Marital Infidelity And Politics- A Dangerous Combination Says Marriage Therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin

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Marital infidelity and politics is a dangerous combination. Yes, this is my statement as a marriage therapist and human behavior expert. I have been counseling couples, individuals, and families for 20 years and I also say; How a man treats his wife is how a man lives his life! I mentioned this during a panel interview I participated in on FOX News Channel’s America Live yesterday; July 24th, 2013. Is sexting cheating? Can we learn of a man’s character by observing his relationship with his wife? Does the marital relationship matter in politics? These 3 questions will be answered in this blog article as I explain my B.R.A.L. theory.

Is Sexting Cheating?

Some may say that sexting is not really cheating. I say it is. I have addressed this matter in Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual, as well as on FOX 25 News Boston, CBC The Current Radio, and more . . . It is the secrecy of an intimate secret interaction with another human life form, that is the cheating. There are different forms of cheating; e.g., emotional, physical, and/or sexual intimacy. Experiencing a secret intimate encounter is cheating- the use of technology is simply a vessel upon which to enact the cheating.

Can we learn of a man’s character by observing his relationship with his wife? Does the marital relationship matter in politics?

Dr. Karen’s B.R.A.L. Theory:

Absolutely yes, we can learn of and understand a man’s character by observing his relationship with his wife. We are asking the wrong question. The question is not whether marriage should or does matter in politics. The answer is that it should and it does, because it tells us about a person’s character, from this psychotherapist’s point of view. Rather the question we should be asking is; what type of character do we as a culture feel would best serve us? So, if the example is a man running for mayor, one may wish to take a moment and ask one’s self this question. This is a serious question, the answer says a lot not just about who we are as people, but what people feel they need in a mayor. This question does not have such a simple answer, or does it? I grew up in Queens, NY. I no longer am a resident of NY, as I am currently based in Massachusetts. Regardless of where I or another lives, Weiner’s behavior opens up a dialogue for many about marital infidelity and politics. Below you will find an explanation of my B.R.A.L. theory which explains why marital infidelity and politics is a dangerous combination and how a man treats his wife is indeed of relevancy.

It is my analysis that all marriages go through 4 main phases: 1)B, 2)R, 3)A, 4)L. It is those phases that are symbolic for who a man will be in his relationship with the public, as it is those same 4 marital phases a man will go through in his relationship with himself and those he is serving in his political life.

B.R.A.L. – The 4 phases are as follows:

  1. Balance- The struggle and journey of balancing; a) what my involvement is as a spouse in whatever life phase and stage I am in, and b) my professional career, along with c) what phase and stage of life my wife is in, in her life (health, personal, professional etc.). Do I have the skills, passion, and interest in balancing my needs and her needs as well as the needs of our family and our external life responsibilities through the course of marriage? (Do I have the skills, passion, and interest in balancing my needs and my town’s needs, my city’s needs, my state’s needs, my country’s needs through the course of my being in office?)
  2. Role/Identity- Role: What role do I play in this marriage? (What role do I play in my community?) As challenges and shifts occur, and differences of opinions are verbalized, is it my role to work through in dialogue hearing one another’s voice or rather escape into unhealthy “coping” methods and thereby disconnect from, hurt, betray those of whom I say I care about the most? (Consider this question from a marriage perspective, then consider the answer if applied as a mayor or any other man in power). What is my role in my relationship with my significant relationships (e.g., spouse, town, city, state, country)? Identity- What is my identity/who am I in relationship to my wife, my family as a whole and each member within that whole? (What is my identity/who am I in relationship to my town as a whole and to the people within my town?) Is my identity one of which I am the leader of my marriage or are we a marital team? Or, is our marriage albeit a team, we each are leaders in our own set of expertise, we each have a voice and therefore each of our voices and  needs are considered? Or rather are we not really a team, is this a hierarchy in the true sense of the word and I hold an authoritarian style of command where I am not responsive to my spouse’s needs? My voice is the voice that matters. Therefore if I am not happy with how things are going . . .  look out, because I just may “act out” in an inappropriate manner (e.g., betrayal). If I am stressed or unhappy, if our marriage is going through a rough patch (for example) it is I who will then decide to utilize external means for self fulfillment and screw you over in the process. Is my view of marriage authoritative or authoritarian based on my actions over time or is it something other? Is my identity one of blame and not of taking ownership of my own actions? (e.g., I sexted because the marriage was going through a rough patch).  How will that identity of who I am in relationship to my wife display/play out if I became someone with power (e.g., mayor or as some other political assignment)?
  3. Adjust/Adapt- Based on information received each day, challenges faced, and life obstacles, how do I adjust to, adapt to, accommodate, and work with those challenges in my life? Do I adjust myself to accommodate what I see those around me need for a successful life (e.g., successful happy marriage, successful happy community)? Or, rather do I not adjust/adapt. Is my life philosophy, how I live, my instinct and character- is it that life is all about me and what I want? Do I live more by the ‘ID’ which is; “I want what I want when I want it” and thus behave impulsively and inappropriately and lie about those behaviors? Therefore, others have to adjust to what I want and accommodate me based upon my mental status? If they are not with me they are against me mentality. Do I live by the ‘ID’ or does it rear it’s ugly head, rather than having my ‘ego’ guide me? Living by one’s ‘ego’ means that a person considers those around them before they take action, makes wise systemic choices rather than “me me” choices.
  4. Loyalties- Where are my loyalties and to whom? Are my loyalties to me and only me and I will defend myself to the death even if it injures others along the way? Not unless I am completely caught will I confess. Would I give my right arm to not hurt emotionally nor physically the person I vowed in sickness and in health I would remain with? Are my loyalties to my wife? (Can wife be considered a metaphor for ‘life’ for ‘state’, for ‘town’ or is that a stretch?) Or will I hurt them and re-hurt along the way? Am I trustworthy in character? Being loyal is intertwined with a trustworthy character, is it not? Can my spouse trust me that I am loyal? Can my community trust me that I am loyal? What does loyalty really mean these days? If I can betray my wife does that infer I have an increased potential to betray others in my life because I am ultimately loyal to no one?

Bottom Line:

How a man treats his wife is how a man lives his life.

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Follow Dr. Karen on Twitter or Facebook. Media Psychotherapist Guest Expert; Relationships, Parenting, Human Behavior, Analyzes Hot Topics In The News. Has appeared on FOX News Channel's: The O'Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, Hannity, America's Newsroom, and FOX Business Network's: Cavuto. Go–to for FOX News Boston including the regular segment; Ask Dr. Karen. Also appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, Discovery Network's Destination America, The Steve Harvey TV Show, and more. Sought after Radio Guest Expert. Columnist. Often quoted in various print media: FOX Business, FOX News Magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Care.com, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo Shine, Parents, Parenting, CNN, TIME, Woman's Day, Men's Health, USA Today, and more. Owner/Founder/President: Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc. Based in Massachusetts. Author of: 9 Key Techniques For Raising Respectful Children and Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual. Copyright 2012.

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