Why do seemingly intelligent and powerful men get involved in extramarital affairs?
The General Petraeus extra marital affair scandal has shocked the world as did President Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods, to name a few. It almost seems that powerful men who have affairs need to in order to maintain their sanity or something. Why then woud they take such risks? Tiger Woods was #1 when he was cheating on his wife, but failed miserably after his Indiscretions were revealed.
I believe the answer varies from man to man and their marital circumstances. According to studies women initiate 66% or 2/3rds of divorce filings in the U.S. That would tend to indicate an unhappily married woman is far more likely to file for divorce while an unhappily married man may be more likely to cheat. Even the friends of mistresses warn them, "The husband never leaves the wife."
Having said that you would have to know the details of each marriage. It's not uncommon for many long-term marriages to evolve into more of a friendship, sibling like, or roommate like arrangement. One person is comfortable with it while the other still longs for romance,lust, passion, and most of all the (feeling) of being "desired". You'd be surprised how rare it is that wives initiate sex or seduce their husbands in most marriages. Ideally the person that feels neglected would approach their mate but reality is not always ideal.
Ultimately every cheater seeks to (hold onto) all that is good in their primary relationship while addressing their "other needs" on the side. (No cheater expects to get caught.)
The aforementioned statements are not a “justification” but rather a potential explanation. : -)
I can see your point. It is possible that in many instances, even though there may be a commitment between two people, the romance may be gone and the temptation to cheat takes over.
I believe you hit the nail on the head with this one. Although the question is about powerful men, your explanation is true for most long term relationships. Not all, as some have figured out how to not fall into complacency in their relationships.
I recommend reading "Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoic Origins of Modern Sexuality". It examines the standard narrative of monogamy and argues it is against our nature.
When reading your question I thought women do the same thing don't they? The question I and other authors have is "Why does monogamy matter?" We say variety is the spice of life, except at this one thing. Monogamy clearly is unrealistic and I would agree with the authors of Sex at Dawn, it is against our natures. Is Tiger wood's irresponsible? No. He is a human being sharing. When did sharing love and sex become a crime or as many treat it as some sort personality disorder? Oh, about 10,000 years ago...
I've always said; "Monogamy is a lifestyle choice and not a genetic code." I believe the reason why Mrs. Woods was upset with Tiger was because he took a vow stating he would foresake all others. It's the "variety" after saying "I do" they hate most.
Good book! More than a 'lifestyle choice', monogamy is a spiritual commitment to a higher cause.
Choice simply means you have the "option". There are those who do not believe in a higher power but may still choose to be monogamus. The reason (why) one makes a choice varies from person to person. We "choose" what we (want) for ourselves.
"Monogamy is a spiritual commitment to a higher cause"? Try this: "Its difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding." Upton Sinclair
Of course women do the same but that is for another question. This one deals specifically with "powerful Men" The discussion about whether monogamy is against nature has been going on for centuries.
It would seem that the illusion of power often follows with the idea that they are beyond the mores of the masses. The oligarchy as übermensch. The Machiavellian way rules the day, as you say "for centuries".
I guess more is expected of power holders than of the masses. They are presumed, by the masses, to be more in control of their urges and decisions which is not always the case.
It is interesting that you say that "more is expected of power holders that of the masses." They were talking about General Petraeus extra marital affair scandal in "World Have Your Say" on the BBC on PBS.
I believe people like this feel they are better than normal men simply because of their positions in life. This being the case, they feel they are too smart to get caught or won't be punished if they do. Obviously, they are wrong!
They tend to have large egos and think they can get away with anything. Powerful men are used to taking what they want.
I often wonder at these men who prove to have feet of clay. How do they get themselves into positions of power in the first place? All to often they are weak men, overpromoted by senior people knowing they can rely upon their support in changes of mind or policy There's an old saying 'never put it in writing' it is so true, be it political or romantic. If there is a chance of exposure then only a fool would write or text anything. In politics these days, we are ruled by pygmies standing on the shoulders of giants and all to often after the battle, they jump down and dance on the graves of the fallen.
There are many kinds of intelligence. Relationship and emotional intelligence is something that some people have and some do not, no matter how bright they are otherwise. In either case, learning the skills of intimate relationship is needed; not everyone wants to learn, or does not even know that there is information available to learn. Some believe that they know all there is to know about how relationship work, and are obviously wrong.
Most people have affairs because they have long ago equated validation with love. When this happens, they become dependent on other-validation. When one partner cannot or does not validate, the person begins to look elsewhere, and becomes tempted to get their validation addiction satisfied by someone other than their spouse.
The very simple answer is "power". When a person overcomes the initail need of security through money, they thirst for power.
Sex is power's alter ego. Extra-marital affairs among the powerful have gone on for centuries, but twitter, the internet, and omnipresent TV dwell on them to create scandal. It makes for good ratings. YAWN!!!!
Simply put: they cheat because they can. The more powerful they become, the more lattitude they think they deserve.
Having said that, 60% of men and women cheat on their spouses, so "power" and intelligence has little to do with it. I think that at the end of the day it has to do with one's character and moral code. If one's character and moral code is weak...they are more likely to cheat on any number of things - including their spouse.
While I agree with Sledgehammer about 'moral' code I have to add that I believe many times it starts off with the 'thrill' of an illicit rendezvous, that leads to secretly having sex....then once that has been 'established', talking begins....soon this man, powerful or not, finds he is enjoying this 'new' company with or without the sex.
I do believe Monogamy works...I have been married for 45 years and neither of us has had an affair (that I know of).
Keeping marriage interesting and exciting is what its all about and when you are dealing with men who wield great power I think they are looking for excitement in their private lives to balance out the pressure in their public lives.
Something else which is not being talked about is; Why would women married or not (knowingly) get involved with a married man? Paula Broadwell is married, a mother of two, went to West Point, and is a doctoral student. Her (jealousy) makes no sense.
Congratulations to the Titan from Tillson, for such a long and prosperous marriage!!! I am sure you can teach many of us a thing or two about the institution of marriage.
P.S. I love your costume!!! Is it from the movie "Snow White"? :0)
They have affairs because they feel that they are intelligent and powerful. They feel they are above moral and ethical rules.
That's an interesting question. I don't think the answer lies in one single factor, since powerful men who cheat come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Likewise, there are many powerful men who remain faithful to their wives or partners their whole lives. Men cheat. Women cheat. People cheat in general. The powerful are simply elevated to a pedestal, right or wrong, so when they fall they tend to do so twice as hard and fast as the rest of us with their indiscretions plain for the world to see.
I think that the social psychology principle of confirmation bias really comes into play here. We expect the powerful to cheat so we see such instances that fulfill our expectations more clearly than those that don't. Not to say that it doesn't happen more with powerful people than with the everyday person, just that we probably tend to notice more.
Aside from that, I think ego has a lot to do with it. No matter how controversial the person may be, if they have achieved a certain level of success then that success naturally comes with accolades. They may start "buying into their own hype," and believe themselves exempt from social expectations that apply to others, like fidelity, honesty and even abiding the law. Anyway, that's my best guess!
It seems General Petraus may have cheated on his country, as well as on his wife. It appears that the woman he was sleeping around with had classified information on her personal computer, which may have come from her mid-night liasons with him. Hmm.
I was just at the Louvre in October; therefore, my angle on this first embraces Antonio Canova's masterpiece. As this brilliant picture of Eros/cupid bringing a kiss to the sleeping and most beautiful Psyche demonstrates this loving moment. Quite simply, "Betrayus" became a different man, however, he is unaware of this change and this different person claimed another partner that matched his different and larger ego. It was justified (in his eyes) bcause of the significant change in his psyche.
This happens all of the time; yet when you contemplate it through this lens you will begin to see the way and the resulting calamity...
Because women don't waste their time on men who are stupid and weak.
Hmmm...The base of your question is something that in itself has been questioned, argued and failed miserably, in lack of a proper solution, for centuries. The reason if we look in a detached manner, I feel, is the societal norms. Man by nature is polygamist, in fact, all the living beings are polygamist to a degree. The humans realizing their superior intellectual powers, came up with social norms. It was for maintaining the sanctity of the social life, to prevent the promiscuous nature of man from impregnation and to control the further swell of population for easy rule and control, thus, marriage as a concept was born. The concept is good, pure and idealistic. Alas, it goes against the true human nature. The teachings, the upbringing, the religions etc play a vital role in maintaining and making the people to adhere to the social norms.
The things that can not be controlled, other than by themselves, is human emotions especially of curiosity and temptations. It is very common for men (some women too) to gratify their sexual needs outside their marital/committed life but without any emotional attachment to the outsider. It is satisfaction just of their physical need when there are other willing beings.
I do not mean to say that loyalty has to be compromised in any relation. I myself consider the concept of loyalty as supreme. However, I also believe that a relationship is built on many years of trust and sometimes you can try to work upon these flaws, provided both the parties in the relationship are ready to forgive and move on.
Here, the main point is he got caught! The "he" here, is the 'intelligent people' in high ranking positions. The process of extramarital affair is universal, and I feel it should be left to the people in the relationship to sought it out by themselves, after all it is their life, and as a society we need to respect and provide space for them. Also, understand the true nature of the human being and adapt accordingly.
They are weak-minded and human. I think women could face the same temptation if spending long periods of time away from their significant other and a charming man was offering them admiration and attention. It is a painful situation for anyone involved, and it has no easy answer.
Point blank.... the power, the money, and their desires all go to their head. They have gotten away with XYZ over the years surely no one would suspect or ruin their game now....
They are still human beings with desires that are unable to be fulfilled with their money or their aquired power. Where is the excitement when you've accomplished it "all"?
intelligent and powerful ??? What a trajic irory ! Persons who are suppossed to raise soial values and moral justice are got involved in extramarital affairs which ignites for the breaking of some social bondages that in process declines the normal status of morality in civilized society..
In my opinion the persons who get involved in extramarital affairs think themselves above the society level and ount every human being triffle and 'let base things to die in dust ' for the sake of their feelings of kingship.
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