To family therapist Elana Katz, the fact that Sanford displays passion, be it true love or mere infatuation, doesn’t make his behavior more excusable or forgivable. But it might make it more explainable.

“All those things they say about love being blind — well, it’s true, love changes us chemically,” says Katz, who counsels couples and families at New York’s Ackerman Institute. “People get into complicated situations. The sad part is that when there’s no one to talk to about it, you can really lose your way even more. The secrecy adds a whole level of confusion.”

Still, says Katz, “it’s his wife and his family who will ultimately decide if he is forgivable.”

And, of course, his constituents. That’s the bottom line, says Steven Cohen, professor of public administration at Columbia University. Sure, he acknowledges, “There was an intensity of feeling here. He was hardly Client 9,” as Spitzer was famously referred to in court papers.