I don’t know what YOU did…

but on my son’s first day of kindergarten I cried like a baby.  I cried because watching him reach yet another major milestone made me think of every other milestone that would come all too quickly.  Soon he would be an adult and wouldn’t need his mom any more. At the time, it hadn’t dawned on me that he would always need his mom.  I was too focused on what the future might hold in store for my kiddo.  I was terrified, sad, hopeful while looking forward to the future.  The first day of kindergarten was wonderful for him – I’d hoped that every day after that would be just as wonderful.  It’s why I find the NYTimes article about a couple who met while dropping their children off at pre-k so shocking – and to some degree, disquieting:

Carol Anne Riddell and John Partilla met in 2006 in a pre-kindergarten classroom. They both had children attending the same Upper West Side school. They also both had spouses.

What you’ll find on further reading is that their attraction blossomed into an emotional affair, and later into a remarriage between the two of them.  With a greater than 50 percent divorce rate, that they divorced their spouses is not a shock,  it’s almost to be expected.  One of the big ‘nuggets’ in that piece is that they dragged their respective spouses into the burgeoning relationship.  That’s right, they convinced their spouses to ‘couples date’, the four of them becoming friends.  Of course, the spouses, indicated in the article, didn’t know about the deepening attraction between Riddell and Partilla.  Can you image, after the fact is revealed, remembering every time your spouse convinced you to have dinner with the other man/woman?  What would it be like to wonder if they were secretly holding hands under the table whenever you were all together?  Could you stop yourself  from wondering if they’d stolen kisses during ‘game night’, when they disappeared from the room – or some such thing?  How could you help from feeling foolish?  It would be almost impossible to not wonder if you missed clues.

One argument for dragging the spouses into that mess is that Riddell and Partilla may have been  trying to fight their mutual  attraction and by having their spouses present, they would have constant reminders of what they had to lose.   To that point it would seem to me that having no contact with the other person would be the best way to fight the attraction, but for each of us our mileage varies.

While later reports suggest that this couple regrets giving the interview about the way their relationship developed, I can’t help wondering why Partilla and Riddell aren’t speaking out about regretting something more, like how they left their respective spouses feeling and then rubbing salt in the wounds with this very public tribute to their new beginning?  If the ex-spouses are comfortable with this very public airing of what was surely a painful time in their lives, bless them.  Given Riddell’s ex husband’s response to the article, I’m thinking that “comfort” is not apt description for at least one of the two spouses:

“You could easily try to brush this off as a kind of self-evidence, a self-serving act by a couple of narcissistic people who for whatever reason have a need to try to persuade people…”  Bob Ennis

Ennis is primarily concerned about his daughter who is featured in the NYT’s article.  Who could blame the guy?

Whatever happens, I hope that the children involved survive the upheaval in tact.

I hope the spouses who found themselves on the outside find the grace to forgive and move on with their lives — each for their own sake.

“This is life”?  (read the article, you’ll get that quote).  I hope not.

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