It's my belief that anyone who has an affair is missing something in their lives. Perhaps the couple have grown apart, maybe there is an intimacy issue, maybe one is a day person and the other a night person. It might be an actual problem in the marriage or it might be that person just thinks something is missing. There are so many reasons why someone begins an affair that I won't even begin to try to figure it out. The cause, whether real or perceived, is between the couple, the one who cheated and the one who didn't. I don't know. I never felt the need to look outside my marriage, so I'm only offering opinion here.
When Edwards went public with his admission on Nightline, he said that being a candidate, a public figure, made him narcissistic; that he felt he could get away with anything. But he found out he couldn't. It was a lesson apparently only recently learned as it wasn't long ago that he was still denying it. I have to believe that he only went public because The National Enquirer would be coming out with proof of his affair that he could not repudiate, so he beat them to it. Sorry, John. Too little, too late.
I noticed something when I watched clips of Edwards' appearance on Nightline. He said he made a "mistake" in 2006. He said he confessed to his wife Elizabeth and to God about his "mistake". I admit that I never saw the full interview, I wish I had. The clips I saw never saw him say "I had an affair" or any words to that effect. In his press statement he referred to a "liaison", not an affair. Apparently, he still hasn't fully dealt with what he did. He further says that the press, and I suppose the public, can beat him as much as they want, they can't beat him up any more than he has already beat himself up. When he can say the words, in public, "I had an affair" or "I cheated on Elizabeth" he can start to quit beating himself up. The healing can begin.
It's also my belief that most people will lie about an affair because they know it's wrong. Why else lie? They don't want to admit doing something that could mean the end of their marriage. At the every least, the end of the the trust of their marriage partner. It has to be one of the most hurtful things a person can go through. I would imagine that the self-confidence and self-esteem of the loved one has to go through the floor. And it might be a long time before it can begin to return to what it once was. The one who was cheated on has to wonder why? Why did my loved one do this? Is it me? What did I do? What didn't I do? Why?
Then John went and made her situation worse by having an affair. I don't know why. I don't even care why. The fact that the cancer was in remission means nothing to me. I think it's reprehensible to do such a thing while his wife is fighting for her very life, even if it was in remission at the time. Can you imagine dealing with a cheating husband and the plummet of self-esteem and self-confidence that has to go with it, then finding out you have an incurable form of cancer?
What is even worse to me, is that he lied about it. Yes, I know, it's "only sex", it's not a big deal. Well, I thought so too, until I heard Cal Thomas on Fox News Watch say to another panelist who also said they didn't care about the affair, is that you should care, because if they will lie about that, what else will they lie about?
Let's first remember that this affair happened in 2006. Edwards says it was short lived and over well before he began his run for the presidency. Yes, he mounted a campaign for the office of the President of the United States, based on family values and honesty. At first blush, it sounds like he was being rather hypocritical, but remember that this was after he had confessed to his wife. They may have mended the fences in the marriage that led him to think an affair was somehow acceptable.
Now, as I said, I don't really care that he had an affair. That's between the Edwards'. I don't like that he lied to the public about it. I've said for a long time, that if politicians (in particular, everyone else in general) would just admit that they've done something wrong, and show they are sorry for what they've done, it becomes a non-story, they are forgiven by the public and their careers are saved. It's the lying about it that really gets them in trouble.
Before anyone asks if I am as honest as I want others to be, the answer is no, I'm not. Then why should I expect, or even ask, that others be more honest than I claim to be? Because these are the people who ask that we trust them to lead us, and our nation. They ask that we put our country, our lives, our futures and the lives and futures of our children in their hands. We look to them to be leaders. They campaign on truth and honesty and values, and because of what they say, we expect them to be what they profess to be. We expect them to obey the laws of the land and of society.
It's when they are found out and lie about it, that they show themselves to be less than the leaders they wanted us to believe them to be. Right or wrong, I expect our elected officials to be better than I am. I have more respect for a person who can, and will, admit to a mistake up front and out loud than for someone who tries to hide it. Everyone makes mistakes. Not all mistakes have to be publicly admitted. But when you are a public figure, your mistakes are not like mine. When your mistakes are found out, even the littlest ones became fodder for the public. And your mistakes can embarrass the entire country.
I do respect Edwards for finally going public with his admission. Admitting a mistake is not easy for anyone, and one of this nature is so personal. Not only that, but he campaigned on a platform of values. During his campaign, a poll was done asking which of the candidates and their spouse seemed to the be happiest. Guess which couple was the "winner"? Yeah...John and Elizabeth Edwards. Ironic, considering what we now know.
I would have more respect if he had admitted it from the beginning, showed remorse for his actions, and then went on to prove he's worthy of regaining the respect of the people of believed in him. But even more important, the respect of his family.