He may have strayed, but prostitutes? No way, say Manhattan wives who reflected on the Eliot Spitzer scandal this week with the New York Times. But "there is a trememdous tendency toward denial" among unsuspecting women, said Leslie Bennetts, author of The Feminine Mistake. “I’ve heard thousands of stories from women who got blindsided by a version of this."
Wives handle the shock better if his infidelity was private, says one New York attorney: “Most women who have a marriage of length have at one time or another tried to get past a private transgression." But the wife of a Wall Street exec said that forgiving his deceit only fueled his arrogance. “Once you feed that dark side, the monster grows," she said—and divorced him a year later, without their children knowing why.