It keeps happening!

Congressmen, senators, governors, presidents, mayors—politicians at all levels continue to behave in reckless, shameless ways with impunity!  It’s as if they think they are entitled to behave this way, and wreak havoc on the lives of their wives, their children and their constituents.

What is going on here?

The newest name on this long list of politicians is South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.  Not only is Sanford the sitting Governor, there was lots of buzz about him being a 2012 presidential contender.  What is that driving force inside that causes a man to betray his wife, damage the trust of the electorate and destroy his career?

And then there is Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) another 2012 presidential contender who has been having an affair with his campaign aide; Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) whose telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the "D.C. Madam"; and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate and led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.  At the same time, he was having an affair with Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide, while he was married to his second wife.  Gingrich and Bisek are now married.

Representative Gary Condit (D-CA) had been involved with Chandra Levy, an intern who was murdered.  Though Condit’s wife has stood by him and they are still married, his political career imploded and he is out of politics forever.

And remember one-time Democratic presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Gary Hart?  As if having an affair isn’t bad enough, Edwards had the audacity to have an affair with Rielle Hunter at time his wife was battling cancer.  And Gary Hart’s notorious fling with Donna Rice in 1987 ended his bid for the White House and his political life.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, father of three teenagers and also a rising star in the Democratic party destroyed his marriage, and his political career for far less than Sanford’s deep and abiding love for his Argentinean soul mate.

And let’s not forget former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey who left office after disclosing a gay affair, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who is now married to the woman he had an affair with; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who destroyed his 20-year marriage by “being in a relationship” with Mirthala Salinas, a reporter who covered the Mayor for Telemundo; and the current New York Gov. David Paterson who ended his affair and is rebuilding his marriage with Mrs. Paterson.

The late Dr. Shirley Glass, author of "Not Just Friends: Protect Your Relationship from Infidelity and Heal the Trauma of Betrayal" was the pre-eminent authority on affairs; and Dr. Glass used to say that good people have affairs.

Dr. Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University said that many politicians are what he calls Type T personalities, with T standing for thrill-seeking.  “Politics is an uncertain business,” he said.  “You’re at the whim of the electorate.  There’s no tenure.  It’s often hard to know what the criteria for success are.  It’s either all or nothing—you either win or you lose.  And so it inspires a risk-taking person to go into that line of work.  But on the public side, they’re supposed to show stability and responsibility, and so this risky nature may show itself more on the private side.”

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, an adjunct professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University’s Teachers College, said “sex and power are extremely connected, because they’re basically an expression of this huge energy that these people have.”

According to Peggy Vaughan, author of the book The Monogamy Myth, "60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage."  That’s half of us.

So it sounds like these politicians are holding up the proverbial mirror for all of us to see the shadow part of ourselves, the risks that are related to our humanity, and the pot-holes that lie along the path that we walk through our lives.

Let’s heed the warnings that are right in front of us, and get to work on creating the life and the love life that matches our most ardent hope for ourselves.

Love is NOT enough.  We know that, after all.  It is our responsibility and our legacy to learn and practice the essential relationship success skills and be our best and most brilliant, passionate selves in the presence of each other.

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

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