Steve Phillips: When Bad Breakups Go Out of Control

When Bad Break-Ups Get Out of Control

Breaking up is hard to do, and it's even harder when the split comes from inside a love triangle gone bad.

ESPN analyst Steve Phillips found that out the hard way when he tried to break off a brief fling with a production assistant at the network.

After the relationship ended, the assistant, Brooke Hundley, 22, became obsessive, Phillips told police. Indeed, Phillips' wife, Marni, became so frightened that she called police to report that Hundley had come to her house and sent text messages to her and her children. Since the scandal broke, both Phillips and Hundley have left the network.

VIDEO: Psychologists say scorned women can turn on a lovers partner after an affair.
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No wife wants to face such a scenario, but many have.

Lisa Allen will never forget the day in 2001 when she was contacted by her husband's mistress.

Allen, a Cincinnati judge, was leaving work when she found a mysterious package on her car.

The package contained a letter and audiotapes from Rebecca Collins, a lawyer who worked for Allen's husband, Mike, who was the county's top prosecutor. The material made it clear that Allen's husband and Collins were having an affair, Allen said.

"I was concerned that this package was left on my car, about what this person's motivations might be," Allen said. "My initial thought was pretty obvious. She wanted me to divorce him and leave him."

The couple went to counseling, but a year later, Allen's husband confessed that he and Collins were still involved.

Affair Evokes 'Fatal Attraction' Movie

"I got a call from Ms. Collins on my cell phone," Allen recalled. "She was crying, demanding I come to her home to settle this once and for all. My husband had gone there to terminate this relationship. He was there. She had his car blocked in the driveway. There were a series of calls from her that evening. She was angry."

Thinking back on the day she learned of her husband's cheating, Allen, now divorced, said she was shocked, stunned and hurt, adding, "Let's just say I'm glad we don't have a bunny."

Allen was referring to the blockbuster 1987 movie "Fatal Attraction" in which a character played by Glenn Close became obsessed with her married lover, played by Michael Douglas. When he refused to remain in the relationship, she stalked him and, in one infamous scene, boiled the family's pet rabbit.

Collins filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mike Allen. The suit was settled.

Men Must Take Responsibility, Therapist Says

These kinds of affairs often start when women who don't feel very good about themselves become attracted to powerful men, family therapist and author Terry Real of Boston said.

The women indulge in fantasies that they're going to end up married to their lover. "When the guy leaves, they go into a crash and then all hell breaks loose," he said. "The violence of revenge medicates those bad feelings, pumps up the person. ... It's just extremely dangerous and damaging to your life."

Even though women come off looking bad in these situations, men need to take responsibility, he said.

"Everybody talks about why do these guys not have the discipline to say no. That's true, but you also need to talk about it. 'Are these guys investing in their marriages ... are they making their marriages strong enough and healthy enough?"

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