Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Why Can't NYC Mayor Candidate Anthony Weiner Stop Sexting?

After a humiliating denouement in 2011, "Carlos Danger" is still straying.

The political world was rocked Tuesday with the news that New York City Mayoral front-runner candidate and former Democratic Party powerbroker Anthony Weiner continued to sext women using the nome de plume "Carlos Danger" after his humiliating denouement only two years ago. You may recall back in April 2011 that after rumors grew that the New York Congressman was sexting young women and he had vehemently denied the charges and attacked the integrity of those making the charges, Andrew Breitbart produced shocking lewd photos Weiner had texted to a woman. The political pressure grew too great and he resigned from Congress. Weiner promised to get help, thanked his wife Huma Abedin for standing by him after this betrayal of their marriage vows and promised to never do it again. 

Sadly, Congressman Weiner continued to sext the next year after his resignation with three more women, even as his wife Huma was carrying their first child. He promised one woman he sexted to get her a job at the website Politico and set her up with a condo in Chicago. While appearing to be the mirage of the contrite family man, the former Congressman continued to live a dual life, secretly doing what he really enjoyed behind the back of his unsuspecting wife as she bragged that her husband was"trying to be the best dad and husband he can be." On talk radio and cable television shows  across the nation today, Americans are wondering how could he be such a devious cad.

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Former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner represented not only his congressional district in New York but millions of fellow "mirage men" who are not finding success in their conventional monogamous relationships. Why do men behave like Congressman Weiner, with real or virtual affairs with women outside their marriages and cohabitations? Therapist and author Marvin Allen gives us insight:

"Many men tell me that they feel a deep sense of connection with their sexual partners. Most of the time they feel cut off from people. Sex can create an instant connection. For a few passionate moments they feel united with another person body and soul. For many of the thousands of men I have talked to, sex can be a spiritual, almost religious experience. It's one of the rare opportunities they have to feel alive".

One of the problems with the unfaithful mirage man like Congressman Weiner using sex as a means of connecting with another human being on the internet or in person is that it lasts for only a few fleeting hours. Then the serial cheater must flee back to his alternative universe where, in Anthony Weiner's case, he lives his life as New York City Mayoral candidate, husband to Huma Abedin, former aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and  father to their young child. The next day mirage men like Weiner will find themselves just as alone and disconected to their unsuspecting spouses as before. This will feed the  need to keep secretly seeing or sexting the same people who give them the temporary high, connection and escape from reality.Jane Velez-Mitchell described this behavior as "chasing the high".

Mirage men like Congressmen Weiner crave acceptance, even if it is just for one night. There was symbolic physical nakedness as the Congressman shared nude pictures of himself over the internet or in  former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's many physical sexual encounters with prostitutes, even though it is but a diversion from the terrible reality that no one in the world truly knows them and accepts them. That is why so many "happily married" men seek one night stands, sext, frequent internet porn sites or enjoy lap dances at sleazy strip joints. They become so desperate  that they are willing to pretend with women they would have been ashamed to be seen with in high school. 

Mirage men often begin romances pretending their partner is accepting their naked self. The reality is the their relationships are based on inappropriate emotional and physical intimacy and the deception of approval seeking. Once the romance peaks in the Honeymoon stage, the man realizes he is doomed to spend the rest of his life with a woman with which  he has little in common. As it slowly sinks in that he will be forced to spend thousands of hours doing things he doesn't like to do to continue his phony role, he becomes disillusioned. The mirage man will medicate his accumulating resentment and pain through the compulsive behaviors he brought into the union. In Congressman Weiner's case, it was raunchy sexting with virtual strangers on the internet. With professional golfer Tiger Woods, Democratic presidential primary candidate John Edwards and Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was sexual liasons with waitresses, porn stars, a videographer and the maid.

There is symbolic physical nakedness in each physical encounter, but for a mirage man, there is no acceptance of the naked self...because the rejection-fearing mirage man doesn't give his female partner the opportunity to truly know him, warts and all, and accept him. It may seem hard to believe but there is even more for Huma Abedin to learn about her straying husband. Until he seriously deals with the issues driving himself into sexting with strangers, Anthony Weiner should consider an occupation apart from the political spotlight.

 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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