Steven Waldman

“This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”
–Mark Sanford

Several women friends have told me that they had more sympathy with South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford than other philandering politicians because he seemed to be truly in love with the Argentinian woman. At least he wasn’t using women, the argument goes. He just got hit by Cupid’s arrow. It’s not to be condoned but it least its better than a one night stand, a hooker or an intern.
I don’t get this. For the most part, the main victim of adultery is not the mistress, it’s the wife. And the wife is just as victimized if the husband is in love with another woman as when it’s a “simple affair.”
In fact, I would think the wife would feel more crushed by a husband developing a passionate, ongoing relationship with another woman than if he’d had superficial sex. A full relationship with a new “soul mate” — as Sanford calls his lover — feels like a deeper betrayal of trust, and a more profound rejection of the wife.
I’m certainly not condoning the one-night-stand for married men but I don’t understand why Sanford gets extra sympathy for being in love.
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