It used to be that the term home-wrecker could be hurled like a thunderbolt, and would destroy careers and reputations. Not anymore. When a topless Sienna Miller was caught kissing the married “Brothers and Sisters” star Balthazar Getty on a boat near the Amalfi Coast, there was little moral outrage over their relationship.
Getty, 33, is the father of four young children. Not one, not two, but four children.
Lots of people are affected by the tryst, including his devastated wife, Rosetta, 38, who reportedly was “blindsided.”
This week Getty’s handlers tried to spin things by saying that the Gettys had been living separate lives and that trouble had been brewing for some time.
Not so, according to his wife’s friends, who countered the media spin.
Perhaps Rosetta wasn't as available these past few months since she was breast-feeding her baby, their fourth child, now 10 months old, and had been pregnant last year.
Miller traipsed into Getty's life and, unencumbered with child, was able to lure him away. Obviously it ta kes two to tango and he was game to frolic as well.
As mediator Dr. Jonah Schrag points out, "Boredom is the cause of many divorces. Couples have to find ways to work through it."
Then, too, Getty, a former heroin addict, may be addicted to the thrill of infatuation. Helen E. Fisher, Ph.D., the author of “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love,” discovered that the areas of the brain that light up when volunteers look at pictures of their romantic partners are the same as those that corresponded to drug addiction
Infatuation, she said, “had some of the same elements of a cocaine high.” And, like any drug, infatuation, she told “Psychology Today” magazine, “can take over the rational parts of your brain.”
Under the influence, so to speak, a husband can walk out on a wife and four children.
Unless there is pressure for him to work on his marriage, which is rare in a culture that encourages excitement instead of stability, and satisfaction as the barometer of a good relationship.
“What’s interesting about the story is that not once did you hear the term home-wrecker,” acknowledged Page Six editor Richard Johnson, who traffics in celebrity gossip for his widely-read New York Post column.
"I guess that people don't blame anyone these days for divorce because it's so common. They realize that these things just happen all the time."
With his affair revealed, Getty chose to walk. He released a statement this week saying that he and his wife were separating.
“The breakdown of a marriage is a very difficult and painful experience especia lly when children are involved,” he acknowledged.
“In light of the fact that many pictures have surfaced in print and on the Internet which has caused myself and my family great embarrassment, I felt it necessary to at least acknowledge publicly that yes indeed my wife and I have separated and I will not be commenting any further.”
I would like to believe that Getty has remorse for breaking up his marriage. Studies show that how you break up will impact how you build your family life post-divorce. When someone doesn't respect the history of the relationship, the family's life after divorce is rarely strong.
Being apologetic does go a long way to soothe hurt feelings. When you hurt someone, just listening to their pain – instead of ignoring it or not wanting to deal with it – helps enormously. After all, when you are a parent, you are tied to that person forever.
Just recently Rosetta and Balthazar were together for their son Cassius’s eighth birthday. Blowing out those candles while feeling his parent’s distress will likely remain in the child’s memory forever.
It will always mark the year that his parents split up.
"When the bre ak-up is over another person, that is always the hardest for all family members," says Dr. Mark Banschick, creator of "The Intelligent Divorce" program.
As Banschick explains, Rosetta will have to love her kids more than she hates her spouse, while anticipating that her children will spend time with the woman who broke up her marriage. "It takes a lot of strength to not badmouth the father or the new girlfriend in these cases," he says.
"But the children must be allowed to be children, and not be burdened with their parents’ drama. These intergenerational boundaries must be maintained, because kids resent the parent who badmouths the other parent. It backfires."
So what can Rosetta Getty do? Friends and family will rally behind her.
She will also need to vent to a therapist, her clergy, her FirstWivesWorld.com friends, who are here to help.
She will have to rebuild her self-esteem through self-love and smarts.
As the owner of Riser Goodwyn, a high-end women's clothing line, she can turn her pain into a creative passion. Hopefully FirstWivesWorld.com can become a resource for the legal aspects of divorce, which seems to be down the road.
And she can also look at wo men like Reese Witherspoon for inspiration. Witherspoon, like many other women across the country, take the lessons learned from their divorce and rebuild their lives.
Witherspoon never badmouthed her philandering ex but took the high road out of respect to their children.
Fast forward a year and Witherspoon is seriously dating Jake Gyllenhaal and seems to be happier than ever.
Because, as we say at First Wives World, life is full of possibility.