Jenny Sanford: My Pain Was "Excruciating"

Unlike many other wives of politicians who've been caught being unfaithful or been involved in other sorts of scandals, Jenny Sanford didn't stand by her man.

The wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford filed for divorce in December after 20 years of marriage, following a tearful public admission by Mark Sanford that he had a mistress in Argentina.

Her new memoir, "Staying True," goes into detail about their life together, and what broke it apart.

In an Associated Press interview, Mark Sanford called the other woman his "soul mate" and, on The Early Show Saturday Edition," Jenny Sanford said hearing that was "excruciating."

Sanford, a former Wall Street executive who's widely credited with helping to launch her husband's political career, told co-anchor "Erica Hill" the "soul mate" remark was "very painful."

"Soul mate is kind of an odd term. I'm not so sure everybody has a soul mate out there," she said. "I'm not so sure I even agree with the term. But I did think we were a good team. So, once I learned about this affair and then, over time, realized it was more than just, you know, a simple, garden-variety one-night-stand -- it was clear he had feelings for this woman, and that was painful."

Jenny also says in the book that Mark didn't want to use the word "faithful" in their wedding vows.

"He chose, actively, to use a different one," she told Hill. "And many people choose to use a vow that doesn't include, 'I promise to be faithful.' But, I thought it was very honest. It was clearly a red flag then, but what ensued was a very healthy discussion, actually, about what marriage is. And I was unequivocal: Marriage is a vow of faithfulness and fidelity. And he agreed. So, I said, 'Either we marry, or we don't marry. But if we marry, this is what marriage is.' And he agreed. He just said, 'I just have this one little doubt.' And I said, 'We'll just have to work at that. That's where the commitment comes in.' "





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Jenny Sanford said all that's happened has been "tough" on the couple's four sons, "but they're doing great. Kids are resilient. And, hopefully, this will get them more in touch with emotions and values and character. And I hope also that they learn -- things like character are very difficult to develop. You have to keep working at them. Integrity is very -- your reputation, difficult to earn. And once you earn it, it's so easy to lose. And I hope my boys learn that."

She says she hopes her book helps other women, observing that, "I didn't take the personal situation and make it public. I did everything I could to kind of keep it private. But once it was made public, my hope is that this book will actually help some women out there stay in touch with their own inner-values, their faith, their relationships -- keep working on building character, do what's right for you and not let somebody else's poor choices hurt your self-esteem or your own sense of self. My hope is that the boys and other women will learn from it. So, if they're listening, there's nothing I'm ashamed of in this respect. It is personal, but I didn't put the personal stuff out there."

Does she hope her sons learn not to do to their wives what their father did to her?

"Without a doubt. And I hope they learn, if you treat your wife poorly, sometimes you might lose your wife. So, character and integrity matter.

"I say to them honestly, 'I loved your dad. I think he's a good man. I still think he can get back to that centering that I always thought he had. But he's gotta do it on his own. And you guys have to make sure, in your lives, that you don't make some choices just like this.' "

How would she feel if he ends up marrying the woman he's had the affair with?

"I hope he ends up with somebody some day. What I really care about more is that he gets back his centering, based on a strict moral code that I always thought he cared about. And I care about that really for the sake of our children, because I think that would be the right example to set for them, regardless of who he ends up with."

Jenny Sanford noted that, "The reality of marriage is it's hard. It's hard work. So, there were lots of times I'm sure in my marriage as in yours where you think, 'Oh, gosh, this is not maybe what I would have liked today,' but that's not reason to break your marriage."

Would she marry him all over again?

"I certainly wouldn't consider it right now!" she laughed.
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