Dina Matos McGreevey, the ex-wife of former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, has an interesting Op-Ed piece in the NYT about Silda Spitzer and the decision to stand by her betrayer in a public forum.
Every time this happens, and the longer I’m married, the more outraged I get. Kick the bastard out, I think. He’s dishonored the sacred promises of marriage. Don’t stand by him, I think– he’s already failed you past the point of forgiveness. Or at least I think that’s how I would feel.
While we can never know what goes on within a marriage, I wonder if there aren’t really some absolutes that any one can agree frame this problem. No one is “driven” to philander, no matter how difficult their partner may be, and I am sure that the urge to philander usually comes from within, and not as a reaction to something “wrong” with the partner. No one holds a gun to your head– there are other choices. No matter the inter-personal troubles, the decision to break faith is one that is consciously made, and one that is and can be set aside until all other attempts to repair the relationship or one’s own psyche have failed, and the marriage is over, broken, and acknowledged by both parties. (Unpleasant truths are still truths, and thus a solid basis for action.)
I have had and continue to have problems with Hillary Clinton for precisely these reasons. I just don’t understand why she sacrificed her pride, her dignity, to stay with that womanizer. I worry what else she will compromise, and what she will deem sufficient reward for her compromise. It is possible that she loves and forgave him– but I find it hard to believe, given the sheer volume of his antics before the Lewinsky debacle. And the compromise of values so intimate, so central to one’s well being, troubles me deeply. I just don’t think he was worth standing by, political accomplishments notwithstanding. You want an open relationship? Fine– I really don’t care, so long as you keep your actions from hurting others. But that’s not a marriage– a marriage is two people, committed to one another, exclusively. Calling tolerated unfaithfulness “marriage” insults the work that I do with my partner to be honest, faithful, and careful with someone else’s heart.
I guess inside this registered democrat lies a little Dr. Laura. Okay, comment away. I know that you will direct all flames to moi, and not to your fellow gentle readers. I have such excellent and wicked smaht readers.