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The Beyond-Vows Section of the New York Times


The “Vows” section of the New York Times really ought to change its name. A snippet from a feature presented as a “vows” celebration: 


it was hard to ignore their easy rapport. They got each other’s jokes and finished each other’s sentences. They shared a similar rhythm in the way they talked and moved. The very things one hopes to find in another person, but not when you’re married to someone else.

Ms. Riddell said she remembered crying in the shower, asking: “Why am I being punished? Why did someone throw him in my path when I can’t have him?”

In May 2008, Mr. Partilla invited her for a drink at O’Connell’s, a neighborhood bar. She said she knew something was up, because they had never met on their own before.

“I’ve fallen in love with you,” he recalled saying to her. She jumped up, knocking a glass of beer into his lap, and rushed out of the bar. Five minutes later, he said, she returned and told him, “I feel exactly the same way.” Then she left again.

As Mr. Partilla saw it, their options were either to act on their feelings and break up their marriages or to deny their feelings and live dishonestly. “Pain or more pain,” was how he summarized it.

The couple chose their feelings, left their spouses, and have now taken new vows. 

What’s heartbreaking is to think people might actually believe those are the only choices in such a situation. The unwritten-hard-to-miss message of the story as the New York Times tells it might be: Make sure you have the kind of lovingly rigorous support system — faith, friends, family — that will remind you that there might be another choice other than succumbing to feelings vs. dishonesty. 


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