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My Husband And I Left Our Spouses To Be Together. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Love.

Over our lifetimes, we all learn a lot about love. Familial love, friendship love, and of course, romantic love. Often it is our mistakes that teach us the most. This couple learned some pretty big love lessons after they both left their spouses in order to be together. Here is what they learned. (1)


Lessons Learned About Love Through Difficult Situations

Ruby and Paul knew each other for 16 years before they realized that their feelings were much deeper than a casual friendship. Once they realized it though, they knew very quickly that they needed to make changes in their lives immediately. The thing is, at the time, they were both in unhappy marriages. Ruby had no children, Paul had two. They knew it would be difficult. There were friends and family who supported them, but there were plenty who didn’t. The first lesson they learned, however, was that life is too short to stay in unhappy relationships. The second lesson was that things are never entirely simple.


“Paul and I were friends for 16 years before we realized we were in love. After that, it took us less than a week to decide to leave our spouses for each other.” Ruby wrote.

The Look That Changed Everything

The pair met at what can best be described as a hippie festival in Oregon. They worked the burger booth every summer during the three days of the Fair. Their relationship started out as a friendship that existed only during the fair and only within the confines of the burger booth. They both went on to have other relationships and get married. Paul even had children. Then finally, one day, they realized they had fallen in love in one single look.


“When we finally fell in love, it was over that potato table — in one look, held so long and so hard that it stopped a teenage boy who was passing through the kitchen in his tracks. To this day, I can’t remember what triggered that look — but I do remember the way Paul staggered, nearly dropping his cup of coffee, and the way I held my hand to my throat, which had blushed so deeply it practically burned to the touch,” Ruby wrote. “One thought from someplace deep inside my heart forced its way into my head: Maybe it’s Paul. Maybe after a life of trying to make it work with other people, the one I was supposed to be with had been there right in front of me for years. Maybe it was Paul.”

uby McConnell and her husband, Paul
Ruby McConnell and her husband, Paul. Image Credit: Ruby McConnell | HuffPost

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New Beginnings

Paul’s wife and kids were out of town visiting family for the rest of the summer. The pair agreed to meet for lunch. What they discovered is that they were both on the precipice of change in their lives. Ruby was about to publish her first book and Paul was just starting out with a new business venture. Both of them had partners who were unsupportive of their dreams. They also had friends and family members who told them they should stay in the relationships they were in out of duty or the way things “should” be.

Another love lesson they learned was that when both people have the feel-it-in-your-bones sense that something was right, that it is probably deeper than just an attraction. They still had much to learn about each other, but they both just felt that their partnership was right.

Neither of them wanted to live deceitfully, they decided that the right thing to do was leave their partners.

Read: Mom’s valuable lesson in give-and-take is a masterclass on why favors should work both ways


It’s Not Always Easy

Ruby packed up and left her ex while he was out of town with his “bros”. Her friends helped her pack up and move out. Prone to anger, they figured it was better to do it while he wasn’t there. Her friends supported her decision to leave him, however, they all warned her that Paul – a married man with children – was much more likely to back out.

Paul told his wife when she and their kids got home from vacation. It was not easy. His wife made him explain it to their kids in hopes that he would feel guilty and stay. He did, and explained to his wife that this was not just some “affair”. He was in love and was planning to stay with Ruby forever. Paul then had to do the hardest part of all, which was pack up his life into his truck, kiss his children goodbye with the promise of coming back for them, and leave.



Another lesson the pair learned is that no matter how miserable you were before and happy you are now, people will judge you. They will talk as if they knew your relationship. They will criticize you and may even walk away. The love, however, that she and Paul share, was strong enough to overcome that.


“Judgment came in a chorus of righteous voices from people who said that while they understood we may have been unhappy in our old relationships, our new relationship was doomed. They had seen our misery ― our struggle to make it work with our previous partners ― with their own eyes, but we just weren’t allowed to do this. And despite any transgressions in their own lives, they meant it.”

It was hard, especially at the beginning. Despite it all, however, they were happy. The intense legal battles with Paul’s ex were trying. Finding the time to give Paul’s kids the attention they deserved was difficult. They argued sometimes. In the end, however, their love for each other won out over all the challenges.


Happiness Is What Matters Most

For those who stood by them, they saw the happiness that Paul and Ruby had finally found. Even Paul’s children realized how unhappy their father was and could see how happy Ruby made him. They accepted Ruby quickly and happily. Ruby’s family also accepted Paul and his kids with open arms. Paul’s family, unfortunately, did not. They also lost some friends along the way. They know, however, that the love and happiness they share is worth all of the struggle.


“Happiness, we’ve learned, changes everything, even if you have to lose everything first. And love, especially late-life love, leaves room for adaptation, for crafting an intentional life, for friendship and equality in partnership that doesn’t often exist in bonds formed out of lust or a stereotypical idea of how life should supposedly be. It’s a kind of happiness that isn’t the hard work that people claim relationships are supposed to be, and and it isn’t made up of thrills or highs and lows. It’s a quiet kind of contentment that arises from a relationship in which both partners are at peace with one another.”

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  1. My Husband And I Left Our Spouses To Be Together. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Love.Huffpost. Ruby McConnell. December 1, 2020.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.