Photo by Wally McNamee

Photo by Wally McNamee

The Complex Feminism of Hillary Clinton’s Decision to Stay Married

by Amelia Diamond

When Hillary Clinton’s campaign began to prepare for the possibility that Donald Trump would bring up Bill Clinton’s infidelity as a voter-deterring strategy before the second debate, it made me put myself in Hillary Clinton’s shoes. Why would she, as a strong, independent feminist, choose to stay with Bill Clinton after his public affair with Monica Lewinsky? The answer I kept coming back to is that marriage is complicated, and so much of being an empowered woman is having the choice to make the decision that’s right for you. I spoke to Monica Parikh, dating coach, attorney and writer who specializes in female empowerment within relationships, and here’s what she told me:

“There is no perfect marriage. It is unrealistic to assume there will never be a crisis point in a relationship. If both people in the relationship choose to work on their issues, a crisis can be the catalyst for a more inspired union. Do I think infidelity necessitates divorce? No.

No one knows what happened behind closed doors in that marriage. At the end of the crisis, these two people had significant history and a child. Their commitment to the relationship could signal enormous bravery on both of their parts.

We’re all wounded from childhood. According to Imago Theory, we unconsciously find partners that represent the good and bad of our parents or primary caregivers, which means that they love and hurt us in a similar way. When partners hit a crisis in their relationship, it’s an opportunity for both people to do work on their inner selves to heal those old wounds for the adult partnership. But oftentimes people will hit a crisis and go straight for divorce. They entered into marriage with a flawed sense of expectation and abort the relationship early, right when the relationship has potential for both people to heal themselves as adults.

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