Selfish or romantic? You be the judge

Politics Daily Andrew Cohen has an impressive bio: He’s chief legal analyst and legal editor for CBS News Radio, and he’s won the Edward R. Murrow Award twice. He writes for well-known magazines. Which is partly why it was strange that two weeks ago his Politics Daily column was a personal love letter.

Apparently, Cohen felt it necessary to pen this tribute for thousands to read and to publish it on the day the love of his life was marrying someone else. He said it was his gift to her:

The present I humbly send her today is this column; this public note, this irrevocable display of affection and support and gratitude; this worldly absolution from any guilt or sadness she felt between the time she said no to me and the time she said yes to him. No one ought to have to carry that with them into a marriage. I showered her with as much love as I could muster when we were together. I still love her and always will. So I am only too happy to offer my toast to her now, one more time, before she takes her vows.

But not everyone agrees that Cohen’s gift of love was romantic and admirable. Lizzie Skurnick, another contributor at Politics Daily, wrote a response called, “How Not to Congratulate Your Ex on Her Wedding Day,” with five rules for people who might consider doing such a thing in the future:

A brief bit of Mars/Venus wisdom: One of the great frustrations, for women, is how often displays of post-parting passion have nothing to do with us at all…  It’s already annoying that someone who reserved the right to be numbingly uncommunicative during the relationship is now such a freakin’ Chatty Cathy. But once you realize all this impressive agony you’ve left behind… doesn’t actually have anything to do with you, it makes it hard to hand over your hanky — especially when you’re trying to hold on to your bouquet.

I’d like to think Andrew Cohen meant well. Yes, publishing an unauthorized account of one’s regard for a past love on a Web site is ill-advised. Yes, publishing, on her wedding day, a rundown that frames the lady’s virtues almost entirely by how well she treated you falls somewhere between inconsiderate and catastrophically narcissistic.  

So what do you think? Is Cohen’s letter a piece of hopeless romantic prose, or an embarrassing display of narcissism? If you were the ex-girlfriend/bride here, or the man she was marrying, what would you think?

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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