When I heard that Anthony Weiner had been caught sending dirty pictures of himself to young women on Twitter and having equally dirty conversations with them on Facebook, my first thought was, "Not again." But my second thought was, "Of course again, because they never learn."
Since the whole Weiner scandal blew up it's cost one very powerful man the position that made him powerful in the first place and it's once again reopened the debate over a question that's fascinated us since King Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and then probably turned around and put his other sword into the nearest woman he could find. That question? Why do powerful men let their sex drives get the best of them, sometimes to the point where, like Anthony Weiner, it puts their lives as they know them at risk? Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Jesse James, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Eliot Spitzer. What makes a guy like a politician, an actor, an athlete or even royalty to think he can get away with it?
The past few weeks have seen all kinds of self-appointed experts on human behavior and the male sex drive come out of the woodwork to offer their two cents on the supposed science behind why men cheat, especially powerful men. They say it's a matter of testosterone, that the extra chemical jolt that drives the type-A guy to want to succeed at all costs also heightens his sexual appetite and blinds him to the possible consequences. They say it's societal, that because the man on top (so to speak) has been told so often that he's right, he starts to believe that he can do no wrong. Or at the very least that he can't get caught if he does.
But here's the cold hard truth: none of these possible explanations mean a thing to Weiner's gorgeous, accomplished wife, Huma Abedin. That's because infidelity is never something you can explain away logically. While Huma is probably doing the kind of personal soul-searching that inevitably happens after something like this, she may very well not care one bit why her husband did what he did, only that he did it. True, if anyone knows the kind of man Huma Abedin chose to marry, it's Huma Abedin herself. But all those excuses and explanations that she's hearing, or seeing, or reading about what might have driven her husband to put everything in their lives on the line in the name of a cheap thrill -- all those people offering their wisdom right about now -- and all she may have understood about her powerful man's uncommon "urges" don't help soothe the pain and sense of betrayal. There's no solace in the science, so to speak.
This is something I understand all too well and I feel for what Huma Abedin must be going through, the same way I felt an odd kinship with Maria Shriver, Elin Nordegren, Sandra Bullock, and Elizabeth Edwards just to name a few. It's not something I wanted to feel, like being the part of a really sad sisterhood, but when you've been on the receiving end of that kind of deceit from someone you promised your life to and created a family with, you gravitate toward anyone who can truly identify with you. Obviously, millions know what its like to see their marriages collapse either partially or entirely because of infidelity, but there's no denying that celebrity takes the whole nasty business to a different level altogether. It's a surreal experience to have the entire country examining your life to begin with, but to watch the general public suddenly fixing your failed marriage onto a slide and putting it under a microscope, and then passing judgment, can shake even the strongest to their core.
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks they know what went wrong. People take sides.
When a powerful man cheats, or otherwise lets his sexual urges put him in a position where he's ruined his own life and the lives of his wife and family, everyone asks questions. As with Anthony Weiner, they ask why it happened.
But if you've been there, if you've been cheated on at all, you know the answer: there is no answer. And it wouldn't matter anyway if there was.
Linda Hogan is the author of Wrestling the Hulk: My Life Against the Ropes, available Tuesday, June 28th from Harper Collins. Follow her on Twitter @LindaHogan
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