Much will be made of the fact that former Senator John Edwards, a recent presidential candidate, put his political and marital life at risk by having an extramarital affair.
I have stated here before that the breed of man or woman who achieves major party candidate status is made of different pyschological fiber (for better or worse) than the majority of us. It is worth noting that current GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain left his wife, who had waited out his POW ordeal, for a young beer baroness. What struck me about Edwards’ statement of admission was his attribution of his infidelity to ego and a feeling of being special. Entitlement.
There is a degree of daring implicit in a major presidential run, or analogous pursuit. Senator Barack Obama has been likewise accused of having a messiah complex, and being a vacuous celebrity. Being “full of himself”. Perhaps- I know neither man. I do know accomplished people in other fields. I also know pickup artists. To excel at nearly anything, one must feel chosen and worthy, and face risks. I am not surprised that men such as Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, Senator David Vitter, former N.Y. Governor Elliot Spitzer, President Clinton, and former New Jersey Governor McGreevey have cheated on their spouses.
Based on what I know and have read about highly driven men- I’d be more surprised if they were faithful.
Why risk their careers and families? Because the same personality trait that tells one that high office is attainable sees (consciously or not) beautiful women as the spoils of such. Men achieve to impress pretty women. When John Edwards and Kwame Kilpatrick and Bill Clinton were in high school, the hottest babes gravitated towards the most accomplished male teenagers (jocks and bandleaders). Nature met nurture, and some men make the risky calculation- “How can I get that degree of attention/affection?”
The only way to stand out with beautiful women is to stand out.