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My Married Life: What if Your Soul Mate Was Married to Someone Else?

These two were “happily” married to other people...until they met. Then all kinds of hell broke loose.

Getting your wedding listed in The New York Times is the dream of many an ambitious bride, so when a full-length profile of Carol Anne Riddel and John Partilla's nuptials hit the front page of the vows section, readers freaked. Here's why: Both Riddel and Partilla say they were happily married to other people when the two met in their children’s prekindergarten classroom. For a while things remained platonic, and the two families quickly became friends and even vacationed together (yup!).

Cut to two years later when Partilla confessed to Riddel that he'd fallen in love with her. Apparently, she felt the same way, because after much conflict and capitulation, they left their spouses to be together. "I didn't believe in the word soul mate before, but now I do," Partilla told the NYT. Shockingly, Riddel insists they never had an affair -- at least not a physical one: "I didn’t want to sneak around and sleep with him on the side. I wanted to get up in the morning and read the paper with him."

Needless to say, readers (and myself) were a little less than blissed-out about the story. Check out these two comments:

"So you're telling me, as long as I'm happy, who cares what happens to my legally wedded spouse and kids? This story reeks of selfishness."

"Why does the Times glorify home wrecking? Is it a sign of our times that personal responsibility to one's spouse and children takes a back seat to selfish, self-centered love?"

I'm trying not to moralize and condemn, because I do think people are entitled to happiness and true love. But the story made me think of all the pain and heartache that this situation must have caused. Can you imagine being in a marriage that you thought was great, only to be blindsided by a spouse who tells you that they've met their soul mate and are leaving you? Can you imagine the trust issues their kids are going to have? It's bad enough when parents with clearly unhappy marriages split up, but how weird and hard must it be when a good marriage evaporates overnight?

I'm not sure what to think. How about you guys?

-- Holly

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