I am feeling it for Huma Abedin. Just yesterday, Abedin — vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign — announced that she is separating from her husband, Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 and lost a bid to be mayor of New York City in 2013, both times because of sexting scandals.
Both times, Abedin stood by her man, being the Good Wife, for her marriage and their son, now 4 years old.
It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony. It was not an easy choice in any way, but I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage. I made a decision for me, for my son and my marriage.” tweet
But yet another just-revealed sexting scandal evidently led Abedin to her decision:
After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life.” tweet
If the crazies who want to make divorce for parents of minor children harder had their way, Abedin would now be forced to undergo marital education and wait months before she could file for a divorce. I don’t think she made this decision lightly, do you?
I was willing to give Weiner the benefit of the doubt after the first sexting scandal — is sexting even infidelity? For some it is but each couple should decide for themselves if it is or not. Then I was royally skewered when I, very tongue-in-check, wrote an article on Huffington Post advising women like Abedin to “marry ugly” (I don’t find Weiner attractive but obviously other women do, not just Abedin).
Commitment, with asterisk
But now? Well, as I said, I feel for Abedin; she did what a lot of marital therapists probably would have advised her to do — work on her marriage. She also took her commitment to her marriage seriously, except there always seems to be an asterisk when it comes to commitment and infidelity. I’m not sure even Esther Perel, who advocates for rethinking infidelity, would encourage Abedin to stay.
Many may be shaking their heads, wondering why she stayed so long. Research psychologist and author Peggy Drexler says don’t:
It’s important to remember that we can never know what goes on in other people’s relationships. To assume Abedin chose to stay with Weiner despite his many flaws is to ignore the fact that she quite possibly decided to stay with him because of the many good qualities he possesses, the ones that appealed to her in the first place.” tweet
Weiner did nothing illegal, just stupid. He didn’t drug and rape women, as Bill Cosby allegedly did. He didn’t lie under oath, as serial cheater Bill Clinton did. He didn’t cheat on a sick wife, as Sens. John Edwards and John McCain did. He doesn’t have a sex addiction, although some might think he does. If anything, he has what I call big dick syndrome, a cockiness (sorry) that comes from knowing that he’s well endowed (because men think about their dicks a lot, and women find men with big dicks more attractive).
If he had an old-fashioned affair, or affairs, perhaps people would be more forgiving (and isn’t that funny?) Instead, he just hurt his wife over and over in such a public way, even as they struggled to keep their marriage together. At some point, enough is enough.
If, as Abedin says, they are “devoted to doing what is best for our son,” then they have a few options — have a traditional divorce and live apart, divorce and birdnest, or transform their marriage into a parenting marriage.
None is perfect right now, but removing the romantic/sexual aspect of their relationship — which may have already occurred months ago — and transforming it into a parenting marriage would allow Abedin to focus on what she needs to do in Clinton’s campaign and Weiner to do whatever he needs — therapy, perhaps, unbridled sexting, or — who knows? — a career in porn. He already has the name, Carlos Danger. Mostly, it would give son Jordan what he needs — the love of his parents in his family home, and most likely an end to conflict.
People like to slam women because women file for divorce much more often than men. All we have to do is look at women like Huma Abedin to understand why.
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