Lady Antonia Fraser, a critically acclaimed biographer and a married woman, was about to leave a dinner party in 1975 when she met the Nobel prize winning playwright, Harold Pinter, for the first time. Fraser writes that Pinter stared at her with “his sparkling black eyes and a feeling of adventure,” and said: “Must you go?” She recalls weighing her answer; she considered saying “I need to get home to my children.” But something made her stay to talk with Pinter, who was also married, and their ensuing conversation ignited an affair which scandalized English society and left two broken families in its wake.
Pinter writes: “Deep down, I felt this is the romantic love for which I have been waiting all my life… Perhaps we all are waiting… Some lucky people find it early, but perhaps I felt this is the little girl who was waiting for Prince Charming or whatever. You know, romantic love.” (Antonia Fraser, Must You Go?: My Life With Harold Pinter) Fraser and Pinter later divorced their spouses and married each other in 1980.
Antonia Fraser and Harold Pinter’s affair is hardly unique. Countless people drift apart from their spouses over time, and find themselves in a painful quandary when they fall in love with another person. Should they act upon their feelings, and pursue their “true love,” at the expense of their spouses and children? Or should they remain in unsatisfying marriages, sacrificing their own happiness for the sake of their families? In a 2010 article that generated significant controversy, the New York Times described a man and a woman who fell in love, and eventually left their families in order to be with each other. The new couple argued “We’re […]