Last week, New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted to sending sex texts to several women over the Internet two years after a similar scandal resulted in him resigning from Congress. Then he handed the microphone to his wife, who said: “It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy … but I made the decision to stay in this marriage.”
Who isn’t wondering, what motivates the betrayed wife, disgraced and humiliated, to stand by her man?
Perhaps it’s a function of an identity derived from Weiner’s status. If running for mayor was a joint decision and Huma is a partner in the campaign, they need to remain publically a pair. Here’s the implied message – if she has forgiven him so should the voters.
Or it may be an effort in support of her personal aspirations. Although Huma hasn’t yet revealed political ambitions, it’s possible she’s following the lead of of her mentor, Hillary Clinton, who supported her husband in 1992 after his sex scandal.
It could also be plain love and a shared history. If Huma values being a good parent and keeping the family together, divorce would be a stigma. It may not be in the best interests of her son who, at 18 months, is too young to feel the impact of the scandal. But he will before too long.
Clearly Weiner’s treatment did not get to the core of his addiction or pathology. From the outside, it looks like her support only sanctions his sense of entitlement, dark side and incredibly poor judgment. But who has an easy time facing ourselves and giving up when we’ve invested so much?
Huma has made it clear that their marriage is no one’s business but theirs.
We all deserve a second chance, but a third? A lot of people respect Huma and feel bad for her. Others see her as smart, savvy, competent – and that may be why they’re critical. Of course, we can’t tell anyone else how to live. But if they do stay together, they have a very long road ahead.