What causes people with power to cheat in marriages?

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EAU CLAIRE, WIS. (WEAU) -- As head of the CIA and a Four Star General, General David Petraeus has been in several positions of power during his time in the military.

All of it, brought down by one decision involving an extra-marital affair.

So what is it that causes people with so much to give up with one wrong choice?

"These people are very lonely and think of their power as unlimited," said Dr. Mahmoud Ahmed, a psychiatrist with the Marshfield Clinic Riverview Center.

He says with leaders' decisions having so much weight and other people below them carrying the decision out, a leader can feel isolated.

"They are away from their home, they are away from their natural environment," he said.

At the same time, he says they want to see how far their power can go outside the office. But eventually, sometimes, intentions change.

"They have this conflict of how do I do this to myself, my career, to the uniform I wear, and they have the wish to be caught," he said.

And it is the damage thereafter that hurts families, friends, and in the case of leaders takes away from their public service.

"Unfortunately we will not remember him as a guy who took us out of Iraq or having the Blue Grant for us to leave Afghanistan," he said.

While Dr. Ahmed says there is no excuse for bad decisions, it calls into question what we expect of leaders.

"Unfortunately we expect out of them to be powerful, perfect 24, 7, 365 days a year," he said.

When in fact Dr. Ahmed says, we should remember leaders are no different than us.

"People are people regardless of what position you hold, each one of us, we are less than perfect," he said.

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