Well, Sunday’s New York Times’ wedding announcements sure were interesting. There was the couple that got engaged just 51 days after meeting on JDate. The bride who brought her two cats along as “chaperones” on an early date with her now-husband. And then there was the highlight of the section, the couple that fell in love when they were both married to other people. Scandalous!The internet has been in a bit of a tizzy ever since the story appeared. I don’t think anyone reads the wedding announcements filled with an overwhelming joy for a strange couple’s happiness (in fact, I would guess that most people, myself included, read it to laugh at the ridiculous details included in stories like those mentioned above); however, the general consensus is that readers are decidedly not happy for newly married Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla.
Here’s the short version of their love story: Riddell and Partilla met in kindergarten class. No, not their kindergarten class — the class their individual children attended on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They were both married (with kids) with other people. They became friends and so did their spouses and the couples went on all sorts of double dates, even vacationing together. But then Riddell and Partilla began to develop feelings for one another, with Partilla eventually declaring that he was in love with her. Riddell felt the same way, and so they both decided that the right thing to do was, as the Times put it, to “act on their feelings and break up their marriages” rather than “deny their feelings and live dishonestly.” After some “boomeranging,” they both ended their marriages and pursued the relationship. After some time, they moved in together and then were legally married in November.
It’s unfortunate, of course, that this unconventional love story caused pain to so many people in the couple’s inner circle, namely their exes and their children. At the same time, would the right thing to do have been to deny their feelings for each other and “live dishonestly”? I don’t believe so and because the Times piece doesn’t really go into the details of what steps Riddell and Partilla took, if any, to extinguish their feelings for one another, it’s hard to say whether they even tried to put their commitments to their spouses above their feelings for each other.
The thing that struck me as disingenuous is this line from Riddell. “I will always feel terribly about the pain I caused my ex-husband. It was not what I ever would have wished on him.”
Then, I ask, why continue to hurt your ex-spouses (and the children you share with them) by so publicly flaunting the spoils of your emotional affair and subsequent divorces in the most widely read wedding section in the country? Why reveal the deep feelings you had for your new spouse while you were still married to your first spouse for hundreds of thousands of people to sop up with their Sunday morning lattes?
I mean, seriously, Carol Anne and John (can I call you that?), I really don’t begrudge you the right to celebrate falling in love. S**t happens, people get divorced. Very few love stories happen without a little pain too. But parading it around, while lamenting the pain you caused others, is just tacky. [NY Times]