The Astroturf is always greener on the other side. From the outside looking in, the life of a celebrity athlete's wife is seen as one carefree, shopping spree and labor-free filled life of overly-pampered women. As a cynical New York native, that was my general opinion of sports wives until I became one thirteen years ago. What I quickly learned is that maintaining a healthy marriage and developing well balanced-children while under the spotlight of public scrutiny and the stresses of the automatically increased probability of infidelity is one of the hardest jobs in professional sports next to what's done on the field and court.
Welcome to the lives of celebrity sports wives.
As a full-time mom, wife, contemporary parenting writer and Vice President emeritus of Behind the Bench: the National Basketball Wives Association, I've often been approached by fellow sports wives for advice on parenting and due to my years of observing celebrity sports marriages come and go, am also approached for my take on handling infidelity. After hearing countless stories and giving countless advice, there are some key steps that never change for wives handling infidelity in the high-profile life of professional sports. The problem, however, is that most of the time many wives don't learn these steps until the issue of infidelity has presented itself.
To help the new wave of celebrity sports wives survive the terrain of bright lights and bold bimbos here is a list of the top seven things every sports wife should know about maintaining a relationship with a professional athlete and facing the issue of infidelity:
- The chance of infidelity is real. Yes, even in your relationship. The probability of infidelity triples in a celebrity sports relationship due to the countless opportunities that are offered to an athlete to cheat. Infidelity is very real and if you and your partner don't work together to protect you and yours from it, your family can become a victim of it no matter who your husband or wife is!
- Mum's the word. Keep your relationship private and don't do anything to put it in the public eye, as it will only bring more people into your private affairs unnecessarily, including those who desire a wealthy athlete as a mate whether he's married or not.
- Don't be naive.Don't be naive to the fact that there are women out there who would gladly try to be in your position because they want your husband and your lifestyle. While cheating is a two-way street, there are women out there who boldly track down the hotel room numbers of visiting players by simply calling the front desk and asking for them by name. Don't make this task easy for them! Have your husband check in using only aliases.
- Protect Your Children. Create a Teachable Moment: If infidelity hits home (and the papers), be aware that the media and public at large isn't going to be sensitive about your situation or the possibility of your children reading or hearing what they have to say about it. In this age of rapid information, protect your children by becoming their #1 source of information. Talk to your kids. Let them know that you are there to talk to them and answer any questions that they may have about what is happening. Let them know that any problems they may deal with as a result of what's happening (i.e.: being teased at school, photographers in front of their home, etc.) isn't their fault and are repercussions of decisions that you, the parents, have made. Remind them not to believe everything they read or see and that the media (and classmates) sometimes puts 20 on 10 to magnify things to make them seem worse than they really are. Sticks and Stones.
- Ignore public opinion. You know what is said about opinions. When dealing with infidelity in your marriage, know that at the end of the day your marriage and how you decide to deal with your husband's indiscretion can only be decided by you, not the public.
- Measure the Worth of Your Marriage vs. the Indiscretion. I'll first say that every situation is different, so what I'm about to say might not resonate to the wives of serial cheaters. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. If your husband has an indiscretion (or you do), ask yourself if it's worth forgiving. If you feel that it is and you have a relatively healthy marriage, don't let one indiscretion become the whole of your marriage. Work with your partner to seek counseling and work together in moving forward in protecting your family and the lives you've worked hard to create. Consider all of these things and make the decision that the both of you are in your marriage, not just for a few years, or to try it and see what happens, but for the long haul. Know that if you are true to yourselves and each other, you can have a connection that will last for the long haul regardless of obstacles that may occur!
- Know when to move on. If you find that the indiscretion(s) have outweighed the emotional value of your marriage relax, release and realize that some things, even marriages aren't meant to last, especially at the cost of your well being. Get counseling for yourself and your children... and a dynamite divorce attorney.