When I think of Italian men, I think of some sultry, dark-haired, very sexy kind of guy. Remember Marcello Mastroianniin, La Dolce Vita, or Divorce Italian Style? Very sexy, ci?
So, with this sexy image of love in Italy in my mind, imagine how surprised I was to read a short article with the headline “Italian couple seeking divorce after 77 years.”
Huh? It took them 77 years to figure out they weren’t happy? Or maybe he was fooling around, Mastroianni style? Or, or…what could possibly spur a couple to end a 77-year old marriage?
It turns out that jealousy was what put an end to their wedded bliss. When husband Antonio was poking around in wife Rosa’s private letters from when she was a young woman, he discovered a letter Rosa had written in the 1940s to the man who was her lover at that time. If I use all of my fingers and toes, I can figure out that this was an affair carried on while Rosa was married to Antonio. Gasp! This is a complete about-face from the tom-foolery attributed to a large percentage of Italian husbands. More gasps! It seems to be accepted and even promoted that many European men will have a long-term mistress during their marriage. Their wives choose to close their eyes about their husband’s dalliances and remain stoic throughout their marriage.
So, here we have Antonio aged 99 and Rosa aged 97 and she has been busted for an indiscretion in the 1940s, some 60 years ago. Surprisingly, Antonio made his discovery in 2002, a full 10 years before making a decision that he could no longer accept this affair in the long ago past.
To his credit, Antonio moved out of the conjugal home. But then, after only a few short weeks of protest, he moved back home. If Rosa was as confused as I am about Antonio’s protest, she’s made up for it in spades since Antonio moved back. Apparently the couple has been fighting for the last decade and now, enough is enough. On December 16, 2011 they filed for separation.
According to their lawyer, their case won’t be heard in court until March 2012. And once their case is heard, they’ll need to wait another three years of separation before a divorce can be granted. OK, 99 + 3 = …
You know, I understand that sometimes action is really needed. And I understand that sometimes a person really needs to take a stand. Sometimes we can no longer abide some kind of affront, some kind of denigration, some kind of outrage.
But come on, Antonio, give it up, suck it up, move on. Enough already. Go back to living La Dolce Vita, okay?
This article was previously published on February 10, 2012.