There is nothing unusual about husbands walking out on their wives of many years to set themselves up in another home with a younger, replacement model. One with fresher skin, glossier hair, a youthful body full of ripe promise. It happens all the time. It happened to me.
Back in the old marital home the discarded, shattered woman is left behind surrounded by objects and memories of a marriage, echoes and voices of a family life abruptly, cruelly, cut short. And then there are the children: shocked, angry, hurt, bewildered.
As the betrayed woman society expects you to take it on the chin, accept that men do this from time-to-time, let them walk away and, above all, be dignified. Meanwhile, all you want to do is express the agony raging within you. Many want to exact a quick and vicious revenge.
Never has there been a better lesson in where these passions can lead than the jailing this year of the brilliant economist Vicky Pryce.
Her utter determination to exact revenge on her husband for leaving her — by revealing how she had taken his speeding points — ended up destroying both their lives.
Inevitably, she has been pilloried by many, mostly female, commentators for becoming the living embodiment of the ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ cliche. For the sake of the children, it has been argued ad nauseam, she should have suffered in silence, let it all go. Been dignified.
That’s so easy to say until you become the woman abandoned by a spouse to whom you have given every ounce of your youth, love and devotion. I for one can feel Vicky Pryce’s pain and understand all too well how she was driven to such a dark and ugly place.
The grief and rage you feel when your husband of many years dumps you and your children without a backward glance is enough to send any woman mad. It almost did for me. I was a basket-case for nearly two years — and I’m not alone.
It may have been almost 25 years ago but I can still picture the scene in our bedroom as my then husband of 17 years, Mo, delivered the devastating news that he had fallen in love with one of his students, a young woman all of 22, with a head of cascading blonde curls.
I remember feeling as if all my insides were crumbling into a heap of rubble. My skin was hot and feverish, my throat dry and my heart throbbing so hard I felt it might leave my chest. My thoughts were deafening and out of control,as if there had been a terrible multiple car crash.
I was sobbing, hysterical, making no sense because I couldn’t make sense of what he was saying. Watching me break down, his eyes first panicked, then became increasingly cold and contemptuous.
He wanted the scene over and done with quickly so he could move on, move out, make the practical decisions that needed to be made.
Just like former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne, who famously broke the news to Vicky Pryce that their 26 year marriage was over during the half-time of a World Cup football match before heading to the gym, Mo, too, was in control. He knew the script, had planned it all, wanted it over and done with quickly....more