The Grass is Greener
The Downfall of Brangelina
Why did Brad and Angelina split up? I have no idea, the only people that truly know are Brad and Angelina. I can however speculate why I believe human beings cheat, and why marriages fail. As a disclaimer I'd like to note that this is a general conversation, and that relationships are as complicated as the people that participate in them. That in itself tends to be a rather large part of the problem, a generic one-size-fits-all arrangement, for a uniquely complex variation of diverse individuals.
Are human beings monogamous? Technically no. You may know of the occasional individual that may have only been with one person, as in sexual partner, for the duration of their lifetime. For the most part though most human beings will have several sexual partners throughout their lifetime. Most of us will be temporarily monogamous during committed relationships. But before, after, and sometimes during those relationships the average person is less than committed to one individual.
The paradigm that most of us have been conditioned to believe is that if our partner desires someone else, that the natural reaction should be one of jealousy and anger. This is a very true and normal reaction due to the fact that the paradigm of relationships is generally structured on the tradition of marriage. I am not implying that there is something wrong with you if this is your reaction, I am simply saying that if you had been conditioned differently, your reaction most likely would-be also.
Remember during the honeymoon stage of your relationship, the butterflies the excitement, the newness. Peacocking! Always looking good; your hair, wardrobe, personal style, to assure the possibility of attracting new viable mate. It's not a surprise that our biological imperative is predicated on procreation. No one reading this article is on this planet as a result of anything else. A penis inseminating semen into a vagina, conception, and the miracle of childbirth, except for the fact that most idiots also can, and will fornicate. But that's another article about overpopulation.
If one wants to pair bonding and pro create simply to fill the expectations of others, It's a recipe for disaster. Our society is immature in that in many ways it doesn't respect or validate the individual who decides to stay single and not have children. But that’s another articles about assholes.
Some might say it is our very purpose to fulfill this biological imperative, as it is nature’s way of ensuring the survival of our species. But after the young, fertile heterosexuals patiently await the acceptable gestation period(as dictated by society), and engage in a wedding, home purchase, and international trip to ensure fulfilling their youthful ambition, the nest is prepared for a youngling to arrive.
The actual rearing of a human child is less than romantic; it is beautiful and sometimes satisfying, but not easy, and even more difficult to do well. Many people raise several children simultaneously. And raising children well always has been, and will be the only hope for our civilization, so I don’t intend to diminish its inherent importance. In most cases having a mother and father, and a strong support system so that the child received the neccesary attention and guidance, is an essential part of the child becoming a healthy and well-adjusted adult.
Many times the objective of child-rearing is prioritized as being much more important than the focus on the marriage itself, and rightly so, but in order for the two adults involved the relationship to thrive, they must mutually maintain and acknowledge each others needs. Even in the ideal relationship, expectations fall short, and self-sacrifice is the norm. Reasonably empathetic an understanding adults acceptance this as par for the course. Shifting in the libido, the tremendous and sometimes devastating effects of the childbirthing process, insufficient time for themselves and each other, sometimes due to an increased workload of the primary financial provider, or because most of their energy is consumed by the children, are amongst the many variables that can leave mates feeling neglected and isolated.
What happened to the people in the beginning of the story? The individuals that were sexual beings, who liked the idea of being attractive, and of being attracted to others? They didn't disappear, and while that aspect of themselves may lie dormant, it is still there. Sometimes under layers of fat, suffering from male pattern baldness, overworked and tired, and resenting the disconnection from what they once were. How funny it is that we sometimes mock those suffering from a midlife crisis, convertible sports car, toupees, plastic surgery, back to the gym, exotic travels. Anything in attempt to reclaim what once was.
So where does that leave us? No matter how wealthy, and attractive people may be, sometimes they just get sick of putting up with each other's shit. Someone like Brad Pitt has enough money and power to simply leave his wife behind and start fresh. But for the average John or Jane seeking an emotional or sexual connection outside of the marriage, can result in devastating consequences. This leaves the other in the relationship, sometimes with mutual reciprocity, unilaterally responsible for whether or not their spouse receives any love, affection, or sexual gratification, other than masturbation. And in some cases even masturbation is grounds for conflict. Can two people remain in a loving and committed relationship while also experiencing deeper and intimate connections with others? Are they mutually exclusive? I'm not sure, but I am sure that many people are attempting to achieve just that, and to avoid being left with the only 2 options of either A: Suffering in silent desperation, or B: Completely abandoning ship.
Sometimes time or hormonal changes can reduce libido. Sometimes people are just not attracted to each other anymore. Sometimes an individual relationship is bicurious, and their repressed need surfaces; There is a need to be desired, and to desire others. This can be overwhelming, and strong enough to compel them to act out their yearnings. People sometimes stay in relationships that they're dissatisfied with for many reasons. Financial stability for the children, the desire to salvage what they truly desire from the relationship. Many people respond strictly to fear; fear of being financially devastated by the other, fear of the shame and embarrassment, fear of disappointing others, or of letting down the expectations of their friends and family. Sometimes its the pressure we put on themselves to not feel like a complete failure.
Sometimes no matter how hard we try the other isn't receptive to understanding and compromise, they may have already checked out and envision a different path for the remaining time as a viable adult. The difference in reasons can be as varied as individual fingerprints. It's no wonder 55% of marriages fail, are we to assume that for the remaining 45% it’s all rainbows and butterflies? That's not the case, it's time we all look in the mirror, and recognize that marriage as an institution is not self-sustaining, but is only as healthy as the two parts within it are working together in tandem to ensure that each others needs are met.
YOU, yes you! Your mate is attracted to other people, but they’re still putting up with you!! The question is, do you make a choice every day to treat your significant other as though they matter? Does part of your daily routine include making a conscious effort to be aware of your mate’s needs, and do you make an effort to fulfill them? Do you recognize your spouse as an individual who is unique, and do you love and accept them for who they are, or do you occasionally express reluctant satisfaction if they are pretending to be the person that fulfills your expectations?
Don't answer these questions for me, ask yourself. Fuck that! Ask your spouse! And sometimes no matter how many questions we ask, there is no real reason why marriages fail. But there is hope! That hope lies in awareness and understanding that you and your mate still care enough to actually make the effort to offer each other the love and acceptance that we all truly desire. This takes real vigilance and effort on both sides. It means striking the balance of meeting your own needs, while ensuring you take time to care for your mate. The hourglass of resentment is filling grain by grain, but we always have the power to pick it up, and turn it around.
Yes, sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, but mostly it's gonna be greener wherever you water and nurture it.