As the Petraeus affair continues to show signs of morphing into a national security melodrama worthy of at least three seasons on Army Wives, my thoughts turn to the issue of infidelity in the military.
Jake has been deployed twice. Once to Iraq, once to Afghanistan, and while I trust my husband implicitly, it doesn’t take a great leap to imagine what might happen when you lump thousands of physically fit, Under Armour-wearing, sweaty young men and women together in an isolated, high stress environment far from home for long periods of time where there’s nothing much to do during down time other than sneak off to the supply tent…AAAAAAAND I don’t want to think about it. Seriously, to hear some tell it, cheating during a deployment is practically a proud military tradition, a prospect that depresses me to no end.
I asked Jake about it.
“So how common is cheating in the military anyway?” I asked him the other night, feigning nonchalance.
“It’s not common,” he shrugged. “I’ve never heard of any of the guys doing it. And if I did hear about it, I’d have to report them. Adultery is prohibited by the military. ”
This did not reassure me as shacking up with one’s boss in the workplace is equally frowned upon but people still do it, nor could I stop thinking about articles like this one that say deployments are basically a non-stop hook up.
So what’s a wife to do? How the heck will I ever really know what goes on in a sandpit thousands of miles from my home? How do I know my soldier doesn’t share a secret Gmail account with someone like Petraeus reportedly shared with Broadwell?
There’s also the issue of the reportedly unflappable character of Petraeus himself, a man brimming with honor and integrity, making this debacle an even bigger blow. It gives fresh meaning to the old adage “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Should I be concerned that Jake is cut from similar steely cloth?
And then I checked myself. I have no choice but to choose to put these doubts and white noise behind me and focus on the man before me, a guy who has never in ten years together done a single thing to let me down even though we’ve spent a crazy amount of time apart. Infidelity is everywhere, and no marriage, military or otherwise, is immune from it. But suspicion and distrust? That’s a marriage killer. I don’t want to go there.
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