Gross: People Who Reveal in the ‘Vows’ Column How They Cheated on Their Previous Spouse

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Photo: NYT

We at Daily Intel are not naïve. We understand that sometimes people in relationships fall in love with other people, and that they sometimes want to marry those people, which necessitates ending their current relationship. The heart wants what the heart wants, and all of that. We get it. We've even applauded it, bizarrely. But what we do not understand, what we cannot abide, is when said people, in the throes of connubial bliss, lobby to have themselves included in the New York Times "Vows" column, and then proceed to tell the reporter about how they cheated on their previous partner in a way that suggests they think of it not as something crap they have done to another person but instead like it is a part of their personal love story. Like Sarah Joy Kabanuck and David Miller, two opera singers who were married this weekend. When they met in a show in which they were starring opposite one another, Sarah was married. “I was so drawn to him immediately and tried to talk myself out of it,” she tells the Times. But of course, she could not. Eventually, she flew to Paris to be with him.


Holed up in a hotel in the Latin Quarter for two weeks, they reveled in their own vie bohème. Only in this version, the two lovers began planning his next career move, an audition for the pop-opera quartet, Il Divo, then being put together by Simon Cowell. She scraped together the last of her money to buy him an MP3 player so he could rehearse.

Ms. Kabanuck, when she returned from Paris, moved out of the home in New Jersey that she shared with her husband and found an apartment in Manhattan.

Awesome. We bet the former Mrs. Sarah Heerema's husband is just reveling in re-living this painful period in the Times. We bet he loves the fact that millions of strangers now know that his wife not only left him for an opera dude who wears wears red cowboy boots, but that she was "holed up" in a Paris hotel with said dude for two weeks while her husband was holding his dick back back stateside, that she used their legally common property to support her lover's career, and that he is such a pushover that she feels okay about rubbing his face in it. But at least he's not the only one to have his face rubbed in his former spouse's cuckoldry via "Vows."

In fact, "Vows" columns such as this are not uncommon. We find they always use the same kind of language. The couple "faced many obstacles to happy romance," they'll say. Their relationship was "complicated." Their "road to love was bumpy." Except one of those bumps was, oops, a fucking person. And that they have taken that person, having run them over, and are now dragging them down their personal road of happiness for miles, laughing gaily as they watch them bump along like some kind of tin can attached to a bumper with streamers, until in the end the ex falls off and is left on the side of the goddamn highway, all bloody and broken and gasping for air.

Jason Fuleihan's ex-girlfriend was the victim of a drive-by "Vows" last April, when Jason and his betrothed, Cindy Chan, revealed to the world how they spent months pining for one another, all the while continuing to date their exes and sleep with them and otherwise act normal, probably. Here is a sample:


One night after too many drinks, they kissed.

“The day afterward I thought that Jason would tell me that he would break up with his girlfriend,” she said. “Instead, he told me he decided to stay with her. I was heartbroken.”

They stopped speaking to each other for several months and, Mr. Fuleihan said, “It was like having a dark cloud.” But the cloud began to lift when they were assigned to a team to work together in four classes, and they started speaking again.

Then one night Ms. Chan got into an argument with someone in a taxi and wound up walking the rest of the way home in high heels on an icy sidewalk at 4 a.m. Upset and crying, when she finally got home she phoned Mr. Fuleihan, who remembers, “I knew at that moment I wanted to be able to take care of her for the rest of our lives. The next day I broke up with my girlfriend.”

We bet Jason's ex-girlfriend remembers that day a little less happily. But at least she gets to be immortalized as part of their Vows! And at she got off better than the ex of Ted Skala, who had been dating Ted for three years before he reunited with his high-school sweetheart, Erika Fredell. The bond between Ted and Erika was so vivid, Ted recalled to the Times (and by extension everyone he has ever known including mutual friends of exes and her parents and all of her ex-boyfriends and co-workers who probably glanced pityingly at her for months, and are again now that we are dredging it up), that everything else paled in comparison. Especially Ted's feelings for her.


“I never loved anybody the way I loved Erika,” he said.
There was no kissing. Barely any touching. But they connected in a way they hadn’t since they were teenagers, and Mr. Skala confessed how deeply he realized he cared for her. “You completely have my heart,” he said to her. “You have all of me.”

Though they waited a month before seeing each other again, during which Mr. Skala broke up with his then girlfriend, at Christmas he and Ms. Fredell became engaged.

The horror. Anyway. You might think that our outrage at this particular behavior means that something like this happened to us. Oddly, while a lot of other crap has happened to us, that's not the case. We actually just find it kind of distracting as a reader of Vows, because it raises all kinds of questions that then go unanswered, such as: Do the people who tell these stories really realize this stuff is going to end up in the Times, really? Do they worry that it's going to ruin their wedding announcement by making them sound awful? And what do the exes think? What's their version of events? Frankly, we think they should be called for comment. It's not really fair to them to not. Why shouldn't the reporting in "Vows" be as rigorous as it is elsewhere in the paper? So, yeah. Get on that, Clark Hoyt.