I have a friend who's beating himself up.
And I'm writing this column to bring a small degree of relief so that he can realize he's only human.
Here's the story.
This middle-aged fellow had experienced a fruitful and fulfilling marriage with a beautiful lady.
He was living that commitment and he felt that in his heart.
Like many marriages, there were some ups and downs and of course the inevitable staleness that occasionally presents itself when you been living with the same person for very long time.
True love overcomes all that, right?
Well, that is generally true.
He just happened to run into an old flame.
This was a girl that he had fallen in love with many years ago as a youth.
He had formed an idealized picture of this gal from many years ago.
And this picture stuck in the back of his mind and perhaps even in some corner of his heart for very long time.
In any case, this long-lost love from long ago somehow crossed paths with my friend.
And in some unexplainable moment of weakness, that part of his inner psyche that gives us permission to do the unthinkable got the better of him.
He began an affair with a girl he had never quite forgotten, and foolishly sacrificed his happy marriage.
You can probably guess where the rest of this story is going.
With the divorce over, he shifted his new relationship into first gear to finally fulfill all the dreams that he had been harboring since junior high school.
Only it turns out that Miss Wonderful, viewed up close and personal from a vantage point that he had never had before, turned out to be not so wonderful.
A few weeks ago, my dear friend woke up in a cold sweat, only to realize that he had tossed aside a really good thing for an idealized vision that could never be a reality.
The old flame turned out to be an old hag in terms of her true personality.
This fellow is not the first to abandon a good woman in pursuit of something more exciting.
It's easy for all of us to judge him.
But the fact is that making mistakes like this is part of the human condition.
It's just that in some instances the fall from grace seems more spectacular because it's all out there for everyone to see.
My friend made a mistake.
All I'm trying to get at is that there are times when we have to figure out a way to forgive ourselves and move on.
And then the rest of us have to learn how to extend kind understanding and compassion for those feeling wounded because of their own screw ups.
Welcome to the human race, kiddo.
We still love you and you can still count on your friends to be there for you.
Every person who is perfect and always has been perfect is invited to offer criticism of this column.
The rest of you?
The rest of you should consider this column your annual certification for membership in the human race.