The Big Cheat: The Truth About Italian Men

Seezy Dude, All Like, "Whaaaat? I had pizza for lunch."

Sleezy Dude, All Like, “Whaaaat? I had pizza for lunch.”

A few weeks ago I was having a drink with a friend of mine; we were talking about relationships when he said, “I am actually surprised that you married an Italian man. You don’t seem like the type of woman who would go for one.” I asked him to explain further, he sighed and said, “Well, they are famous for being very high maintenance and for being unfaithful.” I wasn’t offended because it’s kind of true, they are high maintenance compared to an American guy, and it wasn’t the first time someone had brought up the “cheater” stereotype. Announcing that I’ve married an Italian man always inspires two different responses, either, “Oh my god you’re so lucky, they are so romantic!” or, “Why would you do that? You know he’s going cheat on you.” I find both stereotypes to be kind of true and kind of funny. Yes, my husband is romantic, but he doesn’t call me, “your majesty,” and take me on dates on the back of a unicorn. At least not yet, I’m still waiting. As for the other thing, well, there’s no way to ever know.

Italian men do seem to cheat more than American men, at least statistically. Statistics vary depending on the study but most of the studies showed that the infidelity rate for men in Italy is around 70%, whereas the rate for men in the United States is around 50%. Curious as to why the rate might be higher in Italy, I interviewed random Italian men in Florence. One of the men, a married man, said that he believes the statistics are high in Italy because there are no real consequences for cheating. He could be right since the divorce rate in Italy is only 11%, compared to the United States 53%, and the number one cited reason for divorce is actually issues with, “the mother in law.” Does that mean that cheating is considered okay in Italy? Of course not. Cheating is not really okay in most countries but it seems to be tolerated more in Italy than it is in the United States. People suffer but don’t seem to see cheating as a relationship ender. While, in the US only 33% of relationships will continue after the discovery of infidelity.

It’s not just men who cheat. Women entering the workforce has increased the infidelity rate for women in Italy which is quickly catching up with the men. The workplace seems to be the most common place for finding a lover. According to the marriage association of Italy, 60% of cheating happens at work during the lunch break. Your partner might be eating more than a pizza for lunch.

Moving to Italy in two-thousand-nine I remember being shocked by the prime minister and his sexual indiscretions. Berlusconi is famous for his misconduct and his affairs yet he keeps getting voted into office and is praised by his constituents. When I asked Italians who voted for him what they think about his sexual sneakiness they said things like, “well good for him.” Politics are often a reflection of culture. When President Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky he was nearly kicked out of office for lying about his weird and creepy cigar incident. Honesty is one of the most important things in anglo-saxon culture. The brits, the americans, the irish, hold honesty to a very high regard and seem to be less bothered with “fitting in”. It’s possible that Italian culture is more lenient because looking good, or maintaining “bella figura” is more important than being honest.

So how does one marry an Italian man knowing that he is statistically inclined to stray? Game Theory proposes a few different theories regarding defense mechanisms to prevent infidelity. One of them suggests that punishing infidelity harshly is an effective defense mechanism. My husband has admittedly cheated on most of his ex-girlfriends because according to him there was no real reason not to. I asked him if he would cheat on me and he said, “Why? So I can get divorced and possibly be murdered? It’s not worth it.” Does that mean he won’t do it? No. Statistics are never completely accurate and the national average doesn’t mean that my husband will for sure run off with his secretary during his lunch break either. But, just in case, I should mention that Lorena Bobbitt is a sort of hero of mine.

An iconic photo of the John and Lorena Bobbitt...

An iconic photo of the John and Lorena Bobbitt event in the United States in June 23, 1993 showing the trial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

45 thoughts on “The Big Cheat: The Truth About Italian Men

  1. i am looking for an authentic cookbook with Cassino roots. My husbands mother was born there and moved. She recently passed and no one has any of the recipes! Do you have one that you suggest…. Hopefully written in English!

  2. Please tell me you are going to write a book! I stumbled across your blog today and haven’t put my phone down. I’m currently holed up in a corner of my apartment charging my phone to continue reading, whilst yelling orders at my Italian boyfriend to make me soup because im sick!
    I have tears rolling down my face (laughing tears) I have been in rome for past 4 years and past 2 living with my Italian boyfriend. I relate to so many of your posts.
    My dog is giving me the head to the side look due to my laughing outbursts with a look of fuck why did SHE choose me???. The random outbursts had the old ladies shaking their heads and muttering lei è matta whilst I was walking the streets home. This has been such a refreshing read and I’m so glad I’m not alone in many of my thoughts of being an expat here as well an expat with a partner and furry child.
    Thank you and write a book! !!

  3. I married my husband last year and have known him for a decade…long love story…and it is always funny when women say ‘italian men…blahblablah…’ I’m from Miami where infidelity runs rampant, so nothing really surprises me anymore.

    My husband says the same ‘why would I want to lose you’…which is b.s. b/c anything is possible, you just hope to have a close marriage where no one fuckin’ strays…me nor him.

    Luckily my husband is not a mammone, so we definitely won’t divorce over issues with her😉

  4. I have a close female friend who married an Italian man who moved to the US. They had an international romance for 5 years prior to him moving to the US and getting married to her. In less than two years they were divorced due to his infidelity. Very interesting post!

    • Ah yes, my husband was not very faithful before I met him (if he wants to live without being disfigured he knows it’s not smart to screw around with me, I WILL CUT YOU, FRANCESCO!). We know a great many people who cheat fairly regularly. The strange thing isn’t even that they cheat, I mean, people in all countries cheat, but that they are so OPEN about it. They’ll tell their friends, their co-workers, it’s totally cool. LOL.

  5. ahahaha.. a femminazi talking about infidelity! so you wan’t to know the reason why we italian men cheats on our women?

    Well, try to take a look at the whole scenarios from the tipical male perspective. Starting at age 11 or so we get uncontrollable, non-stop boners. We fantasize about fucking every woman around us. Its purely hormonal. Chicks on the other hand, don’t seem to have the same intense desire to get banged until much later in life (they hit their sexual peak in their 30s while us guys top out in our early 20s).

    So here is the conflict: while most 20 something Italian dudes are on the prowl, 20 something italian chicks are living their last hurrah in terms of their looks. They know that soon they will be in their 30s and look worse (wrinkles, fatter, dull skin/eyes).

    So they prance around in pretty dresses and make poor horny dudes insane with desire while playing hard to get. So guys have do what they have to do to get laid. And if that means they have to “bone up” on their game (pun intended) then so be it.

    One the little ironies of life that I have truly enjoyed is that when women hit 30 they freak out if they haven’t married and had children (fairly common these days among the educated classes). They get fucking desperate. Meanwhile, their counter parts (guys in their 30’s) have been at the game long enough to have perfected their skills and built up their careers.

    So then the rules of the game change completely. Desperate women, looks fading, ovaries shriveling will do almost anything to “land a good guy” to settle down with. At that point, the game of hitting new pussy becomes more like “shooting ducks in a barrel”.

    A guy can get laid by meeting the bare minimum standards: have a decent career, seem like a nice guy, and perpetuate the myth that they are looking for a soul mate. After date three, sex is usually automatic. You fuck for weeks or months and then the chick wants to know “where this is heading”. That’s when you drop one of many easy bombs with delicious zest such as “I am just not ready to commit”, “I am not sure if we are truly compatible”, “I just don’t feel the connection”, “my financial house is not in order and that makes me question the whole commitment thing”, etc. Whuhahahaaaaaaah. F.uck you femminazi bitches!!!

    That is pay back for all the cold lonely nights. Payback for the many failed attempts. Payback for the bitches who laughed in our faces, rolled their eyes at us, or just plain ignored us. Payback for all the free drinks you comped from us. Payback for all the times when we just wanted to do what was natural with your sexy young bodies and you just let us suffer! is NOT a matter of “mammone”, we just getting smarter more and more with entitled slut.ty pricesses like you!

    But don’t worry, eventually you will find a guy who has tired of the game and is actually ready to settle down and knock your tired ass up. He may not be the perfect guy you were dreaming about when you were 23 and had the world at your finger tips, but hey at least he put a rock on your finger and is willing to put up with your bullshit day in and day out for a chance to stick in you once or twice a week.

    So you are lucky, he might make you pancakes and even remember your birthday, but im sure you’ll be the one to start the divorce in the future.

    Ciao Bella!

    • oh snap- giovanni, you are a horrible person! i actually hope bad things happen to you.

      (great blog, M.E.! charming!)

    • Actually Giovanni is spot on. He’s right. I’m not offended at all, and I agree with him on most parts (except the pancakes bit, because Italian men don’t know what pancakes are.) Thank you, Giovanni (such an original name, I only know about 40 of you named that in my town). Obviously, he’s still raging at his Mom, who didn’t compound the idea of courtesy enough with her steel iron skillet.

    • I didn’t want to dignify your misogynistic drivel with a response, but this opportunity was just too good to pass up. You are clearly another one of those lunatic male supremacists. Please go jump off a bridge. Do the world a favor and spare it from your moronic genes.

  6. Pingback: Misogyny And This Asshole Giovanni From Italy Is Educating Women On Infidelity #yesallwomen | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  7. I had gotten involved with an Italian woman years ago.I’m American and she was shocked that I had never cheated on a girlfriend. Not only that there was no close Mammone with my mother either. She actually had an ally in my mom not an adversary.I didn’t see her as a pair of T & A either. i saw her as a highly intelligent woman. She was attractive but she knew that I liked her personality and her intelligence. I liked her as an equal partner not someone who would be a “younger mother!?” After we broke it off she went back to Italian guys and she seems to have had a rough time of it.Ironically she got married, had kids and got divorced. Not only did he cheat over and over again, his mother got involved in all their arguments. So that bit about the mother-in-law being the catalyst for a divorce is not that irregular at all in Italy’s case.

  8. Pingback: Frequently Asked Questions: Studying, Moving, Working, Loving In Florence, Italy | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  9. Eh Giovanni or whatever your goddamn name is. What has your rambling post got to do with being Italian male? You speak about the experience of being male, but nowhere do you give any kind of explanation as to why Italian men are such wussy, whiny, shouty little mama obssessed asswipes. Why they are completely obssessed with car-sex and anal. Well let me tell you, its because they have tiny dicks relative to the size of their tiny feet. They grow up believing they are Gods gift to women. HA Ha Please! dont make me laugh so hard miget!

  10. I am not sure if people cheat less in North America, but if anything they are significantly less vocal about it. Italians are so damn OPEN – which makes your jaw drop in both awe (at the guts to say it!) and desbelief. I was recently in Florence studying Italian by myself – my hubby stayed home (one of us had to work!), and this is one of the many conversations I had on the subject. This one was with “Piero”, a well educated, seemingly well balanced friend of a friend:

    (until this point we had been talking in Italian about the brain drain in Italy)
    PIERO – You really do look great, can I kiss you?
    ME – Thanks for the offer but I am married
    PIERO – But your husband is not here with you (looks around suspiciously)
    ME – No, but I am still very much married
    PIERO – But, what is one night? You will have fun, I will have fun and then you can just go back to your husband even happier. Everybody wins.
    ME – Yeah, I am not sure that he would see it that way. If you were married, would your wife not care?
    PIERO – I am married, my wife is at home taking care of our one year old. But this is life! One must enjoy life. You cannot spend life miserable!
    ME – (Jaw drops) well that sounds nice, but it is a no for me, a little “misery” has never killed anyone
    PIERO – Well, bella if you change your mind, I am here for when you decide to start enjoying life. (… goes back to complaining about the brain drain)

  11. Just discovered your blog. Love it! I’m married to an Italian man, only he moved here to be with me, I didn’t move there. Love that you have such a humorous take on the culture and seem to take it in stride. I’m hoping you’ll inspire me to be able to do the same.

  12. Meh, here’s my take on GioVanni up there

    He’s probably 40 and still living with mamma while she washes, folds, and puts away his clothes, buys his underwear, and still greets him with “amore di mamma” every morning while making his bed and dusting his throne.

  13. I only know of 1 Italian man who hasn’t cheated, or isn’t cheating on his wife and that’s because his brother got busted bad, is now getting divorced, and paying 900 euros a month in child support for a son he doesn’t get to see. (Italian women know their men are gonig to cheat, but it’s all about that paycheck after they pop out the kids, so they tolerate it, and then play the victim when they “find out” so they can go to tribunale and live the good life the rest of their days….)

    It’s a scam system on both sides. They both get what they deserve. It’s like I keep telling these men, it’s cheaper to get a hooker. And I tell the women, just go to the sperm bank and forgo all the drama.

    • That has been my experience too. Cheating happens everywhere, obviously, but it was so common among F’s friends and colleagues that I started to wonder why anyone ever married to begin with. Really, why bother? Seems like so much work. So much work! Who has time?!

      • Exactly. But you know it’s the “thrill of the chase” for the men, and the “art of the tease, then hook, line, and torture” for the women. But that’s not just Italy, that’s universal.

  14. hahaha thats funny that they still live with there moms..yes they are big players..tjeyll tell you just what you want to hear..and i just cant believe they think cheating is ok?? one asked me if i ever get married that me and him should meet up on me thats morally wrong, but thats how they are i guess.. my personal opinoion is i could never be with an italian man, especially in italy.

  15. I just think they are all selfish, inconsiderate players. They are interested in a woman for a short period of time and then move on to the next. “Sometimes you just have to walk away and let karma take over.”

    • Thank you. This is your point of view.

      Here are some statistics, instead.

      Top 10 highest divorce rate countries:

      1) Belgium: 71%.
      2) Portugal: 68%
      3) Hungary: 67%
      4) Czech Republic: 66%
      5) Spain: 61%
      6) Louxemburg: 60%
      7) Estonia: 58%
      8) Cuba: 56%
      9) France: 55%
      10) USA: 53%

      If it’s really true that all Italian men are interested in a woman for a short period, then why is not Italy one of the countries with highest rate of divorces?

      And there’s also another thing I can’t understand. If it’s true that Italian men are unfaithful betrayers, why is South Italy sadly renowned for feminicides? Here many women even demonstrate to defend their right to break sentimental relationships!

      Abraod the situation must be the opposite, probably because Northenern women are not accostumed to have so many suitors as Italian ones.

      As a consequence, outside Italy it must be more difficult for a woman to find a man interested in her, and once she find him, she hopes to keep him engaged in a long and stable relationship.

      In Italy, instead, for every single woman there are at least 6 or 7 male suitors (it’s mainly due to the flirtatious nature of single Italian men). This brings Italian women to cheat much more than men.

      Italian men,instead, tend to cheat more often when are abroad, because outside Italy the situation gets reverted: I mean that foreign women tend to be more friendly, educated, dehinibited and less aggressive.. something that sounds like the heaven for an Italian man, as he usually deals with too aggressive, rude or complicated women.

      Therefore, only abroad an Italian man can really have female suitors that induce him to cheat, a kind of situation that in Italy generally never happens.

      • Thé divorce rate in Italy is low because it takes a MINIMUM of 3 years separation BEFORE a divorce can even be thought about. By that time, most men are so poor after having spent all their money on a lawyer just to see their kids 1 time in a year, that they end up completely broke and back living with their parents while their wives go on vacation every other month and collect more than fair child support. In other words, “It’s cheaper to keep her.” So that is why the divorce rate is lower in Italy. It’s pure economics….

  16. Hi from Apulia (South Italy). Very sad to hear that so many people abroad distrust Italian men. My experience is that here in Italy (especially in the South) many women drive men crazy with an extremely testosteronic attitidude.
    The proof can be found even on the internet. Italian Facebook communities, for example, are by far the most aggressive against men.
    One of the most infamous is surely this one:'accessorio%20più%20bello%20di%20una%20donna%20?%22

    If anyone think that Italian women are the sweetest and the poorest victims of the worst kind of men, then feel free to translate from google (Italian -> English) the contents found in this page. From translations, you will surely get an endless series of mysandrist insults, curses, sexual allusions etc etc., which just reflects the “delicate” and “sweet” way of speaking of many young Italians (women included).
    Also notice that this page has got about 8000 fans, that is thousands of Italian women agreeing with its contents.
    That’s a clear example of male objectification, a widespread phenomenon that nobody mentions in Italy, being not convenient for the pseudo-feminist Italian movements.
    In fact I assure by experience that If a South Italian man is shy, unattractive and has some esthetical defects, he will experience social emargination and even women’s bullying.
    This happen because the hottest Italian young women from the South often select men on the basis of their latin emotionality (sex appeal, elegance, outspokenness) while they systematically reject the most educated or the ugliest guys, who are obliged to “walk in the dark”, forgotten and totally underrated.

    Therefore, some Italian men like me have finally decided to look after a woman abroad: receiving such a compliment like “sei bella” or “meravigliosa!” may look creepy or pathetic, but believe me that when a man has lived for many years in a country where so many women behave as angry dogs (just read the contents of the page above mentioned and you’ll find out what I mean), it’s natural that sooner or later he will wish to go abroad with the hope to find out some true femininity.

    At the same time, I feel scared and deeply saddened by the prejudice against Italian men eradicated in other countries, so that I wonder if I will be ever able to get engaged with a foreign woman.
    In fact being trusted is – in my opinion – much more important than being considered hot or handsome. But the World stereotype of Italian men portraits them as hot and unreliable.
    And how can one get a stable relationship if is distrusted apriori for a matter of prejudice? Who cares about sex appeal? Many Italian women want sex appeal, but I personally prefer to be considered a trustworthy person, rather than a sexy guido.

    On the other side, I admit that many Italian men (especially Southeners) suffer from narcissistic issues.
    But in my own opinion this is also due to the instinctive and aggressive attitude of Italian women, who – as I said before – seem overly attracted on the most egocentric men just because they look “cool” (here they say “fighi”). As a result of that, nowadays many Italian men – to be appreciated by Italian women – are induced to behave as “narcissist cheaters”.

    This is just one the reasons why I’ve seriously started to dislike many Italian women: on one hand, a lot of them want to be seen as “poor victims” of machoism, on the other side they actually feed the culture of sex, narcissism and rudeness everywhere (included on tv and on the internet), systematically selecting and praising men for their sex appeal (bella figura), and giving in this way a strong contribution to the social alienation of the most sensitive, honest and shy guys, who are forced run away abroad facing the negatve stereotype of the Italian cheater.

  17. Sempre il solito berlusconi, i cui scandali sessuali furono fatti esplodere perché stava contrattando con gheddafi e alla several reserve la cosa non andava giù,. Sfido a trovare un capo di stato che non va a prostitute. La pornografia è nata in usa, guarda caso. Ovviamente non difendo berlusca ci mancherebbe, ma tirare sempre in ballo questo soggetto e prenderlo come esempio dell italiano medio, mi pare eccessivo. Il discorso è uno, in usa c è molto finto puritanesimo, in italia la gente è più spontanea.

  18. An italian boy came to our school as an exchange student. I always thought he was cute but to be honest thought he was kind of gay at first. I now realize maybe the gayish vibe i was getting was his culture. He seems like he sways toward ladys and seems very intriquing. At a volleyball game i seemed to think he might have been flirting with me. At one point during he game we got onto a discussion of culture and he told me and my friend about the air kissing greeting things they do. I was laughing as he was telling us this and then he made the example on me by air kissing both my cheeks. This sparked something in me and now i have kind of a crush on him. I know the air kissing isn’t a flirty thing in italy but i just found it odd that he did it to me and not my firiend. He also kept watching me while i danced at one of our dances. (I have always had a good instinct on if someone liked me.) I have tried flirting with him but i feel like i come off ditzy which is nothing like me. I know i shouldn’t be interested in dating him since he is leaving at the end of the year but i cant help this sort of infatuation i have of him. Any input or yah no just slap me with words and tell me im stupid for even thinking anything could happen…

    • Hmm, well, maybe ask him to go to a movie or something and get to know him a little more. Then you’ll have a better idea if he likes you or not. Italians are very direct do just be direct. Hope this helps honey!

    • Kiara, I don’t know your age, but regardless, I can advise you – don’t waste your time with him. He’s flirting with everyone, and just seeing who takes the bait. If he shows you attention, don’t take it personally. Italians are taught at an early age to flirt, but they don’t get serious until about age 35. So keep your dignity in tact and seek companionship elsewhere. (I live in Italy, and know Italians and Italian culture quite well.)

      Best wishes to you.

  19. I’m with italian 15 years cheated on me with our friend I’ve 6 kids…I truly and still heartbroken he won’t go anywere because of the children he acts like nothing happened evey nite when he puts kids to sleep he goes to her bed whike I cry

    • Sinead, get a divorce, get your child support, and go live your life and be happy. If you’re not married to him, go to court, and get child support for your 6 kids. Then see how much he goes out…..

  20. giovanni is too much cant spell worth shit. italian men are closet queers. the only thing they sell at italian army surplus stores is white flags and running shoes.

    • Oh! I don’t know if all Italian guys like that but having some experience and dates I was so shocked that even wanted to write a post in my blog about that. But I don’t know how to connect it, because I’m an artist so my blog is about art not men. I’ll tell you a little here. Of course I don’t think that all Italian men are bad or cheaters. I met one guy that exactly acts like Giovanni said. But his name is Fabio. I’ve got in real trouble with him. He is not married but he had enormous girls, he broked so many hearts…all this I know from his own words. He is not handsome and even not near to that. But he is very cute and open minded. He has strong attractiveness…we became close very quickly. If I new that moment that I’ve met a real “casanova” I would never continue to date with him. We spent a fantastic month together. Then he said this thing: we becoming very close I don’t want that, so let’s stop for a while. In 5 months I found out that his profile was on all popular online sites such as Okcupid, tinder, badoo. He acted the same with other girls. If I had a possibility I would show somewhere his pics and his Facebook page and his full name. Maybe it could help to other girls avoid him. If it could be some resource that I could do that….Because such men like him must be pointed.

      • Inna, I had the same thing with a man that had the same name. Did he travel for work? What country are you in?

      • Inna I hope my response doesn’t show up 10 times. Trying to comment but it’s not showing. I had same situation with man of same name. What country are you in?

      • Hello Valerie! Your messages came ok don’t worry🙂 I’m from Ukraine but we meet in Italy. His work not connected to travelling, he works at police. But I know that he likes to travel. I also know now that he likes to create relationship with a woman, spend some time with her, and then suddenly leave her. This is his style. He did this way many times already. I saw him at almost popular dating sites such as Okupid, tinder, Badoo. He lives in Milan. I know his sirname, phone, fb, I have pics. But no matter how he acts, I am a polite person so I will not disclose it here. If you want I can send you his photo.

      • Hi Inna. Sadly, it is different men we are talking about. Which means we didn’t ironically date the same guy with awful, disrespectful, childish, selfish manners. Meaning, there is clearly a pattern. The one I knew is from the south, so no difference in ego between the north and south. Men in the US may be blunt or possibly rude when it comes to what they want, or don’t want. But I’d much rather have the truth right from the start, so I can make a decision on whether I want to continue. The adult child I dealt with from Italy never gave me the choice, as I didn’t know what his intentions were til after….when I discovered lies, deceit, cheating, etc. Nothing was true and as he was in his late 30s, I’m appalled, embarrassed and downright furious at the way I was treated. I had a feeling, but I don’t want to react in a jaded manner. Well, I hate to say it, but my family and friends now have nothing but negative feelings towards Italy and Italians.

        My father was a little racist towards African-Americans. Later on in life I asked him why. He told me he never had any issues with them. His issues started when they treated him negatively, thus sadly creating a dislike for their race. He didn’t just decide one day that he wasn’t going to like them anymore. They created that dichotomy.

  21. l don’t believe these cliches about italian men have borned out of nothing. On the other hand there’s umore in this, but then the stories of cheated wifes make you think how wrong it is.
    l like italian language and many other things in italy, but it’s sad to hear about their childness, disonest over and over again. l’m sorry italians but these problems also come to light in your politics, corruption and all. Grow up in these things,please.

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