Valerie Trierweiler’s emotional collapse and week-long hospitalization after hearing about her partner Francois Holland’s betrayal with actress Julie Gayett was dramatic, but nevertheless understandable. Liasons with powerful political figures are by definition dramatic, but therefore seductive.

Can a heart really be broken? Recent research shows us that heart complications do, in fact, arise from experiences of grief, loss and loneliness.

So why do we continue to repeat doing this?

In line with the French adage “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” (New York Times, January 19, 2014, p. 2), Holland then announced the formal ending of their “shared life.”

How can we understand the lure of these relationships? How can we understand the inevitable pull of charisma, narcissism, ambition, money and power? Both Hollande and Trierweiler had been married before and left their partners for each other; the pattern is consistent; why should there be surprise?

What, like a moth to a flame, keeps us returning?

To understand these patterns, the thrill and the heartbreak, and especially the self-destructive urges, I recommend further reading by Columbia University psychologist, Dr. Judy Kuriansky: “French president sex scandal: Lust trumps brains,” distributed through the United Press International newswire

French president sex scandal: “Lust trumps brains” says noted psychologist

NEW YORK — French President Francois Hollande’s evolving sex scandal is dissected Friday in a national op-ed piece by noted New York clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist Judy Kuriansky.

“French president sex scandal: Lust trumps brains,” distributed through the United Press International newswire, looks at the reported liaison between Hollande and actress Julie Gayet, the hospitalization of ostensible first lady Valerie Trierweiler, and what women everywhere should be on the lookout for, particularly when it comes to powerful men.

Kuriansky, author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Healthy Relationship” and a frequently quoted relationship expert on the faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, says Trierweiler was a fool not to see the alleged affair coming. Kuriansky explains why, and why Hollande won’t likely change.

A link to the UPI piece can be found here.

In the piece, Kuriansky offers advice to Trierweiler that she says “also applies to commoners like the rest of us.”

Among her recommendations:

– Identify what you fear losing, “whether a lifestyle or the fantasy of undying love.”

– Resist self-blame. “You can never be beautiful, smart or desirable enough. His needs drove him to stray.”

– Rebuild your self-image “on your own strengths rather than as someone’s arm charm.”

Kuriansky also addresses several questions:

– The unofficial first lady has been hospitalized for a week, reportedly due to shock from the revelations. Is there such a thing as “love shock”?

– If never-married Hollande has a pattern of philandering, will new mistress Gayet suffer the same fate as Trierweiler?

– What drives powerful men to be chronic cheaters?

She can also comment on:

– How might Hollande’s indiscretion affect his state visit to the White House scheduled for February 11th? Hollande says he will elaborate on Trierweiler’s role before his Washington trip.

About the Author

Ilene Serlin, Ph.D.

Ilene Serlin, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the founder and director of Union Street Health Associates and the Arts Medicine Program at California Pacific Medical Center.

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