I don't know Anthony Weiner but his sexting scandal is a familiar story. I am a psychotherapist working with individuals and couples whose lives are damaged by cybersex affairs.
From outside appearances, the man (or woman) seems to be doing well and even excelling. Successful at work. Married or committed relationship. Baby on the way.
Then suddenly the truth comes out and the carefully constructed reality deconstructs.
It turns out that appearances were just that….masks of happiness hiding an underworld of lies and sexual betrayal.
It's amazing how disconnected from reality people can get when they are caught up in the fantasy world, arousal and intensity of cybersex relationships and sexual behaviors. How impaired one's thinking must be to believe that sexual behavior with multiple partners on internet social media sites will remain private… that taking sexual pictures of yourself and sexting in your workplace does not risk consequences to your career… and that your marriage is not compromised by your sexual activities and involvement with other people.
I hope that Mr. Weiner gets the assistance he needs to repair his life. His political career is ruined as he finally resigns after a destructive public journey of denial, deceit and feigned indignation. His marriage is damaged in ways that it may never recover from. His baby will enter his life at a time that should be pure joy and instead will be marred by the pain of deception, shame and scandal.
I work with individuals and couples every day whose story – while not quite this public – have similarities to Anthony Weiner's. Help is available. It involves a hard journey of self scrutiny, painful honesty, accountability and major changes in how lives are lived. Marriages can be saved. And life can get better.
It begins with one step. A call for help. Doing whatever it takes.
(To be continued in Part 2: "What About Anthony Weiner's Wife – Huma Abedin?")