June 25, 2009

"He's squooshy in love with her, quite obviously."

Writes John Stodder in yesterday's Mark Sanford thread:
He was obviously dumped by the woman, who has more common sense than he does right now. He'll wake up in a few weeks or months and go, "what the hell did I just do?" But as of now, he is still immersed in the psychosis of mad love.

I don't think the gal pals of Clinton or Edwards were ever anything more than pleasant vanities and erotic vessels. I get the feeling that Ensign is a creepy power addict and bonking his aide's wife was just a way of asserting his alpha status, his right to humiliate the men who serve him.

This guy, on the other hand, seems to have gone over the moon. His inner self at war with his stated convictions. He's like the professor in "The Blue Angel," desperate to give up all that he earned just to be a clown in his beloved's circus.

Have you been there yourself, John? Have any of you?


Trevor Jackson said...

I was thinking more along the lines of Bunuel.


That said, I'm not clear that he wasn't there to break things off with her.

Trevor Jackson said...

NSFW on the above.

Salamandyr said...

Been there, done that, way too many times.

I think it's good for humanity though that men are fools for love. If we all looked at our mating from purely practical terms, a lot of us might never at all.

traditionalguy said...

As his story goes, Sanford was her close friend for 7 years until he got squooshy while walking the Argentinian Tail. She must be like crack cocaine to him. As to my personal history, the Fifth Amendment is all you're going to get.

Patrick said...

If by 'been there' you mean post-marriage, no, and I would never let myself, either.

garage mahal said...

Have you been there yourself, John? Have any of you?.

Oh yeah. Couldn't eat. Couldn't sleep. Drivebys. Drunk dialing. Tried hacking into her email. The whole nine friggin yards. She fell for some Brit online, so I thought "well at least it's not like he's going to fly all the way over here to see her or anything". Until he did. Cocksucker! So Brian Graves, wherever you are, I still hate you with white hot passion, I even hate your country for it. And I still to this day root for UK teams to break ankles and suffer crushing defeats. Took me a while to get over it.

John Burgess said...

Yep, and the carnage aftermath is still being cleaned up, 12 years later.

NKVD said...

Ah yes, the passion is fleeting, but the bitterness lasts a lifetime.

Quite a tradeoff, when you think about it, eh?

Pogo said...

"Have you been there yourself"

I married her; still just a clown in my beloved's circus.

She, the tamer in sequins, I wink from the funhouse door.
She's magic on the trapeze, but I wait to catch her if she should fall.

Next thing you know, another tent, another small town, and there are holes in her fishnets.

The crowd grows thin as my hair.
Still her eyes dance when she swings through the air; Magic.

veni vidi vici said...

Speaking of fleeting passion, having been told by my wife of 5+ years and mother of my lovely daughter that she has no romantic feelings at all towards me anymore, has no passion anymore, but wants to figure out whether it's possible to "get that back", and being quite flummoxed by it because my craze for her never waned, I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a good marriage counselor for couples, in the LA/BH/westside area.

Man, y'all don't know how much I wish that what I just wrote was a joke, but it isn't.


NKVD said...

Veni, it's not going to get fixed. Time to hire the best lawyer you can.

Did I mention bitterness?

Roger J. said...

3v: recommend a medical check up for your spouse first to rule out physiological issues. and good luck no matter how it turns out.

Jennifer said...

Veni: I'm sorry. I'm glad she is at least willing to try to figure it out. Best to you.

Pogo said...

Bad news, veni; sorry to hear it.

My knowledge of the female of the species is completely useless and without merit.


Darcy said...

Oh, veni. Good luck.

Darcy said...

garage. LOL. (Sorry.)

traditionalguy said...

Veni...That is a crisis indeed. The emotional needs of a wife can get overlooked unless there is a true sharing of each spouses thoughts including their fears and weaknesses with the other. When we keep secrets we get into trouble. When we expose ourselves, we get into a deeper relationship that meets the emotional needs and reopens our natural desires for physical intimacy as well. Get a good counselor that can test for personality types and learn each others relating styles. It is work, but it pays off.

Marcia said...

Roger makes a good point. Physical issues (such as a thyroid problem) have big emotional effects too.

Salamandyr said...

Veni, I am so sorry to hear that. I'm not sure exactly what to wish for here, but I wish you all the best.

former law student said...

If you're married and you suddenly have a mad crush on some woman -- leave it as a fantasy as I did. Fantasies add spice to life; they give you a little tingle. They burn out and die without leaving any messy consequences (impromptu vacations from your job, $2500 airfares, having to crawl back to your long-suffering wife over an acre of broken glass, broken noses administered by the woman's s.o., etc.)

Night2night said...

Veni: I don't really believe in counciling anyone, but been there (20 years ago), still carry the scars, and sorry to hear of anyone in that situation. My anecdotal rear window advice, carry yourself honorably (even if your heart is breaking) and use every day as if your wife was a really attractive woman you were meeting for the first time. In the end, your shared past will mean nothing without a commitment from both of you and no one, other than your wife, can get her to love you again. In the worst case, you want both yourself and her to recognize you were a righteous dude.

Quayle said...

I was going to tell a personal story, in an uncharacteristically hilarious and compelling way, until I read Veni's post.

Sorry to hear it. Veni.

I would answer that the passion can come back, but there has to be purpose and a desire to get it back. And it takes a willingness to operate, as least initially, on faith that the passion follows the commitment, not the other way round.

That’s speaking from the experience of 27 years together with my wife, during which we had periods (as do all couples) where we almost loathed each other.

But we stuck with it. We each had times when we had to finally give up some lesser demand or habit or distraction, and things could then surge forward.

But is starts with desire to stay together, and that can’t be argued or counseled into the other person. There are some things you can’t control. The other person’s desires is one of them.

Best of wishes.

former law student said...

that she has no romantic feelings at all towards me anymore, has no passion anymore

There could be a host of reasons for this, but it could simply be that her life is humdrum, boring, filled with things she has to do, with no time for things she wants to do. Not knowing anything about your situation, I would suggest helping her catch up with her to-do list. Then, go away for a week where you can just vegetate; lie on a beach and read trashy novels, sip pina coladas, etc.

If she feels that she hasn't gotten caught up, she will be unable to relax, and lying on the beach would be torture for her.

Are you physically affectionate with her when you aren't expecting sex? If not, try it: hugs, cuddles, a quick stroke of her back or biceps. If she flinches you have a bigger problem.

Pogo said...

"f you're married and you suddenly have a mad crush on some woman -- leave it as a fantasy"

Good advice, fls.

Fortunately, my mad crushes in the last 10 years have been on electronics and tools. My iPod and I had a marvelous fling, now she's used but rarely, waiting in the drawer for my call.

She'll still play anything I tell her to.

David said...

Yeah, I've been there. Squooshy in love. In fact I went there on purpose after over 20 years of marriage. (The "lightening bolt" notion is generally an excuse.)

It taught me how easy it is to decide you are an exception to the rules, how you can ignore obvious facts and consequences. It was something I was sure I deserved.

After my wife found out, we tried to reconcile. We spent three more years together but it was hopeless really. Mrs. Sanford wants Mark to "truly repent." Perhaps he can. I could not, nor could my wife do any repentance or apologizing for her cruelty towards me.

We divorced. I sought out the other woman, who was still available. She had been diagnosed and treated for cancer in the interim. We married and much of our relatively brief time together was spent dealing with a relapse of her cancer that occurred after our marriage. I do not regret this. It was an exhausting and intense time, but taught me that I have a capacity to give and receive love that I had greatly doubted after the experience of my first marriage.

The hardest thing was rebuilding the trust of my children, who had also been betrayed by the affair and hurt by the divorce. That was a long uphill trail, but it finally worked and was worth it.

I eventually married again--a happy, successful and loving marriage. I am very fortunate.

I believe my biggest mistake was not exiting the marriage and then seeking another relationship. I lacked the courage and self confidence to do it this way, as do many men. I am not sure why this is so, but it is.

nansealinks said...

to be on display flat screen, millions and billions of colors with thousands to one contrasts:

it is funny to be in line for the gates of heaven and see that the big one is busy and has helpers filming the events of your life and getting them wrong. It is like being in a mental health clinic and reading their notes and evaluations which to the majority are wrong, too, as to what you were thinking.

then someone, just one, gets it almost right, you start to cry and decide because of the sheer irony and the joy and happiness of that all. You start to think if there is only one person who semi understands me here, this is not the place for me.

maybe it is kinda smooshy but perhaps that is what eric clapton meant , i know i don't belong in heaven.

so you turn around before you ever enter the gates.


On the walk out the hallway you might as well meet up with another adam and start all over. consult a herpetologist not a psychologist before eating any fruit.

Pogo said...

This story made quite an impression me, back in college:

The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
by Irwin Shaw

"You always look at other women," Frances said. "At every damn woman in the city of New York."

"Oh, come now," Michael said, pretending to joke. "Only pretty ones. And, after all, how many pretty women are there in New York? Seventeen?"

"More. At least you seem to think so. Wherever you go."

"Not the truth. Occasionally, maybe, I look at a woman as she passes. In the street. I admit, perhaps in the street I look at a woman once in a while. . . ."

"Everywhere," Frances said. "Every damned place we go. Restaurants, subways, theaters, lectures, concerts."

"Now, darling," Michael said. "I look at everything. God gave me eyes and I look at women and men and subway excavations and moving pictures and the little flowers of the field. I casually inspect the universe."

"You ought to see the look in your eye," Frances said, "as you casually inspect the universe on Fifth Avenue."

"I'm a happily married man." Michael pressed her elbow tenderly, knowing what he was doing. "Example for the whole twentieth century, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Loomis."

"You mean it?"

"Frances, baby . . ."


"I try not to notice it," Frances said, as though she were talking to herself. "I try to make believe it doesn't mean anything. Some men're like that, I tell myself, they have to see what they're missing."

""You'd like to be free to . . ." Frances said.


"Tell the truth." She took her hand away from under his.

Michael flicked the edge of his glass with his finger. "Okay," he said gently. "Sometimes I feel I would like to be free."

"Well," Frances said defiantly, drumming on the table, "anytime you say . . ."

"Don't be foolish." Michael swung his chair around to her side of the table and patted her thigh.

She began to cry, silently, into her handkerchief, bent over just enough so that nobody else in the bar would notice. "Someday," she said, crying, "you're going to make a move . . ."

Michael didn't say anything. He sat watching the bartender slowly peel a lemon.

"Aren't you?" Frances asked harshly. "Come on, tell me. Talk. Aren't you?"

"Maybe," Michael said. He moved his chair back again. "How the hell do I know?"

nansealinks said...

the killers:

On the corner of main street
Just tryin' to keep it in line
You say you wanna move on and
You say I'm falling behind

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

I never really gave up on
Breakin' out of this two-star town
I got the green light
I got a little fight
I'm gonna turn this thing around

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The good old days, the honest man;
The restless heart, the Promised Land
A subtle kiss that no one sees;
A broken wrist and a big trapeze

Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you go, can you read my mind?

It’s funny how you just break down
Waitin' on some sign
I pull up to the front of your driveway
With magic soakin' my spine

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The teenage queen, the loaded gun;
The drop dead dream, the Chosen One
A southern drawl, a world unseen;
A city wall and a trampoline

Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you jump
Tell me what you find when you read my mind

Slippin’ in my faith until I fall
You never returned that call
Woman, open the door, don't let it sting
I wanna breathe that fire again

She said I don't mind, if you don't mind
'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine

Put your back on me
Put your back on me
Put your back on me

The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun
When you read my mind

Darcy said...

I find these kinds of threads depressing. So much "lumping" and judgment. And I'm sorry, but a lot of "holier than thou" lecturing. Not so much today, but in the thread before this.

Some people have bad marriages. They suffer. A little compassion for those who make bad choices and most likelyl suffer even more is never a bad thing.

garage mahal said...

I prevailed over the Brit sniper, in the end. If that's any consolation.

Darcy said...

Well I feel better now, garage. ;-)

Pogo said...

Darcy, I agree. Pride goeth before a fall, and all that.

Humans are a holy mess.
Or unholy; it depends on the mess.

Beth said...

This whole thing is sort of a mirror of the "feminists ought to be passionate, not reasaonable, about love" thread the other day. That's strangely prescient of you, Althouse.

Randy said...

I was inspired to write a poem about the Governor.

There once was a belle of Argentina
With the glow of Evita Peron
Mark Sanford sneaked down there to meet her
He wanted to give her a bone

He skipped out of old Appalachia
He said he'd be walking the trail
But his path took him high 'cross the most friendly sky
The young maiden he wanted to nail

The folks down in South Carolina
Were leaderless and roundly put off
He'd led them astray in a colorful way
For the damsel he ducked out to boff

So let this be a lesson to ponder
From a trail strolling, jilted hillbilly
Buenos Aires may call for the fun of it all
But 'yall should say No to your willie

AllenS said...

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: God gave Man a penis and a brain. Unfortunately, he only gave Man enough blood to have one of things work at a time. They cannot function at the same time. This is a good case in point.

Ann Althouse said...

"This whole thing is sort of a mirror of the "feminists ought to be passionate, not reasaonable, about love" thread the other day. That's strangely prescient of you, Althouse."

Oh, yeah, I should go back and add my new "mad love" tag to that...

... and to what else?

Kirk Parker said...

"the passion follows the commitment"

Indeed it can, and often does. But when we're just starting out, it's the other way around, and I think a lot of people miss out on the fact that there is, can, and should be a transition to this other order.

Kirk Parker said...


"Ah yes, the passion is fleeting, but the bitterness lasts a lifetime.

Quite a tradeoff, when you think about it, eh?

Ouch. Sometimes a poet or songwriter just gets it right in so few words:

"Some spend forever for a moment's gain..." (Bruce Cockburn in "Love Loves You Too")

For myself, yes I've had that experience, but only back when I was a teenager so I just thought it was normal. :-)

Republican said...

surviving infidelity dot com

veni vidi vici said...

Thanks for all your kind and thoughtful words, and apologies for the thread-jacking.

This is me today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQKpC1ny4AI

As for Sanford, I saw a bit of his grilling before the cameras yesterday last night. I thought he acquitted himself well enough, with honesty and sincere remorse. I found the newspeople's jackal-like feeding frenzy on the fresh carcass of his political career, ie the relentless questioning, to be a little tedious after the first few minutes, though. The impression I'm left with of him is, "poor slob". Emphasis on the second syllable.

Shanna said...

So sorry, veni!

I'm with Darcy on wishing we could all have compassion, especially in this case, since I think there were actual feelings involved. It doesn't excuse him, but I feel sorrier for him than I usually do in these cases. This isn't anything like Clinton or Spitzer.

John Stodder said...

Thanks, Ann, for plucking my comment out and giving it its own thread.

I hope it comes off as compassionate. I never really paid much attention to Sanford before, but he seemed quite naked out there during that press conference. If he had been a private citizen, this folly could have worked its way through his life and his family's lives quietly, but now they will hall have documentation of the moment when the abandonment of his mad love was still an open wound.

Another name for mad love might be chemical love. I truly think the brain is altered during these phases. Garage described the way it makes you feel perfectly.

Fortunately for me, two of my maddest loves ended up in successful marriages, where the insanity eventually settled into something a little less distracting but no less strong. Most of the others were experienced during adolescence and college.

A couple of other times, a rational version of myself hopped onto my shoulder like Indiana Jones, hanging on for dear life just so it be there to remind me that there was a reason why I was feeling this way, and it wasn't really about the particular woman, as appealing as she might be. That helped me get through it. I get the feeling Sanford's rational persona couldn't keep up, and hence this damaging fall.

Veni -- I'm so sorry to hear your story. That's got to be extremely painful. I agree with the advice that, first, you need to figure out if she is under the influence of a chemical malfunction such as depression, hormones or thyroid, both of which can be associated with peri-menopause. And second, if you can rule that out, you're going to have to leave and get over her. After many years of marriage, a relative of mine's wife suddenly just lost interest in him completely, and started an affair that seemed more about marking off her new independent territory than any grand passion on her part. He was probably a bit too generous in the divorce. But after a few years of pain, he has remarried and seems awfully happy now. So it goes.

Darcy said...

Why does Sanford's love for the Argentinian have to be irrational or not real? Or her feelings as well, for that matter?

Wrong to pursue, yes. I just disagree with discounting feelings we know nothing about. We are not these two people.

Freeman Hunt said...

A person's feelings come from his thoughts. Feelings are not wild, untamed things. People act as though they are because they'd rather leave their thoughts wild and untamed.

There's nothing wrong with just looking...

Like giving a little tug to a hanging thread.

But I'll never pull it hard enough to unravel. Honest, I won't...

Good luck with that.

Cut it off, banish it from your sight, and it will never trouble you.

John Stodder said...

Darcy, I'm not judging his feelings for the lady in Argentina.

ALL love is at some level irrational. And all love is real. It would have to be, or why would a powerful, ambitious man like Sanford who is on the very short list of people who are seriously mentioned for the presidency, who from all appearances has a great family and a devoted wife, put all of that on the line? We all can understand it, but it's not rational.

Woody Allen has taken a lot of grief for having excused his relationship with Mia Farrow's adopted daughter as "the heart wants what it wants," but undeniably, it's true. He didn't say anything about the brain. His brain would have told him "this relationship is not appropriate, your partner for many years will hate you, it will affect the relationship with all your children, and some of your fans will turn against you, at some risk to your career."

But, oh, those tan lines!

Those of us who lean a bit to the right on economic and security policy but cannot stand the Republican Party because of its pandering to the social right -- folks, this is why! I'm uncomfortable with a church telling me who I can love and how I should conduct my private life, but I can always stop going to church. I am enraged that there are some who think my government should use its far greater powers interfere with my private life. Obviously Sanford, who trucks with the social right, thought until last year that it was a grand idea for the political system to regulate who Americans should love. Now, one hopes he realizes the folly of that position -- too late to rescue his career, but maybe not too late to redirect the Republican Party away from its pandering ways.

Darcy said...

"from all appearances has..."

We don't know! But I understand and appreciate what you're saying, John. Not excusing it at all, by the way.

Maggie45 said...

Triple V, I feel for you. I know several couples who were on the verge of divorce, who were helped tremendously by counsellors who used Harville Hendrix's methods. It is really intense work, mostly done outside of the counsellor's office. I wish what's best for both of you and your child.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

veni vedi vici-

Take a vacation with her NOW


Make sure it is something she has always fantasized about-the hell with spending the money on some therapist until after you do that..

Get of of this here damn website and plan it-but tell HER first.

Godspeed my good man and good luck!

madawaskan said...

OK wait....

there are other people here with other ideas so forget the "get out of this here damn website" part.

NKVD said...

I too recommend the work of Harville Hendrix. Not sure where his trophy wife fits in with what he wrote, but there you go.

Freeman Hunt said...

3V, maybe goofy, (I dunno, haven't read it.) but sometimes goofy works.

Beth said...

Uh oh. Today (the 27th) he admits using taxpayer dollars to finance his honeypot visits.

Isn't this the same guy oh so righteously rejecting taxpayer dollars to help out the unemployed, and presumably unable to fly to Argentina for extracurricular sex, citizens of his state? What a shit. I've no sympathy for this Lothario.

Hey, if we all have to learn to live with fiscal responsibility, how about politicians start by not financing their erections with taxpayer dollars? Are you listening, David Vitter?