The Daily Mail is shocked at a woman who left behind her five children and husband, to be with another man and make more children with him. This woman seemed to be in search of her lost youth, which was for a brief while, until she fell pregnant, again, for the sixth time at 38.
Marie Cartwright, 40, admitted to not being regretful for leaving her family behind to start a new one. She just isn't sorry. Cartwright had ripped apart her family in a quest to find happiness with another man.
She believes that she's being brave in setting up home with her lover Nick, a 35-year-old civil servant, and refuses to feel guilty about leaving her five children motherless. Her oldest child was 17-year-old Jonathan, followed by Susan, 15, James, 13, Emma, 5, and Chloe, 18 months.
"People find it very hard to understand that I have sacrificed my children for Nick," she says. "Some people will accuse me of being selfish, of putting my own need and desires before those of my children." She adds: "I know deep down that I made the best choice - for them and for me."
But then she continues to say that her daughter Susan has been left feeling betrayed and not on good terms with her. Cartwright can only say she hopes the children can forgive her, and says it's hard for her to be missing out on their lives.
Cartwright first married at the age of 17, to Steve, who was 12 years her senior. Seven years and three kids later, they divorced. Four years after, she met bar manager Roy, who fathered her other two kids and married in 2001. Cartwright says she was happy at that time.
Soon enough, she decided to go to university and become a teacher. She went to study literature at a university in York when Chloe was a year old, which became a turning point in her life. "I'd felt more alive than I had done for years," she says. "I adored the quiet times in the library doing research, and the debates with fellow students."
Among these students was Nick, who Cartwright found attractive. Though she says her mind was "always on the children and Roy," her home life began to suffer. She explains: "The journey to York was about 45 minutes. Often it meant I was barely at home to put the children to bed. It put my relationship with Roy under terrible stress. He felt he was having to do too much and we began to argue."
It isn't surprising her marriage would fall apart when she has five children, one of which is a mere baby, and she would choose to go off to a college 45 minutes away. But she continues telling the Daily Mail how her family moved to York, while her eldest three children decided to move back to their father's home for convenience sake.
"I didn't feel guilty about this [her children leaving her] because I felt they were old enough to make their own choices. They were welcome to stay with us and came to visit most weekends and I would speak to them during the week on the phone."
But as luck would conveniently have it, they had to take on a lodger to help with their mortgage payments. That's when Nick moved in to their home. Cartwright says, "I asked around the university and Nick said he was looking for a room."
The arguments between Roy and her continued to escalate, due to her constant 'studying', in which Cartwright says, became an escape from the chaos of domestic life. Meanwhile, her relationship with Nick began to grow.
One day in 2006, after a fierce argument, Roy stormed out, taking their two daughters with him to stay with his mother. Cartwright then sought comfort with Nick, confiding in him about her unhappiness and even went to a Valentine's ball with him at the university.
"Over the next few days, while Roy was with the children at his mother's, my feelings grew stronger, and when a couple of weeks later Nick kissed me and we made love, it felt so right to be doing it," she said.
Leaving her husband and walking out on her children made Cartwright feel, "for the first time", that she "didn't have to get up to see to domestic chores and children." She said: "Although part of me was devastated that the children weren't with me, another part of me loved the freedom, the fact I could study for as long as I liked and that no one was rowing with me about it."
She adds: "I wasn't just someone's wife or mother - I had my own identity and I didn't want to lose it again." Lose her identity? Does being a mother of five make a person lose her identity? Does being nagged for not caring for her own flesh and blood make her identity disappear? Apparently it does for Cartwright.
When Roy told Cartwright that he wanted to make their marriage work, Marie told him she didn't want to go back to her life with him and the children. In other words, she didn't want to be a mother or wife - she just wanted to be Nick's lover.
But ironically, she says that discovering she was pregnant with Nick's child convinced her she had to be with him. Roy took their two children and left, while her mother thought of her actions as "shameful" that she didn't want to make her marriage work, nor fight for custody of her kids. Besides, having the kids live with her would get in the way of her and Roy getting their degrees, amongst other things.
We're not saying that Cartwright should feel ashamed in any way - it just seems pretty harsh for a mother of five to so easily walk out on her family, her life, and her responsibilities, just to search for a new affair with a lover, only to start a new family all over again, unrepentant.
Cartwright says she still keeps in touch with her kids, mostly her younger daughters, now aged six and ten. "I could not stay in an unhappy marriage, waiting for 20 years until
the children had left home," she insists. "And I still believe that in
leaving them with Roy I put them first."
"I hope that one day the children can forgive me, and see that I didn't do this lightly," she says.
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