Elizabeth Edwards, A Woman Off The Fence

Many of you have asked my opinion on this week’s announcement that cancer-stricken Elizabeth Edwards has left her husband, former presidential candidate John Edwards. I covered this story before, as I found it fascinating why some women choose to stay after infidelity.

The big “fence” question I asked in Blog Post Elizabeth Edwards, A Woman On The Fence, one that high profile women like Hillary Clinton and Governor Eliot Spitzer’s wife also faced, was

“Why stay in the marriage? Personally, I feel they stayed for many reasons. But, I can only imagine the incredible pull in two directions. To stay with a man who had shared his bed with another woman time and time again,  or leave and lose your marriage, and your power and status that has come as a result of being this power couple.

All this leads me up to another big question: Would you stay with a spouse that cheated on you? Let me tell you, depending on who you ask, you would get a multitude of answers.”

Okay. I’m not going to re-report the nitty gritty details. I am sure most of you know that John Edwards formally announced last week that he is the father of this love child. And he even went so far as to ask his former aide to fake a DNA test to cover it all up. But this week, Elizabeth got off the fence. I guess she truly had had enough.  This separation seems to mark the last chapter for this couple, who have been plagued by the death of a child, illness and infidelity.

“I’ve had it. I can’t do this. I want my life back,” she said this week. But my question to you is, how DOES she get her life back after something like this? Where do you go from here? Imagine the courage and strength it took her, with life-threatening breast-cancer, to leave him. Imagine the shame when she found out that the man who had promised to stay faithful, had not only cheated, but had fathered a child with another woman.  I give her kudos for her braveness in dealing with all of this, all in the public eye.

And now, I’m going to throw something out there, that you that may, or may not agree with. I think a lot of women turn a blind eye on a philandering husband because “what we don’t know can’t hurt us.” Some women simply turn this blind eye, so they can keep on living their cushy lives.  Perhaps she left, because once the cat got out of the bag, she felt like she “had” to leave him. Perhaps she felt pressure. Perhaps the same pressure Rihanna felt to leave Chris Brown. The pressure to be a role model to other women living in these situations. To pass on the message that we’re worth it. That as women, we deserve happiness, even of that means being alone.  I don’t know… it’s just a thought.

My final point in all this:  I wish her well in her journey, with both her physical health and emotional well-being.  Her children now a have half sibling, and she has to be there for them too.  Elizabeth Edwards is a very courageous and smart woman.

John Edwards, according to one poll last week, is now the most unpopular US politician of modern times, with an approval rating of 15 percent.

What do you think about this whole situation? Why do you think she left him now?

Happy Friday!


  1. I don’t know why she left him now, but the truth is – you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. People’s lives look so great on the outside – I have admired and envied couples who I later find out had been living a lie – with no love and lots of cheating. And from what I hear, Elizabeth was no saint through the years, treating people horrendously and acting like a Queen Bitch! I, too, wish her well. As she knows only too well, life is SHORT! You’ve got to live it to the fullest and surround yourself with people who love and support you. Don’t waste your time for appearances sake!!
    Happy Week-end!!

  2. I too heard she was a bitch. Not that she deserves any of this. It’s like this week’s story on Oprah. Did anyone see the wife of the gay pastor? I watched and thought, this woman is crazy for staying with a gay man, because he is totally a homosexual. But women stay for all different reasons and it’s like you say, we can’t judge. I wish Elizabeth well on her own and with her health. Have a nice weekend.

  3. Why women stay… As I read the responses I am always saddened when women choose to “CHEAT” on other women as well. At what age do we as women make the conscious decision to become “Competition” versus a woman who respects marriage, family and herself enough to know… Choosing a man and sex over another women will never bring happiness but destroys the human spirit. Look at the fabric of families, broken homes and the children who carry the biggest expense of the follies of their parents…. The names are endless, the damage is life lasting… Why did Elizabeth stay? Unless you are included in her inner circle and hear her story from her lips, anything else is speculation, gossip and damaging… “You heard she was a bitch?” very sad commentary…. Did you hear she was also battling terminal cancer? Why judge her? Why not start supporting our sisters…instead of selling them out…

  4. When I saw her interviewed on Oprah, the pain behind her eyes was undeniable. Part of me was really proud that she made her choice in spite of her brave battle. She is indeed a woman off the fence.

  5. Being a woman still on, but approaching the edge of, the fence in a similar situation I can comment on this withmy own emotions and experience. The decision to stay or leave after infidelity is a very difficult one. I have been torn in two directions, flip-flopping many times a day between staying and upholding my marriage vows of “in good times ad bad”, or leaving in order to uphold my own self-image of a strong independant woman.
    The “why now?” question was asked. My answer is that at some point one comes to the realization that being able to look at yourself in the mirror is more important than being a failure in keeping your wedding vows, vows that apparently were more important to you than they were to him anyway. In some cases of infidelity the cheating spouse is VERY remorseful and willing to make every effort to repair the marriage, others are not as remoreful. It unfortunately takes some time after the discovery of the affair to realize which one you are married to. This is a major factor in the “why now?” situation.
    Good Luck to every woman in this situation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Weekly Tips for Empowered Living and Erica Diamond’s FREE Self-Care Resource Guide right to your inbox!