Unhappy ending puts a damper on inspirational story

The main trouble with bad stories with happy endings is they quite often become happy stories with sad endings.

Such is the story today of Jeff Bauman, whom you may remember from this:

Jeff Bauman became the face of “Boston Strong,” the bravery that defied the fear of terrorism by persisting and recovering and standing against it. He represented what we like to think we are.

He lost his legs and learned to walk again. He didn’t do it alone.

He and his then-fiance (by his side in the picture above) were the inspiration we all needed. Their relationship even became the subject of a movie.

His now-wife, Erin, finally got a chance to finish the marathon last April. And just when you didn’t think your heart couldn’t swell any more, it did, when Jeff greeted her at the finish line.

Oh, if only life could be happy endings.

The couple announced today that they’re divorcing.

“Jeff and Erin have decided that it is best to move forward as friends,” a Bauman family spokesperson told Boston.com in an emailed statement. “Though their relationship has changed, their admiration, love and mutual respect for each other will never waver. They are dedicated to loving and parenting their daughter, Nora, and ask for privacy.”

Ultimately, these sorts of stories remind us that the story is theirs, not ours.

  • wjc

    That’s too bad. I can imagine that traumatic events put a strain on relationships that can’t always be overcome. Good luck to both of them.

  • jon

    Divorce is not the saddest possible outcome… the lack of one when it should have happened probably is the saddest possible outcome.

    • I could certainly debate you on that , though I realize that in the ’70s when divorce started taking off, that’s what people said.

      I wouldn’t wish divorce on my worst enemy. There’s nothing quite like it.

      Marriage is awfully hard work.

      Dave Simonett’s story in City Pages today is all kinds of awful.


      • wjc

        “All kinds of awful” is possibly an understatement.

      • jon

        We could debate it; but I won’t.
        My heart wouldn’t be in it.

        My personal experience is that I love my wife, and I’d be heartbroken if she wanted to leave me.

        But at the same time, I respect that my personal experience isn’t every ones, and what i’ve heard and observed from people with different life experiences is what I’ve typed above…

        • That’s cool But as an “ordained” pastor, I would never allow anyone to read vows they don’t believe in.

          It actually would be refreshing to hear “I promise to love you and be faithful to you until I don’t want to anymore” rather than hear what I know to be BS.

          • Sam M

            I don’t have all the details on the study but their findings are interesting and somewhat surprising.


          • Mona Charen?

            No, thank you.

          • Sam M

            I think this gets closer to the source of the study. Like I said I don’t know that it’s a perfect study but definitely a different outcome than what I expected.


          • The Institute for American Values


          • Sam M

            I didn’t say it was a great study just interesting results. Glad we have open minds here and willing to actually discuss it.

          • jon


            I also don’t have all the details. But, the title is basically a tautology. The group that founded the study has always been critical of divorce. I’m skeptical of the findings.

            Consider, if I have a period of unhappiness, what would have had to proceed it? Something that wasn’t unhappiness, and what would have to follow it? Something that wasn’t unhappiness.

            By definition a period of unhappiness has to be surrounded on either side by something other than being unhappy.

            It reminds me of the “study” that was repeated thrown at me in my teenage years by churches “women who wait until marriage and have only ever had one partner are having the BEST sex.” People didn’t like me asking how they measured good sex… turns out it was self reported… which lead to me saying “women who haven’t experienced anything else think that their experience is the best!”
            It did not go over well in youth group.

            Nor did the findings that 1% of all births are to self reported virgins.

            Self reported data has it’s limits, and happiness is almost always a self reported measure.

          • Sam M

            I agree the source isn’t great.

          • rallysocks

            I think we put too much emphasis on what a *perfect* marriage is–what it looks like, how it works. The wait until you’re married school of thought is so misguided. What if the sex is awful? We’re either told that sex is only for procreation or that we should be having lots of romantic sexy times with our spouse.

            We’re also subjected to both parents working meaningful jobs which allow them the time to spend plenty of time with kids, have a tidy house and eat together as a family every night. Ha! I’ve envied those couples who seem to have it all together, but we all know we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.

            While even the thought of a divorce from Mr. Sox makes me incredibly sad, we are far, far from having a storybook marriage. We had relationship bad times, financial hard times, kids with medical issues and have both felt like running away on a daily basis sometimes.

            But we didn’t and now are in the empty nest-let’s-do-whatever-we-want phase of our marriage which is pretty damn awesome.

            Sticking it out with one person isn’t always the best option. If it’s not, then just remember there was love there once–take care of yourself, your kids and don’t be a jerk to your ex.

          • I think one of the unhealthy aspects of Facebook is it portrays lives that aren’t real. People are nothing but happy and smiling, in interesting places. We look at them hour after hour and it forms a view of what life is like. The problem is: that’s not what life is like and none of ours can stand up to that measure.

            I felt the same way about ’60s TV which portrayed marriage in ways that marriage isn’t and created unreasonable expectations that couldn’t be met and heightened the sense of failure among those who couldn’t meet it.

            Compounding the problem is that — no matter which generation — we don’t listen to the older ones until its too late.

          • rallysocks

            so, so right…

          • Jack

            Things definitely change when one gets to the empty nest stage of life. We have had our rocky times but have stuck it out 25 years.

            In my case, keeping my personal independence and being held on equal footing has kept us together. It’s healthy (at least in my case) to have good friends who have been there during the tough times.

      • Jeff C.

        //Marriage is awfully hard work.

        Indeed! So is divorce. I sometimes wonder if people put the same time and energy into their marriage as they put into their divorce if they might repair their marriage.

      • Heb Ienek
    • RBHolb

      Many years ago, I practiced divorce law. I hated it.

      In my relatively short time doing it, I learned that there were two kinds of people who were happy at the end of a divorce: A person who had to swim through miles of marital ordure first; and (many of) the people who put the spouses in that ordure (infidelity, desertion). No matter how logical a divorce may have been, it always seemed like a failure.

  • LD

    This post feels borderline melodramatic to me. Like, “Look at these people who overcame so much, now they’re getting divorced. What a sad ending.” First of all, it’s not the end of their stories or lives, it’s one part of it. Certainly divorce is very sad for them, but it doesn’t change the way they supported each other before and doesn’t predict how they may support each other in the future. Nothing is done here except for their marriage. Wishing them both peace and a bright future of co-parenting.