The sad alternatives feel contrived.
As it stands husband abuses her. Unlike previous times she walks out first time, no rescue needed. She then looks back at what Gabe has been telling her, and finally accepts she has been through a string of emotionally abusive relationships, starting with the boy she left Gabe for when they were teens.
Gabriel is the only man who has not tried to control her in some way - In fact both times she left him (at 17 and 43) he has said "I don't want you to go, I want you to be with me, but you are a grown up, I can't tell you what to do." Both times - especially at 17 - she wanted him to say 'I forbid it' (Nicky @17, hung around her, but Gabriel would not say 'You mustn't talk to Nicky').
However now she is strong enough to walk away from the abuse, and is able to understand Gabriel was treating her like an individual both times.
In the current ending he actually tells her that she is strong enough not to need him, and to leave him, and she responds that it is her choice now.
Sorry to go on, but if I'm going to destroy his happy ending, I need to know it is the right thing to do for the book. Be clear, if she was to walk back into his life, he will drop who-ever he is with for her, and he knows that, and feels guilty over it.
edited 31st Mar '12 5:06:42 PM by LastHussar
Do the job in front of you.