The Realities of Being the Other Woman

Being Mary Jane was a reminder of a real-life affair, which forced this viewer to confront her own issues.

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Ending my affair was a process done in isolation. Weeks and months after coming to myself, I shed tears at the altar and cried out to God for forgiveness and protection. Eventually, my lover’s wife discovered the ratchet relation and threatened to visit my home with relatives. I checked the parking lot daily for suspicious cars with a group of women. I forwarded an email sent by the wife to a friend, just in case there were any accidents. I was afraid and ashamed.

After discussing a possible bribe to keep their parents from finding out about her affair, Mary Jane’s brother, Patrick, encourages her to end the adulterous relationship.

“The brother’s challenge to her comes from a different space. It doesn’t pull her into a place of shame but a place of ‘this is not sensible,’ ” said Jennings. “The challenge is to have people who can help us with our blind spots because that is where we tend to deceive ourselves.”

As friends pose questions of concern, explained Jennings, a person may begin to consider: “Am I going to be in a relationship at any cost? What am I going to tolerate? Let me think about what kind of relationship I want.”

It will take more episodes to learn what happens with the love affairs of Mary Jane Paul and Scandal’s Olivia Pope, but viewers do not have to wait until a reunion show or season finale to make their own healthy love decisions.

Arlecia D. Simmons, Ph.D., M.Div., studies the intersection of media and religion and ministers through Look ‘n’ Live Ministries. She is the author of The One, a one-woman play about the events surrounding a black woman’s HIV diagnosis.