The End Of Brangelina
There’s a reason why people become obsessed with pop culture, just as there’s a reason why E! Network is one of the more popular channels on television today. It’s not an accident that Keeping Up With The Kardashians is so popular. And it’s the norm, not the exception, for people to flip through tabloid magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store.
Because more often than not, celebrity lives often mimic our own. We see things we can relate to, and so become glued to the latest trending story.
For me, the divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie almost perfectly captures several of the key points I’m often preaching to my clients. So I felt it was a good idea to devote at least one blog to it. After all, there’s nothing like real world examples to drive home important concepts.
I’ll start with the necessary disclaimer that I don’t know either Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie. I’m not connected to their inner circle, and don’t pretend to know any more about their private lives than the next person on the street. All I have to go off of is what you have: news reports, public statements by their respective camps, and what I’ve observed over the years. I’m not passing judgment on either of them as people, I’m just making observations and applying it to my own profession when it fits.
Now that’s out of the way…
I think the biggest thing Brangelina represents for me is an example of mismatched personalities trying to make it work…and also demonstrating why, ultimately, that old “opposites attract” adage really doesn’t work long term. You have to have more in common with your significant other than you think; ‘good girls’ and ‘bad boys’ might seem exciting for a little while, but that’s not a recipe for a lasting relationship. While people are often attracted to their opposites in the short term because they crave something different (I see it all the time), ultimately you need a partner who shares your preferred lifestyle choices, not someone who chafes against them.
Think about it: if you love staying in every night and making dinner, while she prefers going out on the town and socializing, how does that make sense? You can only compromise so much in a relationship; and if you’re always agitated because you’re having to go out more than you like, while she’s agitated because she’s feeling cooped up at home too many nights out of the week…how is that fun for either of you? Why does it make sense to make the relationship work, when instead you could go your separate ways and each find someone who is more in line with your individual needs, likes, and desires?
Obviously there are many reasons a couple might try to make it work, even if a variation on the above scenario is taking place in their relationship. Perhaps the sex is great. Or your partner has enough good qualities in his or her personality that you feel like it’s worth grinning and bearing those nights out/nights in that otherwise make your skin crawl. Or maybe you’re in love with their career and the lifestyle it affords you (hey, it happens). Or maybe you have a child or two together, and you’re trying to make it work for their sake. Or maybe it’s as simple as your pride is keeping you two together, because somehow in your minds splitting up would be admitting you were (gasp!) wrong in the choice you made in the first place.
All of the above applies in my mind when I look at the end of Brangelina.
I see a couple who clearly had unbelievable chemistry when they first met; truly, it was undeniable. And they certainly wouldn’t be the first couple in the world to build a relationship around that.
I also see a couple who undoubtedly felt a lot of pressure (both outward and inward) to make the relationship work at all costs. I’m sure on some levels both of them felt like since that relationship effectively ended Brad’s previous marriage to Jennifer Aniston, and caused so much drama, they wanted to make sure their new relationship went the distance. Because that would make all that negativity and drama “worth it” somehow. And then on top of that, there were more and more children added to the mix every year. Six kids would be enough to motivate just about any couple to stay together, celebrity or not.
It’s not just them…I see this all the time with my clients. Clients who perhaps stuck it out in a previous marriage a lot longer than they should have, for one or more of the reasons listed above.
But guess what?
No matter how successful you are…no matter how attractive…no matter how charismatic…if you’re with the wrong person, in the end it does not work.
And that’s okay.
As a matchmaker, I look at the lifestyle choices and histories of my clients as part of getting to know them; that tells me a lot more about them than they realize. I can recognize their patterns. And when I apply that same intuitive analysis to what I know about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (their histories, their personalities, their overall life paths), I truly can say that the relationship was probably doomed from the start. Because they are clearly two very different people.
She is a very independent thinker. Someone who goes her own way. Someone, so far as I can tell, who isn’t afraid of being alone or standing on the outside looking in if necessary from time to time. Someone who more and more has abandoned the luxuries of Hollywood in favor of her humanitarian work around the world and out of the spotlight. Whereas he seems like much more of a laid back people pleaser who enjoys going out and partying with his friends, very much enjoying the celebrity status he’s earned. A relationship-oriented man who does his best to be whatever his partner needs…probably at the cost of his own happiness. And I feel like as a result, in this marriage he’s lost his way; doing his best to be what his partner needed and wanted him to be, but ultimately…that’s not who he is.
So is it any wonder that towards the end there have been outbursts of anger and alleged verbal abuse? Obviously abuse is not something to be condoned on any level, and if in fact abuse occurred the authorities will have to deal with that…but what I’m saying is that is one of the things that can happen to a person when they are with the wrong person, and trying too hard to make the wrong relationship work. It’s not the fault of the man or the woman if this happens…it’s just a shame that neither can see it and let the relationship go before it gets to that point.
Ultimately I feel like the rise and fall of Brangelina is a lesson for all of us that life is too short to be with the wrong partner; and no matter how much outside pressure there might be to stay together or split apart, ultimately you have to make the right choice for yourself.
Many times I’ve had clients who are wedded to this unattainable, unrealistic idea of “the perfect partner”…and as a result they aren’t open to seeing the actual perfect person standing right in front of them. Or they are so anxious to not be single any more that they’ll jump into a relationship with anyone who is willing, and that is just as sad for me to see.
In the end, when choosing a potential partner, just keep the following in mind:
- They need to be someone whose lifestyle matches yours. If they’re into fitness and you’re not, or if they are super frugal while you enjoy spending more of your money (read more in my blog Financial Infidelity)…those are probably signs they aren’t the right one for you.
- Your partner should make you feel comfortable being exactly who you are. If you find yourself changing or pretending to be someone you’re not in order to please them, you’re not with the right person.
- Sexual chemistry is great, but it’s not the foundation upon which great relationships are built. Sexual chemistry waxes and wanes when talking about a lifelong relationship; you can’t count on that alone to preserve your relationship/marriage.