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.

GQ
GQ

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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