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Silda Spitzer Didn't 'Take Care of the Sex'

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Ronda Kaysen: This is how Silda Wall Spitzer sees the whole my-governor-husband-slept-with-prostitutes incident: "The wife is supposed to take care of the sex. This is my failing; I wasn't adequate."

silda and eliot spitzer

Yep, you read that right: Eliot Spitzer strayed because Silda wasn't up to her womanly duties, according to Peter Elkind's new biography about her husband's stunning fall from grace, "Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer."

Silda's totally disturbing comment speaks volumes. It says so much about why she stood stoically beside Eliot as he imploded before a national audience. This woman appears to be as sexually confused as her husband. What century is she living in? And what lesson does she hope to teach her teenage daughters, who had to live through this mortifying incident? That if they don't "take care of the sex" to their dear husband's liking, then he will not only stray, but also bring down the entire family?

After Eliot's fall, Silda spent weeks being skewered in the media, lampooned on late-night television and scrutinized by every wronged (or not wronged) critic with a blog. In stark contrast, when Jenny Sanford publicly broke from her philandering husband, she was cheered as the anti-Silda, the woman who did the right thing by kicking her governor hubby to the curb.

But until now, Silda's silence gave her a measure of grace. One could give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that she had stood on that podium with Eliot for some mysterious good reason unbeknownst to the rest of us. But her reason appears to be taken straight from a 1950s handbook on how to be good wife.

There's something deeply sad in Silda's comment. An accomplished woman in her own right, she put her successful law career aside to raise their kids and help her husband pursue his extraordinary ambitions. From the outside, it appears that she was plenty "adequate." Yet her comment shows a person consumed with self-blame and wracked with guilt for someone else's wrongdoings.

If you contrast her statement with her husband's recent behavior, the picture is even darker. Eliot has been busy making the cable-news rounds, trying to revive his shattered image without ever bothering to offer a reasonable explanation as to why he decided to ruin his name in the first place. Even Elkind's biography never gets Eliot to explain his motives. Silda, meanwhile, seems more than happy to flagellate herself to justify her husband's senseless and reckless behavior.

next: Baby Bullock Brings New Hope
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
Elise April 29, 2010, 8:52 AM

This from a woman with a Harvard law degree. It just proves the point that book learning doesn’t equal intelligence or common sense. Silda Spitzer could use some good psychotherapy.

chris April 29, 2010, 9:31 AM

I know many women who blame themselves when their husbands or boyfriend strays. I don’t believe it has anything to do with her being educated or not. When you dicate your life to your husband and raising a family, right or wrong, you lose a part of yourself as a person and as a woman. It didn’t make it wrong or old fashioned to put your husband and kids first. I do hope that she can find herself again and realize that giving herself and her love to a man means that he should also do the same for her.

Roberta April 29, 2010, 10:39 AM

Check the pre-nup.

vijay April 29, 2010, 11:23 AM

Chris’s comment (#2) seems well thought through and probably holds true for a majority of women “caught” in such a bind. Nevertheless, it ought to be a private matter and Silda Spitzer’s going public with it is part of Eliot Spitzer’s despicable and pathetic attempt at getting back into the limelight. The man is probably beyond redemption and his arrogance is as deep as his fault lines.

Jayne April 29, 2010, 12:35 PM

I think Silda’s comment was taken out of context and should not be construed as her one and only opinion on the entire matter.

I think every woman (or man) who is cheated on at first wonders “was I inadequate? What did the “other woman” offer my husband that I could not?” and that was Silda’s initial thinking.

Eliot Spitzer provides the answer - it had nothing to do with Silda’s adequacies or inadequacies. It had everything to do with his own hubris.

But the totality of Silda’s feelings is not expressed in that particular soundbite. Shame on the blogger for judging her so harshly. Has he even bothered to view the documentary?

Anonymous April 29, 2010, 2:40 PM

I guess I find it more disturbing that anyone would comment on her take on the situation. She lived it. She knows what happened or didn’t happen in the marriage.

It took two people to get married, it takes two people to break that union as well.

I know that isn’t popular, but the truth is, if you take good care of your man at home, he won’t have the energy, time or inclination to stray.

There I said it…go ahead and flame me, but it is the truth.

Danielle April 30, 2010, 6:08 AM

I don’t think people ever care to better themselves….odd, why would the person you decided to be in a relationship with want someone less desireable than when they first met them? People need to start putting higher standards, priorities and self respect so that they aren’t just trying to find a good “insurance plan” or “meal ticket” relationship. Get with the program!! If you think you can get away with having children….talk about child abuse!! Once you have children it’s no longer all about you, stop being so selfish and get educated on how to be a better person overall, that includes your health, if you health suffers so does your sex life and your youthful features not to mention your ability to age well. Want your children to respect you and what you say? BE their role model, earn the respect you want!!

Gelda April 30, 2010, 7:15 PM

Maybe Spitzer wants to get back into public office and is putting the serious guilts on Silda to help rehabilitate his image. Having her shoulder some of the “blame” might make his indiscretions appear justified to a certain block of voters.

cna training April 30, 2010, 8:47 PM

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

deaddrift May 1, 2010, 6:54 PM

If you get married, and expect your mate to be monogamous, then you DO have responsibilities to your partner to be a good lover.

You can make the argument that Spitzer should have divorced his wife instead of cheating on her, but the idea that she owes her husband nothing in the way of sexuality is simply wrong.

Jon October 9, 2010, 4:16 PM

I understand Silda’s -and a few others’- argument that sex is part of a marriage, and if she wasn’t providing it, then he had a “right” to stray. That would be correct only if honesty and communication were NOT part of a marriage as well. It is the husband’s obligation to ask (clearly, not hinting) for what he wants. If that isn’t successful, it is then his obligation to tell his wife what he intends to do about it. Yes, that’s right. If you belief in an action enough to do it, then you should believe in it enough to admit to it. Men need to be adults, and quit playing pitiful victim, making excuses about how their wife wouldn’t understand, or that they’re not getting a divorce because they don’t want to “hurt” the wife. So having affairs, impregnanting other women, and disassociating yourself from your wife isn’t hurtful? The only reason men don’t let their wives go free is because of money; divorce is an expensive consequence where children are involved. And if a man stays married while having affairs, he has the image he wants (honorable family man) as well as excuses for not being available to the other women in his life. It’s the ultimate way to call all the shots and have control. He can have those women sexually, hang out with them, their friends, have a whole different life whenever he wants,….and not when he doesn’t want.

Wes November 1, 2010, 12:42 PM

Each partner, the male and the female, have a responsibility to fulfill the sexual needs of the other. Sex is a huge part of marriage and should be taken more seriously. Many people think of sex as something you do when it’s convenient or as something they use as a weapon when things aren’t going their way. I know of men and women who have been married for years and haven’t told their spouse about a particular sexual fantasy for fear of being rejected by their partner and that’s just wrong. Many couples need to lighten up about sex and enjoy all that it can be; there wouldn’t be nearly as many divorces. All this being said, it doesn’t excuse infidelity.

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