Why do women stay when their man is unfaithful?

Mellie Fitzgerald played by Bellamy Young SCANDAL (photo credit ABC)
Mellie Fitzgerald played by Bellamy Young SCANDAL (photo credit: ABC)

Cheating is no longer a dirty word, and neither is adultery. Extramarital affairs are hot topics in both reality and scripted series, and deliver the highest ratings. While we spend time trying to figure out why a man would repeatedly risk getting caught between two women, few question why the women stay; and “she’s stupid” is not an adequate answer.

On Thursday night’s episode of “Scandal,” Olivia Pope, former mistress of President Fitzgerald, asked her lover’s ex-wife why she stayed with him after it was apparent he was involved in an extramarital affair. Mellie Fitzgerald attempted to avoid the question until she realized she didn’t know the answer. Later in the episode, she came back with the answer, “It was working.”

Although Mellie’s answer seems simple, it may be the most honest answer. Maybe infidelity and extra marital affairs work for today’s culture. When asked why she stayed with her unfaithful husband of ten years, Saundra, a 28-year-old real estate agent, says she didn’t leave because she expected her husband to cheat. She said, “My father cheated on my mother and so did most of the men in my family. I figured if I left my husband I would just end up with another man that would do the same thing.” Saundra’s feelings are echoed by 42-year-old elementary school teacher Lavon. She said, “If my husband cheated on me, I wouldn’t leave him. I wouldn’t let another woman destroy my marriage.”

Besides “Scandal,” the popular reality series “Love & Hip Hop” is notorious for showing couples that are dealing with various types of infidelity. Most recently “LHHNY” star Peter Gunz is in a risqué love triangle with his wife Amina Buddafly and long-time ex girlfriend Tara. Recently, both women were pregnant with Gunz’ child but neither wanted to give up their relationship with the former rap star. “I don’t blame Amina for staying with Peter; she doesn’t want to lose her man,” Saundra comments on the troubled threesome.

Although some say infidelity is a way of life, there are still many couples holding on to traditional values. Warren, a 33-year-old navy officer, says women are to blame if they accept a cheating spouse. “I have been faithful before and when I get married, I don’t have any intention of cheating on my wife. We are all in charge of what we accept. If a woman accepts a man cheating on her then she is showing that man its ok to treat her that way. You cant complain about what you accept,” he said.

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