Marriage: Not for the Weak Hearted

Today, almost every woman in America is asking this question: How could Huma Abedin stand by her husband, New York City Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner, also now known as “Carlos Danger”, and defend her marriage after learning he lied about the timeline of his scandalous cybersex activity?

My guess is that two extremely strong feelings—love and pride—motivated her to speak on his behalf at yesterday’s press conference.

It’s probably safe to say Abedin’s level of embarrassment about her husband’s illicit activities is beyond measure. Her marriage to the one-time U.S. Congressman was supposed to be different. She and Weiner were supposed to be the next prominent Washington power couple. But that’s all gone now, and a curious public wonders why she stays.

I know how she feels.

Today is my 20th wedding anniversary, yet it’s not a day of celebration. A marriage expected to bring about exciting artistic creativity, enduring love and a positive, strong picture of the black family, has been breathing on life support for the past five years. The roller coaster ride of my husband’s mental illness and the emotional abuse associated with it almost made me pull the plug on more than one occasion, but I made the decision to stay. Why? Because of love and pride.

Family and friends thought I was out of my mind. Many witnessed my misery, very much like we watched Abedin face reporters yesterday, and wondered aloud why I was willing to sacrifice a budding career to stay in my marriage after years of horrible mistreatment.

I denied there was a problem for a while, thinking my husband just needed to mature a bit since we married in our early 20s. But reality set in after a few years. My creative, fun and talented husband had sunk into the abyss of a psychosis that he was unable to battle on his own. I was afraid for him, knowing that if I left he would fall into the kind of life he desperately wanted to avoid.

We spent years battling the mental illness in secret, because of embarrassment. I was unwilling to admit the marriage had failed. I almost drowned under the pressure. The pain of multiple miscarriages and an unexpected career transition made me break the vow of secrecy. These issues also made my husband step out from behind the shadows of his psychosis and begin working to rebuild our marriage.

After years of pain, I’m still working to forgive.

Abedin said she has already forgiven her husband for the betrayal. I hope so. But unless some larger political calculations are in play, it seems to me that Abedin may already be headed down the same dark, difficult path of denial and pain I’m still recovering from.

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