Can There Be a ‘Too Good’ Wife?

ID-10089918, the too good wife, freedigitalphotosdotnet

This good wife thing is getting really interesting, and I don’t just mean the hit CBS TV show by the same name. (In the interest of full disclosure, my daughter is an executive with CBS- TV and has responsibilities for The Good Wife.) The particular good wife I’m referring to is the arguably ‘too good’ wife of New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. Mr. Weiner, as you may recall, was caught, quite literally, with his pants down, displaying his manhood on a social media site for his girlfriend (and the world) to see.

His ‘good wife,’ Huma Abedin, is reputedly a woman of great intelligence and many accomplishments with friends in high places (Hillary Clinton). What on earth was Ms. Abedin thinking when she decided to stay in the relationship?

At a press conference where she voiced support for her man (before the latest round of new disclosures of alleged victims), it was hard not to notice her demeanor. While her words were strong, a closer look at her body language told a different story. At times she was standing as far away from her husband as possible, while still remaining in camera shot. She barely looked at him, and when she did, the looks were not of love.

There are many reasons why she may have felt it import to show her public support of him.

Maybe she felt it was the right thing to do as a wife and mother.

Maybe she believed him when he promised once again to reform.

Maybe she made a purely political decision, since she has been accused of being as ambitious as he is, if not more so.

Even though I am a divorce lawyer, the members of my firm and I believe in commitment and loyalty, whenever possible. We often state publicly that we would happily put ourselves out of business by putting marriages back together. However, not every marriage is made in heaven – but some divorces are.

For whatever reason, Ms. Abedin has decided to stick it out as still another ‘good wife.’ It may turn out that this is not a salvageable marriage. Regardless of her ultimate decision, she will be second-guessed and may even second guess herself.

The question that she has to decide, like every conscientious person who has ever considered divorce, is whether to stay, or go. Has the behavior by the other person been too hurtful or destructive to bear? Can his indiscretions ever be forgiven, if not forgotten? Will he change? What are the consequences for everyone in the family if there is a divorce, or if there is not?

Those decisions are uniquely personal, and the reasons for staying or going are often not explicable even to the ones making the hard choices, let alone to those outside the relationship. That does not stop us from trying to analyze these real life, good wife dramas.

From very public stories, private assessments can be made. When, if ever, is being a ‘too good’ wife no longer a viable choice, or even a good choice? One need look no further than Ms. Abedin, whose OWN career aspirations may have been jeopardized by her stand-by-my-man decision. Word is that the Clintons now appear to be distancing themselves from the Weiners.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /


About Gemma Allen

Gemma Allen is a partner in Ladden & Allen, Chartered, and has practiced family law for most of her career. Ms. Allen has written more than 50 articles and lectured on topics that include divorce, child support, maintenance, mediation, cohabitation, women and money, and reconciliation. She co-authored The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On! and helps you navigate modern relationships in “Relationship Gems.”