So John Edwards was unfaithful. BFD. The man isn’t running for office anymore and his wife is terminal. I think we can hold off on the public flogging, don’t you? And what exactly is the big deal? He’s not a priest. He’s a politician. A male politician at that. The shocking thing should not be that he cheated, but that it was with a woman. An attractive woman. An attractive woman who wasn’t a prostitute. And one who was of age. For an affair, this is beyond vanilla. It’s not news, it’s snews.
This happens every day in America. People cheat. Usually, it’s the men who get caught. The women who do it seem to be a bit more clever about it. Perhaps men do it for ego and women do it for emotion. I don’t know. I don’t cheat. Though, I can’t say I’ve not been the dreaded “other woman”. Okay. I hear the gasps. Trust me, it’s nothing I’m proud of. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we aren’t aware of the error being made (only after the fact do all the details come to light). Or perhaps we go into it knowing the wrong we are doing, the risks and the cost. We might have our reasons, but there is never an excuse that makes it okay. I won’t talk about it any further than what’s already been mentioned because it is private. There’s no point in being honest about it because the whole thing is founded on dishonesty. What could possibly be said to make someone say, “Oh, I totally get it. It all makes sense. Thanks for shedding the light. I feel much better about it now.” See what I mean?
I’ve learned that it’s pointless to make assumptions about a situation without knowing the whole story. And the thing is, we don’t know the whole story. There’s no reason we should. It’s none of our business. Yes, we can assume the marriage vows they made, but we don’t know what agreement the Edwardses may or may not have had. None of our beeswax. If he were still running for office, yes, to a point it would be our business. In spite of my scarlet letter, I happen to think that a certain vow of chastity should come with the Oath of Office. Keep it in your trousers for 4-8 years, or keep your mistress locked in another wing. Whatever. Just don’t diddle the interns. That’s beneath the Commander in Chief. I also expect the person in the Oval Office not to be popping pills, doing lines, shooting up or falling down drunk. These are my standards. I expect them to be met. Decorum; it’s important. But John Edwards is not in public office. He is now a private citizen. He and his family should be allowed to deal with this in private, which is hard to do living in the public eye. Which we all do now, by the way, thanks to camera phones and YouTube.
You can judge all you want. It’s a human foible. But, let me ask you: Is your relationship perfect? I suppose we’d have to define “perfect” in order to answer that. Have you ever strayed? It’s okay if you want to plead the Fifth. Have I? No. When I am in a relationship, I am certifiably monogamous. Have I been cheated on? Yes. One boyfriend only kissed another girl. Big deal, but it still pissed me off. This was after he had an emotional affair with this really annoying broad, which was beyond irritating but doesn’t “technically” count, right? Oh, we were in our twenties. Drama happens. Big whoop. Another cheater taught me the difference between assuming that you are in a committed relationship because you have been seeing each other 5-6 days a week for four months straight and the loophole left open because you didn’t have the commitment conversation. Haven’t made that mistake since.
I’ve known the effects of cheating from an early age, having sat up with my crying mother when my dirtbag of a father didn’t come home. I was three. They divorced when I was five. He cheated on her, namely with the woman who would become my stepmonster, who was later surprised to find out he cheated on her. The most sympathetic thing I could think to say to her was, “Duh.” Well, at least he waited fifteen years before he got caught.
I don’t know what I would do if my (theoretical) husband ever cheated on me, but I’m pretty sure it would involve lead pipe and kneecaps...theoretically speaking, of course. Still, even with my temper and poor ability to forgive, I don’t know that it would spell the end of the relationship. People eff up all the time. Men especially. Egos can run amok. And spouses can emotionally vacate leaving the other alone in a couple. I have learned that relationships bring out the very best and very worst in people. And I know they take constant work from both sides in order to function at all. But, if you are in it for life, you have to take the good with the bad. For better or worse are in those vows. And I think they Edwardses have had their share of worse. They don’t need any more from us.
We can talk and point fingers and say, “Never me.” But, I’ve found that’s the surest way to bring Fate to your door. Perhaps we should just back away, leave them alone and pray, “May that never happen to me.” But, if it should, I really hope that you get to deal with it behind closed doors and not have the public dismember your affairs.