the man’s in love, jerks


“I never figured Sanford for anything like this,” mused one of the governor’s constituents in The New York Times this week. Mark Sanford’s friends are aghast. His neighbors shake their heads. His community simply could not see it coming. The Internet is in convulsions: Who would have thought Sanford capable of this? Give it a rest. The man didn’t commit murder here. He’s in love. Anarchic, hurtful, but seemingly true love. Governor Sanford of South Carolina had what would, under ordinary circumstances, be considered an ideal romantic relationship in the 21st century. Slow to evolve and based on proven mutual friendship and respect, it was eight years in the making. The woman involved, Maria, was not offensively younger than he. She was not his intern, his boss, his student, his financial contributor. He was hardly using her for sex–indeed, he had not spent that much time in her company, as they lived on different continents. Nor was he deceiving her: He told her his family obligations, his pleasures, his fears. She even told him of the men trying to seduce her. In fact, they told each other so much (and slept with each other so little) that they left a huge paper trail–or cyber trail, rather–for their enemies to scrutinize. More hedonistic pairs leave far less ample evidence for their sins. But Mark and Maria confided in each other constantly. They supported each other tenderly (“I want to help [one of your sons] with film guys that might help his career …”) They forgave each other’s differences–Maria’s insecurity (“you do not need a therapist to tell you who you are”) and the governor’s prudishness (“that would be going into sexual details,” he smiles, “…and unlike you, I would never do that!”).

more from Cristina Nehring at TNR here.