With relationships falling apart at a rapid rate, it’s hard for anyone to believe in forever after anymore. Sorry to start you off that way, but that’s the reality of the situation. Things ain’t what they used to be. And while the relationship standards continue to change, it only seems to be keeping up with the world that we live in. An unconventional world produces unconventional ways of thinking and living.
I had a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday and we discussed the changing view of infidelity in today’s relationships and marriages. Now, we’re both aware of how the world outside of relationships viewed this. But we marveled at how the view within relationships has changed on it as well. It’s no longer the deal breaker that it used to be.
For example, when you look at the Hollywood marriages of today, it seems that they rarely last that long. When they do, you’re surprised. When those that last a long time fall apart, you’re surprised at that as well. Some can’t believe it lasted that long while others are sad to see it end. Some of us still wanna believe in true love in its most pure and monogamous form, even as we cast a doubting eye towards those marriages and wonder secretly, “Were they really faithful? Were they really that happy?”
Celebrity couple Seal and Heidi Klum’s breakup sent shock waves through the Hollywood community and the world because they seemed so happy. They were building a family and all of that. It was like an interracial Brad and Angelina, but with the marriage. They were the poster children for Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, a song Seal covered, in fact.
The persistent rumors about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s breakup damn near sent the Black community into a state of mourning (which I found ridiculous since the idea of them having an open marriage has long been on record). But Seal and Heidi seemed to have that traditional marriage that defied the stereotypical celebrity marriage.
What often comes across as a storybook marriage can sometimes be something different behind the scenes. While we all saw what we saw with a couple like Seal and Heidi and we loved the fact that there seemed to be an example of real celebrity love in the wake of things like Kim Kardashian, we really don’t know. In the years to come, we could see accusations fly that suggests that they weren’t as happy as they portrayed and as we thought. The sad part about it is the fact that they had a 7 year marriage and we consider that a lifetime these days.
With the views on relationships and marriages skewed like this, it’s no wonder people are less inclined to get married and even less inclined than that to stay faithful if they do. There are so many dissenting views on marriage and fidelity that it’s hard to keep it all straight. I often caution against modeling any relationship after a celebrity relationship or marriage because there are too many unknowns. There are too many spins and too much make believe. How can you really believe it all when everyone needs a publicist just to announce when they’re dating and when they aren’t?
We’ve graduated to a point where people are more surprised by a relationship with no cheating than they are with one where there is. It’s not that infidelity is a death sentence. Depending on the circumstances and the people involved, a lot of things can be worked through with honesty and counseling. For some, infidelity isn’t a deal breaker because sex isn’t the centerpiece of their relationship. There are more important factors.
The problem with adopting this mentality is certain people will abuse the system, if you will. We can’t be foolish with our relationships. There are certain things that just happen in a relationship, no doubt. But there are a lot of things that happen on purpose as well. The wrong people will find out that infidelity is not a deal breaker and use this as an excuse to cheat. They’ll do as they wish and then seek to talk it out. That’s not what it’s supposed to be about. This is why it may not be a great idea to tell someone that you’re involved with or married to that certain situations of infidelity won’t send you running for the hills. You’d hate to have someone breaking your heart because they thought it was okay.
We’ve also graduated to a point where marriages aren’t necessarily about “’till death do us part”. People marry for convenience, for financial reasons, for the time being, and, in the case of the aforementioned celebrities, they marry for career boosts and ratings. In short, there are no expectations on marriage anymore. It’s become less about the marriage and more about positioning yourself in life.
Men have always been reluctant to surrender their freedom to marriage. This is why I’ve always thought they made better husbands the later they got married in their lives. Not to say that they can’t marry young and be successful, but the maturity is more likely to be there at a later age. However, more and more women are starting to fall into this category. They’re less and less willing to give up the single life. While it’s understandable to want to hold on to those days of freedom a little while longer, what’s happened now is we’ve begun to take the behavior of the free into the marriages. We want the securities of a marriage with the benefits of freedom.
Nothing in our lives is perfect, and that definitely includes marriage. But as the saying goes, anything worth having is worth working for. The work that it takes to stay married these days is a lot different than it used to be. The forces are different, the temptations are different and the people seeking to tear you apart can come from places that they’ve never come from before. This is why what you have must be based on what’s good for the two of you. It can’t be based on what the world’s view of success or failure is. Outside influences have outside purposes. Do what’s best for you and your house, whether it’s considered conventional or unconventional. At the end of the day, it’s the two of you that have to live with the decisions that you make.
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