Oprah and seven cheating husbands

All of these men admit they have cheated on their wives. Their wives all know about their affairs, but may not know some of the details that will be revealed. The women are all backstage listening to this candid conversation. All of the men have agreed to answer Oprah's questions honestly.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to really shed some light on what is in the psyche that causes men to cheat," Oprah says.
Brian, an unfaithful husband

The book, The Script by Vicky Mainzer and Elizabeth Landers says that all men follow a blueprint when they cheat: "Unfaithful men all act alike. Just like they were following a script. Every woman who experiences an unfaithful husband feels confused and baffled by his contradictory statements and behavior. She starts believing that she really must be crazy, unappealing, selfish and unloving, just as her husband says. It's all a part of the script."

Brian had an affair with a woman at work for two-and-a-half months until he decided to confess to his wife. He believes that the ideas in The Script are pretty accurate. "There's not too many roads you can go on differently in an affair," Brian says. "It's pretty hard to come up with creative ways to cheat."

But Brian says he never felt unhappy in his marriage. He simply developed a strong connection with another woman. "I never got into the relationship with the other woman because I was dissatisfied with my wife," he says. "I still loved her in every way, and I just didn't understand [why I was cheating]. There was certainly an emotional connection I had to the other woman."
Stephen, an unfaithful husband

Stephen was married for a year before he cheated on his wife with a woman he met at their child's day-care center. He says that his wife's work schedule of 50 to 60 hours a week left him frustrated and feeling like a single parent. Stephen admits to having an emotional attachment to his mistress, but when she was going to tell his wife of their affair, Stephen decided to fess up to his wife and end the secret relationship.

"We were sitting on the bed and I said, 'I've got to tell you something, and you may not be ready for this,'" Stephen says. "…I've never known that I could hurt someone that much in less than a minute. To this day still, I remember that evening so clearly. I just never knew I could hurt someone that much. And it pained me because I'm looking, and I'm like, 'Wow. You love me that much?' I didn't see it. I didn't get it."
Chris, unfaithful husband

Chris met his mistress at a Cub Scouts meeting—she was a den mother, and both were married. His affair ended three years ago, but Chris is still very emotional about his infidelity in his marriage.

"[I'm crying] because of the pain [I caused] my wife and my kids," he says. "I make no bones about what I did. But I've got a great woman behind me. And we're going to get through it."
John, unfaithful husband who had emotional affairs

When John started cheating, it was about three years into his marriage. Just recently, his wife, Amy, discovered old e-mails from John's first mistress—he's had two relationships since then—his cheating had gone beyond emotional. John says that he and Amy had a major disconnect in their relationship that led him to look for a connection outside of their marriage.

"It was totally emotional," John says. "The three affairs I had, I never had sex with any of them. They were all emotional affairs. It was all about connecting with this other person. Now with the first person, yes, it got to the point that there was some fooling around and I would have had sex with her had the opportunity presented itself."
Terrence, unfaithful husband

Terrence says that he brought his selfishness into his marriage, and that eventually led him to stray.

Terrence thinks that most men do cheat, but doesn't believe that once you're a cheater, you always will be. So what if the shoe was on the other foot? Most of the men said they wouldn't stay with their wives if they cheated on them—Terrence revealed why he thought this was the case.

"Our egos can't take it," Terrence explains. "Your ego can't take your woman looking at a man more or less knowing that she slept with one. … Men are babies. We can't take anything we dish out. That's the bottom line."
Ryant, an unfaithful husband

When Ryant was engaged to his now-wife, he had a second girlfriend—he didn't end the relationship when he got married. "I didn't actually stop seeing the other girl," Ryant says. "I'm not going to lie. I was a very weak person when it came to women. I had to be weaned a little bit [off of cheating]. Not suddenly."

After Ryant's wife found out about his affair, he pledged his fidelity. But his old habits died hard. "If I was alone with a woman, I would be immediately thinking about sleeping with her," he says. "I was a good, old fashioned 'ho.'"

Ryant says that whenever his wife confronted him about his faithfulness, he would get an attitude with her about it. "It was almost to the fact, 'How dare you? You don't know for sure. How dare you confront me, and how dare you snoop.' … My wife just wanted to know. And I would really convince myself that [she was] against me. [I'd say to her] 'You must be looking for something. You must not want to be married.' So I would feel a little guilty."
Mike, a common-law husband who cheated

Mike and his common law wife have been together for seven years. Mike admits to three affairs—in two of which he had physical relationships. Mike's also had phone sex with other women as well—which he says he considers cheating, but some men do not. The other "affair" he speaks of was an emotional affair.

"I was going to somebody for something that [my wife] should have been providing for me," Mike says.
Stephen & Natalie

Stephen says that he cheated on his wife, Natalie, in part because she made her work a higher priority than their marriage. "It just felt like I was a single parent that was married, and just being taken for granted," he says.

Natalie says that this was somewhat true. "When we got married, we were best friends. I mean, the whole time we were dating we were just together all the time and had a good time and enjoyed each other's company," she says. "And right when we got married, I went into management and dove head first into my work, and that's all I did was work. And I'd come home and crash."

Natalie said she took Stephen for granted. "He was such a great father and a great provider that he maintained the house, he maintained our children, which allowed me to work even more. And I stopped being a wife and I stopped being a friend and a mother."

Natalie says she'd already heard almost everything about Stephen's cheating, so she was not all that surprised by what he said on the show. One element in his frank discussion with Oprah was new, however. "The comments he made about the day he told me. That was the first time I ever heard him express the emotion about how hard that was for him," she says. "How bad he hurt me, and that he got that."
Chris & Mary

Mary, Chris's wife, had to deal with the fact that Chris had brought his mistress into their home before—something the other men in the roundtable said they would never have done. But Mary is finding a way to believe in her husband again.

Mary: Well, a lot of things were brought up [when finding out of the affair] and I was a raving maniac.

Oprah: Yeah, that would kind of make you a raving maniac. Whenever you have the possibility to rave on.

Mary: But we talked through it. You know, you just need to talk through it. You need to deal with it day by day and, yes, it's disrespect and we're moving on from that.

Oprah: When you saw your husband, he was very emotional. How did that make you feel?

Mary: That he still cares. He loves me, I love him and we're going to work it out.
Ryant & Danine

Danine says that she actually wasn't surprised by Ryant's adulterous behavior. Danine says she even caught Ryant cheating right after they got married. "[Ryant's other woman] had been around before we got married and that relationship just never ended," Danine says.

What Ryant's cheating did do, however, was incite the inquisitiveness that Danine, who works as an investigator, says is in her nature. "I just started looking at the patterns, and he wasn't home at certain times. I kind of did my little research and found out where [the woman Ryant was having his affair with] lived and did my little tracking. It's awful, because you get obsessed with looking and digging and searching and then once you're right, it just motivates you to keep looking and keep digging and keep searching and there's no end to it.…

"It was really helpful to hear him say that there were things that he could have done also in our relationship that could have done a lot for me. I think a lot of men are under the impression that flowers and candy and cards are great but, you know, mop a floor and unload a dishwasher. Get me in bed a little earlier. I mean, those things are a turn-on."

Danine turned her experience of tracking Ryant's cheating ways into the book, Ultimate Betrayal.
Anne & Brian

Anne says that she was surprised by her reaction upon finding out about Brian's affair. Before it happened, she said she thought she would never stay with a cheater. "But when it happened to me, I found myself reacting differently than I thought that I would because my love for him didn't end," she says. "I loved and adored Brian before it happened. He tells me this. I don't suddenly stop loving him in that second. So now what do I do? It's happened but I still love him."

One thing Anne did do was become angry at "the other woman." Why didn't she direct that anger at Brian? "I thought about that a lot and … the reason why is because I loved my husband. He was my lover, my best friend, someone I trusted and I knew. She was a stranger, so it was easy to direct all my anger and all my pain towards a stranger and an enemy that I didn't know. I couldn't make the mental transition of seeing the man that I loved and adored as my enemy in a second just like that."

After entertaining fantasies of doing harm to "the other woman," Anne finally cooled off and realized she wanted to meet her. "I was really quite amazed in that meeting," Anne says. "I mean, among other things, I was kind of like, 'Her? I was expecting a sex goddess.' She wasn't what I had envisioned. It was good for me to see that."

Brian says that his marriage has been better after he had an affair than it was before. "We've kind of grown up in our marriage as opposed to where we were," he says. "Even though we had a pretty strong relationship, we learned so much about ourselves. I learned a lot about myself and I can then apply myself as a real man to meet my wife's needs."

Anne has turned her experience as a cheated-on spouse into a public speaking career and book, My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.
John & Amy

Amy says that her husband, John, has not been fully forthcoming about his infidelities, and what she heard on this show has made it impossible for her to forgive him. Recently Amy found out about John's first infidelity—he's had two since then that she already knew about—by reading his old e-mails.

"He says he didn't [have actual sex with other women], but I'm not sure if I'm still willing to believe that because I've read the e-mails and it's obvious…they indicated that something physical happened, whether it was touching or something else. Whenever I ask him, it's the I-don't-remember card. I mean, this one was five years ago. The other two happened right under my nose and I didn't suspect them. I didn't consider them affairs. At the time I did consider them infidelity and very improper behavior."

With unanswered questions, and with John unwilling to own up to his actions, Amy says she doesn't know what will happen. "He keeps asking me why do I want to know?" she says. "I said I have to so I know what happened. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I don't know. I need to know if it's something that can be saved and if it's something that we both have to work on. So I know what my part is, so I know what he went looking for."
Candy & Mike

Candy says that she was disheartened by what Mike said in the round-table discussion. "He wasn't totally honest," she says. "I'm not sure what I'm going do. There's been second and third and fourth [affairs]. How many times can one person find it within themselves to forgive?"

Mike responds by asking, "If I've already destroyed the trust and the faith that she had in me in the beginning, anything that I say nowadays just doesn't hold any water. I've told her everything that ever happened."

Candy says that's not true. "I just recently found out…Saturday…that [the lies] continued," she says.

The only one of these cheating men whose wife did not appear in the studio was Terrence's. As the only cheating husband who was not seated next to his wife, Terrence elaborated on his opinions about the mind of the cheating spouse, and the nature of marriage. "To women [marriage] means more giving, 'I have a lifetime partner,' and what you're going to gain. Men look at it as, 'Damn, my life is over,'" he says. "You have to answer to someone now. You have to answer to everything going on in the household. … A lot of people put more value on their wedding day than their marriage. … But after the wedding day, that's when a marriage starts."