Rielle Hunter is scum.
With her new book out and her media tour promoting it, Rielle Hunter is once again the center of most conversations. Everything about John Edwards affair with this very odd woman epitomizes what not to do from a moral standpoint. She is unapologetic about her actions and to the contrary exhibits a certain level of glee and giddiness as she recounts how she first met and seduced John Edwards. I think I can speak for millions of women by saying that is what is particularly objectionable about her. To know you have played a part in the demise of a marriage and find happiness in doing so......well, there is a special place in Hell for people like that.
However, as much as I happen to believe she is scum, she wasn't married to Elizabeth Edwards. John was.
I work in a tiny law firm that specializes in divorce. I have spent YEARS listening to women (and men) bemoan the fact that their spouse cheated on them. An interesting observation I have noticed is how different men and women react toward discovering their spouse has betrayed them. I am generalizing (to be sure) there are definitely exceptions to the rule. But for the most part when a man finds out his wife has cheated on him, the gut reaction is to be angry with his wife.
In his eyes she is now a cheating slut, whore and bitch. He feels betrayed, hurt and indignant that she would do something like that.
However when a woman finds out her husband or boyfriend has cheated on her, it is the other woman that is a slut, whore and bitch. There is almost an unspoken belief that all men cheat or will cheat, and that the true anger and ire is saved for the woman that participated in the deceit. I rarely allow women in my life, personally or professionally to get away with that mindset. I always call them out on it.
"What about him, he was the one that made a vow to you to be faithful...."
And each time I get the same response. "I know...but she KNEW he was married!"
"And HE KNEW he was married right?"
"I know but I can't stand women that cheat with married men."
My response... "SHE didn't cheat on you, he did."
So that my words aren't twisted like a pretzel, I am not saying women that have affairs with married men aren't culpable for their actions because they are. The only women in my opinion that get a pass in this area and on this topic are the ones that genuinely had no idea they were involved with a married man. I have had men approach me that were skilled liars like John Edwards that told me pointedly they were not married, only for me to find out they were. Luckily for me my moral compass is one in which I don't sleep around or believe in casual sex, so the only repercussions were dodging the proverbial bullet.
Yet the conversation of how we handle infidelity is one we all need to have. A gut check if you will.
What prompted me to write this article is Rielle's drumbeat in her interviews that she is misunderstood and wrote the book to set the record straight. That annoys me. She isn't misunderstood. The situation is a simple one.
A man that at his core had a social cause that could have done a lot to change the lives of millions, allowed his selfish and narcissistic desires to derail his political aspirations. A man that went on national TV and blatantly and expertly lied about having an affair and fathering a child with his mistress.
A man that was married to a woman and mother of his children that was battling terminal cancer. A woman that would later die of that cancer. This man took money from wealthy donors to help pay for keeping his pregnant mistress a secret. A man that asked his "married" press secretary to lie and claim he was the father of the unborn child. And Rielle....Rielle is a woman that openly flirted with a married man, agreed to have unprotected sex with a married man and then engaged in an affair with him.
What part about that do we have wrong Rielle?