The celebrity paparazzi have really screwed up the common person’s belief about healthy breakup. They have convinced us that a conversation is a relationship, a date is commitment, and an appearance at an awards event is as good as a proposal. From there, it just spirals downhill. If they are not seen having that second cup of coffee together then obviously it is a horrendous breakup and everyone is devastated. Strike that. It is the woman that is crushed. The man is a philanderer because he had a latte instead of a cappuccino. Take Jennifer Aniston as an example. It seems that every man that she talks to is this huge emotional declaration of love and ends with the requisite mental state of Aniston being distraught in the public eye.
But reality shows us something different. Even as a male, I can see the difference between Brad Pitt ala “Troy” and Vince Vaughn from “Dodgeball” (You do not need to be a sculptor to know the difference between marble and Jello) but the physicality aside, she’s actually doing appropriately well.
A healthy breakup has some logical steps. First, there needs to be some emotion involved. If there is not at least some amount of anger, resentment, loss, and betrayal then emotions are being stuffed and heart attacks are in the making. It seems logical and right that Jennifer spent at least one evening calling Brad a bastard and Angelina Jolie a whore. Just because she goes on an ice cream induced rant does not mean that she fell off of the deep end.
The next step is getting back into the game. Vince Vaughn was the rebound guy, obviously. Funny. Nice to be around. Gelatinous. Then she moved to the model to prove that she still “had it”. After that, she dated John Mayer. That was a real tester relationship. Though I personally think the Mayer is a douche, he is an appropriate date choice: successful in his own right, handsome, funny.
This brings me back to the paparazzi. Unfortunately, normal does not sell. But drama does. So, they create a tale of grief and despair, of unbefitting behavior and of pain.
The worst part is that we take it away and consider it normal. We make our own breakups a micro version of the choreographed drama that we think we see in the media. But it is an illusion. Jennifer is doing really well. Aren’t you Jennifer?
Lee says: I don’t get this whole thing. I will say that if I break up with someone, the last thing I want is to make up with them. What I would prefer is that they be removed from existence altogether. There is the passion Paul mentioned.
In Jennifer Aniston’s case, I was surprised that it took her so long to say that what Angelina Jolie did was “uncool”. People called it catty but I call it mild. I would have used words like “fucked up”. But the bottom line is that we thrive off the drama of a break up. Nothing brings friends out of the woodwork like a juicy break-up. The friends descend like emotional LookyLoos and zap any hope of a healthy transition. They encourage us to try again and look past the flaws that caused the break up initially. They support us in carrying a torch for someone we chose not to be with. They persuade us to do stupid things to keep the vitriolic aftermath heaving in the giant toilet of our love lives.
Break up is a healthy thing to do when the relationship is not right. It is an affirmation of our own self worth. Aniston got it right. Move on. Just because she hasn’t married and had babies since the divorce doesn’t make her damaged. Does anyone ever ask why Brad hasn’t married Angelina? It’s not like either of them were anti-commitment. They’ve both been married before. (Jolie, multiple times.) I wonder if Pitt and Jolie harbor a little karmic fear. Come on guys, I watched “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. Who do you think you’re fooling?