The Truth About Being the Other Woman

She Matters: In a real-life scandal, the mistress of the ex-Detroit mayor finds that she's no Olivia Pope.

Christine Beatty; Kwame Kilpatrick (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Christine Beatty; Kwame Kilpatrick (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most profound parts of Beatty’s essay are what every woman knows — or should know — about being the other woman. “In the aftermath of sex scandals, men’s transgressions are swept aside while women are stuck with labels,” Beatty writes. “Home wrecker, opportunist, mistress, whore. Men are forgiven; women are punished.”

Despite her professional accomplishments, Beatty has been unable to secure full-time work — even after leaving Detroit — because of the infamy of her name. (She notes that after he served his time for the obstruction-of-justice charges, Kilpatrick went straight into a six-figure job as an account executive for a software company.) For years she felt guilty and ashamed about the affair and its impact on the people she cares about, and she describes herself as beginning a “journey of self-forgiveness.”

Beatty did gain some valuable takeaways from her experience, though, the most poignant of which is, “while you can’t help how you feel, you are in control of your actions.” That’s a great lesson, and unfortunately she had to take herself to hell and back to reach it.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. Follow her on Twitter.