Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined the ranks of political leaders who are known to have cheated on their spouses. When a husband is unfaithful, most women immediately feel outrage, disappointment and betrayal. Yet some wives stand by their man. Others re-evaluate their lives.
There are many possible factors that motivate the humiliated wife to stay. Initially she could be in shock and using the defense of denial to avoid reality. Perhaps she’s protecting her husband’s political career. Or she’s concerned about the children and putting them first. Because of her low self esteem or dependency, she could feel she has no option. It may even be love – plain and simple, a long history together or a desire to keep the family together. Whatever the reasoning behind trying to save the marriage, it can take as much courage to stay as to leave. And the road to healing is long and hard.
When Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger announced their separation, it was revealed that she had moved out of the family home and into a hotel. A Kennedy woman, many of whom have been accused of turning the other way, she has suffered several transitions. Shriver gave up her own successful journalism career when Schwarzenegger became governor of California. And amid allegations of affairs that threatened to derail his political career, she had his back and stood by him. Over the past 2 years, she has lost both her parents, followed by the disclosure of her husband’s infidelity and deceit. Since their separation, perhaps she’s questioning the value of her life and how she wants to live it now.
Over the years, from Roosevelt to Kennedy to Clinton to Edwards, many have wondered, why do their wives take it? Finally, Jenny Stanford broke the mold when she divorced the Governor of South Carolina. Her reaction to her husband’s infidelity did not follow the posture of other political wives. She was independent and true to herself, an example for hurt spouses of philandering politicians.
By ignoring the potential consequences of his acts and the people he would hurt, Schwarzenegger raised huge questions about his character as well as his moral development. Maria’s statement says a lot: “This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal.” It seems as if Maria Shrive gets it. Having hired a high profile divorce attorney, she’s moving on, for her family and herself.
Please log on here tomorrow when Erica Goodstone, Ph.D. joins us for a Virtual Book Tour. Her book, Love Me, Touch Me, Heal Me: The Path to Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Spiritual Reawakening, leads readers on a path toward loving … truly loving, from the center of their being.