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? 


It appears that office romances begun in the spring are now wilting in the fall, hence a cautionary tale that was originally published on 11/18/2012

Am I Next? Office Romance

The idea that love is all powerful and that affairs can be justified as “matters of the heart” defies common sense. Would you be willing to sacrifice your entire future for a person you do not plan to marry? And if you did love that person with the intensity that you claim, wouldn’t you seek to preserve your future by requesting their resignation to seek employment elsewhere? To throw away a lifetime of respect and honor (as in General Petraeus affair) or a career-topping achievement for the temporary feeling of “being in love” seems irrational. Especially if the other person recognizes the mutual danger to your future life together.

Another cautionary tale …

"Lockheed Martin Ousts Future CEO Over Relationship With Subordinate"

"Lockheed Martin Corp. has ousted its president and future CEO over a relationship with a subordinate.  The defense company said Friday that its board of directors asked for and received the resignation of Christopher Kubasik from his role as vice chairman, president and chief operating officer. Kubasik, 51, was scheduled to become CEO in January. Lockheed Martin says an ethics investigation confirmed that he had a close personal relationship with a subordinate employee. That violates the company’s code of ethics and business conduct." Source: Lockheed Martin Ousts Future CEO Over Relationship With Subordinate « CBS DC

Bottom line …

It will continue to happen in perpetuity … but will it happen to you and will you bet your entire future on it being kept a secret?

Full Disclosure: Been there, done that. I finally got her a job at a neighboring company through a friend. Although it added another layer of inconvenience to my life, it was well worth the time, effort and trouble. We thought we were being discrete, although I later found out that the President of the company saw us shopping in a supermarket at 2 a.m. picking up certain feminine items along with the groceries. And, of course, he told a few people and the secret was out. Was it worth the risk? Yes – then, and as I reflect upon it now, the answer remains yes. Perhaps I did not have enough at risk to make it a truly life-changing decision.