The NY Times Modern Love column ran a column a while back that was penned by Elizabeth Covington, a New Yorker who is the mistress/girlfriend to a man who left his wife for her—a wife who has befriended the author and made great efforts to include her in the family throughout the separation and impending divorce.
Wow, right? Well, of course these relationships are not as uncomplicated as they seem on the surface—and no, the wife wasn’t happy about her spouse asking for a divorce after falling for another woman, not happy at all. Yet she has taken the high road and reached out with friendliness and inclusion. So the question is why?
The comments on this piece (mine included) number almost 400 and counting. As you can imagine, anger at the author (and hubby) is what most (many women) readers write about. Comments like their selfishness, thinking only about their own wants and needs, not trying to fix the marriage, breaking up a “happy” family, are all expressed. There are also folks (mostly men) who think the women readers are being too hard on Josh. Then there are the ones who accuse Beka of being a “martyr”, manipulating the situation to gain attention…really???
This couple was a successful, power couple who had been married for quite a few years and have two “lovely” little girls. The author expresses her relief that she never wanted any of her own and was saving all her maternal instincts for these girls, really? Josh deals with all this by becoming extremely anxious and self-medicating with alcohol, standing somewhere in the background as Beka steps up to try and make the best of a devastating blow to her world and that of her children.
There will be folks who read this and who will stand on all sides of it—depending on their own experiences and past/present relationships. Many will feel rage, others sorrow, and still others will feel superior, thinking they could/would never behave like either Josh or Elizabeth. Not so fast…no one can be sure till they have been there and as Josh is quoted saying, many of their friends were divorcing for the same reason.
I am clearly old school and conservative with it comes to relationships. If you are a woman and are approached by a married man, say no upfront. Once you are in, it’s much harder to get out. If you are a guy (or woman) who is unhappy (apparently josh was “miserable”) in your marriage—seek professional help before trying to find a distraction/replacement. Many marriages can be saved, but not if the individuals don’t admit there is a serious problem and take steps together to address it.
It’s clear Beka would have been all in with counseling, addressing issues, working to meet Josh’s unmet needs—but if he wasn’t able or willing, the end would have been the same. Had Beka decided to act out her grief and taken this to the mats—a lot of money would have been spent and the anger and hurt would have helped create a very toxic environment for Beka, Josh, and mostly the children. Kuddos to Beka for doing what she could to make the best of a terrible situation that her spouse (and Elizabeth) created. No doubt Beka was not and is not a saint—though Josh told Elizabeth she is a wonderful and beautiful person. Indeed, her actions have clearly demonstrated this.