The man is, after all, a human being.
When a man and a woman are in constant contact with each other, chemistry often takes over. Especially if one of them is exceptionally physically attractive. The human animal is in us all. The sex drive was born with Adam. Amazingly, adultery, in many states, is still a crime, though criminal prosecutions are rare.
Adultery is and should remain grounds for divorce--but without being a crime. It is a clear violation of the contractual obligation between a married couple and rather obvious evidence of a loss of intimacy and fidelity. It, however, occurs too frequently in our society to be swept under the rug of non-recognition. It is a primal instinct but, inconsistently, carries with it the stigma of the Scarlet Letter. Its frequency brings into play its allure and consequences.
My personal belief is that if you are in love with your spouse, you should remain faithful regardless of the temptations that will surely come your way.
During my 42 years of marriage, trying criminal cases nationwide, many opportunities presented themselves, but I, almost fanatically and religiously, never cheated on my wife. Never. Not even a kiss, a flirtation of any kind--I indulged in none of that, for I strictly adhered to the loyalty of fidelity. I deemed it to be the most important foundation of my marriage, a violation of which, by either partner, would forever and irreparably shatter the union. This was a ground rule in which I was emotionally vested--no exceptions allowed. It was an obsession with me.
But now, looking back, I realize that, although I was not wrong, I was very, very naive. Still am.
When two people find themselves in almost daily contact with each other, it frequently happens that a physical attraction evolves. The question thus posed is do you give into this desire, even once?
I now understand that a person can indulge in extramarital sex and simply walk away from it without any pains of conscience. I can't but others can.
Others find themselves so infatuated with the fire of new sex, the intoxocation with the ilicity of it, that they participate in an affair, as opposed to a one-night-stand (for fidelity purposes, I make no distinction). This may involve the consideration of divorce and remarriage. Blame it on a desire for what was once but no longer is, or the actual blooming of true love, or what ever---but it is a very serious matter with much potential for emotional collateral damage.
I am not that type of person. Even though I might accept the fact that my spouse may have erred in this regard, without the involvment of love and unaccompanied by any lessoning of love for me--the marriage, for me, is over. Kaput. And all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But again, that's who I am. I do not impose this personal standard of conduct on others, in a judgemental way. To each his own, for I readilly admit to being obsessive-compulsive in this regard. I'll stay with my own set of rules, thank you very much, yet my astonishment at those who can indulge, walk away and never look back will never diminish. I can understand their outlook on all of this---but it ain't for me. My spouse cheats just one time, with no romance or love involved, and it's divorce time. I'm just not built thst way.
Which brings us back to General Petraeus. He has resigned as head of the CIA because of an extramarital affair he had with his biographer. She is a strikingly beatiful and sexy woman. It is not difficult to understand his attraction to her in the circumstance of long hours working together. His immediate physical appearance does not, at first glance, match hers, but power is an aphrodesiac and he is a most powerful man. It is not difficult to explain the how and why of the mutual attraction.
The General, gallantly, did not name his paramour, although the press revealed her identity, almost instantaneously. He said that he loved his wife of 37 years, and I'm sure he does. Whether he is in love with her is another question altogether.
He misstepped and is accepting the consequences. His infidelity should, in no way, tarnish his iconic status as a hero and patriot. He has not become "disgraced". His type of discretion is too common. It transcends all walks of life. Me and my fanaticism does not, I suggest, a majority view make.
The media shall be inundated with all sorts of conspiracy and covert theories supposedly underlining the "real" circumstances attending the General's resignation. Don't buy it.
The bottom line: he became infatuated with a very attractive woman and succombed. He is paying the price.
The price does not embrace his heroic service to his country. We should have an army of Petraeuses.
Lay off the guy.
If I can, my puritanical views notwithstanding, so can you
All the same, if I were married to the him, I'd walk away and burn the bridge.
But, that's just me.
At least I practice what I preach, at the cost perhaps, of being a romantic fool.