After All, He's Just a Man

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Silda Spitzer stands by her man.

hide captionSilda Spitzer stands by her man.

Source: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

In this office, as we watched Eliot Spitzer's apology for "private failings," the first thing out of most people's mouth was, "Whoa, his wife's there too... I wonder..." My brain went straight to, "He cheated on her! How can she stand by him?" I wasn't alone, but then my boss (there's a reason she's the boss) said, "Wait, hold on, what do we really know about the Spitzers? There could be things going on between them that we don't know about." And she's right, of course — some marriages are open, some have "understandings," and many were quick to point out that in Europe, this would be no big deal. But, still, even if my high-profile man and I had a deal that he could hire call girls and he got busted, I still imagine my response would be more along the lines of "You did the crime, you do the time" than "Stand by Your Man." What do you think? Have you ever stood by your spouse through an incident in which they embarrassed you? Why or why not? Today we'll hear from one former first lady who had to deal with this firsthand.

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I heard that Mrs Spitzer didn't think he should quit. I quipped: Sure, she said "Dear, you don't have to quit... Because I'm going to kill you!!"

Sent by Stacy R | 2:44 PM | 3-13-2008

My husband saw the picture of Spitzer standing next to his wife and asked who she was. I told him that was the woman who was going to go home and poison him.

Sent by Dava | 2:45 PM | 3-13-2008

Sometimes you have to make lemonaide out of lemons. My husband of 17 years cheated on me 3 years ago. My illustrated memoir (aka graphic novel) about love, loss and moving forward is being released this May by Chronicle Books.

Sent by Thorina Rose | 2:47 PM | 3-13-2008

It is not clear whether the the prostitution was for the benefit of Mr. Spitzer, Mrs. Spitzer, or both. It's a bit premature to have this conversation without knowing the facts.

Sent by Brock | 2:47 PM | 3-13-2008

In response to Amy's experience of wanting to save the relationship - does that mean you have to be publicly humiliated to accomplish that? Can't you skip the press conference and just make the appointment with the marriage counselor?

Sent by Polly | 2:48 PM | 3-13-2008

number one, you cannot love someone you don't respect. there are many hidden reasons a wife will stay with a scandalous husband. in my case, it was out of fear, a very real fear that he would kill me or harm my children. once my children were out of the house, i couldn't leave fast enough. after one attempt on my life, i still live in fear.

Sent by sharon | 2:48 PM | 3-13-2008

As a committed-to-singlehood-twice-divorced grandmother who has many good male friends, I would just like to remind everyone, IT TAKES A REALLY GOOD MAN TO BE BETTER THAN NO MAN. (The same naturally applies in the reverse.

Sent by Lila Kahle (prounounced Cale) | 2:54 PM | 3-13-2008

It sounds like your guest & many of your callers are confusing an official press conference, where an office holder is resigning or being fired, with an press opportunity for anyone else to air their thoughts or feelings on the subject. Everyone except the Individual in question will have plenty of opportunity on the morning shows to do their laundry & the late night guys will get it dirty again.

Sent by michael | 2:56 PM | 3-13-2008

please correct - it wasnt Lebron James - it was Kobe Bryant

Sent by erv | 2:57 PM | 3-13-2008

Tell your guest it was not LeBron James, it was Kobe Bryant.

Sent by Greg | 2:58 PM | 3-13-2008

Nobody can assume another's story. I think we all need to remember, There but for the grace of God go I.

Sent by Paula | 2:58 PM | 3-13-2008

Thank you for correcting the LeBron James mistake! Kobe Bryant is a creep and they are nothing alike.

Sent by Angela | 2:59 PM | 3-13-2008

I think the panel responding to the question "What message are you trying to send by standing there as he resigns" missed the point completely. A big part of a betrayal like this is being the last to know. By standing there the message you are sending is "I know what's happened, I am fully aware, and I'm not a victim to be pitied." There is no message sent regarding acceptance or rejection of the behavior or individual, but rather it's a position of strength in knowledge of the incident.

Sent by Martha | 3:07 PM | 3-13-2008

Her support for her husband shows the strength of her compassion and integrity, as well as her moral kindness and character. Perhaps she doesn't condone his actions,but ultimately,as she made the choice to marry the guy, she is responsible for her own choices.

Sent by emily | 3:12 PM | 3-13-2008

It was stated on air that the wife of Lebron James publicly stood by his side while he was embroiled in a scandal. I believe the speaker was mistaken, as it was Kobe Bryant, not Lebron James, who was accused (and later acquitted) of sexual assault.

Sent by Paul | 3:13 PM | 3-13-2008

10 steps backwards for womenkind.
she as 1st lady of NY is a role model.
Her message is clear. This is not a one time occurence. No comparison between eliot and bill. A mistress is not against the law prostitution and/or being a john are illegal. I'm sorry for their daughters, what an example silda set for them. Unfortunately, many parents set bad examples for their kids. Eliot is a criminal and should be treated that way. Silda, Hillary, etc. all put their political positions ahead of what is right. Too bad. The message i get is that its ok. I'm a 43 yo male and I beleive that women need to get out from under "the thumb". I'm lucky. I have a strong girlfriend with a backbone.

Sent by Milan R | 3:16 PM | 3-13-2008

I'm tired of the silent suffering of betrayed housewives. Though any woman (including myself) would sympathize with a wife who is too shocked to arrive at an immediate decision after being betrayed on the Spitzer level, I think it's about time that one of these long suffering wives of philandering politicians said, "Sorry, honey, the buck stops here." No standing with him at press conferences, no public shows of support. I'm rooting for the wives of philandering politicians that dump their husbands, women that defy the Jackie O. stereotype. I would be far more likely to vote for a woman with THAT kind of authentic chutzpah, if you get my meaning.

Sent by Kim | 3:19 PM | 3-13-2008

If spitzer is taking full responsibility why doesn't he fess up plead guilty and accept the sentence. Tax dollars have been spent. Innocent people have been hurt. I'm almost outraged.

Sent by Milan R | 3:26 PM | 3-13-2008

Is it "OK" to do everything morally, ethically, religiously and consciously wrong if you think your spouse will stand by you? What about loyalty and commitment to your spouse?

Sent by Homayoun Samadi | 3:29 PM | 3-13-2008

I just heard this piece on the radio. Having suffered similar (private) betrayal a couple years ago by my (ex) husband of twenty years (and like Ms. McGreevey, my husband's betrayals were with men), I was overwhelmed with emotion by the comments. First, I felt angry and sad on behalf of Ms. Spitzer, whose pain is now compounded by belittling criticism of her decision to stand with her husband.

Having two daughters, I promised myself I would never reveal the nature of my former husband's betrayal to them. I think a child needs to love both parents.

Also, I don't think humans are hard-wired for long-term monogamy. We continually set ourselves up for disappointment, and betrayal.

Whatever Ms. Spitzer's reasons were, I respect them . I can think of no finer line to walk. Too contentious, society is outraged (or rather, entertained) for the laundry airing. Too supportive, we criticize the seeming cowardice. Hmmm.

Sent by Kris | 3:31 PM | 3-13-2008

Has anybody considered the possibility that they are swingers? Maybe here bill for prostitutes is twice as big as his. Maybe like Bill and Hillary Clinton its a marriage of convenience where anything goes...including kinky oval office cigar sex with staffers.

Sent by Mo | 4:47 PM | 3-13-2008

Although I would never vote for Hiliary Clinton (no integrity), I have a lot of respect for staying with Bill and raising their daughter. It's obvious that both Hiliary and Bill are great parents. In this situation, I will also respect and admire whatever decision Ms. Spitzer decides to make, IF Mr. Spitzer is also a devoted parent.

My only objection is the appearance of the spouses on stage during the asking for forgiven media circus. Without a spouse on stage, these men look like selfish, weak, and small. The addition of a spouse adds class and elevates the moral standing of the wrong-doer. They need to stand alone and truly show some remorse to both their families and the American people.

Staying in the marriage should have nothing to do with their required moment of shame.

Sent by Sarah | 6:01 PM | 3-13-2008

To Thorina: Was your Ex a lemon, and did you make lemonade out of him? (i.e Are you making lemonade out of him via the book?)
Is your book an act of Vengeance? Catharsis? Penance? Strictly commerce?

Sent by kerthialfad | 7:15 PM | 3-13-2008

Who knows what goes on (or doesn't go on) in the privacy of the Spitzer's bedroom?

I've been married for 28 years, but my wife lost sexual desire many years ago. We have three beautiful children whom both of have been committed to raising in a two parent household. Therefore, divorce has not been an option.

Now, all you judgmental people out there: what is a man like me with a perfectly healthy libido supposed to do??!! Extramarital affairs, prostitution, or masturbation - which is my best option?

Sent by Jeff Spooner | 11:13 PM | 3-13-2008

Wow, that's a kick in the head. This poster, Thorina Rose, has written an expose about her cheating husband. Bareing all. Does she mention the dude's name? Is he going to have to move out of town and adopt a new identity? Is his professional career dead? What sweet revenge.
Making lemonade - he musta been a real lemon. Right on, Thorina!

Sent by Amy Tooth | 11:15 PM | 3-13-2008

Kris writes of her "betrayal" by her husband of 20 years with other men (like McGreevey). But what constitutes a betrayal? Is it sexual intercourse, or heavy petting? And if women engage in the same activity, it doesn't have the same impact. I think there is a double-standard that should be explored.

For example, woman engage in prostitution way more often than men. Men use the services of prostitutes way more often than women. Is it just as wrong for a woman to engage in prostitution, as it is for a man to engage a prostitute?

Sent by Property Rights | 11:22 PM | 3-13-2008

You mention on your program that this press conferences was a tipping point and related it to the montage of previous "stand by your man" press conferences. I would point out that the first montage was done by the Daily SHow with Jon Stewart and is yet another example of the growing tendency for television news organizations to take their cues from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
For a view of the incredibly funny piece "shame parade", here is the url: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=163844&title=shame-parade&tag=generic_tag_samantha_bee&itemId=107739

Sent by Phil Brewer MD | 10:05 AM | 3-14-2008

Does the ultimate in forgiveness come in here?

Sent by Sade | 7:33 PM | 3-20-2008

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