Single-Minded: John Edwards, Rielle Hunter and Why Telling All Is Never a Good Idea

Sometimes setting the record straight has nothing to do with truth telling—and everything to do with staking out territory that wasn't yours in the first place.


So in a brief moment of clarity (or insanity), I forwarded all of the mushy love e-mails he’d ever sent me to all the women in his contact list. The next day, he had to explain to his mother, aunts and a few other lovers why some maniac had hacked into his e-mail account and sent a message that ended with the phrase, “Do with this info what you must.”  (Sure, he was enraged, but that mass e-mail was my Dear John equivalent.)

It was childish. It was most likely illegal. And it felt very, very good. I imagined myself a hero then, saving these clueless women from the same sleepless nights and puffy-faced mornings I’d been having. Wasn’t ripping the BandAid off his lies the noble thing to do? Or did I want to justify our love by forcing other people to read about it? Truth is, I know lots of people, who in the age of notebook love consider it their part-time job to report love lost or gained on the constant ticker that is Facebook, Twitter and whatever else is hot in the streets.

A good friend, who is now engaged and happy and etc., once confronted a woman who was getting inappropriately close to her man at the time, but she eventually found the whole exercise embarrassing and actually sort of incestuous.

I realized that the other woman in this case had a kind of obsession with me because honestly I don’t even think she liked my boyfriend,” my friend told me. “She barely knew anything about me, but she seemed fascinated with measuring herself against me and trying to one-up me in life. My boyfriend could be any man; she just wanted a reason to ruin my perfect little world.”

Women do that to one another sometimes. We try to one-up each other. Wasn’t that the point of Rielle’s photo shoot in GQ, wearing political pearls, perfect hair and a pressed white button down that could’ve been Johnny’s? And that gargantuan photo of YaVaughnie all hugged up with a married man in the middle of the Times Square? Or the stupid e-mail I sent to a bunch of strangers? Licking one’s wounds and heading home alone with your head down just isn’t badass enough for all the would-be super heroines out there. That’s why it’s easier to just pee on things. Unfortunately, anything that needs to be peed on usually already stinks.


Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root. Her book, Bitch Is The New Black, will be released this summer. Follow her on Twitter.


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