Former South Carolina Governor and current South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford is in the news again, and again, it’s for bizarre reasons.
In 2009, when Sanford was Governor, he disappeared for six days, with aides saying he was hiking the Appalachian trail. That wasn’t what was actually going on: Sanford’s car was found parked at an Atlanta airport. Eventually, the truth came out: he was having an affair with a woman in Argentina. The entire incident formed a strange coda to the end of Sanford’s time as Governor. Sanford had never communicated his absense to his Lt. Governor or any other members of South Carolina’s governmental leadership and wasn’t in touch with his staff for days. Sanford managed to avoid impeachment, which was threatened, but was censured by the legislature. On a personal level, he left the public eye (for a time), divorced his wife and became engaged to the woman, Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford was subsequently elected back to Congress in a 2013 special election.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, when Sanford announced, via a Facebook update, that he and Chapur had broken up. In the post, which has since been deleted, Sanford blamed the breakup on his ongoing battles with his ex-wife, saying:
No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter…Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening.
Chapur’s reaction? Surprise. They had actually broken up prior to the Facebook announcement, thank goodness, and Chapur had asked Sanford to make it known to the public. However, she did not expect a +2,400 word missive on the event, and only learned about the status update from the press when they asked her for comment. She also gave different reasons for the breakup, citing disputes over setting the wedding date.
Shortly after Sanford made this Facebook post, another appeared on his official page:
The entire incident is a strange one, and that’s saying something, considering that Congressman Sanford has become known for the weird behavior he exhibits as it pertains to his personal life. Public officials’ personal lives have a bad tendency of becoming public, but coordination on these issues is absolutely key – he never should have made the post without clearing its content with Chapur, or at a bare minimum giving her a heads up that it was going to occur. When you are discussing your personal life on social media, you absolutely must make sure that, to whatever extent possible, all parties are on the same page. Sanford failed to do that here and made a bad story worse: Not only are people discussing his breakup, but they are discussing the fact that he didn’t even have the decency to give his ex-fiance a heads up about it.