But can a marriage survive such a devastating scandal, even if it's not being played out on a national stage?
Yes, according to relationship experts, but only after some serious work and the admission that "falling back in love" may not be possible, or even necessary.
"I see this all the time," marriage therapist Terry Real told "Good Morning America" today. "The big secret ... 'Oh, my God, I'm not in love with my wife.' Not being in love with your spouse is part of marriage. It doesn't mean you're in a bad marriage. ... It's perfectly normal to not be in love."
Marriage and family therapist Bethany Marshall said the first thing the Sanfords would need to work on is the governor's "appalling and remarkable lack of empathy" for his wife.
"How is [Jenny Sanford] supposed to respond to that?" Marshall said.
Real said, "This guy needs remedial empathy. What impact does this have on the person sitting next to you?"
Marshall said she would ask Stanford if he wanted to work on the marriage, and to explain the affair.
"They're going to have to establish trust without looking backwards, which is a very difficult thing to do," she said.
When Jenny Sanford discovered the affair, the two went into counseling.
But Sanford flew to Buenos Aires last month to see his mistress without telling his family, friends, security detail or staff, instead suggesting he planned to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
Jenny Sanford said she was crushed when she found out about her husband's secret trip.
"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she told The Associated Press Saturday. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul-searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."
Despite the extreme publicity surrounding her husband's well documented affair, Jenny Sanford said she is not giving up.
"I am going to do [my] best to work on my marriage," she said. "I believe in marriage. That's the most important thing."
Following his latest admission, Sanford's office would not comment beyond saying it will "let the AP report stand."
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster issued a statement Tuesday saying he has requested the State Law Enforcement Division to review all of Sanford's travel records to see if any laws have been broken or if any state funds have been misused.
The governor released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he welcomes the investigation, which will clear speculation about whether he used state money, and added that he plans to cooperate fully.
The governor first met the now 41-year-old Argentinean woman -- described as "refined and professional" by her friends in Buenos Aires -- for the first time in 2001 at an open-air dance spot in Uruguay, the governor told the AP.