Living A Double, Secret Life – Does The Wife Not Know?


There are those living a secret life among us, a double life. Perhaps this person appears to be a loving family man, altruistic, cares about and involved in charitable work, involved in the community – you know the type, and yet . . . this person is living another life, a dark life, a life that the wife does not know about. Or does she? Perhaps the man is not all of those traits, just simply your husband who you assume he is not living a double life. Is that too much to assume or rather should we all, men and women alike, have our antennas up to what our spouse is doing? Can you be married to a man and not know that your spouse is molesting children (e.g., Sandusky)? Can you be married to a man and not know he is having an affair (e.g., John Edwards)? Can you be married and not know your spouse has fathered another child from an affair he had while married to you (e.g., Schwarzenegger – Shriver)? Can you be married and not know your spouse is stealing money (e.g., Bernie Madoff)? The list is endless and marriage therapists such as myself see every day women coming in for counseling reporting the trauma they are experiencing in their discovery that they are now in the group of those who have been married to someone living a double life. Just but a few additional examples include: Can you be married to a man and not know he is a drug addict? An alcoholic? A murderer? (Remember the case of The Craig’s List Killer? Engaged- almost married). There are men who are living a double life, there are women living a double life – does the spouse really not know?

In the case of Dottie Sandusky- it has let many to wonder why would a woman stay with a man if she knew the horrors that we as a public have now heard about. Jerry Sandusky, a man found guilty in his sex abuse trial went from being seen in such a positive light by so many is now being called a serial molester. Many question; why is Mrs. Sandusky not believing this is the man that he is? Others wonder; is it possible she did not know this other side of him?

There are the secrets we keep from ourselves, and then there are the secrets we keep to ourselves – in the case of Dottie Sandusky, which is it? Many wonder the answer to that very question.

After my interview live on CKNW The World Today with Jill Bennett discussing Dottie Sandusky – Why Would She Stand By Her Man? Why Stay Loyal? –  I was then asked to be on The Weekend Morning News with Jill Bennett on CKNW to further explore this topic.

Leading A Double, Secret Life – Does The Wife Not Know?

A few of the points discussed during my interview on The Weekend Morning News on CKNW includes:

  • The spouse enables the condition by keeping the secret and/or by keeping their eyes wide shut.
  • This type of person who would commit such a horrible act to others time and time again and viewed by so many positively is typically an expert at deception, manipulation, and secrecy.
  • Fear, marital philosophy of taking the secret to the grave no matter who it hurts, rationalization, compartmentalization, disbelief/denial, grief reaction, blinders – all contributors as to why the spouse remains loyal and may know subconsciously yet may not know consciously.
  • Can a spouse really not know?
  • Is Mrs. Sandusky’s reaction of denial and disbelief common for women living with abusers?

If you wish to listen to this live interview where you will hear me discuss the points above, as well as explore more points of interest surrounding this topic of leading a double life and the marital relationship dynamic –  click the play button for listening on demand:

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Follow Dr. Karen on Twitter or Facebook. Media Psychotherapist Guest Expert; Relationships, Parenting, Hot Topics In The News. Appears on: The O'Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, Hannity, regular go-to for FOX Boston, and more. Can be heard on Radio: FOX News, 96.9 Boston Talks, and more. Columnist, quoted in various print media: FOX Business, Boston Globe, Boston Herald,, USA Today, Parents, TIME, Woman's Day, and more. Owner/Director of Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc. Based in Massachusetts. Author of: 9 Key Techniques For Raising Respectful Children and Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual. Copyright 2012.


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