Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer example brings out one's worst fears

It was hard to miss the news yesterday: Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, the former attorney general known as "Elliot Ness" and "Mr. Clean," is accused of shelling out big bucks for a high-priced call girl.

We followed the case in the newsroom, of course. As I watched the governor's brief news conference I couldn't contain my disdain. "No way would I be up there with him!" I near-shouted as Silda Spitzer stood, eyes downcast, at her husband's side. I continued with a few choice words I can't repeat here -- enough for one of my co-workers to pause and look up at me. "Why are you so upset?" he asked.

I opened my mouth to answer, but nothing came out. I couldn't encapsulate my feelings. But I've had some time to think about it, and here's why.

Because the Spitzer scandal crystallizes my deepest fear: That I will entrust a man with my heart and build a life with him. And he will betray me.

We don't know the ins and outs of Eliot and Silda Spitzer's 20-plus years together, nor should we. But this mess has made some aspects clear. The news that Eliot Spitzer might be a prostitution ring "john" came as a complete shock to those who know him. During the coverage I heard the couple described as having "a warm, loving relationship," "a real marriage, not a fake marriage." And yet, if the accusations are true, Spitzer spent thousands of dollars for sex ... and was a repeat customer. For a man with his reputation, this scandal is a spectacular act of self-destruction. His actions were not only enough to torpedo his marriage, but his career.

is going on with him -- and judging from the dazed look on his wife's face at that news conference, he's kept her in the dark about it.

That's what I fear.

To me, marriage is a partnership of equals and best friends. While I wouldn't expect my husband to tell me every little thing in his mind, I would expect him to tell me if he is troubled, or if he has some need that is not being met in our relationship. The thought that my husband would, using the Spitzer example, pay for sex and then continue in our marriage ... I don't know what would hurt more -- the infidelity, or finding out something has gone so irreparably wrong that the infidelity is the outcome. To not be given the chance to fix the problem, or barring that, given the option to end on a respectful note.

To not be trusted with the truth.


Anonymous said...

Well put! And the other thing that I find horrible, as a woman, is that these politicos ALWAYS have their faithful wives standing by their sides, at a time when the wives should be allowed to retire to their homes and deal with their shock. The wife is there to show that she's OK with it, and you just know that she's not, no one could be. Mr. Spitzer said in his comments that he apologized first to his family, but he was looking at the camera and his notes, NOT at his wife.

Anonymous said...

I think if I was married to Spitzer, he would've been up there alone... and with a black eye, bloody lip and a patch of hair missing from his head... he would've made a fool of me, so I would've made a fool of him...

Anonymous said...

Does the idea of a prostitute make it more humiliating? Or not? I wonder. The threat of abandonment isn't there with a prostitute (he's not going to fall in love and leave his wife.) Certainly, if he just had a torrid affair with a neighbor, it would never had made news and the wife would have been spared publicity.

It seems like Spitzer has his problems -- because going to a prostitute and handing out big cash is gonna catch up with you when you are a nationwide public figure.

Anonymous said...

whether cases like these happen to celebrities and politicians, or to friends and relatives - our first reaction is outrage, maybe with some fantasies of revenge thrown in.

but once that initial reaction has time to subside, we have to realize that we can not control the people around us and their actions. people do stupid things, hurtful things, and downright criminal things. and we will sometimes be on the receiving end of that stupidity, pain and crime. it's part of being a social being - to try and avoid it completely is unrealistic.

that doesn't mean that we should let others run all over us, of course, but to let fear of all things hurtful keep us from interacting with others can only backfire.

Mrs. Spitzer will take her time to make a decision about how she wants to continue her life. whether she stood next to her husband for those 2 minutes or not doesn't really matter. i wish both of them good luck as they deal with the fallout of this.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone wasn't doing their share of housework.

Anonymous said...

The look on Silda Spitzer's face yesterday as her husband apologized for hiring prostitutes reminded me very much of the "Humiliation" episode of Law & Order, in which the angry wife of a plastic surgeon confronts him over his having repeatedly hired a cheap prostitute (who was murdered at the beginning of the episode). She basically says something like, "What was it that turned you on? The cheap lipstick? The trashy lingerie? Or maybe you just liked doing it in the back seat of the car. I had your children, you bastard."

Spitzer deserves to lose his job, and it looks like he will. If he's lucky, he won't also lose his marriage.

Anonymous said...

What a jackass. He and his wife have three teenage daughters, that gives them a nice picture of what marriage is all about doesn't it?
Of course according to people like anonymous at 1:23,his wife will take some cheap shots."she didn't take care of him at home and yada yada yada." What about his responsibility to her? If he was out hiring call girls, then he wasn't taking care of his wife either. Marriage is about equal respect. Don't give me that bunch of garbage that he "had needs" so does his wife and family.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure 1:23 was sarcasm, in reference to the last blog posted by these 2.

Spitzer is scum. HIs wife should leave him, taking the kids, the house, the cars, and the money.

Anonymous said...

Yep. He wasn't beeing taken care of at home so he had to go out and hire a prostitute. So, it's all his wife's fault and the fact that he's a jackass and, who knows, maybe unappealing to her had nothing to do with it.

I love it when guys smugly say it's the wife's fault, as though something wrong in the home gives them license to go out and behave very badly, if not illegally. Are you really this self-absorbed, or are you just feeling particularly small today?

Anonymous said...

From the guy next door to the President of the United States,the lack of loyalty, monogamy and respect in a marital relationship spans all socio-economical levels. Look at Hilary Clinton, she just kept right on truck'n when Bill and Monica were being exposed. Start branding a few of these guys with a hot scarlet red letter on their forehead "B" for bastard or something as appropriate for the action and lets see how many of them continue to romp around on their wives. And, in all fairness, there are no doubt as many women as there are men out there doing the deed! It's a matter of morals, they are becoming harder and harder to find these days

Anonymous said...

Marriage is a leap of faith. It can be harder -- and more fulfilling -- than you'll ever imagine when you're single. Spitzer has been shamed, but he's not the first and he won't be the last. There are plenty of wives who stray elsewhere too. (And do we really care that it's a prostitute instead of a White House intern or the neighbor? I would argue the call girl is less threatening, as another poster did.)

Don't get married until you accept that people are flawed -- and you are capable of forgiveness toward loved ones. (and no, I don't just mean forgiving a husband or wife for cheating on you) Life sometimes takes a U-Turn when you least expect it.

And maybe, just maybe, some wives stand up there because of their religious beliefs. Or because of the money they depend on in the marriage. Or because their family and friends urged them to do so.

A Married and Faithful Man said...

One thought, clarify something here... these weren't "affairs". The repeat hiring of prostitutes is generally an addiction to sex, often perverted sex, rather than any emotional involvement, and as hard as it may be to understand, he may really love his wife.

In cases like this, usually the wife cannot meet those needs because a "loving husband" (I know, but just work with me here) wouldn't ask someone he really cares about to do the acts his perversion needs. So he turns to a prostitute like an alcoholic turns to the bottle or a drug addict turns to pills.

The behavior was reprehensible, but this is not about love, it's about a sickness.

That being said, do you choose to live your life alone simply because you're afraid to take a chance? If so, you miss so much.

p.s. there are probably a lot of us guys who are every bit as disgusted as you ladies are.

M & F Man said...

Anonymous said:
"And maybe, just maybe, some wives stand up there because of their religious beliefs. Or because of the money they depend on in the marriage. Or because their family and friends urged them to do so."

Or maybe just because they actually took there marriage vows seriously. "for better or for worse..." That doesn't make them dumb, or stupid or anything else to be criticized... that just makes them better than their spouse.

Anonymous said...

Let's put all the sanctimony aside here and ask the one question people really need to be asking--does this in any way prevent Elliot Spitzer, from doing his job as governor of New York State? If he's committed a felony, and he's going to face jail time for what he did, then he should be removed after he is either convicted by a jury of his peers or he throws himself on the mercy of the court. If he hasn't committed a felony, he needs to be left alone to do his job.

I'm not condoning the fact that Elliot Spitzer cheated on his wife repeatedly with prostitutes. He made bad life choices, but his actions in no way put the State of New York at risk, unless he was maybe passing out secrets about security at the Empire State Building in the throes of hot sex. But that's a matter handled out of reach of cameras and microphones, between him, his wife, and his children. How many people do we hear about who cheat on their spouses? And if you think about most politicians, they have plenty of opportunities to do so, with all the traveling they do. Who's to say that Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, among others, don't have some boy-toys out there we don't know about?

Someone also brought up another good point--we don't know what kind of things have gone on in the Spitzers' marriage. Maybe at some point she cheated on him, and he stood by her, outside the glare of the camera. It's completely possible.

There's not a single marriage out there--not one, not even the most godly--that does not come under assault from the foe of Temptation. The Bible tells us this, and we've seen on more than one occasion where supposedly godly men fell. Every man and every woman who takes a mate will at some point be tempted by the charms of another. It takes strength to fight off that temptation--especially where you're in a situation that the only ones who know you fell are God and the person you fell with. This is a case of a man who fell, hard.

Anonymous said...

Go SPITZ! Way to disgrace NY! You, Guliani, Koch, next might be Bloomberg. The fact is their title, hours, and the need to seek strange got the best of them. No true politician can be trusted. Remember most of what they do is campaigned around shaking hands, smiling, and telling people what they want to hear (probably just like the prostitutes, and mistresses said to them). Just think in a couple of months or maybe even weeks will see something like this right here in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:11 PM, marriage vows are what I'm implying when I say religious beliefs. That may seem self-centered to me, but those of us who get married with the belief that God will help us through our troubles often do so because we believe we WILL need help to deal with troubles, be it temptation, sickness, financial stresses, family sacrifice, etc.

My wedding ceremony was non-denominational but it still involved belief in support from a higher power.

My apologies if you mistook what I said to be more of an "I must obey my husband" religious belief and found that bothersome. And in any case, as another person said, there are many reasons why the wife can stand by someone and it helps to remind ourselves of that.

In fact, I would argue to Deirdre that SHE could be the one someday who is tempted to cheat (maybe after trying to talk out her troubles with her spouse), and she would be grateful to have her man stand by her. Then again, if you aren't capable of forgiving yourself for doing something wrong (or horrible, or illegal), you can't imagine anyone else being forgiving either.

Anonymous said...

Back to Deirdre's original point and the 'leap of faith' of marriage. I still recommend it. Look for the 'rock solid' partner, one you really, really know you can trust. If you have any doubts, you can predict what is coming. It WILL come.

Even with that rock solid person, there are chinks. Every one of us has them. We are humans and flawed. OK, if I was governor of New York, I think I could stop seeing prostitutes for a few years. If I was president of the U.S., I think an intern with a thong could not tempt me.

I think.

But we all have weaknesses and a marriage will eventually reveal them all. I guarantee that. If your partner is rock solid, you can survive the surprises.

Anonymous said...

This is why my husband and I are swingers. I would have been right there with him, having fun.

Anonymous said...

Spitzer's situation is none of anyone's business other than his wife.

Spitzer has gone after lots of investment firms which are raping America into another depression. Its no wonder a bank's action caused all this uproar to begin with.

Most of the women who wouldn't stand next to him are no doubt women whose significant other are lucky to be with one woman much less more than one.

Spitzer was/is a responsible governor who doesn't like the big banks taking advantage of the little guy. He should be remembered for those achievements, not for his human needs or desires. The media should have much better things to flaunt rather than Spitzer's indiscretions.

The Boy Wonder said...

"Spitzer has gone after lots of investment firms which are raping America into another depression. Its no wonder a bank's action caused all this uproar to begin with."

Duh. And why were the banks doing this? Because he insisted that they begin monitoring patterns of money movement, not just amounts, to detect fraud back when he was wearing his Batman tights in Gotham City.

His wee-wee got caught in the very Catwoman suit zipper that he created!

It's too ironic.

Anonymous said...

Humans aren't monogamous by nature.

Anonymous said...

I only thing I condone him for is paying 4,000 dollars for sex. That is stupid. It would be very hard to find any man, that knowing that he would not get caught not to cheat on his significant other. I been around alot of married men in my career and the first opportunity away from the house comes the strip joint and waisting many dollars on naked women.

One just need to take care of their house and their MAN. Communciation is the Life Blood. If communcation stops, then someone else is doing the conversations. This goes both ways.

Guys need to continue to put their love ones on a pedistal. Tell them you love them more than when you leaving the house or getting off the phone.

elliott said...

I think he should have pushed a vacuum cleaner or emptied the dishwasher. Maybe that's how you do the DISHES nowadays?

This doesn't happen in OHIO.

bliss said...

I agree that we can't possibly know what's going on at the Spitzer's home or in his wife's mind unless they share that information with us.

The face that people put on in public is often not the same face they wear in private.

I can say this about me and my home: I love my husband very, very much but my worst fears don't involve him cheating. My self-esteem simply does NOT hinge upon someone else's actions.

God gave us all free will. And every day we all will make our own decisions, good, bad or indifferent.

Whether the decisions involve cheating, lying, or stealing we all have to choose for ourselves.

My morality is my own.

If my husband makes a decision I don't like -- no matter what it is -- the ball has been passed to me. There's no rule or law that says I have to make any specific decision in any specific amount of time. I certainly won't make a decision based on what other people think I should feel or do.

I feel that we (Americans) have a tendency towards hypocracy when a publicized transgression involves sex. We use it to sell everything from shampoo to chocolate candy... So why the outcry when someone tires of "look but don't touch" and decides to taste the forbidden fruit?

What ever the outcome in the Spitzer case, it really is a personal one for the people involved.

And I can NOT relate.

Personally, I'm more concerned about why gas costs me over $3 a gallon, why food prices are increasing as quality decreases, why it isn't safe for my child to play outside without fear of on-the-loose child molesters, why the government isn't doing more to clean up the Valium-laced water being piped into my home, and ...

The list is a long one.