Mark Sanford is no Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton or John Edwards for that matter. It's clear that the reason he's in hot water right now, isn't because of uncontrollable testosterone-fueled urges.
No Mark is one of those rare politicians undone by something that's not actually salacious -- pure, romantic love. Yes, he's been a bad boy -- he has a wife of 20 years and four precious sons, plus he pulled a disappearing act, that's unforgivable for someone responsible for the well-being of an entire state.
But you have to give him this -- he's not a creep. He's not been meeting leggy escorts in hotel rooms or funneling campaign money to make questionable movies to a lover, while his wife was battling cancer.
Instead, this Mark Sanford has been moondogging over an "impossible situation of love". It's clear from his eloquently romantic emails to his "Maria" - I can almost hear the giddy strains of West Side Story -- "I've just Met a Girl Named Maria" -- that he's a lovelorn goner.
He emails Maria, comparing himself to the Richard Chamberlain priest character in The Thornbirds mini-series. Chamberlain's character famously chose ambition over his true love for a young Australian woman, called Meggie, played by the beauteous Rachel Ward. He writes "I was always upset with Richard Chamberlain for not dropping his ambitions and running into Maggie's arms (real name Meggie) ... my heart wants to get on a plane tonight and be in your loving arms..."
So do it Mark. That's exactly what you should do. If you are truly and passionately in love with the Argentinean Maria, why ruin several lives by denying it. You're not doing your wife, Jenny, any favors by resigning yourself to a marriage that's no longer working.
People who deny love and stay in loveless marriages become sad and bitter. Jenny may be boiling mad right now because you have betrayed and embarrassed her, but in the long run, she'll have a chance to find a new love of her own.
And as long as you don't abandon your boys -- are there for them as an involved dad and don't try to throw them and their mother out of the house in the divorce settlement -- you'll be able to maintain a close relationship.
Repressing your feelings and forcing yourself to attempt to patch things up with Jenny will only end in disaster. You'll be angry at Jenny, yourself and the world.
Now, I wouldn't say this if you were just a sex-crazed frat boy cheater. I always wonder why wives don't throw those guys out of the house. Why they think that because their husband's were with twinkies, that this was meaningless and they are deserving of forgiveness.
But a man who writes his lover that "my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body... and an even deeper connection to your soul. I love you...sleep tight," is a man who needs to realize that he has only one life to live and he ought to do it with his true love.
To heck with public opinion. Pull a King Edward the VIII, who defied convention and abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, the woman he loved.
But just one last point. I hope that this experience makes you a man who can now recognize that all people need to have the right to express their love -- including gays who want to marry. Think you might change your views on that!
For more on Mark Sanford, the GOP's new Romeo, follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bonniefuller.
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