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I Had No Choice But to Have an Affair

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OK -- so I touched a nerve!

woman tearing wedding picture

Wife #2: It's hard to resist the urge to respond to the dozens of comments posted about my story "Don't Call Me a Husband Stealer." I can't possibly address all of the nasty things said (some of them were quite creative by the way) so I'm just going to talk about a common theme: selfishness.

A lot of you accused me of being horribly, disgustingly selfish. And I was selfish. But I had no choice.

Let's look at what would have happened had I stayed in my marriage:

I would have been miserable, dying a bit each day because I had walked away from the man I was meant to be with. My husband would have looked at me each day, knowing I was only there to preserve the illusion of stability for our children. And our children would have grown up with a loveless, angry marriage as a relationship role model.

If I told you what my marriage was like for the last several years before I left, you'd probably cut me some slack. I lived with a bully who made sport of disparaging me in front of others. But that's as much as I'll say because it's still not his fault. How good or bad my marriage was is almost irrelevant. I met my soulmate. Even if my marriage had been better, I would have left it for him.

As for the exes, who in their right mind would want to stay married to someone who no longer loved them? That's what both of our spouses would have lived with and that's no life.

Some of you think we should have stayed for the children, at all costs. What would we teach our kids by doing that? Living a lie is acceptable. Love is not paramount. Follow convention like sheep -- because guess what kids -- that's what you're supposed to do!

Life is not made up of black and white decisions. What you seem to be saying is staying in lousy marriages makes us perfect parents, leaving those marriages makes us ax murderers. Our children know we love them. And they'll learn that we did our best as parents, but we're flawed like the rest of the human race.

I'll tell you this: if my child came to me as an adult in a situation similar to ours, I wouldn't judge. I'd support her decision to be true to herself. I certainly wouldn't tell her to suck it up and be miserable. I wouldn't want her to be flip or frivolous. But I'd be sure she heard this loud and clear: Choose happiness.

To those of who you charged me with middle school behavior -- running off with the first boy who talked to me in the lunch line -- grow up. That may be your experience, but it's not mine. I've had more opportunities over the years than I can count -- with rich men, powerful men, beautiful men. None of it tempted me for a moment, even in a cratering marriage. This wasn't some cute guy in Bennigan's tapping me on the shoulder and sending me into orbit. This was the love of my life.

I don't expect forgiveness or even understanding. But what I'm stunned at in the community I live in and in this digital community is the intolerance. Divorce may never be a popular choice, but it's still my choice to make.

And here's the last thing I'll say. I think a lot of you are just scared. Scared it will happen to you and scared it won't. Scared that if once-in-a-lifetime knocks at the door, you won't be brave enough to answer.



next: Who's Your Birth Daddy? Charles Manson!
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