Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Is Adultery More Acceptable If You’re In Love With Your Mistress?

“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.
sanford family.jpg

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the other steve

posted July 1, 2009 at 10:39 am

Because it is a profound violation of your word …
doing such a thing for trivial reasons is MUCH worse than doing it for a reason which is wrong but important.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 11:03 am

On tope of it, he humiliated the mother of his children by saying he didn’t love…and that he went to his mistress on one knee to see if they could work it out and now he could die happy
It’s abusive on top of sinful – don’t you have to be sorry for the sin- not that you got caught

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natral rivers

posted July 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Regardless of what happen, at the end of the day, sin is sin! This include me, its time to humble ourselves before god does it!

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posted July 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm

The fact that love was involved makes the “adultery” even worse in my mind. Purely physical affairs are not as damaging as “emotional” affairs – i.e. those that involve emotional attachment.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Adultery is not more acceptable if you love your mistress OR even you you’ve got Jesus in your heart.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Love takes time to develop…it wouldn’t of happened if at the first he had kept his distance in regards to his relationship to this woman when he felt attraction and temptation—as his vows and honor urge him too (to forsake all others). And while I understand that being married does not mean you suddenly will never feel physical or emotional attraction to another person ever again, he certainly could of controlled whether or not he acted on the attraction. He choose not to and injured his wife, children, and career because of it. Bravo.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Who really cares if he “loves” her or not. He cheated on is wife, and if I were her…he’d be out on his butt. Why would a woman want to stay in a marriage when the husband says he doesn’t love her? The kids, as happens many times in divorce, are the ones who suffer. He has 4 beautiful boys…what a great example for them. No point in even trying to “stay together for the kids”…they know what’s going on and it would be of no benefit…
For one who was condemning of other politicians and their extra-marital affairs and how it was “sinful” (man! that covers a ton of thins for Chistians!), Sanford proves yet again that a religion (in this case Chrisianity) means nothing if you “love” your mistress!!!

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posted July 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I think Stanford telling the media that it was a love affair demonstrates his total disregard for his wife and family.
As a woman, it would hurt more to know he loved the other woman.
If I were his wife, I would feel he only wants to save the marriage for political reasons. I would not want to continue a marriage with a man that is staying because it is the “right” thing to do.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm

There are a lot of them out there just check out

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Jean Kelley

posted July 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Yes, bravo indeed. The concept of soul mate is flawed in my view. It embodies the expectation that another human being can fill your soul and make you a whole person. Where is God when your soul is filled by another human being? Mr. Sanford is lost. I hope whatever the outcome of his marriage and career that he sees the folly of this concept. I’m married and part of our commitment is the recognition that it would be a burden to expect our partner to fullfill our every need.

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posted July 1, 2009 at 11:30 pm

What a pig this man is.
No, adultery is not better when ‘love’ is involved.
Remind me again why my monogamous, faithful and loving relationship of 24 years is a ‘threat’ to straights, but this pig can cheat on his wife, abuse his children and all he need say is: “Ah have disappointed my family and voters and repent my sins” and all is hunky-dorky.
I hope his wife kicks his ass to the kerb. If the voters are too dumb to figure out he’s playing them, well, that’s their problem.
As for the ‘other woman’, well, honey – if he was willing to cheat on his wife, the mother of his four children, for you, he’ll cheat on you at the drop of a hat. Oh, right, how forgetful of me: He already has.

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Cassie C

posted July 2, 2009 at 3:37 am

First of all, Panthera- don’t say he abused his children. There’s no evidence of that and saying so is libel.
Furthermore, I agree that the wife likely doesn’t hurt any less when it’s love. But most people have been in love, and they understand its pull and how easily one can make mistakes in the name of love. The rather lopsided condition love puts you in renders you a more sympathetic figure to lots of people and understandably so. It would also seem to most of us that love is a more pure and noble emotion than simple lust, which motivates most adultery. For me personally, the whole love thing makes Sanford seem more human, and more complex and sensitive than a run-of-the-mill philanderer. I sympathize with his being in the throes of forbidden love.
That being said, it is irritating that he tries to slightly justify his actions by invoking love and yet, from what I’ve heard anyway, doesn’t seem willing to extend the same understanding to people in same-sex relationships.

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posted July 2, 2009 at 3:55 am

Cassie C: There are more ways to abuse children than doing it physically. Deserting them on Father’s Day to be with your mistress is one of them.

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posted July 2, 2009 at 8:34 am

Cassie C,
I say it again: He abused and is abusing his wife and his children.
Emotional abuse and spiritual abuse are devastating to a family.
Who cares how many women this pig loves so much he has to have “sex, short of going all the way with”, the issue at hand is whether such behavior is abusive or not.
I say it is.
A gentleman would have kept his vows – you know, the ones about honoring and forsaking others.
After years of heaping insult upon my SSM as a “threat” to heterosexual marriage my patience with such as Sanford is null.
Saying in public that one of the many women you are having sex with is your “soulmate” is not abuse?
These four boys who had to read and view their father’s statements (his many, detailed statements including his sexual predilections) are now in the middle of a family drama.
Their loyalties torn, their safety in a caring, nurturing family gone.
These are little boys, what on earth will this do to their emotional health except to abuse it?

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posted July 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Panthera, I understand where you’re coming from with the abuse accusation. He is certainly mentally/emotionally abusing his children by being unfaithful to his wife and because of that, his children. They are old enough to understand what is happening and I feel for them as well as his wife. Hopefully she will start divorce proceedings and because of his neglect of the state in his job as governor, he ought to resign, and slink into the background. I expect his political career is over. He is a total jerk.

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posted July 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

The greatest fallacy I see in the “well, he was in love” excuse is the idea that love is a random force that strikes or retreats with no human control. I wish our language said “run into love” or “walk into love” rather than “fall in love”. If a married man “falls” in love with another woman, it means he took steps to follow up on an initial sexual attraction. He certainly talked to the woman, went places with her, built a relationship as part of that process. And if he “falls out of love” with his wife, similar steps of working long hours, avoiding time alone, certainly took place. These steps may be slow and gradual, and therefore be easy mistakes to make than procuring a one-night stand. The actions are not blameless, though. And their consequences are the same.

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Your Name

posted July 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm

The Argentina woman Sanford was cheating with was also cheating on Sanford. She had a boyfriend the entire time. The boyfriend was probably cheating on the Argentine woman too. The only question left is whether Sanford’s wife was also seeing any other men.
Maybe it’s all better if they all loved each other.

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posted July 16, 2009 at 4:17 am

It is all about how you spin hypocrisy!
July 2, 2009 6:20 PM
The greatest fallacy I see in the “well, he was in love” excuse is the idea that love is a random force that strikes or retreats with no human control
There is no fallacy. There is no love, only lust! Love either is a random force or it is a non-existent, yet perceived to exist abstract virtue.
Anyone who has been married more than once can explain how they fall in “love” twice.

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posted August 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm

everything becomes abuse with women. at the end of the day, the fact is that it takes two to make a marriage fail. marriage vows go…till death do us part, there is also the cherish and love component to it. many women are not taking care of that part and then are surprised when the husband goes out and look for it somewhere else.

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posted August 16, 2014 at 11:15 am

Many seem to think that sex comes first before falling in love. Is it possible for two people to fall in love before sex? This may be irrelevant to Sanford, but does anyone ever consider that a friendship between a man and woman can can turn to such a powerful love that it could lead to adultery. And so much more difficult when both know what is right in the eyes of God but also have found a peace and unconditional love in one another. One individual commented on how a marriage takes two, and when the wife no longer appreciates her husband, pits her children against him, deprives him of the marriage bed (for almost 15 years), is disrespectful to her husband in front of her children, constantly raises her voice to him and there is no peace, how does the marriage survive with only one partner, the husband, trying. Without seeking love or an affair, a friendship that existed changed. The woman is as much to blame as the man for she knows what she is doing to the wife, but the love is insurmountable. She sees what the wife is doing to the husband, how she is destroying him as a man. Is it more the woman’s fault for comforting the man and placing him in that position. A position of providing him with a caring and loving connection he hasn’t known even before his marriage and that is certainly absent in his life now. The woman did not intend for love or an affair but has a compassionate nature for all of her friends. But for these two unconditional love develops which both tried to fight but could not. And now the right thing to do is walk away and both can’t because it feels like dying, even though they know what’s right. How do you do it?

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