In the course of healing from my husband's cheating, I've learned that there are many women like me – but obviously, many are not. The woman my husband cheated with knew me. She had eaten dinner with my family, been to our parties. But even if she hadn't, would that have made sleeping with a married man (he never made it a secret!) any less wrong?
Or am I being moralistic by implying that sex among two consenting adults can be wrong?
Frankly, I'm uninterested in getting into a debate about social mores and cultural wrongs. Infidelity hurts -- and it generally hurts everyone. I've yet to see a case where the end justified the means and I've long asserted that if you want out of your marriage, then get out. "Exit affairs" are often just a coward's way of forcing his own hand.
That said, I've had enough time and distance from the infidelity bomb that fell into my life to be able to muster some level of empathy for Other Women.
I don't think they're necessarily scheming, deviant whores; but usually lacking in something – esteem, attention – that they think they can achieve through a relationship with a married man. Sure some convince themselves that it's just sex. That they're just using each other and no-one is getting hurt.
A newly released book takes aim at how women compete with each other and how this undermines feminism. Cheating on the Sisterhood takes the stance that society convinces us there is no sisterhood; that women are in competition with each other. The author, an "other woman" who makes no apologies for the role she took though she's loathe to assume it again, recognizes that no-one wins when women compete with each other for men. She acknowledges that, even if she didn't know the other woman, she owed her some respect for the role she had.
Which is essentially how I feel.
We do owe each other respect, whether or husbands are showing it to us or not. There might not be a law of the sisterhood, but what about The Golden Rule (don't snicker; it's a good rule!!).
I applaud the author for her candor and for bringing to the table an important part of infidelity -- the role feminism plays or does not play. The more voices discussing this common but commonly overlooked issue, the better.