I felt no trace of the “Scarlet A” – even when admitting to having torrid sex in public with a married man.
As a journalist, when I got the word that Katie Couric read and loved my column on being the “Other Woman,” despite the nefarious subject matter of the piece, I was thrilled and honored. Telling my story on her show was the perfect way to close this chapter in my life. Music booming, audience cheering, as I walked on stage, not only to face Katie, but also Katie’s other guest, Dr. Phil (who I was certain would rail me for taking on the mistress role), I didn’t know what to expect. The experience was at once thrilling, but also scary as hell. Before me sat the audience, faces of men and women — mostly women — who were there to hear my story. I couldn’t help but think I was facing a tribunal. As a writer, one doesn’t usually get to interact with her audience but today, all I could see was a sea of faces. What would they think of me? Would I be booed?
…it is not glamorous and sexy, but rather a guise for something much darker and with ramifications beyond the two people engaged in the act.
Instead, the take-away from the experience restored my faith in empathy. I felt no trace of the “Scarlet A” — even when admitting to having torrid sex in public with a married man. I felt the audience was able to see my humanity, and that I’m a woman brave enough to publicly admit I made a mistake. Dr. Phil too was gracious as he congratulated me for being honest with myself about the realities of an affair: that it is not glamorous and sexy, but rather a guise for something much darker and with ramifications beyond the two people engaged in the act.
Since posting “I Was the Other Woman” on Huffington Post, my email has been flooded with messages from other “Other Women” relating to my experience. I even received an email from a man who said he was contemplating cheating on his wife, but after reading my story was able to see the female perspective and decided that he would be better served by being honest with his wife and working on their marriage.
I’m still a work-in-progress, and I’m sure I will make many more mistakes when it comes to relationships, but I have a renewed sense of myself: as a courageous woman with a voice. Thank you, Katie, for letting it be heard.
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