David Letterman

Written by Tabby Biddle

david_lettermanI’m a Dave Letterman fan. My husband and I TiVo his show and watch it a few nights a week. I happened to be watching last Thursday night when Dave announced that he had done some “very, very bad things.”

By now, most of you have heard the story. If not, the gist is that a CBS news producer, Robert Joel Halderman, asked Dave to pay him $2 million. The hush money was intended to keep Dave’s “very, very bad things” a secret. The secret involved Dave having sexual relationships with female members of his staff. If Dave did not pay up, Halderman was threatening to expose Dave’s forays in a screenplay. In other words, according to police reports, this was an extortion attempt.

Over the weekend, The New York Times followed up on Dave’s announcement with an article on blackmail, and there have been subsequent articles covering Dave’s apology and the possible aftermath. What I would like to follow up on is the topic of single women having affairs with married men. I don’t know all the details of David Letterman’s story, but his announcement awakened my curiosity about why women are dissing other women by having affairs with their husbands.

A search on Google for “why do single women have affairs with married men” results in 1.7 million hits. Guess it’s a hot topic.

Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, Rielle Hunter and John Edwards, the Argentine woman and Mark Sanford. The story of the single woman having an affair with the married man. These are the stories of public figures, and the private stories are even greater in number.

oprahIn a discussion group on Oprah’s website, many women shared their experience of their husband having an affair with a single woman. One woman said that her husband had an affair with a co-worker and that woman knew he was married and had kids. Even though she had this information, she would text and call him at all times of the night wanting him to come over and be with her. “How can a woman do that to another woman?” she asked.

My question exactly. Why are women hurting other women? Why are they willfully stepping into a situation that can damage lives (their own included)?

One explanation might come from Susan Sheppard, founder of Getting What You Want, a life and relationship coaching organization with a mission of promoting sacred intimacy. She says: “ The woman who gets involved with a married man is … looking for attention and affection.”

I did some more research and other reasons I found are: Enhanced self-esteem, self-image and power; excitement, risk, and challenge; and sex.

Probably most important is what showed up in the online discussion groups revealing that there are lots of women who feel they are gaining some kind of power from “taking a man away” from another woman.

It’s ironic to me that some women list “enhanced self-esteem and power” as their reason for having an affair, when it seems the exact opposite is true. By deceiving another woman, she is actually depleting her power. In other words, by deceiving another woman, she is causing more pain and damage to the feminine psyche and is perpetuating a pattern of mistrust among women.

“Many women cannot be trusted … they are gossipy, catty, and will cat_fightstab you in the back,” wrote one woman in the discussion group on Oprah’s site.

“Women compete with each other … we live to tear each other apart,” said another.

Wow. Do we really need to continue this pattern? Is it possible to support each other as women? What would it be like if there was a sisterhood among women where if you knew a man was married, you would leave him alone? Hmmm….

In my opinion, the more we deceive each other, the more we will lose trust in our gender – and this REALLY ISN’T good for our self-esteem. If we want to be powerful, how about saying, “no”?

What do you think?


Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.


7 thoughts on “David Letterman

  1. From the Guardian:

    Why women have sex
    According to a new book, Why Women Have Sex, by Cindy Meston, a clinical psychologist, and David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist, there are 237 reasons why women have sex. And most of them have little to do with romance or pleasure.
    “People just assumed the answer was obvious,” Meston says. “To feel good. Nobody has really talked about how women can use sex for all sorts of resources.” She rattles off a list and as she says it, I realise I knew it all along: “promotion, money, drugs, bartering, for revenge, to get back at a partner who has cheated on them. To make themselves feel good. To make their partners feel bad.” Women, she says, “can use sex at every stage of the relationship, from luring a man into the relationship, to try and keep a man so he is fulfilled and doesn’t stray. Duty. Using sex to get rid of him or to make him jealous.”
    And then there is sex as man-theft. “Sometimes men who are high in mate value are in relationships or many of them simply pursue a short-term sexual strategy and don’t want commitment,” Buss explains. “There isn’t this huge pool of highly desirable men just sitting out there waiting for women.” It’s true. So how do we liberate desirable men from other women? We “mate poach”. And how do we do that? We “compete to embody what men want” – high heels to show off our pelvises, lip-gloss to make men think about vaginas, and we see off our rivals with slander. We spread gossip – “She’s easy!” – because that makes the slandered woman less inviting to men as a long-term partner. She may get short-term genetic benefits but she can sing all night for the resource benefits, like a cat sitting out in the rain. Then – then! – the gossiper mates with the man herself.

    • Hi Tracy!

      Yes, you are right. He said he wasn’t married — just in his long-term relationship. It was really the whole discussion coming out about it, tied in with some more recent situations that I know about on the private front
      that did include married men, that got me thinking about this issue.

      Thanks for writing in!

      I hope you are well.


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