early and awkward

Mark Sanford Announces Breakup With ‘Soul Mate,’ Snipes at Ex-Wife in Endless Facebook Post

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford answers questions from reporters after voting in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Sanford is facing former Charleston County councilman Curtis Bostic in the Republican runoff for South Carolina's vacant 1st District congressional seat. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
Photo: Bruce Smith/AP

Say, what’s been going on with Mark Sanford? Funny you should ask! The ex–South Carolina governor and current congressman, Appalachian Trail hiker, and perpetual seeker has written a 2,375-word Facebook post about his latest legal battle with ex-wife Jenny Sanford. Its tone, if not its exact content, will be familiar to anyone who has ever heard a middle-aged man self-righteously complain about what a mean, nasty lady his former spouse is, so feel totally free to ignore it on this beautiful Friday afternoon. Really, the only interesting thing in Sanford’s status update is the news that he has broken off his engagement with María Belén Chapur, the Argentine “soul mate” for whom he (in)famously left Jenny and the governorship of South Carolina in 2009.

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. Belan is a remarkably wonderful woman who I have always loved and I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever warm and kind spirit,” he writes.

It seems that Mark blames the demise of his relationship with Chapur on the “tension” created by Jenny, who recently filed a complaint seeking to put limits on his visitation with their youngest son, who is now 16. In doing so, Jenny demanded that her ex undergo psychiatric evaluations, attend anger management and parenting classes, and refrain from exposing the teenager “overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related to the Plaintiff or Defendant through blood or marriage who could reasonably be construed as a paramour.” She also said that her son should not be cared for by anyone “consuming or being under the influence of illegal or unprescribed prescription drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol.”

On Facebook, Mark claims that he never used a lawyer during his divorce proceedings with Jenny because, “Spending money getting lawyers to resolve differences, when I believed any two people sitting down could do the same, also broke with my belief on stewardship … or what some would call my frugal ways.” This time, however, he is lawyering up.

He also contends that Jenny’s actions are “designed to embarrass me rather than change anything.” He then goes on to list stuff he claims to have given her in the divorce, including custody of their four children and “pieces of our family farm that my dad and mom assembled in the 1950’s and 60’s” because, according to him, he wasn’t able to provide “a certain financial number” that “she wanted.” And because someone named Cubby Culbertson “strongly advised against spending money and time and controversy fighting over things that God ultimately controlled.”

On Jenny’s request that he not be drunk or high around their kid, he wrote, “Why would one throw out the need for restraint if it were not a problem — or if one did not want to raise the specter of a problem? … I did not drink in high school or college and though I do drink now, my consumption is so limited that my friends give me a hard time about it.” However, he wasn’t above some weird slut-shaming when it came to her request about the presence of “a paramour.” “Though Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause,” he sniped, “it is clearly aimed at me given near everyone knows about Belen and in that regard it seems designed to create intrigue where none exists.” Then there was this:

And, finally, Finally, Jenny and her lawyer also go on to ask me to undertake an array of programs and evaluations, each one more riveting than the next. As a public figure people have seen me over twenty years in the highs and lows and most trying of times, and if I was plagued by the afflictions they suggest wouldn’t people have seen me mad or angry by now? In simplest form I don’t understand how I can be elected by a wide array of folks at home to attempt to represent their interests in Washington, but if the Plaintiff’s view was to prevail, be required to take psychiatric and psychological evaluations to be with our youngest son. Posing those sorts of questions is destructive plain and simple, and in fairness to my friends in the media if those type questions are raised they will report them – which is why you have been subjected to reading this response and media accounts.

He does sort of have a point there!

I am left humbled in my inability to determine outcomes and reminded again of how the only thing we can ultimately work on fixing is ourselves,” Sanford writes toward the end of what does not turn out to be an endless wall of words. “So for me these days it means rededication to trying as best I can to walk in the light of God’s grace. It means pointing to truth wherever I see it and trying to live by it. It means listening a bit more so that maybe I can better understand the grand canvas of what I don’t see and understand.” It’s the same lite Christian, self-help-y stuff that made him seem almost likable when he first peddled it out. Five years later, it’s less charming.

Mark Sanford Announces Breakup in Endless Post