Friday, May 8, 2009

Conflict of Interest

For the past 2 days, I've been wanting to write about the Elizabeth Edwards interview on Oprah . . . but I'm conflicted. I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. On the one hand, I feel like the woman is in denial. Her husband tells her he had an affair, but it only happened once. A year and a half later, he tells her it was more than once. Uhm, could you have waited any longer to tell her that oh so important piece of information? Just when she's trying to rebuild trust with him, he decides to tell her he lied yet again. WTF??? That's bad enough for any woman to deal with, but here's a woman with terminal cancer. Like she doesn't have enough to worry about - she's dying, she has young children, and now a philandering husband. Super! It really doesn't get much worse. Oh wait, yes it does. The "other woman" had a baby and nobody knows if it's his. WTF???????? Here's where the denial part comes in. Elizabeth doesn't know or want to know if it's her husband's baby since it doesn't affect her life. Of course it does. If it is his baby, which we all know it is, he has to support it and that support is taken away from you, thereby affecting your life. Here's where my conflict kicks into gear. Part of me just wants her to find some strength from somewhere to bash his head into the wall and say "What the hell is wrong with you? I'm dying!!! You're supposed to love and support me until death do us part, you lousy bastard." But this woman, apparently, is not the type. And when she explained herself and her thought process, the other part of me could kind of understand why she chooses to stay with him. Here's my interpretation of what she's thinking: She's dying. She needs someone to take care of her. She needs someone to take care of their children. Sometimes it's just easier to overlook the indiscretions to get by. She's not allowing this indiscretion, however big it may be, to define their life. Like I said, I kind of get that. Kind of. I just don't know how you ever forgive a man who kicks you when you're down. And it's really more than a kick. It's a karate chop to the heart. How do you stay married to that person? Why do you stay married to that person? Maybe I'm naive because I've never had that happen to me. I hear stories of women who choose to ignore the fact that there's another woman and are just happy their husbands are coming home to them. That I don't get. Why would you want him to come home? Why do you make it easy for him? Why is that behavior tolerated? It's not okay to treat your wife like that. But there's a catch. Here's what Elizabeth Edwards said that stuck with me. She, of course, blames her husband for what he did but she also said women need to respect other women. It takes work to build a marriage, to build a home, to have a family. It's not right for another woman to come along, like what she sees, push you out of the way, and take what she wants. This gave me pause. She's worked hard for many years to build a life with this man and it's not fair that someone else should be able to come in and take that away. So she's not letting that happen. She's choosing to hold on to that life and not give it to someone else. Maybe that's a lesson for all of us. Maybe we should respect what others have. Maybe I wouldn't be so quick to let some other woman come in and take over what I've worked so hard to accomplish either. Maybe I'm not so conflicted after all. Or maybe I'd still bash his head into the wall and say "What were you thinking?"

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