Sanford coyly sang the praises of his mistress's body and agonized over their "hopelessly impossible situation of love" in e-mails to the woman that emerged Wednesday, hours after he held a press conference to announce the affair.
The State, which broke the news about Sanford's trip to Buenos Aires after speaking to him at the Atlanta airport upon his arrival this morning, obtained private e-mail exchanges between the governor and Maria.
When contacted by ABC News, Sanford's office did not dispute the authenticity of the e-mails.
In an e-mail dated July 10, 2008, Sanford writes that the two are in a "hopelessly impossible situation of love," and that he feels "a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before."
"You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light -- but hey, that would be going into sexual details," Sanford writes.
"In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul," the e-mail reads.
Maria, described as the mother of two sons, wrote in an e-mail June 9, 2008, "You are my love. ... Something hard to believe even for myself as it's also a kind of impossible love, not only because of distance but situation. Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen. ... I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you."
"We developed a remarkable friendship over those eight years and then ... about a year ago it sparked into something more than that," Sanford said. "I have seen her three times since then, during that whole sparking thing. ... And it was discovered ... five months ago. And at that point, we went into serious overdrive in trying to say, 'Where do you go from here?'"
Sanford said in the press conference that his wife of nearly 20 years was aware of his affair before he left for Argentina, and that the family had been trying to work through the situation for "about the last five months."
He also resigned from his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, saying he would need time to seek forgiveness from friends and family and to focus on what he called a "very long process."
In a written statement, his wife, Jenny Sanford, said, "I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children."
She said she asked her husband to leave two weeks ago and to not contact her or their four sons, which explains why the family was unaware of the governor's whereabouts during his unexpected disappearance.