All I have been hearing lately is the buzz around the secret child of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He fathered a son out of wedlock with a household employee who has worked with the family for 20 years!  The sensational story is heartbreaking for me.  For Maria Shriver, for their 4 children together, and for the woman who kept the secret for 13 years.

And then I watch the new Shania Twain show.  The one on OWN that is chronically following her through the journey of recovery after her husband, the father of her child, and her best friend carried on a two year affair.  And I hurt for her.  And all involved.

I am angry at these men for doing this to these woman.  I want to grab them and say, “If you have to have an affair, please leave first!  Do not have the label of cheater attached to the label of divorcee!”  I want to grab these woman and hug them until it all becomes more livable.

I have not been through it in my marriage, but I have in life.  But never with a close friend.

The thought does run through my head, though.  The one that questions the women that participated in the affairs.  Then ones who made a conscious decision to  betray a friend in the name of a forbidden affair.

I think about my friends now.  I think about how painful it would be for any of them to go through the reality of an affair.  And then I think of the additional damage that it would cause if it were a close friend.

I almost tear up just thinking about it.

Imagine, in Shania’s case, that you are starting to understand that, for whatever reason, your marriage that you are committed to is falling apart.  Blindly, you lean on the woman you trust most.  Your best friend.  She tells you that she is so sorry and you do not deserve it and that she will be there for you through it all.

And then you find out that it is she, the one you count on and confide in, that is bedding your husband and ruining your family.

How do you recover from that?  Not only the ultimate betrayal of your husband but the blatant manipulation and outright lies of your best friend?  I do not think I could ever get off the floor.  How she did is amazing to me.

I pray for Maria Shriver.  Who obviously trusted and loved this woman she had in her home for 20 years.  A woman who was there through her four pregnancies, witnessing the love and bonding of a mother to child and a husband to wife.  A woman who carried her child by another husband in the same home at the same time that Maria carried her fourth.

As a woman, how do you do that to another?  How do you let the wife of the man you bedded throw you a baby shower? How do you hand her your child to adore and welcome to this world knowing that you betrayed her to the ultimate to get that child?  How do you swallow your ability to love and care for another human being and raise his love child among his wife’s children?

I am truly baffled.  I can say that I would never favor another’s husband, much less my closest – or even more casual – friends.

I suppose it is an old story, woman vs. woman.  And I know that money and power and security probably plays a role in the secrecy of both of these situations.  And I still think the husbands shoulder most of the guilt.

But I also wonder if it is in all of us?  To betray another in the name of ourselves?  To cast aside the women we hold valuable to appease our own wants and desires? And then to pose as a true friend, trusted employee, and fraud with, seemingly, no intention of fessing up?

Friendships are valuable, especially close, female ones.  We trust them with our fears, desires, and our children.  We depend on them to catch our tears and lift our laughter.  We know that no matter how ridiculously we handle something, they will be there to forgive and understand.  I just do not think you can have a quality friendship with a woman without all of these things!

Sure, in my younger years, catty behavior and nativity led to many a hurt feeling.  But as a mature, lived a little, know what is important in life, woman, I can not imagine the feelings that these woman are dealing with.

I do hate that I am in judgement of the ‘other’ women in these stories.  In fact, I have stared at this post for an hour wondering if I am, in fact, betraying them by being so harsh.

If I am and am unable to see the other side, then I suppose I am arrogant.

But I love my girlfriends and hold them to the highest esteem.  And I would hope that they would do the same for me.

As I suppose Maria and Shania did too.