“The resignation of the long-term governor [Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon] considered a seasoned, shrewd politician, is the culmination of a crisis that enveloped the state and distracted its leadership.” [Wall Street Journal, Feb 14, 2015]
Understanding an Affair’s Downward Spiral
Kitzhaber’s resignation was the culmination of the crisis. The origin of the crisis was probably an affair, and all of the secrecy, ecstasy and unreality that go along with a hidden and forbidden relationship.
The reasons given for the resignation are alleged ethical violations which include conflicts of interest deriving from his fiancé and the first lady of Oregon being paid by environmental groups to push their agenda while she was at the same time advising the governor on environmental issues. It has come to a criminal investigation.
Why It’s Logical to Assume This Was an Affair
Why would anyone think that the relationship between Governor Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes started as an affair?
There are several signs. One is that he is 20 years older than she is.
Second, his second marriage ended in the same year (2003) as his relationship with Cylvia began. [Wikipedia] Or he knew Cylvia even earlier. The New York Times [Feb 15,2015] says of Kitzhaber and Hayes, “Their relationship from its beginning in 2002…” The Times also says “his second marriage was just breaking up when they met.”
The outside story would be that he was divorced and then by incredible good fortune shortly thereafter met someone who turned out to be his soul mate.
That’s the outside story. The true story almost always is this: First the affair, then the divorce. Most likely one major reason Kitzhaber’s second marriage was “just breaking up” was that he was having an affair.
Third, Cylvia was previously involved with a much, much older man (not an affair) where she was apparently looking for financial help. It worked once, maybe it will work again. With Kitzhaber, it was probably both the attraction of power and the possibility of doing better financially.
How An Affair Becomes a Crisis
Assuming that the relationship started as an affair, what is there about an affair that can turn everyday matters into a crisis?
The main reason an affair becomes a crisis is secrecy and every affair involves secrecy. Cylvia had a lot to be secret about. “…her third marriage to the immigrant was still a secret when they met.” [NY Times, Feb 15, 2015]. This is the marriage to Abraham Abraham for a $5000 payment which was likely illegal because it was “executed solely for the exclusive purpose of obtaining immigration benefits” [Willamette Week Oct 8, 2014].
Another secret was Cylvia’s involvement with a farm growing illegal marijuana. And then there was the loan from the above mentioned much older gentleman for Cylvia to buy a house. The man’s son said he had trouble getting Cylvia to repay the loan. Kitzhaber found out about this later when Cylvia asked him for the money to repay the loan.
Backlash From the Positive Spin
Another seed of destruction that’s almost always part of an affair is that everything that’s talked about or happens in an affair is described in positive terms, at least while the affair is fresh with the promise of something “new.” Nothing negative is ever mentioned at that stage.
Would Cylvia be likely to say to John a couple of months into the affair, “Guess what, John, a few years ago I married an immigrant just so he could get better immigration benefits. And he paid me $5000 to marry him. It may be illegal but I just wanted you to know.” A woman wouldn’t say this because things are going very well and this kind of negative comment would puncture the high.
Or would John be likely to say a year into the affair, “Hey, what you’re doing with your environmental advisory business has to stop. It’s unethical, and maybe a criminal violation to take money from a state contract while you’re advising me on the same issues. Yes, I know this is your line of work but you can’t pursue it while I’m governor because you’re gaining financially from our relationship.”
A man wouldn’t say this because the high of the affair is so great that he will just ignore reality as well as the consequences.
The Truth Comes Out in the End
In the end the secrets came out and the negatives were revealed and John lost his job and Cylvia may too.
The ex-governor says he’s “in love with Hayes but he’s not blinded by it” [AP Feb 13, 2015].
Not now, he’s not blinded. The blindfold was ripped off. But it was on real tight during the affair.