I'd love to meet in person with the wife of the now former governor of New York. What Eliot Spitzer did to his wife is unimaginable to those who've never lived through the conversations and thoughts that must be going on in their home right now.
For those of you who haven't yet read the news, Spitzer has reportedly been having extramarital affairs with prostitutes for what may be the last ten years of their marriage. My guess is that the progression began much earlier, but that's only speculation, and it's only based on what's been reported in the news. So who knows? He knows, but it's not likely that anyone else aside from him will ever know the truth. It may be too painful for him even to reveal.
If he's experiencing what one of my former husband's experienced, these liasons are part of a serious addiction that he needs to address with serious mental health treatment. It's a sad story. The saddest thing about it is that he probably has no idea how his behavior really has affected his wife and three daughters all this time. My ex gave me one of those old platitudes when he confessed his other life to me: What you don't know won't hurt you. He was very wrong about that.
Because it's not just about the prostitution, or about the thought that he may not have used condoms--Spitzer, reportedly, didn't like to--it's more about the mental games he most likely played with his family in order to be able to live this kind of a double life.
You have to read books, such as Patrick Carnes' Out of the Shadows, or another of his books, Don't Call It Love, and even Gail Saltz's book Anatomy of a Secret Life, in order to even begin to understand how the addictive personality affects not only the addicted but also the people he or she come home to at night. I spent several years reading books like these so I could understand how a husband could hurt his wife in this way. The betrayal is so far-reaching, and the pain is so deep. In the beginning you feel as if you'll never know anything else. In the beginning you don't know what to feel. You can't feel. Even that even hurts too much.
The people who comment on the news reports, saying things like, "She should divorce him immediately," well, they don't know what it's like to be hit with a punch like this. The shock is a life saver, really. That is what will get her through these most horrible days of her life thus far. And if she's lucky, he'll really be sorry. He'll be able to apologize with some kind of authenticity. I never got that. That is the hardest thing to overcome in a situation like this.
So I'd love to score the magazine interview with Silda. Because I've been through what she's going through now--maybe not to the same extent--I'd know what questions to ask her. I'd know how to give her the empathy that she needs. And I'd want to share with her my BIKE story.
I know it would help her, when she's ready.
We cannot judge the women who stand by their men in these instances because, unless you've been through something this traumatic, you have no idea what they're trying to hold onto. In this instance, we're talking about more than 20 years of a marriage, a partnership that was supposed to be built on a bond, not on a betrayal.
If I could talk to Silda for just a few moments, I'd let her know that she will find her identity again. Because that's what she's lost. I know she's a bright and powerful women in her own right. So was I. That doesn't mean you can't lose yourself in your husband's life. You can. When you give up a piece of you, as she did, so that he can have his career, you've given up more than you'll ever know, that is, if he's the type of man who will do what these men do. They are too afraid to reveal who they really are, they are afraid to be vulnerable, they don't know how to live an authentic life. So they mask themselves behind a job that puts them in extreme power and wealth--and allows them to travel--and then they dial the prostitutes because they can't handle the stress. Then, they can't handle what they've done. And the wife becomes nonexistent in a way. But she's not. She's there to help. She's probably been there the entire time. But they stave off the stress in a most unhealthy way. And that secret? It hurts. For the wife, oddly enough, once the truth is revealed, it hurts a lot less.
If only these men would use their letter E. With BIKE, that's the Expressive voice. If only they would speak up...