The Year Of The Affair: Who Cares?

This year has seen so much coverage of extra-marital affairs. I don’t care whose marriage is on the rocks; I can’t muster up any outrage. But I sure can gossip about them.

  • Jon Gosselin: His Ed Hardiness cheated on wife Kate, bringing their eight children into a whole new kind of spotlight, as Mom and Dad went on an endless media tour to discuss their messy divorce.
  • Mel Gibson: Also pretty icky. The man who brought piety to the big screen left his wife for 24-year-old Russian pop singer Oksana Pochepa.
  • Mark Sanford: “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” wasn’t a euphemism before, but it will never again mean just backpacking, since that’s what the South Carolina Governor said he was doing while he was doing his Argentinean mistress on taxpayer money.
  • David Letterman: After being blackmailed, he apologized on national television for having multiple affairs with his staffers.
  • LeAnn Rimes: Her marriage broke up this year after she participated in extra-curricular activities with “Northern Lights” co-star Eddie Cibrian, whose marriage to his wife, Brandi, also ended.
  • And Tiger Woods: Whom hasn’t he (allegedly) slept with?
  • Why does this continue to be surprising, especially this year (more than a decade after the long year of Monica and Bill)? People routinely let down their spouses through unsanctioned infidelity, to the tune of 40 percent of wives and 60 percent of husbands. That’s a lot of cheating. How can it be so simultaneously shocking and commonplace? Do we expect more out of our public figures than we do out of our own spouses? While I’d be more than a little upset if my husband slipped outside the bonds of matrimony, I don’t think bad behavior is indicating the decline of America or marriage, it’s what folks from the fictional Don Draper to the very real former president have always done.