Ben Affleck and Jennifer Gardner are getting a divorce.
I don’t even know what to think anymore.
So, Hollywood’s perfect couple is not just having a conscious uncoupling…they are going the traditional route with a full divorce.
It is unfortunate, especially for their family as a whole, but these things happen; especially in high-maintenance relationships.
High-maintenance relationships are relationships which have a number of high-stress elements, such as extended time apart, low communication, misguided priorities, health/financial setbacks and poor conflict resolution practices. Actors spend lots of time apart from their families, and it can unquestionably take a toll on a marriage over time.
I am in a low-maintenance marriage. We have been together for 21 years now, and we have been married for 16 years. At this point we understand each other better than anyone else on the face of the earth ever could, and our relationship is definitely stronger for it. I know he will be home every night, or I know what he is doing when he is running late or at meetings, and I can count on him to spend time with us every day. He knows I will be home every night, or he knows where I am when I am out and about, and he can count on me to spend time with us every day, as well.
We have solid routines I can rely on for short-term and long-term support; and even through crisis of any magnitude, I am absolutely certain that we will get through it together.
And then share a beer while wiping our brows when it’s over.
The emotional routines in relationships are so crucial for maintaining strong foundations in marriage. There is no doubt that we have the solid love, trust, support, compassion, empathy and, ultimately, joy on which our marriage is based. It hasn’t always been easy, but we want to grow old together…and there is only one way that’s going to happen.
In marriages, careers are definitely a huge factor in how much stress is, or isn’t, involved.
According to Bloomburg, the top 10 successful marriages involve people in these careers:
- 1) Dentist
- 2) Chief Executive
- 3) Sales Engineer
- 4) Physician
- 5) Podiatrist
- 6) Optometrist
- 7) Farm Product Buyer
- 8) Precision Grinder
- 9) Religious Worker
- 10) Tool and Dye Maker
On the other hand, USA Today listed the top 10 failed marriages involve people in these careers:
- Casino worker
- Massage therapist
- Waiter or bartender
- Athlete, entertainer, or dancer
- High-stress jobs, such as…
Police or detective
Military service member
Senior corporate executive
Public relations executive
For Ben & Jen, it hasn’t been as easy.
They are both in high-stress careers, while still trying to raise their young family together. Weeks apart from each other for work can take its toll on the routines of relationships like waves on a rock. For short periods, the rock will most likely be fine…but for years? The rock will suffer, and after 10 years it could fall apart. Little pebbles of problems start getting into the crevices and wearing away the supports, and little problems soon become bigger problems. Before, when the marriage was stronger, maybe they could have worked together on the problems and supported each other through them. But it seems those days of trust, support, compassion, empathy, joy and love are part of their past.
- Does your partner support you in new ventures?
- Do your friends and family like them?
- Do your friends and family say they’re a good influence?
- Do they say thank you when you do something nice for them?
- Do they forgive without holding a grudge?
- Do you feel that they see and like ‘the real you’?
- Do they value themselves without being egotistical?
- Do you admire who they are?
- Do they pay little attention to other people who are attractive?
- Do you feel proud when talking to others about them?
- Do they like, rather than feel suffocated by, commitment?
- Do they open up and tell you how they’re feeling?
Maintaining long-term relationships, especially in the case of marriages, is much easier when the answer to many of these questions is “yes.”
However, marriage and relationships are never easy when the answer to many of these questions is “no.”
Sometimes therapy helps, sometimes reevaluating priorities helps. Some problems can be fixed by just talking it out with each other, and hearing the other side.
Sometimes, though, the problems have become too big to patch up. Addictions, promiscuity, and lies are big problems will create an unstable home for not only your marriage, but it will not be a safe home for your children. But add up a pile of smaller problems like a partner who is unsupportive, angry, defensive, abusive, neglectful or manipulative…and you have a mountain of problems that will destroy your marriage, and isolate your family.
So, even though it hurts, and it is in no uncertain terms, difficult, sometimes it is healthier for the family as a whole, to leave.
We offer the Affleck family all of our support as they go through this, and wish them the best in the end.