Huma Abedin only left husband Anthony Weiner after he was caught allegedly sexting another woman for the third time

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August 29, 2016 04:05 PM

Top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin announced Monday that she was separating from husband Anthony Weiner, after it was reported that the former congressman had allegedly sexted another woman, at one point while the couple’s 4-year-old son was next to him.

Calling her decision to leave her husband “painful” in a statement, Abedin, 40, appeared to finally be closing the door on a tumultuous, 6-year marriage. But many are wondering why the ending didn’t come sooner.

Abedin stood by Weiner in 2011 when he resigned from Congress after accidentally tweeting a sexually explicit photo of himself that was intended for another woman, and again in 2013 when the then-candidate for New York City mayor was caught sexting once more.

In 2013, the couple’s son, Jordan, was just over a year old – and a large factor in Abedin’s decision to stand behind her husband at a joint press conference addressing the matter. She explained her decision at the time by saying, “It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony. It was not an easy choice in an way, but I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage.”

But after Weiner’s second bout of bad behavior in 2013 – just three years after the couple was married by former President Bill Clinton – an Abedin family member told PEOPLE, “She was seriously thinking, ‘Maybe I can’t do this.’ There was a possibility of leaving on the table.”

So “on the table,” in fact, that Weiner and Abedin even told close relatives that they were considering calling it quits. Yet, her concern for then-19-month-old Jordan took precedence.

“It would have been perfectly logical if she said, ‘I’m out of here.’ Any woman could have understood that,” Abedin’s friend, businesswoman Rory Tahari, said at the time. “Huma has a very strong moral character, and she made a commitment for better or worse. She never wanted Jordan to say to her, ‘Why didn’t you do everything you could to help Dad?’ ”

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin in 2013
AP

As the daughter of observant Muslims, Abedin felt divorce was not an option. She didn’t want Jordan to be part of a broken home and, said a friend, Weiner was, if nothing else, an attentive father. It was the same attitude Abedin adopted after her husband’s 2011 misstep.

While some friends and family were supportive of Abedin’s decision, others – like the Clintons – were not.

A source close to Bill and Hillary Clinton told PEOPLE at the time, “They are done with him.”

Abedin herself recently told Vogue she coped with the scandals by immersing herself her work, to “block out all the noise.”

But despite making multiple public apologies, rebuilding a strong public facade, and even surviving a cringe-inducing documentary on his last sexting scandal (Weiner, which was released earlier this year), the 51-year-old apparently remained unable to resist the old behaviors that got him in trouble in the first – and second – place.

On Sunday night, the New York Post published a report saying the former New York congressman had allegedly been sexting a new woman.

The newspaper published screenshots of racy photos from Weiner’s alleged exchanges with a brunette woman who is reportedly a supporter of Donald Trump. One of the images was a selfie of his crotch with his now-4-year-old son, Jordan, in the background. The screenshots date back to January of last year.

Huma Abedin leaves a fundraiser at a private home in the Hamptons on Sunday night
Andrew Harnik/AP

In response, Weiner told the Post he and the woman had been “friends for some time,” and that their “conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate.”

As always, Abedin says her primary focus will be her son. She wrote in her separation statement, “Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life.”

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