Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin: What does sexual indiscretion mean for a marriage, and forgiveness?


When U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner tearfully confessed Monday to sending lewd photos via Twitter to random women, wife Huma Abedin -- Hillary Rodham Clinton’s right-hand woman during the 2000 presidential campaign, married to Weiner just under a year ago -- was noticeably absent.

In stories of sexual indiscretion by male public figures, their wives are often caught in difficult positions. Some, like Hillary Clinton, stand by their high-profile husbands, while others, like Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren, cut the cord. Maria Shriver, now splitting from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has done both at different times. “The Good Wife,” a legal drama about the wife of an Illinois state’s attorney who returns to work after her husband gets busted in sex and corruption scandals, is based on that premise.

Is this the dilemma of the political woman alone, or are women more likely, or even expected, to forgive spousal infidelity than men are?


In a study I mentioned Monday, women are more likely to be upset at emotional cheating, while men find sexual cheating the more heinous infidelity. And another study published last year in the journal Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología found that women are more likely to forgive perceived slights because they tend to have more empathy.

And oddly enough, another study published last year in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that men are more willing to forgive a woman who has cheated on them with another woman -- but the reverse does not hold true. Women are more likely to forgive a man for cheating with another woman than they are with another man.

All around, women in the study were less likely to leave an unfaithful partner than men were.

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