Couple Who Left Spouses Give Love a Bad Name

Broken heartReading the wedding announcements in the Sunday New York Times usually leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Especially reading the stories that sound like true love and love found the second time around after being widowed or divorced.

There was no warm fuzzy feeling after I read the story of Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla, two people formerly married to others who met in their children’s pre-kindergarten classroom. The four adults became fast friends, socializing together and even taking their combined five children on family vacations together.

But then Ms. Riddell and Mr. Partilla fell in love, confessed their love for each other, left their spouses, moved in together, and got married.

Oh, and then told the world their love story. At the expense of not just their former spouses but of their five children, who even if they can't read now, will be able to read this story for eternity thanks to the magic of the Internet.


I’m not going to comment on what happened between them that led up to their nuptials. I’m divorced and remarried. I understand what it’s like to be unhappily married. My chronology was a little different. I was unhappy, got divorced, met my second husband, dated him for three years, and then married him joining our combined three kids to make a "blended" family.

Okay, well I might comment on just this part: the Vows column quotes Ms. Riddell as saying that they didn’t have an affair. After confessing their love to each other, they each went straight to their respective spouses and told them the truth.

And while Ms. Riddell and Mr. Partilla should be commended for not stripping down to nothing and jumping each other's bones before telling their spouses, they did have an affair. It’s called an emotional affair and it starts when you begin telling someone else, of the opposite sex, all of the things, good and bad, that you should be sharing with your husband.

But truly, I think the big (huge) faux pas the happy couple made is shouting it out to the world in The New York Times. Why publicly brag and boast about your love, making statements as the one that Mr. Partilla did that "I didn't believe in the word soulmate before, but now I do"? Or that Ms. Riddell did when she said that their feelings were "unconditional and all-encompassing."

What about the privacy and feelings of not just their ex-spouses but also of their children? Why was being in The New York Times more important than the needs of the others involved? Ego, pure joy, or just plain selfishness? We'll never know.

I do believe in true love. Maybe true love is really what they have. And I don't want to be a doom and gloomer but even in the best of circumstances, like mine, blending a family is not easy. So, I won't go so far as toasting the happy couple but I will wish them the best of luck. They’re going to need it.

Should the happy couple have publicly told their love story?


Image via David Armano/Flickr

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