Well, I’m coming to this a little late. Many of you intrepid chumps sent me the Pat Robertson link where he spouts nonsense about infidelity. I watched it, and frankly, what surprised me most was the uproar about it. He’s an infamous wing nut, who thinks mainline Protestant religion is overrun by the “Antichrist,” that hurricanes are sent as punishment from God (because of gays and abortionists), oh, and that the disasters of September 11 and Katrina “could… be connected in some way.” God apparently being a homicidal maniac with several vendettas. (Did I skip over that in Sunday School? I was so busy doing the biblical word scrambles ZEELIKE = EZEKIEL I probably missed it.)
Actually, what I find most interesting about Robertson’s little rant on forgiving a cheating husband, is how much in alignment he is with conventional wisdom and common advice on infidelity.
Off of the top of my head, here’s some ways in which Pat Robertson is in total alignment with the Reconciliation Industrial Complex:
1. It’s the betrayed spouse’s job to work harder to keep him. Oh that canard is everywhere. From Dr. Tammy wanting chumps to accept how they “contributed” to the affair, to articles about spicing things up in the bedroom (that one on HuffPo from a former escort comes to mind), to marriage builder sites and Retrouvaille weekends with homework and reading assignments. It’s like studying for one long final exam — but keep at it. Work harder! You might just figure out how to please him yet.
2. Maybe if you kept a nicer home he wouldn’t wander. File this one under — which one of his “needs” were not being met that drove him to cheat?
3. This is what men do. They “wander.” How many times have we heard that men are not wired to be monogamous? It’s really, really, really hard and gosh, just goes against their evolutionary imperative. They have to work super hard at the unnaturalness that is monogamy, so give him a break! Sometimes that dog wanders off the porch. Call him home! Would you scold a dog for being naughty? No, the important thing is that he’s back now. This is What Dogs Do. Chain him in the yard next time. Consider a microchip.
4. You must rescue him. Yeah, rescue him, Robertson said. He’s a poor sausage and it’s your job to understand him. Maybe he has family of origin (FOO) issues that make him cheat. Poor coping skills. Left-handedness. Don’t be so judge-y. This isn’t about YOU! He needs help! Are you going to stand around angry that he fucked strippers or are you going to find your better self and forgive him?
5. Court him, woo him back. That’s right — “Remember why you married him.” Is Robertson unique? The internet and self help aisles are full of Affair Proofing Your Marriage snake oil. HearthBuilder just reported here recently that after a second DDay his marriage counselor gave the advice that he needs to “woo” his wife. Again, this explains infidelity by implying that the chump is lacking something — courtship, sex appeal, understanding. Yep, fucking strippers is nothing date night can’t fix!
6. Be thankful for your marriage. Marriage is the important thing, divorce is shameful. How many mainstream commentators want to save marriage at all costs, no matter how dysfunctional? The codependent, chumpy idea that you can control the outcome of divorce by trying harder is rampant. Gee, just count your blessings. You’re superior for sucking it up because you didn’t selfishly divorce. Your kids will be happier and their teeth will be whiter and brighter too! Unlike those bad, bad quitters. Are you a chump with a cheater? Hey, well at least you have the sanctity of marriage to comfort you. And I’m sure your cheater is really thankful for marriage too! The cover it provides. The cost savings of not having to pay your ass child support. The delicious abundance of cake!
Do we find Robertson’s views on infidelity shocking? Or do we just recognize that this toxic crap is shocking because Robertson is baldly saying it?