Sexting former Congressman Anthony Weiner (and to a less extent, his long suffering wife Huma Abedin) is back in the news. One of the women Weiner sent his “sexy” extramarital texts to has written a book called “I Freinded You” (misspelling intentional), and in it she relays how Weiner complained about his Muslim in-laws “ignorance” in not accepting him because Weiner’s Jewish.
But the background noise is how Abedin and Weiner, expecting their first child, are still together, trapped in the malaise of a relationship that’s the equivalent of an international bank tossing up craps in their Wall Street gambles. It’s “too big to fail.”
When relationships do bad, people act like you can always just walk away, but it’s not so simple when you’re in the middle of a love that won’t die (usually because one of you won’t let it). No matter the problem, you two are going to weather that storm because the alternative is unfathomable.
What are the signs that you’re more likely to stay together after a crisis than fall apart?
My Marriage Is My Career: This is the common reason why many high profile couples, especially in the case of lesser known women married to powerful men, don’t break up. Why would you leave the greatest job you’ve ever had – being the wife of a powerful person? All the clout and perks and power. Being part of the team that gets your husband re-elected (if he’s in politics). And these are often women who are accomplished and educated in their own right, but gave up their own individual pursuits to focus on their job as the co-president of “Marriage, Inc.” The cheating is hurtful, even humiliating, but unless you’re one of the few women who are actually more powerful separate from the guy than together, you’re unlikely to turn your back on the life you helped build. (Case in point: Eliot Spitzer and Silda Wall Spitzer; Elizabeth Edwards before she found out John Edwards got another woman pregnant and decided she didn’t want to spend her last months on Earth tied to that sinking ship.)
Us Against the World: When your spouse was caught cheating your response wasn’t “how dare he” but “how dare you bring this up!” You jam is Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” because of the line “Don’t let them win.” While you two might be together because of some semblance of love, you’re also together out of a great deal of spite for all your detractors. Maybe how you got together was messy. Perhaps you were both cheating on others before you hooked up. Maybe your family just really, really hates this guy. “They” say it will never last and they point to all your problems as proof as to why it shouldn’t. But yet, there you two are, still together! You showed them! Sometimes the world being against your love only brings you closer together. (Case in point: The Clintons, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, Jackie and Doug Christie, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, your dysfunctional parents who you wish would break up already)
The Mokenstef Rule (“He’s Mine. You only had him once, but I got him all the time.”): Some people aren’t good at faithfulness. But sometimes those same folks meet that perfect person who won’t care as long as you always come home to them. This jam is for them. This is also known as the “Why Should She Have Him?” rule, named for one of my favorite scenes in the film “Goodfellas” where Karen Hill confronts her husband’s mistress, contemplates killing and/or leaving her husband but decides to not shoot him in the head because “Why should she have him? Why should she win?” Actress Lorraine Bracco who played Hill said she didn’t think Karen would divorce her gangster husband because, “She would have considered divorce more of a failure than a salvation.” But, in real life, the Hills’ marriage didn’t last. Still, the one-sided open relationship is a real thing. (Case in point: Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks)
The Kids: What about the kids? You can’t break up! They’re all little and innocent and confused. While this reason isn’t used as much as it was used in the past, many modern relationships – no matter how turbulent – often still keep going because there are children involved. Many couples who fall apart find it hard to break up when you still have to co-parent. It’s easy to fall back into love again and find yourself “working it out” since you still want Daddy to be in Junior’s life. (Case in point: Robert DeNiro and Grace Hightower; that nightmare of “crazy ghetto black love” Basketball Wives LA star Laura Govan claims to have with NBA player Gilbert Arenas.)
No Easy Way Out: Sometimes breaking up isn’t an option because there’s too much to lose and no right way to leave. In today’s age of no-fault divorces and single parents, you’d think people could walk out of any situation, but some couples still find themselves trapped in relationships they’d rather be free of. Maybe a divorce would be too ugly of a fight over custody, money or both? Maybe neither of partner would publicly survive the scandal of the break up? Maybe you or your partner doesn’t believe in divorce? Maybe you feel responsible or indebted to your partner and to dump them would feel like abandoning them? Maybe you’re afraid of what they would do if you broke up? Maybe the marriage and what it means to others is bigger than the two people in it? Whatever it is, for you all exits are marked “No Exit.” (Case in point: Film legend Spencer Tracy and Louise Treadwell; Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil; every other Kennedy Family marriage; most royal marriages pre-Princess Diana)
Have you ever stayed in a failing relationship? What made your relationship “too big to fail”?