Part II of our Spring Romances - Fall Breakups originally published on 11/12/2012

A married high-powered over-achieving executive with a distinguished and storied career engages in a relatively-short inappropriate sexual behavior with another high-powered, good looking overachiever with whom he appears to have more in common than his wife of thirty-eight years …

Yes, we are speaking of a national hero, a four-star general who turned around the war in Iraq and was later nominated to head the CIA. Whose tawdry little affair was accidently exposed when his allegedly jealous ex-liaison sent what appeared to be threatening e-mails to another woman, a family friend who she perceived to be a potential rival for the general’s affections.

The family friend approached the FBI. The FBI started an investigation of the e-mails between the two women. The investigators saw the e-mails allegedly from the general in the file and widened the investigation to include his affair due to national security considerations involving the possibility of blackmailing or extorting a high-ranking intelligence official with top-level security clearances.

All ending in personal shame, having to resign one’s prestigious office by personally submitting a letter to the President of the United States, having that letter sent to all of the news services. And, of course, having the story play out in the national media.

Making things exponentially worse, there is a pending allegation that this official may have mislead or lied to Congress with regard to an international act of terrorism on the anniversary of 9/11 in Benghazi, Libya in which an American Ambassador, two former-Navy Seals and a communications officers were killed by terrorists. And this affair does not enhance the general's personal honor, inegrity or truthfulness when testifying before Congress.

This is more than an asterisk on the name of a man so beloved by the American people that he was actually being considered as a presidential candidate in an upcoming election. There is the possibility of being retroactively charged with the breach of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) for inappropriate behavior while serving abroad. As well as charges relating to the inappropriate handling of classified material if his girlfriend, as alleged, may have revealed classified information in her writing or speeches.

Bottom line …

Was it all worth it? For all of the excitement of flirting and bedding a “hot” woman for a relatively short period of time? It is a decision one should make before engaging in inappropriate behavior. Especially when the stakes are so high as to include worldwide attention and the loss of your entire future career. Retroactively is not the time to ponder the question. I am sure the general regrets the incident and the pain it brought to his wife of 38 years and adult children as they are confronted by this stunning breach of personal honor and integrity on the front pages of newspapers and in prime-time broadcasts.

For those who claim that “love” makes it all worthwhile and cites historic romances – again, most of these accounts were either fiction or fictionalized and did not truly report the personal anguish involved.

-- steve

Reference Links: Associated Press

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Ex-CIA director David Petraeus has told friends he was shocked to find that his biographer and girlfriend, Paula Broadwell, was suspected of sending anonymous, threatening emails to a Petraeus friend she saw as a romantic rival.That triggered the investigation that led the FBI to Broadwell and evidence of her affair with Petraeus."

"Petraeus, 60, quit Friday after acknowledging the affair. He has been married 38 years to Holly Petraeus, with whom he has two adult children, including a son who led an infantry platoon in Afghanistan as an Army lieutenant."

"Broadwell, a 40-year-old graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and an Army Reserve officer, is married with two young sons."

Am I Next? Is that office romance worth your honor and career?