What he does is awful. By any definition. No wiggle room. I'm not defending the character, only Letts' orchestration of how these particular women turn up. And he pays. Deservedly.
It's critical to note: neither woman puts up with him, ultimately. That's a powerful point of the play, too, and I found it interesting that Brantley was on the fence about the entire piece until late. In truth, I was, too. As my original post(s) voiced last weekend. I loathed the start of the play, and gasped with everyone else when the character erred, erred again, and then faced consequences. It's the consequences that make this story the un-Neil Simon, as Brantley amplified.