I’ve now seen about a half dozen television and published interviews with
Elizabeth Edwards as she promotes her new book “Resilience”  and have so many thoughts I would really love to hear what other women are thinking.

Just to catch everybody up, the wife of the former Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards has written a book in which she describes what she went thru when she found her husband had had an affair.  We learn that he initially told her it was a one-night-stand, which is why she not only stood by him when he announced his candidacy, but whole-heartedly campaigned for him. (all, by the way, while waging her personal battle with cancer) She then writes that he later came clean, admitting to a full-fledged affair, an affair that appears to have produced a child.

My first reaction to her interview on Oprah and the subsequent interviews was that it seemed a little too soon to write about the whole thing. It took me years to process my being left at the altar to the extent I could look at it objectively and honestly.  There’s no way I could have written about it within two years of it happening.  Elizabeth seemed to me to still be hurting and still to be trying to navigate the choppy waters of their now-shaky marriage.  She did not appear to be a woman healed and feeling whole and healthy following such a betrayal.  It also seemed really, really weird (if any of you saw the Oprah interview) to have John there at the house while she did the interview, looking like a little boy who was in a whole lot of trouble with his parents.

Which led me to my second thought, which was why write this now? Why spend all that time writing and promoting a book now while she, admittedly, has no idea how much time she has left in her fight with cancer? The couple has young children at home, children, who no doubt have access to the internet and can read all the stories (the true ones and the gossipy ones) about their parents.  Not to mention the things they probably hear from other kids at school. What happened to their mom and to their family was painful enough.  But why expose the story to the world and leave the kids so exposed themselves?

Yes, I understand that the Edwards are public people. And the world is interested in them.  I also understand that in telling her story HERSELF, Elizabeth can take a little control in what’s said about her and her marriage and her family. That, I get.

But I couldn’t help wondering if in writing this book so soon, way before she’s had time to properly heal herself and her marriage, that Elizabeth wasn’t in some way, even unconcsciously, trying to punish and humiliate John for his betrayal.  Think about it.  What’s the one thing that could hurt a man with an ego big enough to run for president?  Exposing him for what he is.  A cheater.  A cheater who cheated on his wife of 30 years, the mother of his children, a woman WITH CANCER.  A narcissist, bold enough to have an affair while the nation’s cameras were focused on him.  A coward, who when he did confess, couldn’t even look her in the eye and admit that it was an actual AFFAIR, not a one-time lapse of judgement.  And a man so selfish that he won’t even find out if the child the woman had is, in fact, his, and give that child an actual name, (there’s no father listed on the birth certificate!) an actual father.

Come to think about it. Forget what I said before. Maybe Elizabeth did the right thing afterall.   A little humility might be just what her husband needs before they can even begin to put their lives back together, something Elizabeth, seems to want.

Your thoughts?