John Edwards has provided much relationship blog fodder over the past year or two – and now he’s fielding rumors that he’s engaged. To kick things all off, first there was revelation that he in fact did have an affair with the woman who produced videos for his campaign. Although he stated he had come clean to his family it was still a scandal that shed negative light on him politically especially in light of Elizabeth’s battle with cancer. Add into that the fact that Edwards fathered a child with his mistress and it’s enough to severely impact anyone’s life or career!

Then there was news that Elizabeth Edwards was writing a book about her experiences, in my estimation not only to set the record straight but to help her work through some of the issues that arose in her public and private life. During these struggles, Elizabeth had stated that she’d decided to stay in her marriage “for the kids” although later she and John became estranged.

Now, there are reports that just weeks after her death, John Edwards is considering getting married again. His attorney is denying claims that Edwards is engaged to Rielle Hunter, the same women he had an affair with.

Whether or not these rumors or true, it seems that Edwards is still struggling with what I call the bio-chemical craving for connection; something I think he’s been dealing with since Elizabeth was first diagnosed with cancer. The theory is that people experiencing stress, separation or loss often are inclined toward thrill-seeking behavior and this frequently manifests itself in the form of an affair. It’s a way of over-riding true emotions by opting for a “high” instead. It’s probably the case that Edwards couldn’t handle the idea of losing his wife to cancer – either after the initial diagnosis or even now, that she has actually passed on – and so he sought a way to cancel out that fear by deciding to have an affair. It’s a way of acting out – not talking out – extreme feelings in a person’s life. It’s also possible that, subconsciously, he was finding a “backup” for his wife, given her cancer diagnosis.

Traditionally, men have a harder time talking about their feelings and therefore seek “comfort” by engaging in risky behavior. Once this behavior is discovered – often in the form of an affair – it doesn’t have to signal the end of a relationship. Instead, it can be used as a spring board for honest discussion. I believe that just about any marriage or relationship can be saved, and divorce isn’t usually the best option – even in cases of unfaithfulness. Unfortunately, John and Elizabeth weren’t able to work through their struggles but there are no doubt many painful emotions associated with his wife’s life and death. It hardly seems a good time to be seeking out another relationship!


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