Infidelity: Big Deal or Overplayed?


When it comes to the military, one of the the general publics' favorite things to talk about is infidelity. That it is a rampant problem dominating the minds and worries of every milspouse does not appear up for debate. It seems to be simply a generally accepted fact: if you are in the military either you or your spouse will cheat.

This assumption was on display Tuesday on NPR’s show “Fresh Air.” Host Dave Davies interviewed military spouse and debut author Siobhan Fallon, who recently published a collection of fiction titled “You Know When the Men are Gone."

The 20 minute segment included Fallon reading from her book. Davies spent several minutes early in the interview peppering Fallon with questions about infidelity in the military, and she read an excerpt about a soldier downrange cheating on his wife. NPR is also running on their website a portion of a different story about cheating, this time by a wife while her soldier is gone.

I understand why the civilian world is fascinated by the subject of military infidelity. It is, for lack of a better description, considered "sexy." Cheating celebrities, sordid political scandals and Rear Admirals making raunchy videos all dominate the front page -- so why shouldn’t the drama of military relationships be right there with them?

There is no doubt that cheating is a problem -- just like it is in civilian offices and social groups everywhere. And if it’s happened to you, you are understandably hurt, and angry. But I wonder if it is really the gigantic issue specific to the military that everyone, including Fallon, would have you believe.

“I think [infidelity] is definitely a fear,” Fallon said in the interview. “When your soldier is away for a year you’re going to imagine the worst of everything that could possibly happen.”

Really? Only 3.9 percent of the SpouseBUZZ readers who took our stress poll last year said infidelity is their greatest concern during deployment. And yes, we as military spouses hear a lot about infidelity, and plenty of stories of people cheating. But could it be that rather than being the major issue the world would have all believe, most of it is sensationalized or simply a fun/scary gossip topic?

Weigh in.

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