Former CIA director David Petraeus in happier times.It was quite the week: a massive hurricane hit the East Coast, a fierce election came to an end and now this: America’s sweetheart CIA director, General David Petraeus, resigns for “personal reasons,” (ahem, cheating on his wife).
Petraeus is known in this country as a hero. As the director of the CIA, Petraeus has been our go-to guy for handling terrorism, our military and global threats. But after an F.B.I. investigation stumbled upon his extramarital affair via his computer, our nation’s superman was encouraged to step down just two days after the president’s reelection.
If this story sounds all too familiar, it’s probably because it is. Remember when the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter story broke? We all gripped our faces like we were auditioning for Home Alone 4. What about Anthony Weiner’s Twitter pic snafu? And let’s not forget former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was caught patronizing prostitutes after making it his professional mission to cut down on…prostitution (oops). As a society, we’re lulled into a sense that people in prominent, morality-based professions must, of course, have a high degree of integrity in their personal lives. So every time we hear a story like Petraeus’ – and it seems to happen a lot – we feel blindsided and burned like it’s the first time.
Could we have seen this coming? And more importantly, could there actually be a link between highly moral careers and highly immoral behavior? According to a survey of 1.9 million people on AshleyMadison.com, a dating site for people looking to have extramarital affairs, there may very well be an inverse relationship between the two. The survey indicated that the most “adulterous professions,” when it comes to men, are actually doctors and police officers. For women, it’s teachers and stay-at-home moms.
I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt, though. After all, it was one survey, and it was conducted by a site that promotes cheating. Without having done any surveying of my own, I’m going to figure that people of any and all professions cheat. Doctors, cops, administrative assistants, investment bankers – no one’s immune to temptation. And you don’t see those employees resigning after getting caught with their pants down.
The lesson I’m taking away from this situation and those that came before (yes, I’m looking at you, Bill Clinton), is that a profession and marriage are just two separate things. Just because you’re loyal to one, does not mean you’re loyal to both.