In my fantasy of the cheated upon (i.e. Elizabeth Edwards), she has escaped to Tahiti and is enjoying tanning and pure pleasure -- while "other woman" Rielle Hunter stays here and takes all of the crap.
Diana Landen: It's easy to hate Rielle Hunter. She won't "emasculate" John Edwards by telling the truth, but she's happy to publicly slam a dying woman. She justifies her own cruelty with some warped concept of "force fields" of love. Easy to hate her ... but not good for me. I'm trying to figure out why I obsess over her. My husband gets offended: Am I suggesting that he would act like John Edwards? He reminds me that this doesn't have anything to do with my life. But it does.
A good friend of mine from high school -- someone I truly respected -- had an affair with a much younger employee. His marriage broke up, and now he's off somewhere studying massage. According to his Facebook page, he misses his kids but is glad he followed love. I remember the story of how he met his wife and immediately knew that she was the woman for him. Then I remember the years they spent fighting infertility and the old, rundown house they fixed up.
I comfort myself with a fantasy. In my dream world, when a man has a midlife crisis and sleeps with a young woman, the wife gets a six-month vacation. After all, if a man is cheating, his wife must not be meeting his needs, right? Obviously she is tired. Raising children and earning money is a lot of work.
So the cheater sends his beloved wife off to find herself. Spend a month in Paris, sitting in a cafĂ©? Sure. Hole up in a cabin and write the Great American Novel? Why not? Take a course in drawing nudes, ride horses, dance all night ... just no taking care of other people.
Meanwhile, the floozy moves in to take care of everything. For the first few weeks, she must follow the rules of the household and do everything the wife did. Then, in an evil twist, we let the other woman give the family new rules, the way they do on "Wife Swap." (That always works so well on the show.) No pretty lies about the other woman, either: The kids need to know that she hurt Mom and that she could become their stepmother. (Is that bad for the kids? Well, it's what they would get if Mom and Dad split up for real.) In my fantasy, the floozy never lasts six months. The kids hate her. They treat her the way kids usually treat stepmothers -- badly.
The husband starts to wonder about the other woman's ability to get along with his kids. He can't blame his wife -- who's off climbing the pyramids -- and he can't hide from it, either: His affair is making his kids unhappy. The other woman realizes that this is what life would be like if she married the guy. She decides to run away before it's too late. What about sex? Let them try. Tired, hiding from the kids, fighting over the clogged toilet, morning breath and all ... go right ahead!
Six months later, the happy, refreshed wife breezes in. Does she want to give her husband another chance? In my fantasy, the husband is on bended knee, offering his wife the most heartfelt proposal ever: "Please, come back and take care of our family. Please. I'll romance you and give you gifts and you'll never be tired again. Just come home."