Celebrities aren’t just actors, athletes, and politicians. They’re also role models to a lot of people, and naturally those people emulate whichever celebrity they’re oohing and aahing over at the moment. Unfortunately it’s not just the good things that get imitated. So with all of this rampant celebrity cheating that’s been swirling around (ahem, Mr. Letterman and Mr. Woods), I wondered: Does it have an impact on your relationship?
I polled a group of friends to see how, if at all, celebrity cheating makes them view their relationship differently. Most all of them said it doesn’t, but then elaborated a bit. My friend Ann* did not hide her disgust at the amount of women “willingly to have a ‘secret’ sexual relationship with a married man—famous or not.” To her, it seems that the women who get involved with famous married men want a shot at fame. Remember the stripper who outted her “relationship” with Josh Duhamel? After she made the disclosure, she apologetically said something about not wanting to break-up a marriage. Ya right, sweetie. Relish in your fifteen minutes of fame.
And ending a marriage is exactly what crossed my friend Rochelle’s* mind after she caught the latest episode of E!: Was her hubby out playing Tiger with a cougar? “Well, when the media inundates us with all of these stars cheating, I guess I tend to question the stability of my marriage a little … as crazy as that might sound.” Not crazy at all Rochelle. I think it’s normal to analyze your life or take an inventory when you see something amiss out there. It’s kinda like going out to eat with someone and noticing food stuck in their teeth; you have a tendency to run to the nearest mirror and check your own teeth (after you’ve let them know, of course).
So are celebrities more prone to cheating than us mortals, and has cheating become more prevalent? Marriage and family therapist, Israel Helfand answers negative to both questions. He believes that both men and women cheat because they’re not getting some needs (attention, intimacy) met in their primary relationship and we’re only hearing more about it because we’re living in the information era. So what about the whole celebrity status thing? Well according to Helfand, whether or not someone is famous isn’t the issue—the occurrence of affairs is about the same between the affluent and middle class; it’s just easier to “catch” celebs because they’re under scrutiny. And for all of you numbers people, approximately 15 percent of wives and 25 percent of husbands have had sex with someone other than their spouse.
My friend Ryan* has an interesting take on the subject. He thinks, presented with the opportunity, “most men are gonna cheat.” So should women everywhere strap themselves to their man like an ankle monitor? Ryan says, “No, because the average woman isn’t dating Tiger Woods, she’s dating Joe Schmo who works at a bank.” I agree with Ryan. Joe Schmo is probably not getting seduced by tempting tellers at work everyday. With celebs, it seems like the opportunity to cheat just kind of falls into their lap. Not that you need to accept everything that falls there. I mean a lot of it is just crap that should be brushed on the floor.
Hearing about affairs isn’t all bad for your relationship. My friend Lucy* said that after she was cheated on, “My friends’ husbands looked at our deal and it made them more thankful and respectful of their relationships.” There always is more than one way to look at things and as far as this whole cheating issue goes, I think I like this way.
With the importance our society places on celebrities and the reality TV craze, it’s not hard to get caught up in the lives of others. But the real trouble begins when we start comparing our lives to someone else’s. I think that’s one of the biggest relationship no-no’s. Really, it’s one of life’s biggest no-no’s. You don’t know what you’re comparing yourself or your relationship to; no one knows what really goes on in someone else’s life. So just appreciate what you have … or don’t have wrapped around your head.
*Names have been changed.