Cheaters: Arianna and Robert

"Throughout my marriage, I've had a gut feeling that something wasn't right," says Arianna, who has been married to her high school sweetheart, Robert, for three-and-a-half years. "From time to

time, I felt like Robert was cheating on me. When I confronted Robert about cheating, he always said it wasn't true. Recently, everything has changed.

"Two weeks ago, I noticed a rash on the underside of his genitals. He decided to have the rash looked into," she explains. "The doctors told Robert that he may have a sexually transmitted disease. Now, I think that I could have gotten infected."

 

Robert made an admission. "I told Arianna that I had one affair with a woman that I had met at a bar," he explains. "The next day, I took a drive and decided there was more that I needed to tell her, so I came out and I told her the entire, bitter, God-honest truth."

 

"Robert has been cheating on me throughout my entire marriage," Arianna shares. "The first time Robert cheated on me, it was with one of his sister's friends. After that, it was our nanny. Another affair was

with a person that his sister was really good friends with ... I am completely angry and upset that this man I've loved for five years faithfully, has put me and my children in harm's way for some tramp at a bar."

 

"I want to save my marriage more than anything," Robert says. "I think I can become a different person and someday have peace with it to an extent. Wait a second; I don't know if that last statement was all true. I really don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for it."

 

"It makes me sick to my stomach. I just learned about this two days ago, and I'm still in shock. My whole marriage has been a lie. When I look at Robert now, all I can think about are these other women and all the things that he's been doing. I feel like he probably never even cared about me to begin with," Arianna says. "I don't know if I want to save my marriage. I just want to do what's best for my kids. I'm scared to death that if I don't get Dr. Phil's help, I'm going to make the wrong decision."

"What's your gut-level reaction?" Dr. Phil asks Arianna.

"Disgust. Confusion. I don't know," Arianna says. "I don't know anything anymore. I thought at least I knew something about my life, and I didn't know anything at all. Nothing. It's all been a lie. A huge, disgusting lie."

"What do you say about all this?" Dr. Phil asks Robert.

After gathering his thoughts, Robert says, "I don't understand myself completely, how I could have let something

like this happen."

"You didn't let this happen. You made this happen," Dr. Phil tells Robert. He points out that Robert consciously put himself in situations with these woman and participated in these acts. "This isn't like, 'Whoops. I hate it when that happens.' You made the choice and you went and did this. Not once, not twice, not three times, four, five times that we know about. Unprotected."

"The first time it happened was protected, and that's the only time I had actual intercourse," Robert explains. "And the times following that were unprotected oral."

"I was eight-and-a-half months pregnant the first time he had sex with somebody else," Arianna says.

"I can see now how I told myself things and lied to myself to justify things," Robert says. "I didn't let myself feel enough regret to think, 'What if I get a sexually transmitted disease?'"

"Didn't you say that when it came up the second time, you said, 'Well, I've already done it once, so what difference does two make'?" Dr. Phil asks.

Robert says he didn't really even count how many times he cheated.

Arianna says she isn't sure she wants to make the marriage work, and Dr. Phil asks Robert how he feels about that.

"There's no way I can expect her to want to try to save it," he acknowledges.

"Do you want out?"

"No, I don't want out. I definitely do not want out," Robert says.

"What did you say to yourself that made this OK?" Dr. Phil asks Robert. He reads part of Robert's wedding vows. "One of the things you said is, 'I love you more than the day I asked you to marry me, and I hope I can make you as happy as you have made me. You try as hard as you can to bring me up when I'm down. You inspire me and you have always been there for me.'" He asks Arianna if she remembers hearing those words.

"Yeah," she says. "I feel there's a lot of him in there and not so much me. I feel like he treated me like crap our whole marriage, and I just noticed, now, how much he says that I treated him so great and I inspired him. But there's not much about what he was going to do for me."

Dr. Phil asks Robert, "Are you sorry about this? Or are you sorry you got caught?"

"I honestly believe I'm sorry for doing it, or else I don't think I could have ever brought myself to tell her the entire truth," Robert says. "I never got over the first time that I did it. I guess I was kind of getting bored through the second pregnancy and after we got married a little bit, and I guess I wanted something new. I wanted something different, more exciting, and I didn't realize that it was me who had to change to make that happen. I thought it was her."

"What did your daddy ever tell you about this kind of thing?" Dr. Phil asks Robert.

"Nothing good," Robert says.

"His dad told him not to be here," Arianna adds. "He told him that these things need to be dealt with in private."

"There ain't too much private about your marriage, is there?" Dr. Phil quips. "Tell me how

you feel about what this does to your children."

"I feel that, I don't think I was ever really there for them emotionally. Ever. I guess I thought being there financially would be enough," Robert says.

"See their faces in your mind right now," Dr. Phil says to him. "Envision going home and telling them bye."

Robert looks at Arianna and breaks down. "It kills me," he says through tears. "That's why I wanted to hide it. That's why I wanted to forget about the first time, but because I did that, I allowed it to happen again and again."

"That feeling you have right now about those children being ripped from your life, how does that compare to that moment in a bar? Or that moment with your nanny?" Dr. Phil probes.

"It's a lot stronger," Robert says.

Dr. Phil explains that Arianna is going to go through a progression of emotions. Right now she is in shock. Soon she will be enraged. Then, she is going to have the tendency to try to repossess Robert. "You're going to actually find yourself trying to re-assert yourself and prove your womanhood and seduce him and bring him back," he tells her.

"That's the cycle. That's the pattern. You're going to get him back home and then you're going to spend the rest of your life kicking his ass." Arianna needs to do something to genuinely heal the situation, so she won't fall into this pattern.

Dr. Phil addresses Robert. "You need to grow up," he tells him. "You've gone out and said, 'Immediate gratification. This feels good at the time. I like the power that I feel. I like fact that I'm being attractive to these women. I'm being validated. This makes me feel virile. It makes me feel like a man.' It has nothing to do with the fact that you are a husband. You are a father to children, and part of it has to do with learning to tell yourself no. And it isn't about saying no when you're sitting there in the clutches of another woman. The idea is to stay out of that situation. Grow up! Be a man! Take care of your wife and children! You don't need to be hanging out in bars with a bunch of girls. You don't need to be in the backseat of a car with somebody. You've got no business being in that situation, and if you grow up, you will understand your responsibilities come first. And you fix this situation inside the marriage. You don't fix it turning outside to somebody else." Dr. Phil points out that Robert needs to work on fixing the situation until it is resolved. "You ran it in the ditch, it's your job to get it back up on the highway."

He offers to provide them with professional help.

Robert says he is willing to participate in counseling. "I'm ready to be honest, and I want to do whatever it takes. If nothing else, I definitely want to be with her, if that can't happen. I would love to be her friend, if that can happen. And I would love to be a father to my children," he says, crying.

Arianna shares her thoughts. "I feel like if I give him a chance, I have to somehow figure out where to start. I feel like I'm going to let him back in and then I'm going to be just as blind as I was to start with," she says.

"That can't happen," Dr. Phil assures her. "This can knock you off balance tremendously, and what you've lost sight of is that you are a beautiful, intelligent, articulate, vibrant young woman, and you don't have to settle for this kind of crap."

"But I did," Arianna says.

"That was then, this is now," Dr. Phil says. "Not even God can change what has happened, but you can certainly change the choices you make going forward." He wants to provide her with help so she can learn to make informed, intelligent choices.

Dr. Phil addresses Robert. "I'm not saying that you're an evil guy; I'm just saying you are incredibly immature, and it's time for you to grow up, and hope against hope that you have a chance to be the man that you need to be in this family," he tells him.