This headline from MSNBC this morning is just embarrassing:
“You have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses.”
The article goes on to reveal the “salacious” details of email exchanges between Governor Mark Sanford and his Argentine mistress. Except it’s not really like that; it’s kind of a sad little tale of someone who has clearly fallen in love. The tone of the emails is romantic and yearning – I half expect these two to have written poetry to each other.
What a disaster. From a political perspective, this is probably the end for the eccentric, conservative governor from South Carolina. Being a Democrat, I’m just as happy to have a Republican presidential hopeful out of the field of competitors. But on a human level, I feel a little bad for the guy. You have to have some pretty extreme emotions to think that as the governor of a state it’s worth the risk of jetting off to frigging ARGENTINA for a week, without telling anyone where you’re going, to be with/break up with your Argentine lover. I’m sure he didn’t expect to find himself in such a situation. But here in the good ol’ United States of America, if you want to be a politician you have to be a little more careful to hide your peccadilloes from the world.
But now he’s learning, if he didn’t already know, that nothing good ever comes from cheating on your spouse. It’s hard to know whether you are following your heart or if you are blinded by infatuation and lust; you can only learn that in the aftermath of your destruction. Because destruction is what happens, isn’t it? Mr. Sanford says he is trying to work things out with his wife, and maybe he will. But this is a pretty bitter pill for her to have to swallow; particularly as it is played out in public complete with the script of her husband’s loving words to another woman. Not to mention the likely end of his political career. That’s a pretty big price to pay for one’s love, or lust, when with a little restraint he could have handled it a lot differently.
Back in my pre-marriage days, I learned a little something about cheating that after a lot of self-examination has crystallized into a strict but easily observed policy of "not for me, thanks."
1. People don’t cheat when they are happy at home. I really don’t think that someone new can just waltz into your life and you are suddenly, magically in love if you are truly committed to someone else. Don’t pretend “this just happened.”
2. If you meet someone to whom you feel a magnetic attraction, force yourself to think before you leap. You’re an adult, you do have that capacity. If you still want to act on your feelings, then you need to end the relationship you are in first. Don’t ever think you can have it both ways, because you can’t. The person you are about to betray will find out, probably because you are going to feel compelled to unload your own guilt by telling them yourself. Then this person who you have loved and who loves you is going to feel that much worse than they would if you had just had the decency to admit you weren’t happy and wanted to end the relationship. And if you are thinking you can just keep it secret and when it’s over you can get back to your real life, well, then… yuck. You’re deluding yourself, on purpose.
Cheating on a spouse isn't for me. The repercussions are just too huge and lousy. Not to mention that if I really wanted to cheat with anyone, it would be my husband; I’ve never met anyone before who was the whole package the way he is. I feel pretty lucky to be able to say that.