In the New York Times “vows” section the other day, a newlywed couple in their mid-40’s was profiled. She is a TV anchor, he’s a businessman. They fell in love. At their kids’ school. While they were both still married.
So, I know that falling in spontaneous love is romantic and beautiful and all that. Really. But I’m having a hard time summoning the joy for the couple, Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla, that I wish I could.
Maybe it’s some innate over-empathizing on my part for the partners who got left behind in all this. Or maybe my hackles are up because of the inclusion in the story of massive hypocrisies, like this one:
“I did a terrible thing as honorably as I could,” said Mr. Partilla, who moved out of his home, reluctantly leaving his three children. But he returned only days later. Then he boomeranged back and forth for six months.
Because boomeranging in and out of your kids lives for six months is actually not honorable, it’s more along the lines of “the most detrimental way to handle the situation.”
But maybe, what’s at the bottom of my inability to produce human joy and secrete sufficient dopamine over this story is the fact that the Times chose to profile this couple while their spouses, one imagines, are languishing in the sidelines, jilted, miserable and alone, watching as their one-time lovers and children happily embark on a new life — a life that they may never know again.
Yep. I think that’s it. The whole thing seems pretty callous. Should we be happy for people who fall in love? Sure. Do I still think that the whole situation is shitty? I do. And for that reason, I think it would have been classier to leave it out of the headlines of the New York Times: “We’re in love now! We have the kids! Sorry ’boutcha!”
Let me leave you, then, with this parting thought. Ms. Riddell compassionately tells the Times that:
“I will always feel terribly about the pain I caused my ex-husband,” said Ms. Riddell, 44 and working freelance.
…buuuut not so terribly that she chose to turn down this article and the free publicity it provides.