Diana Falzone, who calls herself the “Dear Abby” of the website Military.com, writes in her article Should military marriages include a ‘deployment sex pact’?, “Most civilian women would not defend their husband’s infidelity. But for the military wife, cheating practically comes with the territory.”


I’ve known my husband since we were both 17 years old. We got married when we were 29 (him) and 30 (me). In the decade between, I thought I had come to know him very well. He wrote heartfelt letters filled with the kind of information a person only reveals to a best friend. I guess that’s what I thought we were – best friends, and then best friends and…more.

And now, to learn this, that having sex with another woman is what he’s actually been doing, not “studying emergency procedures” while “attending instructor pilot training”…

But I am a military wife, and as such I have apparently opted to accept other women atop my husband and should defend his disloyalty.

(But – well, he’s in the Guard now, having left active duty a few years ago, which means he’s also part civilian, and I am, consequently, part civilian wife. So, do I still defend him? Or do I say to him, “You’re not full-time Army anymore, bucko. That free cheating pass? REVOKED!”?)

Falzone’s article – her vast knowledge and profound understanding of military life – has turned inside-out everything I thought I knew about being with my husband. I see now that since his 2004 return from Iraq I’ve been living with the rose-colored illusion that all I needed to fear during his deployment was that he’d be hurt or killed. Now I know I should have been anxious about much more than that, that his letters to me, written from his tent in Mosul, probably included hints of his virtually unavoidable deployment indiscretions.

When he wrote about the “chow hall,” I guess I should have read more into that.

I wish Falzone’s wisdom had been available years ago. Had I known marrying someone in the military meant marrying Military Man Who Must Stick His Penis In Things Because He Is Not A Thinking Individual But An Instinct-Driven Primate, I don’t know that I would have done it.

No. I’m certain I wouldn’t have done it.

My husband is gone as I write this, but will be home soon from his training course (at least, that’s where he says he is). I wonder if I should wait until then to get him to admit to his affairs. (Yes, affairs! Plural! We’ve been together since 2003 and married since 2005, and he’s left for one reason or another many times over the years, which means he must have lost all reason and rationale and launched into a sex-crazed frenzy on many occasions.)

Or should I not mention it at all? I may be leaning too civilian on this. As part-military wife, I should probably keep my girl mouth shut. Rather than bringing up our agreement to be monogamous, maybe I should draw up an “Away from the house sex pact” that stipulates we can (nay, should!) both engage in sexual behavior with others so we don’t go insane while we’re physically separated. I should hate to go insane.

Or have I already? Now and then, at around ten in the morning, I’ll get shaky and tired. Maybe an occasional brunchtime, bathroom-stall encounter with a co-worker is what I need, and not the strawberry Nutri-Grain bar from the vending machine.

Falzone writes,

I first heard about this unusual [sex pact] agreement a year ago, from a military wife. She explained a deployment sex pact as an agreement between partners that clearly states what is acceptable sexual activity outside the relationship during deployments. For instance, a couple may deem oral sex appropriate, when it takes place while a soldier or officer is away on deployment. But those same acts, if done with someone other than a spouse on the home front, could be grounds for divorce.

Well, this is a fine idea for the couples who believe this won’t create problems in their relationship. After all, it’s the people in the marriage who define the marriage, and if extra-marital sex is what they agree they want to have during prolonged separations, more power to them.

But what about those of us who don’t want to make this pact? Are we to pretend the inevitable affairs aren’t happening? Am I a BAD military spouse for not automatically accepting infidelity as a given?

As I was writing this, I knew I couldn’t wait until my husband got back from the IP course (or Cinnamon’s bed, whatever) to ask him about his cheating, so I sent him a quick text.

Well, obviously, he’s lying. “Why do you ask?” I know what that means. It means, “Tell me how you found out so I can figure out how to deny it.”

*All kidding aside, thank you, Diana, for not writing your article when I was a younger, more newly married woman going through her first deployment. I hope many others in that situation never saw it, never see it.


Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Dear Diana,

    My husband is not in the military, but his work does require him to go out of state for schooling (oh! I mean “schooling”) several times a year, sometimes for a couple of weeks at a time. Does he get a deployment pass, too, or is it only military men who can’t control their urges?

    Awaiting your response with bated breath,

    Curious in Maine

  2. My first husband was military and he didn’t need a deployment to cheat. Nope. Even as a civilian he didn’t need a business trip to cheat either.

    The man I’m married to now (and have been since 2006) I have known since I was 16. He’s also a military man and spent 2010-2011 in Kuwait. No deployment sex pact needed. He has something my ex was sorely lacking: integrity and honor.

  3. Peggy, I hate to tell you this, but I think you’re wrong. Yours is a military marriage, so I advise you to accept the uncomfortable reality that cheating has occurred. Or will occur. Now that you’ve been married to someone in the military quite a while, I trust you’re ready to forgive the inescapable dalliances. (When I was married to a civilian, I knew our marriage was supposed to be cheating-free, but I wish there had been some kind of pre-marriage class offered by my husband’s unit that outlined the unique set of expectations soon-to-be military spouses should be prepared to adopt if they decide to go through with the ceremony.)

    • If someone is willing to cheat in the military they are willing to cheat as a civilian anyone that cheats man or woman should not be in a relationship to begin with!!!

  4. I disagree with this completely, I am a military husband and have been deployed six different times for a total of 6 years, while married to the same wife. There are many men that I know of that I was deployed with and they were completely faithful to their wives. Get over yourself and quit blaming the military for this, if your husband cheated he would of here in the states too.

    • You observations do not match mine, I have had three deployments and have known few men who were faithful. Most men will make efforts to hide their cheating from others. You must be observant to know what is going on.

  5. I get the sarcasm and humor in the article and I hate that stereotype too. Military spouses also get a similar rap which isn’t fair to them either. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but not every military family has infidelity issues and not every family with infidelity issues is in the military.
    I spent ten years in the Army, 100% of it married, LOTS of it as a “geographical bachelor”. I have always been completely honest and faithful to my wife and she of me.

  6. Did…..did you actually read the article?

    “It’s a difficult enough journey to find someone to love, who also loves you. If you have found love, I recommend not throwing it away or creating undue problems. Should you make a pact, make one that vows you will be faithful to one each other. A deployment sex pact benefits no one.”


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About Kris Tsetsi

Kristen J. Tsetsi is the author of the novels "Pretty Much True..." and "The Year of Dan Palace" and the short fiction collection "20 Short Stories," all published under the name Chris Jane. Website: http://kristenjtsetsi.com


combat, military, military spouse, women


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