Gen. David Petraeus is just the most recent in a long line of powerful men to cheat on their wives. From former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to New York Gov. Mayor Eliot Sptizer and basically every U.S. president ever, high-profile leaders have been having extramarital affairs for centuries.
But why exactly do powerful men cheat? And why did Petraeus throw away his position as director of the CIA and tarnish a reputable military career for another woman when the risk is so much greater than the reward?
Robin Williams once said, “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time” — an idea that could have some basis in biological truth. Conventional wisdom has it that men in positions of power have affairs because they can, and women engage in these affairs because they are attracted to power. But it could be a little more complex than that.
Renowned marriage and relationship psychologist Dr. Sheri Meyers, who has shared her expertise on CNN, Fox and countless other TV networks and radio shows, talked to The Daily Caller about why powerful men cheat, what could driven Petraeus to cheat, and what led to his eventual downfall.
“If we look at power and success, what makes most men rise through the ranks? It’s the willingness to break through ranks and take risks,” Meyers said. “For many of us who are conservative, and scared, they do not become heads of corporations.”
The inherent characteristics of successful, powerful people are some of the same traits that cause them to have affairs. Meyers said that the brain chemical dopamine has a lot to do with what drives both successful men and women to cheat.