“I refuse to go to my grave with no children and only four lovers.”
As if that statement isn’t selfish enough, Robin Rinaldi decided to dedicate a whole book (titled The Wild Oats Project) to the exploitation of her marriage, which ultimately lead to its unruly demise. But for whatever reason, Rinaldi decided to publicly share her ventures in order to inspire other women to do the same.
Live for today. Do what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter what it costs. No, really. All that matters is YOU.
That is exactly the message that Rinaldi is sending with this book. But really, it’s not her fault. She is merely the product of a culture that has mindlessly taught its people that there are no consequences in life and there is no reason to have morals because morals suffocate. Do what you want, and force the rest of society to accept it. Really, she is just parroting messages tweeted, posted, and liked from all over the American culture.
In this book, Rinaldi reports her experiences from taking a year off from her marriage. During that year, her and her husband decided to see other people during the week, and then come back together on the weekends. This decision, which Rinaldi forced after her husband’s refusal to have children, eventually led to the destruction of her marriage. While Rinaldi had an awakening that her actions led to the unraveling of her relationship with her husband, she apparently thought that her decision was still a brilliant idea for the greater masses.
If Rinaldi truly sought to warn others against following in her footsteps, the book would not go into graphic detail about her sexual romps, validating her egotistical reasons for seeking a year off from her marriage, and leaving her memoirs to encourage other women to experiment in the same way.
Here’s the truth of the matter: I could have told Rinaldi exactly what was going to happen during that year off from her marriage. I am no psychic, but I could have told Rinaldi exactly what was going to happen. While some of the details might be off (such as the exact moment, the exact person), I could have told her that either she or her husband was going to fall in love with someone else, and the marriage would be over.
I didn’t even have to read the whole book or article to know this. All I read was this one sentence, “I decided to take a year off of my marriage.”
Yep. From brief second it took me to read that, I knew.
Here is what I wish you would hear, Rinaldi: As much as you may want to believe it, you aren’t establishing a new, sexier way of life. This whole experiment was not your grand idea that you manifested out of your life circumstances. You are not the first person to do this, and unfortunately, you will not be the last. I’ve seen couples do this. I’ve personally witnessed the aftermath of the destruction in their lives. In their families. In their children. And worst of all, in themselves. It leaves them broken, empty, and lifeless.
Straying from your marriage, chasing narrow dreams of careless sex and empty relationships may be fun for a week, a month, or even a full year. But at the end of it, you feel used. Not only that, you have used other people. You realize that what you wanted all along was not hotter sex. As one of her friends asked her, “How is sleeping with other men going to make you feel better about having children?” Rinaldi responded that it would not replace having children, but it would help her feel that she had lived.
I’m completely perplexed at how sleeping around with a bunch of different people is any indication of how much someone has lived. I don’t know how that would make someone feel any better about themselves on their deathbed. In fact, it would make me feel worse. Knowing that I had wasted my life chasing meaningless flings that never led to a fulfilling relationship, a relationship I would fight for, a relationship I would cherish and nurture.
How does having the memories of a hedonistic lifestyle replace the love and comfort of family at one’s deathbed? Even if there are no children to surround you, wouldn’t you want the comfort and love that comes from holding the hand of the man that you spent your life with?
What she wanted was commitment. Intimacy. Transparency. She wanted a best friend. Someone she could come home to every evening and feel secure in knowing he was there. When putting into perspective, isn’t that why she wanted children? Because of the commitment of family, the relationships that children bring to life, the deep-rooted love that comes from that bond. But instead of getting the children she wanted, she decided to act like a child herself and throw a temper-tantrum.
This story could have been powerful. It could have been transforming. It could have warned women of the ruin that comes following their selfish desires and encouraged them to stand for their marriage, no matter what the cost. I hope Rinaldi realizes she could have written the book in that way and started a movement of women committing to their marriages. Unfortunately, though, she followed societal recommendations and focused on following her hearts desires, no matter what the cost. And it did cost. It cost her her marriage.
I feel sorry for Rinaldi. I wish she had the courage to save her marriage. I wish she had the courage to put her selfish ambitions aside and undergo the hard work of figuring out a way to make her marriage work.
But what breaks my heart the most is that this book is going to sell. It’s probably going to sell a lot of copies. And this is a story that does not need to be known around the world.
Thousands of couples face seemingly impossible crossroads. They feel like they will never make it because of disagreements or affairs. But these couples don’t take a year off of their marriage. They don’t follow their selfish ambition. They become selfless. They forgive. They let true love win. And they save their marriage, and it’s stronger than ever before.
Unfortunately, their stories are rarely published. They rarely get the attention and celebration that they deserve. Not because they aren’t beautiful; they are. Not because they aren’t strong and courageous; they are stronger and more courageous than anything this book represents. They are stories of people doing the right thing, and society doesn’t care about people who do the right thing.
Stand apart. Forget about society. Stand for what’s right. Save your marriage.
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