Elizabeth Edwards, A Woman On The Fence

When Elizabeth Edwards married John Edwards in 1977, she had but one request for her husband… that he be faithful to her. This was paramount to Elizabeth from day one. Unfortunately, we all know the outcome. I can only imagine her struggle living life on the fence with whether to stay or leave once she learned of his infidelities. She has recently documented some of those feelings in a new book, “Resilience.”

Let’s be honest, those people buying her memoirs, are probably looking for all the juicy details of her husband’s affair with videographer Rielle Hunter.  After all, former presidential candidate John Edwards  did not at all  seem the cheating type. He, the bright and charismatic possible future president. She, the devoted wife of 30 years who stood by her husband’s side during his entire campaign. Three beautiful children. The picture perfect family man.

But in fact, tragedy struck their family way before John’s betrayal. In 1996, their son Wade died in a car accident. And then years later, her breast cancer diagnosis, which is now in the terminal stage.

To give you a little background on the story, on December 28, 2006, two days after John announced he was running for president in 2008, he told Elizabeth he had broken the vow he made to her on their wedding day almost 30 years ago…. he had been unfaithful. Just imagine Elizabeth at this moment. First losing a child. Then being diagnosed with breast cancer. Then learning her husband had been unfaithful. One event after the next. Talk about finding strength you thought you never had. In fact, “Resilience” couldn’t be a more perfect title for her memoirs.

She describes the feelings that engulfed her body when she first learned of her husband’s affair, “After I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up.”

And finally, as if all this wasn’t hurtful and humiliating enough, recently, DNA tests are supposed to show that John Edwards did in fact father a child with Rielle Hunter. After denying it.

So the big “fence” question, one that Hillary Clinton and Governor Eliot Spitzer’s wife faced, is 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 power and status that has come as result of being this couple.  Plus, it is a very different thing when one can grieve privately, or when the whole world is watching and judging your every move.

From left, Emma Claire, Elizabeth, Jack, John and Cate Edwards

This all leads me up to one 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. For me, I have to say, it depends. That’s personal, so no judgement here ladies. I feel that if my husband went on a business trip and had a “slip up” one night, I would be more inclined to work it out, than if he had been having an ongoing love affair with a woman, and had been deliberately lying to me over and over again. This would kill me. This would kill my spirit. But, if it was one night, and he came to me right away, I think I would try and work it out. I don’t know for sure, and thankfully, AT LEAST TO MY KNOWLEDGE, I have not been faced with this dilemma.

So, while there is no right or wrong answer to leaving after a spouse cheats, every situation is different and needs to be assessed on a case by case basis. Experts say a major deciding factor is obviously your partner’s actions. Do you think it’s going to happen again? Is your partner truly sorry and feels remorse for what they’ve done? Have they offered to seek counseling to help them understand why they strayed in the first place? Trust is a major issue. How can Elizabeth Edwards ever trust again?

I will go more in-depth on infidelity and cheating in the future. For now, this was something to get you ladies thinking and talking. And I truly think,  no one can sit in judgement of someone else’s life unless they have walked in those shoes. Really. So, we cannot judge Elizabeth Edwards. She is dying, and maybe she compartmentalized this affair to help her get through her final days as a family unit. Maybe she wants to die in peace, not fighting. Irrespective of her decision, I feel tremendous sadness and compassion for this woman. She must sit on that fence every day wondering if she has made the right decision for herself and her happiness. That can’t be a comfortable place to sit.

What are you feelings?


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  1. ok i feel really bad for Elizabeth. She is fighting a bigger battle than the one with her hubbys infidelity issues, but…
    Where is her self respect? Doesnt she deserve better than that? I dont care if it was a 1 night thing or a year long relationship.Men that cheat do not deserve to stay in the realtionship. Kick the loser out. I hate cheaters.

  2. I feel really bad for Elizabeth and their children. Yes the answer would be to throw his butt out, but what’s the point. This world is full of cheating people and liars at that. I could sit here and say so many negative things about this man, but why. Negativity is the biggest killer in this world. We have to stop the hurt and pray for peace. It was not right what he did, but its over and we have to move past it. What’s done is done, move on. Find positive things to look forward too. Life is what we make of it.

  3. My heart goes out to this wonderful beautiful woman. She is a beautiful woman and maybe cancer has taken over her body and as we grow old our looks can’t remain youthful. He had a wonderful wife in her and what goes around comes around. He is a cheat, i have no respect for a cheater. He hurts his family and shows them that love does not endure.
    What a horrible example..He has to live with it and one day will have to answer for it.
    We are all tempted when we aren’t happy and our partner may be ignoring our needs, you have to talk about it.. and then if your partner ignores your needs then you need to get a divorce..and move on.. You win some and you lose some.. to have someone for life is a very special gift. I hope everybody finds someone that loves them unconditionally. John Edwards.. NO RESPECT

  4. Elizabeth is an amazing, wonderful and classy lady. John Edwards threw it all away for a piece of a..! John Edwards is a phony, self absorbed man.

    May Elizabeth win her fight with cancer. No one should EVER have to put up with a cheater and a liar.

  5. Once a cheater always a cheater.Once a liar always a liar. Polititions think they can do whatever they want and get away with it. I don’t trust any of them, I’ve lost faith in all of them.Money and power and to hell with the little people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I had what I thought was a wonderful marriage and family. I stopped my career/education and build my whole life around my husband and children. (And I don’t regret it) When I was pregnant with our second child I had suspicions about my husband. I caught him another woman when our baby was 6 weeks old. (And our baby had a lot of health issues, as well) He swore he would never do it again, and that he loved me and the kids more than anything. Three years later, Icaught him having an affair with yet another woman. My gut told me to leave before and I should have listened……Now I’m stuck. All of this has crushed me. I don’t even feel (or act) like the person that I was before. I’m in pain every day of my life. I feel like my soul has been ripped out of my body. We have 3 children now, and are still married. I don’t want my children to become human ping pong balls, and be exposed to a bunch of garbage by his potential future girlfriends, so I stay. But I’m sad every day.

  7. To add to my previous post, once a cheater always a cheater. If they would do it too you once, they will do it to you again. And some advice for women like this Ms. Hunter…If they will do it with you, they will do it TO you…. Good luck. And you should BE ASAMED of youself for breaking up a home that has INNOCENT children it it! SELFISH!

  8. My heart goes out to Elizabeth. You are better than that! You did nothing wrong! He is very selfish, and will NEVER love anyone, except himself.

  9. Don’t ever trust a man that has cheated. Ever. I have been there. And I fell for that B.S., too.(And I am a highly educated, intelligent woman) When a man cheats and then comes to you crying telling you that he loves you. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM!!! Ask him if he was thinking about you when he was cheating. Men who love their wives DO NOT CHEAT!!!

  10. Know what a real class act is? A person whom while in the public eye upon whom suffers sad/tragic blows/losses YET CHOOSES TO KEEP ONES BIG MOUTH SHUT!(think Sandra Bullock here-She is what a real class act is!(and EE says she can relate to her-HA!) (Yes this is all a horrible tragedy…but real class acts live their lives with dignity by NOT responding to the media frenzy. EE has actively sought out media exposure via her book/PEOPLE MAG and TV appearances and for what? “Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned” She just couldn’t get over the fact that HE DID THAT TO HER! YES he is a self centered deluded lying creep but for the sake of your young children and the fact this is OLD OLD NEWS NOW..Put a lid on this story and MOVE ON…JUST MOVE ON ELIZABETH and really enjoy the rest of your years with your children. You can only achieve this by not telling the same story over and over again in the public eye!(It is only making YOU look BAD..since we have all moved on beyond this old trashy soap opera..stay tuned for next drama at 11…next!

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