No matter how many times it happens, when a seemingly strong marriage breaks up, we all gasp collectively, exclaiming shock and disbelief that the couple couldn’t weather the storm.
We so wanted to believe that there would be no more drama in Mary J Blige’s life, but alas, she’s currently being taken to the cleaners for thousands of dollars a month in spousal support, and this is after HE cheated! On the surface, their marriage looked strong, and it wasn’t until the relationship had broken down irretrievably that we, the rest of the world, got an inkling that all was not well.
This scenario echoes former Spice Girl, Mel B’s split from husband, Steven Belafonte. The seemingly loved up couple appeared to be on cloud nine, until things hit the ground with a thud pretty quickly when allegations arose of alleged domestic violence. It doesn’t get further away from perfect than that.
It’s not just in the celebrity world that things are far from perfect. A recent survey from the Office of National Statistics shows that the number of couples who describe themselves as ‘extremely unhappy’ has doubled over the last five years and the percentage of those who describe their relationship as ‘perfect’ has gone down from 9.2 to 5.9 per cent, in the same period.
So why does the ‘happily ever after’ narrative still prevail? Well, like most things, social media could be to blame. The culture of only presenting the shiniest and best version of ourselves, obviously applies to our relationships too. How often do you see real life depicted on your smart screen? Instead, other halves are rarely shown, aside from the occasional perfectly posed holiday or party pic, it’s human nature to assume that the grass is greener, and that everyone else is living fantastic, perfect lives.
For a long time, I’d admired the obvious warmth and affection displayed in the relationship of a former colleague and her husband. One just got the impression that they were so comfortable with each other and in love. However, I was shocked when one day, out of the blue, she pulls me to one side, and with blood-shot eyes from crying, tells me that she has had enough and was divorcing her husband! Apparently, she’d fallen out of love with him many years ago and had just been acting the part because it was easier to play along, rather than have to start again. Although he doted on her and was extremely helpful around the house, and great with their kids, she simply couldn’t bear the thought of living the rest of her life with him and was pulling the plug! To everyone else, their marriage was perfect, but it was just a façade, at least on her part.
The fact is, no marriage is perfect. Before we each make a commitment to love and cherish, somebody else, we must also recognise that we are individuals, with opinions, thoughts and experiences that make us who we are. Going into a marriage expecting it to be perfect, is naïve, even if you love the socks off your partner, that is no guarantee that things will be smooth sailing.
There will be days when even looking at your partner annoys the hell out of you, and as weird as that sounds, it’s probably normal. Modern life is extremely pressured, and ‘adulting’ can take a huge toll on a relationship. There’s nothing sexy about paying bills or wiping baby sick off your top, while trying to disguise the smell with perfume, to avoid changing said top for the third time (but I digress!). Communication and talking things through should never be downplayed as well as realising that your partner is human, and not perfect!
I couldn’t agree more with the saying: “You cannot sit back and hope for a happy marriage. You have to create one.” Having said all of this, if Denzel and Pauletta (Washington) call it quits, it’s game over!