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem for me. Ordinarily, this Cary Grantness would be cause for a skip in my step and a naughty gleam in my eye.

But this is not an ordinary week for military marriages. This is a week in which heroes are brought down by their all-too-human flaws. This is a week of women who look like Kardashians turning over their e-mail accounts to the F.B.I. This is a week of military spouses — male and female — being hand-fed humiliation by the person whose career ambitions they supported for years.

Most of the time, my long-married military friends and I don’t think about infidelity. We don’t worry about divorce. We know that research from the RAND Corporation shows that even though military members are more likely to be married at every age than their matched civilian counterparts, we are no more likely to be divorced. We feel confident that despite war and danger and the escapades of our own children, our marriages are forever.

Until now. Because Gen. David H. Petraeus is no drunken ship captain carousing in Russia with his junior officers. General Petraeus is no wolf preying on females in his chain of command. He seems too much like our own husbands. If he could betray his wife of 38 years and 23 moves and a decade of constant war, what hope do the rest of us have for fidelity?

This weekend I treated my husband to the same scene that probably played out in the bedrooms of all 800,000 active-duty marriages. Ours was crowned with me stomping out of the tub clad in a towel and crying, “Please, please, promise me that won’t ever happen to us!”

My husband of 25 years thought this was the silliest thing I have ever said. And I have said a lot about infidelity through our own history of 7 deployments, 16 moves and 2 so-called geographic bachelor tours, when he was sent on assignment without us.

I don’t mean that either of us has jealous tantrums or that either of us is a cheater. I mean that when military life requires that you spend so much time apart, your marriage confronts one of the factors shown to contribute to infidelity: opportunity.

When we were first married, the opportunity was all mine. My husband was stationed on an all-male ship in the middle of the Persian Gulf. I was a 22-year-old girl who thought it was “no biggie” to go dancing with a bunch of naval aviators. “It was just dancing,” I claimed. “What are you so mad about?”

Later, the opportunity was all his. I was home with a baby and no friends, and he was making port visits. One night he woke me up with a call from a 7-Eleven in Daytona Beach, Fla. “Some girl was flirting with me a little too much,” he said. “I thought I should go get a Klondike bar instead.”

Although there are no firm numbers about infidelity and the military, I suspect that we are a lot like other Americans. From my experience as a military marriage consultant, I’d estimate that a third of military marriages are probably blighted by infidelity — about the same as civilian marriages.

And so we set up our little rules and policies to keep our marriage safe. We talk. We identify the rare, much-too-attractive individuals in our work and social circles whom we need to keep at arm’s length. Fidelity is ingrained in us now.

So why has the Petraeus scandal reduced me to a wet towel and tears? I watched the Petraeuses on TV and noted that, like my husband, the general is in that Cary Grant stage of a military career.
I watch them and I am suddenly aware I look less like the buxom nurse in “Operation Petticoat” and more like Mr. Grant’s co-star, Tony Curtis, every day. And not the young Tony Curtis, either.

Meanwhile, early next year my husband will deploy for the eighth time. So, not surprisingly, all I can think as I watch the Petraeus scandal unfold is: The Kardashians are coming. The Kardashians are coming.

What are our meager defenses against age and distance and opportunity? We talk about the Petraeuses as if we know them; we don’t, personally, but in a way we know their life story intimately. And now we know, as they do, that history isn’t enough to keep a long military marriage together.

No, I think we always knew it. It is just that now we have a reason to look at this new fidelity and make our plans for the deployments to come.

We reassure each other. We discuss strategy. We laugh over our shared past. We head back to bed.

Jacey Eckhart, the spouse editor for, is the author of “The Homefront Club: The Hardheaded Woman’s Guide to Raising a Military Family.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 16, 2012, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: Semper Fi, Honey?

Posted By: MrWondering Re: Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/17/12 02:46 PM
She's delusional if she thinks military marriages incur the about the same amount of infidelity as civilian marriages (she said 1/3). NO WAY. The rank and file cheat like crazy. The academy's are rife with it. Female cadets are still ordered to have sex with superior "officers" but all the cheating in the military includes an unwritten code of silence. If you rat anyone out...your career is over. Adultery, after all, is illegal and one could be subject to a court martial so any numbers about infidelity in the military would be a complete blind guess. My guess...75% and my guess is General Petraeus was a cheater FOR YEARS.

Another bothersome thing she says is referring to these OW as Kardashians. Like her husband (and those like him) are innocent victims of these predators. However these are the same "leaders" that thrived and excelled in this environment of secrecy, sex and exploitation of female soldiers and cadets. I remember reading that General Petraues was speaking somewhere and slipped Ms. Broadwell a note offering to help her with her career. To be her mentor or something. My thought was...her reputation as being a ambitious (do-anything) female officer that was attractive, super athletic, engaging and willing to have sex with superiors quite likely proceeded such note. I just had the feeling that the true "predators" passed her information and reputation all the way UP the chain of command to the top "predator" who then innocently dropped her a note out of the blue. I recall that once the General was done with her...he ordered her to stop pursuing him. He "ordered" no contact. How convenient for these married officers...a code of silence AND when you are done with can order them to shut up and go away.

Complete speculation on my part but I just think this woman is either naive or wishful but either way...this attitude will see to it that Ms. Broadwell's career is ruined (because no military man can come within 20 feet of her) whereas the General will likely bounce back.

Posted By: armymama Re: Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/17/12 09:34 PM
"My husband of 25 years thought this was the silliest thing I have ever said." This is the sentence that stuck out to me. I think it is likely with this statement and seven going on eight deployments, that this husband has already cheated. That's a typical gaslighting statement.

I agree with Mr. Wondering that the rate of infidelity in the military is much higher than one in three. I cannot think of one couple that I have known in 32 years that is untouched by infidelity. Most have been divorced.

I don't think the GEN will bounce back. But, I do think that his affair began before his retirement and the military will overlook that. I don't think they will recall him to investigate. I don't think Broadwell was a predator either. I think they got into an affair for the same reasons most people do, poor boundaries and allowing each other to meet those intimate ENs.

My H's OW is still on active duty. Three years ago, when my H contacted her during our false recovery, the OW commented on how she was ostrasized at work. My comment was that was good that other men would know that she was dangerous. I believe she has left that unit - moved on to somewhere she is not known. The OW had at least three affairs that her H knew about, two with very senior officers, one a Major General and the other with my COL husband. I have no doubt that she has moved on to someone else. She doesn't look anything like the Kardashion women though.

Posted By: tccoastguard Re: Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/18/12 05:02 PM
Originally Posted By: armymama
"My husband of 25 years thought this was the silliest thing I have ever said." This is the sentence that stuck out to me. I think it is likely with this statement and seven going on eight deployments, that this husband has already cheated. That's a typical gaslighting statement.

Maybe not. Many of us felt at one point in our lives that fidelity was a given. Cheating was something other people did. That wasn't that long ago for me. We now know better but not everyone knows how to protect a marriage with EPs and good boundaries.
Posted By: INTERNAL_PAIN Re: Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/22/12 02:15 AM
All of this is so hurtful and just kills me. I just don't understand why it keeps happening over and over again.
Posted By: armymama Re: Semper Fi, Honey? - 11/23/12 01:43 AM
Why? Because humans are wired for it and in our culture it has become unfashionable to take extraordinary precautions.
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