I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of women supporting women. I have many incredible female friends who, along with my mother and sister, have truly been irreplaceable throughout the past month. I am so grateful to each and every one of them.
At the same time, I think a lot about the woman who pursued my husband. I want to make this VERY clear - I am not absolving him of blame. He should not have sent fire emojis to her photos on Instagram stories. He should have told me that she had messaged him "I've always had a crush on you" and that it made him feel a certain way. I 100% see and feel his betrayal was not about me but rather was an issue within his control and am supporting both his individual therapy and our couples counseling to address our relationship dynamic.
With that said, I knew this woman. I was friendly to her. I'd had lunch with her and invited her to my house for dinner. She was going through a difficult time before she left New York and I had even offered our guest room in case she needed a place to stay. And there is something about THAT betrayal that stings in a different way. In the words of the incomparable Taylor Swift (taken from Madeleine Albright originally), "there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women". In Taylor's case, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey had made some hurtful jokes. In mine, this woman knew me and somehow compartmentalized those feelings in order to bask in attention from the man who married me, who chose ME to spend his life with.
To reference a Tina Fey and Amy Poehler masterpiece, Mean Girls, "You've got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores". I said a piece of that line when I called this woman to confront her about the affair. I was still in a bit of a rage-induced stupor and shock but I said something along the lines of, "I don't like calling another woman a slut but I truly don't know how you live with yourself or sleep at night". In my more compassionate moments, I know that she has incredibly low self-esteem and that her betrayal wasn't about me, either. On my less kind days, I envision her getting married and having to worry about every thirsty girl on Instagram trying to catch the attention of the man she loves.
Does this make me anti-woman? I don't think so. There has to be room for nuance in every issue. I can be a feminist - I believe in equal pay for equal work, a woman's right to control her own body, and check my own prejudices against women when I feel patriarchal notions creeping into my brain - AND I can recognize that what this woman did to me was horrible and not worthy of a "you do you, girl!" graphic from Pinterest. Women, just like men, have the capacity for both kindness and cruelty. I choose to surround myself with, and support, the women who exude kindness.