North Carolina Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Husband’s Mistress

Ever hear of the "alienation from affection" law?  Nope, me either.  At least, until I read this article, which I found absolutely compelling.

A North Carolina woman decided to up and sue the mistress of her husband under this law and won -- a cool, 9 million dollar amount.

Cynthia Shackelford appeared on Good Morning America today and conveyed her intended message rather well:

“My main message is to all those women out there who might have their eyes on some guy that is married to not come between anybody.  It’s not good to go in there. It hurts the children. My children are devastated. I’m devastated.  Allan [Shackelford's husband] and I joked about sitting in rocking chairs and having a glass of wine or whatever and talking about what our children did when they were little. That’s never going to happen now.”

And why won’t that happen?  It’s simple: the sixty year-old woman’s husband was caught having an affair with some cheap floozy another woman by the name of Anne Lundquist and claimed that the woman broke up the pair’s thirty-plus year union.  On a side note, the other woman is not just a nameless, faceless woman in society: she’s the Dean of Students at Wells College in New York.

Lundquist’s camp thought it to be inappropriate at this time to comment on the lawsuit and subsequent interview with GMA and at this point, they’re keeping their traps snapped shut firmly although they have maintained the position that they’ll be appealing the case.

However, one person that is speaking out in response to the woman’s monetary award is Shackelford’s estranged husband, Allan. Allan, whether in a fit of rage or in a public display of devotion to his mistress, states that not only was this affair not the first, but it was one in a series of many, dating back to the couple’s first few years of marriage.

Some might find this lawsuit to be completely absurd, but be assured that I am not one of them.   I feel that if you’re willing to enter into the sanctity of marriage — and I’m not even throwing religion into this discussion, because marriage is defined by a bond of sanctity even without the relativity of religion — then you should be prepared to own up to whatever transgressions that may befall your character.  I consider marriage to be one of the highest commitments and as far as I’m concerned, divorce is always an option … and due to that fact, there’s no excuse for infidelity or a breach of “contract”, if you will.

I’m also not a twenty-first century sue-crazy “victim”, but I believe that this woman deserves every penny she’s received and the notoriety of not allowing a man — or anyone else — to trample her underfoot.

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41 thoughts on “North Carolina Woman Wins Lawsuit Against Husband’s Mistress

  1. Hm. This is interesting. Yes, the mistress “ruined” the marriage, but didn’t the husband also ruin it? What does the husband owe the wife? He made a choice to sleep with another woman. I’m pretty certain the mistress didn’t cast a spell on him and force him to be unfaithful. The husband seems to be getting out of this fairly unscathed. HE’S the asshole who cheated on his wife, and yes, the other woman shouldn’t have slept with a married man, but I think the blame should still be laid on the cheating spouse.

    The other woman didn’t sign up to get married. She’s single and free from the restraints of a relationship. I’ve never understood married women who have been cheated on wanting to go after the mistress. I mean, yes, I get it, but if it wasn’t THAT specific woman, surely it would have been another? The mistress didn’t take his wedding ring off his finger and leave it in his pocket. The mistress has no ties or responsibilities to the wife.

    Also, WHY the woman now owes a monetary reward to the wife is ludicrous! What specifically will that money fix? Their marriage? I don’t think so! The husband should be coughing up that dough, not the unmarried woman who happened to sleep with a married man! And, come ON, 9 MILLION dollars? Who came up with that ridiculous sum?

    This law SHOULD protect the victim, but not place blame on the third party. Also, the grounds of the law are shaky as well. It must be proven that “love existed between the couple” and that the “marital love must have been alienated or destroyed.” Um. Okay.

    Here’s a link:

    This is all the husband’s fault if you ask me.

    • Completely agree with you. All is fair in love and war, and it is completely the husband’s fault – he should have rejected the other woman’s advances, who was single and free to do whatever she wanted. The cheater here is the man and in my opinion it’s him the one who should be paying, not her.

    • I would put it a little differently. the ‘mistress’ didn’t ruin the marriage. the man ruined it – only one of the involved parties can ruin the marriage. What she did is provide an opportunity for the ruin of the marriage. Ethically wrong, classless, and all, but she still only provided an opportunity, and was never held to the marriage.
      The one who made the choice to take that opportunity is the one who ruined the marriage.

  2. As someone who has been cheated on, I can completely understand what this woman is feeling. I hated the girls (yes there were many) that my ex cheated on me with. HATED. That being said, this law is a tad bit ridiculous. The problems in this marriage seem to have been deep rooted and ongoing way before the mistress came into the picture. I disagree with her choice to sleep with a married man, but it was a choice made by two consenting adults. As cliche as it is to say it, this is a free country, and you shouldn’t pass laws trying to govern people’s personal lives. The guy lost affection for his wife, but I think that has more to do with his relationship with his wife than his relationship with his mistress. Why isn’t the man being sued for not loving his wife enough? Oh yeah, probably because it’s ridiculous to sue someone for how they feel. So why is it any less ridiculous to sue a third party for how someone else feels. By awarding this woman 9 million bucks the court is essentially saying that people are now financially culpable for the feelings of others, that people have no control over the state of their relationships, that a bad relationship is not an internal issue and that any relationship could, therefore, be destroyed by another woman. The mistress couldn’t steal affection that had already been lost. The court has no way to conclusively evaluate when affection in a marriage ends and for what reason. This is completely degrading to both women involved. And as much as I hate cheating men, I can’t even blame the guy, because the fact that his wife sued some other woman because her relationship was a sham just makes her look like a total nut job. I wouldn’t want to spend my life with someone who reacts like that either.

  3. As much as I would want to murder the other woman if I was cheated on, targeting her as the culprit isn’t the right thing to do. Faithful men DO NOT CHEAT. They don’t get seduced away. They just don’t. They make the decision to disregard completely their spouse’s love and feelings. The other woman has no responsibility for the wife–the husband does.

  4. No, no, no, no – this is utter bollocks. If anything, it should be the husband who pays the compensation, and still, I think the lawsuit makes no sense. I understand she must feel hurt and she probably thinks her life has been destroyed, but demanding a compensation? What is the compensation going to compensate for? She is most certainly not getting her marriage back.
    Also – suing the lover? If the lover is single, she can do whatever she wants, and that is true, and we all know it. However, it is the husband who should have rejected her advances, and he didn’t.
    Women men cheat on with aren’t responsible for the cheating, it is the cheater.

    • from a common sense standpoint i totally agree with you.

      but then i think they way the court is looking at this is that the marriage was indeed a legal document agreed to and signed by the parties. this would be similar to a company that looses a patent or project contract to corporate espionage. she invested time,love and support as his partner (similar to corporate r&d or financial investments) and the mistress now has her project/product and she’s suing for financial recompense

      • Ah, but this is a third party and a contract. Two people signed the contract, and can be held by it. A third person who never signed the contract is not bound by its tenets. Thus, fair to blame the husband, not to blame the other woman.

  5. jesus christ, is sarah the only writer here now? sorry, never been a fan.

    listen up peeps. Not all of us give a fuck about your marriages. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE. YOU DO. THATS WHY YOU GOT MARRIED.

    I do not have to view your union as sacred. that has nothing the fuck to do with me. I did not take a vow before God, or promise the courts anything.

    If someone is unfaithful in a marriage, that’s their fucking problem. Blaming the other woman is FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

    And Sarah– you praising the sanctity of marriage yet saying divorce is always an option— UGGGGH. that doesn’t make sense to me (much like being okay with abortion but claiming to be pro-life– ………) It’s either sacred or its not. Its either forever or its not.

    Honestly, it’s shit like this that made me stop coming to this site. So goddamn ridiculous. What’s so feminist about SUING ANOTHER WOMAN because YOUR husband cheated on YOU?

    So pathetic. So sad.

    Sorry, married women (and men). I have zero plans to ever become involved with a married person, but that’s due to my own morals regarding MY LIFE.

    • Oh, darling, I’m sorry you’re such a raging bitch. I don’t think you’ll ever have to worry about getting married or cheating on someone or being cheated on… you’re too much of an asshole and I hardly think anyone would want to deal with you for more than thirty seconds on the internet.

      As far as ripping Sarah, if you don’t like what’s written on this site, guess what. Don’t fucking come here. You’re just setting yourself up for another bipolar-manic episode. Fucking nut. I can’t stand people with such repressed, boiling angst. I’ve been reading this site since it started and I remember seeing you here then, too. You were a bitch even then.

      And if you actually took the fucking time to READ the article, not just skim the article for a hotbed of trigger words to set off the foam around your mouth, you’d see that the writer never said ANYTHING about YOU having to respect the sanctity of marriage. And also, “If someone is unfaithful in a marriage, that’s their fucking problem. Blaming the other woman is FUCKING RIDICULOUS.” Once again, if you actually fucking READ the article, you’ll see that once again, the writer did not blame the mistress. The majority of the anger seems to be directed at the husband. Fucking moron.

      Why don’t you go away this time and just not come back at all? This actually happens to be a peaceful site, unlike others out there, and we here enjoy our intelligent discussions, not ripping one another — or the writers — because we disagree with them. You act like you’re twelve, you’re going to get dealt with like you’re twelve, sweetie.

      Now… let’s try our best to avoid any bitter temper tantrums. They’re really unbecoming.

      • oh and I got that from “Some might find this lawsuit to be completely absurd, but be assured that I am not one of them.”

        meh? apparently I read too far into Sarah not thinking this lawsuit was the ridiculous. or so?

        and yes, I used to be on here a lot more. I mostly only fought with people when they were being racist or anything against gay people. I’m pretty much not going to feel bad about that.

        Me being bitchy about Sarah? Yeah, that is bitchy. Sorry, I guess. Now her writing is everywhere, and I’m just not a fan. I liked this and EB better with different writers. There used to be like 6. That’s why I am never here anymore. You’re right- I shouldn’t come here a lot. That’s why I don’t. Sorry to interfere on your little comment world. I used to be a part of it too, so I get why my comment made you !!!!!FURIOUS!!!!! I suppose.

        so I came to a site I used to frequent and was all OH MAN SUCKS NOW. you’re right. i didn’t need to say that. but do any of us really “need” to say anything on here that we do? It’s just the internet.

        just fyi– you’re bashing some chick you don’t even know. at least I have SOME IDEA of Sarah from her writing on here and other sites. Like, it’s pretty funny if you think about it. Very cute. We’re SAMESIES, you and me.

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  7. So according to most of you, single people shouldn’t be expected to be decent human beings, or ever consider anyone else’s feelings, or held up to any kind of ethical standard when it comes to relationships? And… basic respect for your fellow human beings and their feelings/lives is just part of a marriage contract?


    I guess people who knowingly spread STDs to their sexual partners aren’t at fault either. I mean, it’s not like they signed a form promising to take care of the other person’s health or anything.

    Not blaming the mistress at all is every bit as ridiculous as ONLY blaming her. It takes TWO selfish, unethical people to have an affair, and unless she had NO IDEA he was married, she damn well understood that she was making a conscious choice to actively participate in destroying another woman’s life, and possibly the lives of her kids. Yeah, nothing wrong with THAT at all. Sure, if it weren’t her it would’ve been some other woman, but she decided she was totally a-okay with being that woman. Classy.

    • It doesn’t take two to have an affair. It takes to two have sex, but only the one with a commitment is having an affair in the process.

      I agree that it is utterly classless. I consider it unacceptable to get involved with a taken person at all, and marriage especially. I would seriously talk down a friend who did such a thing.
      But it’s not her fault the marriage (/relationship) broke up because she was never part of the marriage. A girl has obligations to her husband, or boyfriend, or sex partner. A girl does not have obligations to every other girl out there.
      The man in question made a commitment in getting married, and he has broken it. But any other girl involved is simply classless, not at fault.
      As for the STDs comparison, I would suggest that anyone having sex has a moral obligation to their sex partners to inform of possible dangers. But that’s because the two people decided to have sex. A different issue.

  8. I’m amazed at how many people seem to be totally okay with single people screwing married people because they’re single and free! Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can be a complete asshat. Sure, sueing the mistress for 9 mil is a little nuts, but anyone who steps in on a marriage uninvited (I don’t give a shit if the man invited her, she’s still not welcome in the marriage) is not just classless, they’re amoral and support behavior that ruins not just the lives of the spouses, but the lives of their children. It’s selfish and stupid for BOTH parties involved.

    • obviously, the dude was already over his marriage. that has nothing to do with the other woman. single women aren’t these magical creatures that force married men to cheat.

      no one is saying that its okay for single women to sleep with married men– it’s just WAY LESS OKAY for a person to step outside of marriage than a single person having sex with someone. the single person hasn’t pledged a commitment to anyone. it’s just not their problem.

      and honestly, until my gay uncles can get married, i could give a fuck about the “sanctity” of marriage. Yep, marriage. You can suck it.

      • Obviously the guy already screwed things up, but the woman’s just being an enabler to shitty behavior. I don’t care if she’s uncommitted, just because you’re single doesn’t mean you should go around boinking whoever you want without considering the repercussions to other human beings. It’s like if your friend is drunk and you hand them the keys. Hey, you didn’t tell them to go get in the car and try to plow down pedestrians. Sure, maybe he could have gotten someone else to give him the keys or tricked someone else. But who cares, you’re still an ass for doing it.

        Also you really don’t read anything fully, do you?

        • i totally agree. any person who knowingly gets involved with a person in an exclusive relationship is cheating, plain and simple. there’s a reason the person driving the getaway car is also charged with a crime. when a person knowingly facilitates another’s immoral and/or illegal behaviour, they are also culpable.

        • I guess that I understand your analogy, but I just think it’s off. I would never equate drunk driving with cheating on a spouse. Cheating is not a felony, doesn’t put innocent lives in mortal danger, etc. I guess I could see it more like, you know your friend is an alcoholic, but you buy them a beer- So your friend is the one with the problem, but you are helping them out?

          I’m sorry for not being clear. I don’t think people should sleep with married people. I just think that the ones in the marriage are responsible for staying in that marriage. I don’t think that people who fool around with others in relationships are great. I just typically get mad at stuff like this because it takes the focus off of the actual cheater. She is suing the mistress? Why not the husband? That’s probably the part that so upset me. Shouldn’t he be the one with the huge punishment? I watched the video to see if the wife was also going after him, but they really just focused on the mistress, the whole keep-yo’-hands-off-mah-man angle.

          I read your comments again, since I ‘don’t read everything fully’ or whatnot. Is this just internet-speak for saying “you’re dumb and wrong!” I don’t know. Is it for going off in tangents?

          People constantly assume that others are misreading their comments. You get this idea of what exactly you want to say, but then get flustered when a different commenter picks apart your message and sees something else in it. (Oh, I just meant “you” as any commenter, definitely not “you” in specific. I am totally talking about ME in this boat too). Ya know?

          But it’s cool. Have fun guys :) Sorry if you thought I was not reading things fully or something. I understand if you don’t read my shit fully too, because I go off on tangents and am quite verbose.

  9. It takes two to tangle. Every time I’ve seen a spouse get involved with a cheater,they’ve eventually gotten cheated on also. It’s karma baby!

    • I’ve found the opposite. I know a few people who have been cheated on in their marriage and none of them have gone for revenge. Either the marriage breaks up or it gets stronger. When a husband cheats on a wife (or vice versa) and the wife takes him back and forgives him it shows him what a good thing he’s got.

      Now if the cheating spouse stays with the third party then they are likely to get cheated on later. Marrying someone when you know they have a history of cheating and no respect for marriage is a risky proposition.

  10. Maybe her time would have been better spent trying to come to grips with her marriage being over, she can’t control how another person feels. Her ex-husband found someone better and is getting on with his life, she needs to get over it, maybe anger management classes?

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  12. Yeah we know the husband is an asshole… I assume she’s suing him too…for divorce. In the meantime I think it’s great that she sued this homewrecker. What a slimeball.

  13. Utter bullshit. The mistress made no promises to anyone, did not enter into a legal agreement with anyone, and did not deserve a monetary judgment leveled against her. I don’t care if she’s a wicked person who only went into a relationship with the man to purposefully screw up his marriage, it’s still not her responsibility that the man was unfaithful.

    It is the responsibility of the people actually IN the marriage to remain faithful if they so choose. No one tied the man to a chair and made him sleep with someone else, it’s his responsibility. This lawsuit actually makes me lose respect for the wife, it seems very petty.

    Seriously, Sarah, I have no idea how you can support this.

  14. That law should be stricken from the books. Extramarital relationships happen because something was already awry in the marriage. Women scorned should not be allowed to prosper in these instances. The husband confessed to many affairs. Had it not been her it would have been someone else.

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