Colleague and psychologist Dr. Frank Farley has an interesting op-ed over at the LA Times the other day about some of the underlying psychological motivations that may explain why politicians stray from their marriages.
In the article, Dr. Farley refers to the “Type T Personality” — the T stands for Thrill. He makes the argument that we elect the politicians we do because we’re drawn to their bold ideas, their intensity, their charisma. But those same qualities that may make them a good politician (we don’t really know, because there hasn’t been a lot of research done in this area yet), also may put them at greater risk for engaging in unethical relationship behavior, such as cheating on their spouse.
Politicians, like Hollywood celebrities, are also constantly surrounded by people who do nothing but look up to them, sing their praises — “yes” people. He notes that the politician is immersed in a set of people who are “adoring followers, campaign workers, office staff — all focused on pleasing the politician.” It may give someone an unrealistic belief that they above normal morals and ethics, and so cheating is “okay” (perhaps explaining former President Clinton’s tryst with an intern).
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