Mark Sanford’s interesting emotional state
lengthy interview with the AP, the South Carolina governor says
that his Argentinian mistress is his “soul mate” (he will die “knowing that I had met my soul mate”), while he also says that he wants to reconcile with his wife. But having declared before the world that he loves another woman and will love her until death, how does he imagine that a reconciliation with his wife is possible?
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A reader writes:
Soulmate, shmoulmate. I went through a similar revelation with my wife over 10 years ago. At the time my marriage was not in the best of health and I had convinced myself that I had met my soulmate, whom I wished I had married. To make a long story short, I endured the mid-life crisis, kept my hands to myself, resolved to stay with my wife, and fell in love with her all over again. What happened to the “soulmate?” She revealed herself to be a rudderless, “loose” woman lacking both judgment and morals. Praise the Lord for providing the wisdom and grace that allowed me to make the right choice.
Terry Morris writes:
Okay, this guy’s really starting to aggravate me now. I had kind of sympathized with him given that we’re all, as imperfect human beings, susceptible to fall into sin and temptation. That’s the reason the Proverbs teach us to run the other way when the temptress comes. But anyway, why is he making these emotionalisms public? These are private matters, and you need to keep them to yourself, Governor. Besides, this is all going to pass eventually and you’re going to be left looking like a damn blubbering idiot.
Sage McLaughlin writes:
Is it just me or is there something really cloying about a grown man saying the words, “I met my soul mate?” Does he live in an e-Harmony ad or something? In my experience, men simply don’t speak this way unless they’re trying to impress a woman with how “deep” his emotions really run. It’s junior high baby talk coming from a sitting governor, and it just turns my stomach.
This is as unseemly a spectacle as I’ve seen since the Lewinsky days.
I don’t think anyone’s ever seen a man with such a need to expose his private feelings in public as Sanford. It is odd.
Carol Iannone writes:
Good point, and if she’s his soulmate, why did he have to have sex with her?
Laura W. (Laura Wood, here’s her blog
Sanford has lost his sons forever. He’s in the wilderness now.
Would you like to expand on this?
It’s one thing to have an extramarital affair. That’s bad. But to proclaim before the world that you have found your soul mate, which is the same as saying that your wife is not your soul mate, is so disrespectful of the wife and so effeminate. Children of adulterous parents instinctively tend to side with the parent who has been deceived. In a case so public as this, his sons can’t help but feel this in a magnified way. They will never be able to feel a strong bond with him again. He is Anna Karenina, but a man! He will lose everything—or at least everything important.
Yes. It’s hard to imagine a man telling the AP—the AP!—that a woman he is having an adulterous affair with is his soul mate. But Sanford did it. You’re right. He is a male Anna Karenina.
I really appreciate what your unnamed reader said. Yes, many of us who are married struggle with what Sanford found himself facing, namely an unlawful obsession fueled in part by dissatisfaction with one’s own marriage. One popular Christian writer said, “We all experience buyer’s remorse at some point.” But we have to get a grip, resist temptation, and commit to making the marriage work. All the marriage books tell you that love is a choice, not a feeling, that it takes work. No, it’s not easy, but dividends can pay off, with God’s grace, and I’m very happy your reader found that out.
There’s so much more that could be said, but just to appeal to Sanford’s self-interest, I’d just note two points: (1) his Argentinian soul mate will surely find another, younger man in time (and then he’ll look like an even bigger idiot); and (2) he could do MUCH worse than the current (and still) Mrs. Sanford. From all appearances, and based on her quotes, she seems like an excellent woman.
I wanted to say to the unnamed reader that that was a great story he told. This is the kind of message that the world needs to hear.
Stephen T. writes:
I hate to be so carnal, but has anyone seen any photos of Sanford’s significant spiritual other yet? I’m not talking about Kurlean images of her aura, either. I mean full-figure, front, back and silhouette, perhaps attired in the more tight-fitting and revealing styles they favor down there. I have a vague suspicion that, once such pictures finally come out, the basis for this woman’s highly-developed, irresistible “soul mate” status may become more apparent to those of us with insight of the less lofty, non-transcendent variety.
I just saw a
picture of her at Time, it’s the first of a series of pages showing “the ten top mistresses.”
It’s not a very complimentary photo. Her most notable feature is that she has thick, dark eyebrows. She does not appear to be a great beauty, so it seems that Stephen’s guess is not panning out.
Stephen’s theory also seems not to apply to Rielle Hunter, the woman John Edwards fell for (number two in the series). Edwards is, whatever we think of him, good looking, if in a chipmunky sort of way, as well as wealthy and famous. Yet the woman for whom he threw it all away is anything but a beauty; she is markedly plain. What this suggests is that it is precisely some quality of personality in these women (dare I say soul?) that created the great attraction, not physical looks alone.
Kidist Paulos Asrat writes:
According to Elizabeth Edwards, as told by her husband (Elizabeth was interviewed either on Oprah or The View, the YouTube videos are all over the place—oh, it was both), Rielle Hunter came on to Edwards outside some hotel Edwards was staying in and said to him “You are so hot.” So, I think the attraction was vanity on Edwards’s part, who I always felt thought a little too much of himself. I’m not sure of the validity of this story, but Edwards has not denied it yet.
As for the Argentinian woman, here is a video of her (apparently she was a journalist during the 9/11 bombings and in New York). I think she is indeed pretty, eyebrows notwithstanding. The photo (blown up from the video) doesn’t do her credit. I think she even looks a little like Sanford’s wife. I won’t make further comments, since the comments so far are so good.
Here’s the thing about marriage: It’s not about you. In fact, the longer you go on in life, the more you figure out that nothing is about you. Life is not a movie about you, wherein you ought to be able to enjoy a happy ending. It is a wilderness, and the one certain thing about it is that it will end badly for you. If you go on thinking that the point of your marriage—or of anything else in this world, whatsoever—is to make you happy, then you will certainly be unhappy. That’s because nothing in this world, including any marriage or “soul mate,” however good they may truly be, can make a person happy for very long. Love is properly directed to the service, not of the self, but of the beloved. Ditto for marriage; ditto for life. The only way to be happy for very long in this world is to surrender oneself (in fact, that’s the only true way to be oneself, but that’s a tangent).
Sanford is obsessed with his disgusting little obsessions and his disgusting little self. The reason this is so repellent to observers is that grown up men are supposed to be beyond that sort of thing. Real men know that, not only is nothing in the world about them, even they themselves are not about them. Men, rather, know that they are about something that far transcends their own petty desires. Thus in the final analysis, manhood is the willingness to die for the sake of a transcendent good: God, the fatherland, the tribe, one’s children—aye, and one’s wife. It is about getting over the precious little self, and doing one’s duty even unto death. For in this battle you will, certainly, fall; the only question is whether your conduct will be found to have been noble, or base.
As Governor, Sanford occupies an office properly reserved for archetypal men, men whom other men recognize as supremely excellent in the self-sacrificial virtues of manhood. The offense of his self-absorption is therefore doubled. He should get over himself, stop whining and get on with his duty. In Japan, his manly duty at this stage of the game would be to commit seppuku. In our culture, he has the option of resigning worldly life and entering a seminary or monastery.
The news is jammed with people who think it—name any “it” you like—is all about them. The news has always been full of such people, because they tend to get in trouble in a newsworthy way. The news this week gives us Michael Jackson and Mark Sanford. Eww!
Leonard D. writes:
I think Belen Chapur is quite pretty. You can find video of her at youtube now, reporting on 9/11 just after it. If you watch the video, I bet you’ll be struck, as I was, by the contrast in seriousness between the subject matter (mass murder) and the reason you’re watching (to check out this chick).
I affirm the reactions that your other correspondents have had: why is this guy talking about it this stuff at all? And in so much detail? And not is only “soul mate” cloying, but since when did conservatives accept this idea? Sanford is a conservative, no? (Or am I mistaken in thinking that “soul mate” is a concept emanating from the mystical irrational counterculture?)
I didn’t realize that the concept of soul mate was either liberal or conservative. If there are liberal versus conservative issues here, that is, self-expansion versus self-restraint, they are Sanford’s public trampling on his marriage, and his public discussion of romantic and sexual feelings that ought to remain private.
Paul V. writes:
Sanford is obviously not over it, and these public declarations of love are simply his way of communicating that to her without, possibly, violating some agreement to break off all contact. It may not be as immortal as Romeo and Juliet, but I’m sure it will find a place in some textbook or other.
Mark Sanford’s continual comments seem puzzling to many, especially his previous supporters.
In my (totally unqualified, non-professional) opinion, he seems to be seeking catharsis. While private catharsis is valuable, Mr. Sanford lives in the public realm. Rather than keeping his personal life personal, he has chosen to make it public.
This follows a trend I’ve seen happening over the decades. Where in the past it was respected to keep personal matters personal, it is now heralded as the best in human interaction to air all possible problems and aberrations to anyone and everyone.
How bizarre! Do we all really think we should have a seat at everyone’s dinner table or be a fly in their bedroom? I suppose the popularity of numerous TV shows says yes.
What Sanford seems oblivious to is that his public catharsis is taking his family on a journey not of their choosing, with details that should, at the least, remain private. To paraphrase an earlier comment by Kristor—Mark, it’s not all about you. Is the word self-centered or even narcissist appropriate here?
Liberals may find this liberating. Conservatives are puzzled.
At the risk of being jumped on (probably deservedly), this is one example in favor of pre-marital affairs. By the time you are married and have reached his age you will through direct experience have out grown such sentimental sloppiness and be more firmly anchored in reality.
Ron K. writes:
Your commenters kept referring to Gov. Sandford’s self-absorption and narcissism. I would call it “marital solipsism.”
They might like to know that even this kind of affair has its love song, and should enjoy this video by the satirical group Sparks.
A more intelligible version is here.
I wouldn’t spend any energy analyzing it; simply revel in its sheer goofiness.
Sparks also did a tune called “Ugly Guys with Beautiful Girls.” Perhaps they might redo it as “Ugly Girls with Beautiful Governors.”
In reply to Fergie -
I will not jump on you.
My opinion is that pre-marital affairs, or even living together before marriage, is no guarantee of marital happiness or longevity.
I also think that “sentimental sloppiness” is a good thing to foster and maintain in a marriage.
But, then again, hey, what do I know; except that there is no magic formula.
“At the risk of being jumped on (probably deservedly), this is one example in favor of pre-marital affairs. By the time you are married and have reached his age you will through direct experience have out grown such sentimental sloppiness and be more firmly anchored in reality.”
Fergie, you’re simply passing off in logical-sounding words the whole “sowing-you-wild-oats” myth. The idea that having multiple sexual relationships while young will help you get something out of your system that needs getting out, and will lead you to experience a more stable and contented life afterward, is flat-out false. Rather, such a lifestyle creates a set of expectations—and frustratingly vivid memories—that will cause those who find themselves in the humdrum of a marital relationship (with all that that entails) to pine longingly for the old days, when they had what now seems like not a care in the world; when it was, to paraphrase Kristor’s term, “all about them.” And, in the absence of strong character, determination and/or fear of God, many will succumb.
By the way, I’m not sure if you’re male or female, but your view suggests naivete regarding the male libido. It is never satisfied, only temporarily pacified, and that not for long. I’ll use an extreme example: take someone like rock star Gene Simmons, who slept with thousands of women, and finally seemed to settle down in some sort of relationship with a former sex goddess, who still keeps herself pretty well, bears his children, plays along with him and caters to his every urge … and still it’s not enough. Now 60, never really attractive, but well past his prime physically, he still needs more, needs the variety, needs the change, of someone else.
Granted, Sanford is not Simmons, but if you think my example is based on an aberration, it is only in degree, not in kind. Pre-marital or non-marital sexual encounters will do absolutely nothing to anchor a man to one woman in a life-long commitment. They need to discover what Sanford has not yet discovered, that it’s not all about them. Sanford better discover it quick.
Finally, Anna brought up the issue of co-habitation prior to marriage, and opined that it’s no guarantee of success. Actually, the statistics back up her opinion, since multiple studies have shown that couples who live together prior to marriage are more likely to get divorced.
So much for hunches that sound logical, but are nothing more than liberal wishful thinking.
“Rather, such a lifestyle creates a set of expectations—and frustratingly vivid memories-“
Not in my case and yes I am male. Rather it showed me that sexual adventure was not what it was put up to be, and that I am poorly suited for living with a woman. It also showed me that soul mates aren’t, and that when you think you are at the bright, white, center of the universe, you aren’t. Maybe I should not have had to learn these things, but I did, as do many others. As an aside, both of my younger nieces lived with their current (and only) husbands before they were married and the youngest had a child before they married. The baby was held by her mother during the ceremony. Both have large rich families and seem as content as any I know. Their older sister also lived with her now former husband before marriage so I guess we are making the national average. She too has wonderful children and they have an excellent relationship with their dad. Their mom is now a minister. It all sounds crazy but in fact works as well as any I know.
This said I do not think that pre-marital sex is the answer to our problems per say, only that some things can be learned from it and some people can move on from it to better things. Also, I cannot agree that sentimental sloppiness is a good thing.
“Not in my case and yes I am male. Rather it showed me that sexual adventure was not what it was put up to be, and that I am poorly suited for living with a woman.”
Thanks for the clarification. Can you spare one more—because I’m not following your second sentence above? Are you saying that your non-marital sexual adventurism showed you that you weren’t cut out for marriage—or just co-habitation? Based on your previous post, I had thought you were writing from the perspective of a married person. Can you elaborate?
“As an aside, both of my younger nieces lived with their current (and only) husbands before they were married and the youngest had a child before they married. The baby was held by her mother during the ceremony. Both have large rich families and seem as content as any I know.”
Anecdotal evidence is one thing, but actual statistics defy the presumption that that if you can survive the trial run of co-habitation, you’ll more than likely do well in marriage. In fact, according to the data, the reality is you’ll be less likely to stay married than those who married without first living together. Admittedly, this may be due to a variety of factors, but these are themselves related to the liberalism that leads to co-habitation in the first place (i.e., those who co-habit are already showing they are not conservatives in the moral sense, so marriage isn’t likely to mean as much to them once they do tie the knot).
“Their older sister also lived with her now former husband before marriage so I guess we are making the national average. She too has wonderful children and they have an excellent relationship with their dad. Their mom is now a minister. It all sounds crazy but in fact works as well as any I know.”
You’re right, it does sound crazy. Your very language reflects just how crazy it is. I can’t tell who you’re referring to when you say “their mom.” Is this the biological mother? Or is it the father’s new wife? I suppose it doesn’t matter either way, since the overall picture you’re painting is one of naked liberalism. Only liberal churches ordain women as ministers in the first place, in defiance of the explicitly-stated doctrines of the New Testament, which is foundational to the faith they’re pretending to uphold. So, we’re dealing with people who, however nice and friendly and cultured and peaceable they may be, are front-line soldiers in the war on traditional morality. They have no respect for institutions that are greater than themselves, and their children will likely be carrying the ball forward, uninhibited by other aspects of the same Judeo-Christian morality that has already been deeply undermined by their parents’ actions. And you’re cool with this?
“This said I do not think that pre-marital sex is the answer to our problems per say, only that some things can be learned from it and some people can move on from it to better things. Also, I cannot agree that sentimental sloppiness is a good thing.”
I think that last comment is directed to Anna, so I’ll let her respond if she wishes. However, I’m pretty sure what got Sanford in bed with his mistress had nothing to do with sentimentality. He gave in to lust, pure and simple. The “sentimental sloppiness” he’s since exhibited is all retrospective self-justification. Surely you don’t think otherwise?
Stephen T. writes:
I saw a documentary about rock stars. British ones, actually: Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, et al. I was impressed by how often they referred to their women of the moment as “soul mates.” The term must have been mentioned four or five separate times. What struck me was that every time one of these wealthy, famous guys randomly happened upon his eternal spiritual mate, out of all possible “souls” on the non-physical astral plane, she INEVITABLY turned out to be a stunningly sexy supermodel. It was never, say, the soul of a matronly librarian who lived with her mother. It seemed to defy the law of probabilities. Go figure. So that’s why I guessed that Stanford’s Latina lover would be a hot babe of some ilk.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 01, 2009 09:08 AM | Send