So you’ve probably heard by now about General Petraeus leaving the CIA after confessing to an affair. There’s another general who has the same problem, it seems. This follows folks like Anthony Weiner, Elliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton all having cheated on their wives. This is now leading to CNN running a story called “The Downfall of Powerful Men,” and asking why powerful men do this sort of thing.
That is not the question to ask.
The question to ask is, “Why do people in general cheat on the ones they claim to love? What is it about humanity that keeps us ready to shag someone other than the person we’re supposed to?” It isn’t anything to do with power, or even with gender. It’s just about being people. People like sex. People get bored having sex with the same person all the time. They want a little variety. They have an affair. It happens. That’s not even going into whatever emotional issues might be involved.
So why do powerful men have affairs? For the same reason everyone else does.