Stand By Your Man
When Tammy Wynette first wrote the words “Stand by your man” she suggested it was hard to be a woman loving just one man because “he’ll have good times doing things that you don’t understand.” And that even if you don’t understand him, if you love him, you should forgive him because “after all he’s just a man.” When reading these lyrics closely, it seems Wynette did not think too highly of men’s intelligence. But what of the intelligence of those women who do “stand by their man” like Silda Spitzer, Suzanne Craig, Dina Matos McGreevey, Wendy Vitter, and Hillary Clinton?
In most of the commentaries written about these political wives who stood by their men, writers tend to express three views: 1) they are disgusted that these women accepted the infidelity; 2) they feel it is a political move to show the public that if she can stand by them, then their constituents still can; and 3) they feel she is standing by her man to support their children.
Yet, there is a reason that women stand by their men that has not gotten much attention. Money. Has anyone addressed what is at stake financially if these women pack up and leave their politically connected spouses? Statistically, a woman’s standard of living can decrease 10-25% after a divorce. If you are living a comfortable upper-class life, as most of the aforementioned women are, divorce is an economic gamble. Furthermore, women who divorce tend to lose their social networks. Would you be willing to lower your income and lose your friends? Even battered women stay with their batterers because of money. And being beaten up by your husband is far more damaging than being cheated on! These might be financial risks that women like Spitzer, Craig, Vitter and Clinton were not willing to make.
And in Clinton’s case, it is clear she had future goals in mind when she stood by her president. She knew the Senate and her own candidacy for president had a better chance in a political partnership than being single. Would she even be a viable candidate today if she was single? Marriage seems to be an unwritten requirement to run for president.
When we look at these women who stand by their cheating men, perhaps we should stop first and look at their checking accounts and think about how much they might be giving up before we judge them.