by Maryanne Comaroto
Many years ago, when I was young and immature, I dated a married man. It was a serious relationship that continued for a long time, and in fact we were engaged to be married at one point. In the end, what ended it between us was the fact that he was married when we got together. There were a lot of emotions involved in the situation, as as you can imagine, many of them revolved around guilt, shame, and embarrassment at the fact that we his wife was being put through this awful situation. I can look back now and see that I did learn something from that experience, and that is one thing I am grateful for, but at the same time it makes me sad to think about the pain and suffering that was caused.
He and I tried to tell ourselves that things would work out between, we thought that love alone would carry us through, but in the end there was that line we had crossed, and there was no undoing that. Because of the shameful nature of what we were doing, I didn't feel that I could share my feelings or tell anyone about what was going on. I felt doomed to deal with it on my own, without the support or advice of even my closest friends. And I know that I wasn't the only one going through this - there were certainly other women out there who shared the same shame, and dealt with it silently.
So if that was the case for women twenty years ago, that an affair would cause such a desire for secrecy and a fear of being discovered, how on earth did we get to where we are today? These days, if you have an affair with a married man, not only do you tell people, you shout it from the rooftops! In some circles, having an affair with a married man of note can even be a badge of honor of sorts. And what a truly messed up honor it is - the tabloids encourage and tempt women with ridiculous sums of cash to tell all, to humiliate and desecrate the families involved. Think about the recent Tiger Woods scandal, or what has happened with Sandra Bullock's husband. The women involved are practically tripping over each other to get to get into the newspapers. It nauseates me to think about how disgustingly trampy it is to sink that low, and what a blow to womankind it is that women can have such utter disregard for the humiliation of others and of themselves, to parade such private stories in such a public way.
Of course, we all know why these women do what they do - the want the money. And that little detail is what makes them not tramps, but prostitutes. They get paid to do what they do, rewarded for what seems like unforgivable behavior. This in itself is almost as awful as the original transgressions themselves.
I sit here and wonder what it is that would cause a women to value attention and cash over all else, to be willing to face the public embarrassment of having been a part of such a terrible string of events, all for fifteen minutes in the spotlight and a one-off paycheck. After all the strides we have taken forward, after all the years and decades and centuries that we have fought to get where we are, why would any woman go so far out of her way to flush it all down the toilet? For a few dollars? It seems unlikely that's the complete answer. Perhaps it's some kind of new social disorder, where women who have no self-esteem and can't be bothered with building a real career try to leech off the misfortune of others instead. If that's the case, we have a long way to go before the battle against this tramp/prostitute trend will be won.
by Maryanne Comaroto of Maryanne Live
See Maryanne discussing her personal experience in this vein, view this week's video blog: