It's an old story; boy and girl meet and the connection is palpably sweaty with desire. But, for whatever reason, they can't be together and so they go their separate ways, each marrying others and raising families. But love -- or at least lust -- can't keep them apart for too long, and one day -- when desire and opportunity coincide -- they finally find themselves in bed. Of course, the sex is off-the-walls fantastic, and they vow to be together forever.
It could be the latest bodice-ripping romance novel, Hollywood blockbuster, TV miniseries or the final installment of the vampire abstinence porn "Twilight" series. Or, it could be the real-life story of Real Housewives of DC's Michaele Salahi and Journey guitarist Neal Schon, whose bizarre drama this week included Michaele missing and presumably kidnapped until it was discovered that she was in Tennessee with Neal the whole time, most likely having wild sex.
It would be a happy ending -- if they weren't already married to others. Not surprisingly Michaele's devastated husband, Tareq, filed for divorce on Friday, saying her actions caused him "great harm, humiliation and embarrassment." Meanwhile, Neal's wife of just two months, 1986 Playboy Playmate Ava Fabian, says she's pretty hurt, too. And it just can't feel very good for Aja, Neal's 9-year-old daughter with Amber Kozan, whom he divorced in 2008, to hear that Daddy never would have married Mommy if he'd known how Michaele felt about him.
And how Michaele says she felt about him approaches soul mate status: "I remember crying so hard once when I told Neal I couldn't see him -- heartbroken. He was always the love I never knew where it would go. ... We promised one another that we would ... grow old together into our 80s and always love and be there for one another."
While it's hard not to empathize with a man treated as poorly as Tareq -- after all, Michaele had called authorities quickly after she left their Virginia home to advise them that she was OK and didn't want her husband to know where she was -- was it wrong of her to want to ditch her marriage to be with her true love?
Years ago, when Michaele was dating Tareq and Neal simultaneously, she chose to marry Tareq "because she thought life with him would be more tranquil than living with a rock star," says Diane Dimond, who wrote the book Cirque du Salahi. "She wistfully wondered aloud to me last year if she had made the right decision."
It's not too hard for some of us to imagine ourselves in her shoes. Judging by the responses to Jennifer Gauvain's Huffington Post column "The Shocking Truth for Thirty Percent of Divorced Women," a lot of women "dated and eventually married the wrong guys." And, one would presume there would be an equal amount of men saying the same thing. Is staying in a bad marriage better than leaving it to be with your true love?
People make bad decisions, sometimes knowingly and sometimes subconsciously. Maybe Michaele and Neal were "destined" to be together from the start. Maybe a lot of us are destined to be with someone other than who we're with. If you suddenly had a chance to be with that person -- even if you were already married to someone else -- would you let him or her get away?
Of course, the odds may not be too good for them; only about 3 percent of cheating men marry their lovers, according to Jan Halper, author of Quiet Desperation: The Truth About Successful Men and about 75 percent of those marriages end up in divorce, according to Frank Pitman, author of Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy. While Neal has been married and divorced three times, and is dad to four children, he wasn't doing the cheating -- Michaele was, and no one has statistics on how often cheating women marry their lovers.
As much as we all love the story of true lovers coming together no matter the odds, should we be happy for people who have destroyed their marriage to be with their soul mate (especially if there are kids involved)? I don't know, but it would seem that love-struck couples might want to divorce first; it just has to be really bad karma to start a life together built on a foundation of deception and devastation. No amount of wild sex will make that go away.