Claire Marino, wife of cheating NFL quarterback Dan Marino, must be mortified that the world now knows about her husband's affair and love child. But she made the right decision to stick with their marriage. Here's why.
It must have been devastating for Claire Marino to find out that her husband, NFL legend Dan Marino, had cheated on her and fathered a love child.
She had been married to the former Miami Dolphin quarterback for 20 years and the couple had six children together when her husband knocked up his then 35-year-old mistress, Donna Savattere.
She must have felt sick. She had devoted herself to her husband, they had a beautiful family, and he chose to betray her. Anger, hurt, humiliation, fear and loss must have been just a few of the emotions she felt.
So Why Did Claire Marino Decide To Stay With Dan?
Some wives may have been so heartbroken and upset that they wouldn't even consider staying with their cheating men, but that's not the decision that Claire made.
Claire put her six children, who were aged from nine to 15 at the time of the affair, first. She clearly decided that they needed to be in an intact family and they needed their father.
"The only good reason for staying with a cheat is for the sake of the children, but only if he has proven you can truly trust him again," insists Los Angeles psychiatrist and author of Bad Boys and Bad Girls, Dr. Carole Lieberman.
Now, only Claire, could know whether she could ever truly trust Dan Marino again, but ensuring that her children had an involved father in their daily lives is a powerful reason to stay with a husband who has cheated.
But Can a Cheater Be a Good Father Too?
Dan has been a good father according to the people who would know best -- his children. In fact they have spoken out about how much they love him.
His son Michael, 24, is autistic and Dan established a charity called the Dan Marino Foundation, which holds an annual awareness day called Walkabout Autism.
Michael told CBS Miami in an interview that his dad "is just a very kind person, a very good father and he cares a lot about his kids... Because of that support and that push, I am able to be who I am today and be able to speak well, which I had a real problem with when I was younger, pointing at a lot of things."
Then younger son Joseph, 23, a golfer like his dad, tweeted, "Spent my Christmas at the beach with my dad @DanMarino," on Dec. 25, 2011.
Surely Claire knew that she would jeopardize those kinds of precious close relationships if she had opted for divorce from Dan.
Why Did Dan Marino Cheat?
So why would Dan have cheated when he too clearly valued his marriage and family?
"Powerful men cheat because they have a greater sense of entitlement than the rest of us. They feel they have worked hard and earned where they are and should be afforded rules that are uniquely theirs," explains relationship expert Cooper Lawrence, co-host of Dish Nation on Fox radio.
Dan probably understood that cheating was not right on one level, but why didn't that stop him?
Dan Marino "knew it was wrong and knew it isn't what most men should do, but he no longer saw himself as 'most men,'" adds Lawrence.
Let's hope that in the years since Dan Marino had his affair with Donna Savattere and fathered a child with her that he realized that he had to come back down to earth and behave like most men.
Claire Marino Put Her Family First
I hope so for Claire and her children's sake, and also for the sake of Dan's love child, who apparently Dan sees.
She probably stayed with her husband for another very key reason, according to psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, creator of "The Healthy Divorce App."
"Wives of cheaters love them with all their faults, especially with so many years logged into their marriage," he says.
And yes, that is no doubt true. She loved her husband for 20 years before his affair and it's very hard to stop loving someone, even when they have hurt and disappointed you.
But Claire made the right decision even though it must have been so difficult. I'm sure her children feel grateful every day that they still have their family together, despite their father's major mistake. Do you agree, HollywoodLifers? Was Claire right to stand by her cheating man? Let me know!