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BOOK REVIEW: Silent Partner, by the wife of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey

“At a point in every person’s life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one’s soul and decide one’s unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is. And so, my truth is that I am a gay American.”

That’s how the former governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, came out to the world in a press conference on August 13, 2004, as reported by CNN. McGreevey announced that he was being blackmailed because of an affair with a man and was resigning.

During the press conference, the governor’s wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, stood at his side, with a weird smile pasted on her face. She was obviously shell-shocked. The McGreeveys had started dating in 1996, and married in 2000. They had a young daughter. Matos says she did not know that James McGreevey was gay.

That’s because the man isn’t gay. In my opinion, he is a sociopath.

The wife’s story

Dina Matos McGreevey wrote a book called Silent Partner—A Memoir of My Marriage, which was published last spring. She describes her relationship with Jim McGreevey, which took place against a political backdrop. Matos was politically involved—that’s how they met. McGreevey had been elected to state government, then elected mayor of Woodbridge, New Jersey, then ran for governor and lost. In 2001, after their marriage, he ran for governor again and won.

McGreevey’s courting behavior was a bit odd. He had an assistant call Matos to arrange their first date. Most of their dates were political events. He had a friend ask Matos if she would marry him. But Matos chalked it up to the demands of politics, and fell in love with McGreevey because she believed they shared the same goals.

Later on, his behavior became even stranger, at least from the perspective of a healthy relationship. McGreevey was detached as his wife struggled with a difficult pregnancy. The day after Matos gave birth through a C-section, he wanted her to hold a press conference. Yet McGreevey refused to let Matos meet his daughter from a previous marriage, Morag, who lived with her mother, Kari, in British Columbia.

After McGreevey was sworn in as governor in January, 2002, things got worse. McGreevey refused to advise his wife of his daily schedule. In fact, he didn’t even tell Matos of public events that she was supposed to attend. McGreevey kept his finances secret from his wife. He put his townhouse up for sale without even telling her. McGreevey’s excuse? “I forgot.”

And of course, there was the affair with Golan Cipel, an Israeli national whom McGreevey hired as Homeland Security adviser, even though he had no experience in the field and could not get security clearance because he was not an American citizen. Cipel denies the affair and says he was sexually harassed by McGreevey.

Sociopathic secrets

In Silent Partner, any Lovefraud reader would see the behavior of a sociopath. Matos’ comments in the following paragraphs, on pages 156 and 157, are particularly telling:

Secrets are Jim’s currency; they’re how he moves through the world. Keeping secrets was his default position. In fact, sometimes his secrets—or evasions, or ellipses—were so oddly pointless that they struck me as bizarre. Once, for example, during Jim’s time as governor, he told me that he wanted to go to dinner at Mediterra, one of our favorite restaurants in Princeton. That was all he said. Oh, good, I thought, a quiet dinner. A little time to catch up with each other. But when we walked into Mediterra, we were greeted by about a dozen other people. It turned out that Jim was throwing a party that night to celebrate the birthday of his staffer (and former driver) Teddy Pedersen. Why the omission?

Another time, he let me believe he was going to work, but later I found a single movie stub for that date in his jacket pocket; and still another time he told me he was going to meet with a particular politician, whom I later learned had been out of town on the day in question.

More serious was the time Jim told me he was going to visit Morag. I assumed—why wouldn’t I?—that he would be heading to British Columbia. But later I found an e-mail that his secretary had printed out and learned from it that he had instead gone to Las Vegas. Kari, Morag, and a few of their relatives were all spending the week there living under the same roof as Jim at the home of one of Jim’s friends. Later I asked Jim why he’d let me think he was going to Vancouver and left me in the dark about Las Vegas, never mind the living arrangements. “I went to see my daughter,” he said defensively, seeming annoyed that I had asked at all. “What difference does it make where I see her?”

To this day, I have no idea why he kept these pieces of information hidden. If I asked for an explanation or clarification, as I often did, either he ignored the question altogether, as if I hadn’t just asked it, or he gave me an answer that made no sense.

Sociopaths and sex

In her book, Matos seems to accept the statement that James McGreevey is gay. I do not. As I said, I believe the man is a sociopath. I also believe that many sociopaths are neither straight nor gay. In fact, it’s not even fair to call them bisexual.

Sociopaths have an extremely high need for stimulation, so they’ll get sex wherever they can. And, sociopaths are adept at using sex to control people. So I don’t think they’re really attracted to anyone. They use people for sex, and they use sex to get what they want.

Shortly after I met my ex-husband, James Montgomery, he proclaimed to me, “I don’t have a gay bone in my body.” I later learned that, along with his multitude of affairs with women, he solicited gay male prostitutes.

Lovefraud has received numerous e-mails from women involved with sociopaths who discovered that not only was their partner cheating on them, but was cheating with men. Lovefraud has also received numerous e-mails from gay individuals who found themselves involved with sociopaths. I asked several of them if they thought the sociopath was actually gay. They all said no.

Political spin

In my opinion, McGreevey played the gay card because it was the best way to spin his political collapse. His administration had been plagued by scandals. McGreevey’s biggest campaign contributor pleaded guilty to blackmail. Another McGreevey fundraiser demanded cash from a farmer to influence state officials. And of course, there was Golan Cipel, whom McGreevey did place in state jobs, whatever their relationship was.

So where is McGreevey now? He is living in the mansion of his wealthy new partner, Mark O’Donnell, an Australian-American executive. He and Matos are embroiled in a bitter divorce—McGreevey is seeking custody of their daughter, and child support from Matos. The former governor, formerly awash in scandal, is teaching ethics, law and leadership at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. Finally, he has entered a three-year seminary program so he can become an Episcopal priest.

Shocking? Not to those of us who have seen this behavior before.



6 Comments on "BOOK REVIEW: Silent Partner, by the wife of former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey"

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  1. amr says:

    Dear Donna,

    This was a really interesting *NEW* idea that I’ll have to ponder further! My psychopath was certainly somewhat “wooden” in many ways (in hindsight) and now I’m wondering if he even enjoyed the sex.

    Also… it was only relatively recently that I played your video of the speech your ex-husband made at your wedding. The Australian accent may certainly have helped, but the whole delivery was *so* *so* uncannily reminiscent of the way mine spoke when he was lying his head off.

    Incidentally, are there any other Australians who are signed up here? (Please raise your hands.)



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  2. done12 says:

    Donna,

    Thanks for your explanation of the sexuality of the socio in this article. I was involved with a socio that stated he was constantly aroused by me and wanted me all the time. He talked constantly about how “hot” I made him and how “hot” we were for each other. I believe it was manipulation to build up my confidence to play out the role and continually be available to give him the sex he wanted. It was total control and exploitation.

    Like Mato’s account of McGreevey, my ex socio omitted details and left out important things. I saw it as pure selfishness, because he was only concerned with himself knowing details of what was going on, not with my understanding of daily details, social gatherings, etc.

    He fed my ego to create a supply of sex for himself. He had a lust/sex addiction. Mostly porn and masterbation. I think having sex with alot of women was over the top for him. He was so in love with himself he preferred his hand and a video. He also had a sexual dysfunction which he was in denial about. He thought himself to be an excellent lover, pleasing every woman he’d been with. He couldn’t orgasm inside of a woman. He had to masterbate. He told me one time that male homosexuals made him nervous because they looked at him like they knew him. He seemed straight and had desire for women only, but with a socio, you never know. He needed attention from everybody. This guy had more friends than any girl I’ve ever known. Most hetero men don’t have tons of male friends. The men I know are lucky if they have 1 close buddy that they actually can share their feelings and life with.

    My socio gave up on me because I wasn’t the low-lying fruit that remained easy to control and exploit. I gave him reality and truth and laughed at the things he said and told him he was crazy. Guess what? He moved away to another state and found another girlfriend who he currently controls and exploits.

    I am not mocking other victims of sociopaths. I, too, was sucked in and manipulated and used. But when I figured it out, I gave him reality and he split. They will not stay with someone that makes their game difficult! It’s very easy for them to leave a relationship because they truly do not love. I had an additional benefit of his anger. It was explosive. When I gave him too much reality and truth he would rage violently and this created conflict between us. He got tired of blowing up in anger all the time due to the conflict that he said I constantly created, so he left for low-lying fruit.



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  3. alohatraveler says:

    It’s often hard to put into words what it is that I see in another person’s story that sounds like my own. It’s subtle themes and the way they spin things.



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  4. wisergirl says:

    I agree that this man is a sociopath, nor do I believe he is gay. I was very glad to hear the church rejected his wanting to be a priest, however Im willing to bet he goes on to start his own church. That position would be a dream come true for sociopaths. Imagine it, and entire congregation of people looking to you for fullfillment, advise, promise of a brighter day?!!! I grew up in an extremist church and have no doubt the hierarchy were/are psychopaths. I would urge anyone that reads further on anything this man does to scream loudly what he is. Too many people have no idea and if he were to continue to play the card of being gay he would have even greater advantage seeing as how so many homosexuals are ostrasized from churches. He would then be the savior to some, offering them the salvation they “think” they need to get to heaven. What a horrible thought, hope it doesnt come to fruition.



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  5. Ox Drover says:

    You know, I read both this book, and HIS book and boy did the stories differ. I actually think it is a “screaming laugh” about him becoming a priest and teaching ethics, but just demonstrates the UTTER ARROGANCE in a psychopath, as Dr. Robert Hare says “they don’t get it” that their behavior and words (in contrast to the EVIDENCE) don’t match.

    What is MORE SHOCKING TO ME THOUGH, is that ANY school would HIRE HIM to teach ANYTHING but ESPECIALLY ETHICS….I don’t think I would want to send my kid to such a school.

    I think, personally, that 99.999999% of politicians are just like him, or at least VERY HIGH in P traits…otherwise they wouldn’t be arrogant enough to run, or would not make the “deals” they have to do to get the backing to run. Just look at HOW MANY POLITICIANS have been convicted of crimes lately, and sent to jail/prison AND those like John EDwards who have just shown they are SCUMBAGS, just like this man.



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