The Edwards No-Win Situation

It says a lot about you (neither good nor bad) how you prioritize the fallout from the Edwards admission:

  • Punishing John Edwards
  • Feeling sympathy (or empathy) towards Elizabeth
  • Cheering the situation
  • Feeling like it isn’t our business because you just don’t know the details
  • Feeling like it isn’t our business because it’s private.

Given my personal history (both good and bad), would you be surprised that my first reaction was to feel bad for Elizabeth?

I can just as easily—well, I should be just as easily—want to punish John Edwards (again, given my personal history), but I can’t. Why? I could argue intellectually that he cheated. Period. But my intellect is repulsed by absolutes.

I have known male couples where one was sick—terminally so—and the one who was sick pushed the other to find someone else. Or to go out and have sex (ostensibly so that the other could take care of a physical need) because the sick one just wasn’t interested in sex. It’s definitely not anything I would have done, even if Allen had given the go-ahead. Which he didn’t. It probably just didn’t enter his mind. And when his partner before me, George, was sick (at the end he was blind and wasting away) I doubt that he gave Allen any kind of go-ahead. I doubt as well that Allen would have availed himself.

I know the need. I know a lot about it. The temptation. But sit with that temptation awhile and—yes, what a daring thing for a man to do—considered the after-times.

I didn’t need sex. I needed intimacy, always intimacy. And thanks (thanks?) to Allen and I having found other ways of being intimate after sex was no longer part of the equation, I had no need for sex with others. I just didn’t want it. The after-times are incredibly lonely, the part that’s beyond the ejaculation is what remains, and that’s all about what was missing.

Contrary to misguided ideas out there about me, I have need to pass judgment on those for whom sex is something that is nothing but friction and/or an external means to prop an ego: notches on the bedpost are of time immemorial. All well and good and I choose not to participate. And I choose not to be around it. Should I have to be? I also choose to speak my mind when the nature of that (two-backed) beast incurs on my life. And I grew tired of being silenced in a thousand little ways.

I feel bad that people are hurting. I would have chosen (did choose) to go without sex rather than hurt my partner and I certainly wouldn’t rely on secrecy as a justification.

I’m glad Edwards owned up to it. I’d like to believe that he’d already confessed to Elizabeth long before today or yesterday.

And I hope she forgave him. She’s the only one that can pass judgment. She’s the only one who should.

Violating a trust hurts everyone.