Things That Make You Go Hmm #5: A Dying Institution?

Ah well, I used to say I was a die hard romantic. Those days are no more. They died, well, hard. Ba dump bump. It’s a nice way to be but life has a way of stomping on one’s rose colored glasses, I’m just saying lol.

Ashton & Demi are splitting up. Color me, un-surprised, the odds were against them, or so I believe. Thanks to the ever zealous paparazzi, we all knew something was not quite right. Yes, that is the understatement of the year but I’m trying to be subtle.

I know I’m not the only one who watched their relationship unfold with great interest. After all, they were an anomaly. A sixteen year age difference tends to raise eyebrows, especially when the woman is the older of the two. The die hard romantic in me cheered them on with, yeah you know it, zeal. It’s a fantastic thing to break down barriers. Why can’t an older woman draw the undying love of younger man. It happens, rarely, but it happens. The niggling cynic that shares my space said, “Yeah, it may not matter now but how long will it take to matter?”  

Of course, I’m not suggesting that it’s the primary reason for their relationship failure. No one could know that except for them. I am referring to the fact that an age gap between partners that’s not a big deal when you’re in your 30’s is a great deal more problematic in your 40’s. People run around raving things like, “40 is the new 30.” It’s a lovely quip but in our youth dominated society, is it real? Assuming that the age old stereotype is untrue, age brings with it a waning of attractiveness (and Demi has done a helluva defying that), there are other factors at play which are undeniable.

1. There is no such thing as youth serum – say it isn’t so.

I experienced this personally in my late 20’s as my 40 something lover, over our five year haul, slooooowed down. I will leave it to you to fill in the boxes lol. That’s why the men got busy and invented Viagra.

Some nice folks will say sex is irrelevant and I will say they are full of crap. Intimacy is always important, although there are various ways of attaining it, sex remains, in my eyes, up there with the top three. Orgasmic pleasures aside, it brings you closer in way nothing else does, as any good therapist will tell you.

2. “Mind The Gap!”

And no, I’m not talking about the London Underground. So, you will not think that I spend all my time contemplating nocturnal pleasures, the other is mentation. Any honest, analytical person will tell you that there is a mental and experiential gap between decades. This becomes a primary factor in relationships in terms of communication, life path/objectives and likes/dislikes. That’s real and it’s a stumbling block that not many of us can get around. After all, commonalities run neck and neck with attraction in the relationship realm.

With those things in mind, I loved seeing the “Dashton’s” defy the odds and turn all our suppositions on its head but in the end it seems their very human failings trumped all else.

Which leads me to my next query, is it possible for anyone in Hollywood to stay married? I have to wonder. What is it? The lifestyle? The autonomy and financial independence which serves as an equalizer for both partners, negating the basic glue that holds the fabric of many relationships together? The constant groupies willing to throw their panties or briefs at a star? The life of decadence? Egos bigger than life whose demands can never be met? I don’t know but I would have to say that the odds, plus normal relationship issues, are stacked against them.

It seems to me, strictly from observation, that the Hollywood-ese change partners like a game show. Just look, Susan Sarandon and Tim divorced after 23 years. For god sakes, there is a website devoted to that very thing. It will always boggle my mind what one can find on the web.

So, what do you think? Is it just media hype? Are Hollywood stars more prone to relationship breakups than us mere mortals, or are they just victimized? Is marriage a dying institution and are we fighting against the inevitable?

Signed,

A Romantic Cynic

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18 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go Hmm #5: A Dying Institution?”

  1. @Totsymae: Ha! They wouldn’t be the first and they won’t be the last. If it is true, I can only say that as a “woman of a certain age” Demi SHOULD have known better. Ya think?

    1. Definitely. If there’s any merit to the rumor, I’d advise Demi to stop playing the woe-is-me role. This ain’t her rodeo and in that industry, the likelihood of them rocking on the front together just wasn’t gonna fly.

      And you know Mo’Nique confessed to an open marriage. Why do women pretend their into that sorta thing? It just seems like their going along and settling. Somewhere down the line, somebody’s gonna take her earrrings off and put on her sneakers.

      1. OMFG I am DYING over here lol. I don’t know why they do as it’s REALLY tough waters too tread. It’s a great fantasy but most can’t handle it. Otherwise, who wouldn’t want their cake and get to eat it all the time too? I know, I know, the romantics will say that when you love someone you never look at anyone else, let alone want to touch them, egads! THEY LIE lol. Humans are animals. You just pray that the veneer of civility and will power coupled with love and commitment, is enough to tame your baser instincts…

    2. It’s a good topical post to bring up. I mean, why do women accept it? Is this the same as the guy saying, “I’m gonna cheat, so we may as well be upfront about it and do this open thing?” I don’t know if one person is ever enough for someone else but I do believe in the sanctity of marriage if that’s the route. Why do it, if not the way it was designed?

      As far as divorces go, it shocked me to learn that people in their 60s get divorced. I had an older friend going through it at 66. I was like, “You sure y’all can’t work that out?” as I was thinking older people were more concerned about health matters and such, not divorces.

      Our traditional ways of thinking has changed toward marriage and I think in some ways, we have become a bit fragmented as a society because of it. I know this spreads into other areas but when you ask if marriage is a dying institution, we have to consider all the elements that have altered our perceptions of what marriage is and honestly, if we are even clear about what it means. I’m on the fence on some of this stuff myself.

  2. “There are just as many honest, loyal men as there are honest, loyal women. Unfortunately, the honesty of both genders are often preyed upon by the dishonest.” D.A. Adams

    @Bella and @Alex: You both bring up totally valid points. My SO and I went to the mat about this for breakfast lol. I believe there is a great amount of truth in DA’s statement. At the same time, one has to consider all the other factors which come into play: upbringing, gender roles, societal expectations and media influence which effect people’s behavior. In addition to the ones you guys have already mentioned like income quality etc. I contend that men are still taught to place less value on a relationship than sexual prowess and that women are often slave to their gender expectations of nurturing and a relationship as the highest ideal. How can the playing field EVER be level when one has to fight against these messages? My SO *coughs* does not agree. He believes the parental messages we receive still uphold the ideal of marriage and that other influences are less important. It may be noteworthy that he is a country mouse and I am a city girl lol.

    None of us would debate that the messages and social norms have changed significantly in the last twenty years and yet cheating, if we are honest, is as old as time.

    Humans are faulty by nature. People don’t generally operate off values like honesty and integrity, they are typically motivated by self-interest. Self-interest all too often TRUMPS anything else which influences you. You see this dynamic playing out over and over again. Some of us are willfully deluded and others victimized in search of the ideal but that will never change. What has changed is the levelness of the playing field, our value set and the ties that bind which is why I believe that marriage is indeed a dying institution. We can procreate without the paper, commit without the paper and love just as deeply. The sole advantage remains the financial security and religious significance, if that’s your thing. It seems quite literally, in western society, to be less and less the thing.

    I think it’s a wonderfully romantic ideal but I am no longer convinced based on observation that it is really necessary. I’m just saying…. 🙂

  3. Good post, Coco. I agree with you about expecting something to go wrong—-the age difference was considerable.

    I did want to point out that Demi has maintained her attractiveness via a tad of plastic surgery in some areas and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon actually never married. They were together for a really long time, but never chose to marry.

    1. Really? Had no idea that Demi was using artificial aids lol. Just another sad reflection of body distortion syndrome that all women suffer from.

      Hey, after 10 years you are married in my book. The paper, finances aside, makes little of no difference.At least, we won’t hear them scrapping about their finances. 🙂

  4. “Men who have integrity and can value and cherish what they have, are one in a million. I guess that’s why we kiss so many frogs.”

    @Bella, I think there are just as many women who don’t value their men. I’ve experienced it firsthand and know many other decent and good men who have been taken advantage of, mistreated, cheated on, and discarded. It’s definitely a two-way street, and I believe the proportion is pretty close to equal.

    As far as marriage goes, there’s an anthropological rule that equates women’s equality in a society with divorce rates. The more capability women have to provide for themselves, the less dependent they are on marriage, and the more power they have to choose to dissolve a marriage that isn’t working.

    1. Hi D,

      This why I like having both men and women comment on my posts. We each bring our own perspective to an issue and both are valid. My SO read this afterwards and said the SAME thing you said. I debated with him about the value set of women changing which contributes to this as well. He said that has been his entire life experience and so he does not feel it has worsened to any degree, it’s just not spoken about as “loudly” by men.

      You are correct the shift in economic power has done much to erode (not build up ) our relationships, for good or ill. This doesn’t mean I am a proponent of going backwards, however, as women’s oppression was a direct result of their disempowerment.

      Thanks, as always, for commenting.

    2. D. A. Adams, I believe that when women and men are taken advantage of and mistreated, it’s only because they allow it. Many times these situations happen because we choose to be in denial and in the process, we render ourselves powerless. Are there just as many women who don’t value their men as there are men who don’t value their women? Absolutely! However, men are more prone to cheat when they feel their identity is threatened. Ironically, women’s capability to provide for themselves is a threat to man’s antiquated notion that they are the breadwinners. As a result, men engage in affairs to prove their sexual prowess, or to compensate for whatever they feel themselves to be lacking in. Perhaps this is what happened to the “Dashtons.” Demi brought home too much bacon and Ashton refused to be the one to fry it up in a pan. In any case, I’m with Coco. There’s no going back now.

      1. There’s no denying the statistic that when women earn more than the man, the man is more likely to cheat, but that’s not my point. You said men with integrity who can cherish what they have are rare, and I disagree. There are just as many honest, loyal men as there are honest, loyal women. Unfortunately, the honest of both genders are often preyed upon by the dishonest.

        I will admit my own fault at being taken advantage of. I should have left the relationship long before it ended, but the nature of a person who has integrity and loyalty is to tough it out, to give more in hopes of receiving more. It’s not until we’re older and wiser that we can see the folly of that thinking. Then, often what happens, those of us who have been betrayed become jaded and defensive, leery of being taken advantage of again.

  5. Well, all will be okay. Sure sucks that she’s divorced twice now. I’ve somewhat wondered if Demi’s weight loss was some effort to keep up with the younger crowd because of Ashton. She put herself on Twitter nearly naked. I don’t know what she’s trying to prove at her age. Just seems a little insecure to me, although I know she’s obsessed with body image.

    Who knows why they went wrong? Call me a romantic cynic too because while I was happy for her, after Bruce dipped on her, I questioned the longevity. She’s not able to have more children. He’s a young man who may ultimately want that. It can become a serious deal breaker.

    I say, she’ll be fine. Shucks! She’s rich. She’ll buy happiness, unlike folk who divorce broke. At least she’s got that going for her.

    1. Hey Totsy,

      Gurl! Doesn’t she look scarily thin? I swear she’s bordering on emaciation. I hope that’s just stress and she works that out.

      I forgot all about the issue of children and you are absolutely right. Although, I doubt that was an issue for Ashton at this point in time, I’m just saying lol.

      So, the rumor mill has it that 200 million is at issue. Money many not buy you happiness but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt…

  6. Coco, is it possible for anyone to stay married? I’ve come to realize that it matters not how much money, status, privilege, or clout you have, when things don’t work, they don’t work. However, I attribute this failure to the mentality that people go into marriage with the preconceived notion of “If it doesn’t work, I’ll get a divorce.” No longer do we harbor the faith or the desire to work at marriage. And I think it’s because we’re always thinking this marriage, the one we just spent all our savings on, is marriage right now. I’m marrying Mr. Right Now until something better comes along. For reals, girl. All I can say is more power to Demi for being able to say, “I tapped that.” hee hee! You had me shouting, “Hell yeah!” with your sentence, “Orgasmic pleasures aside, it brings you closer in way nothing else does, as any good therapist will tell you.” Anyone who wants to say sex is not the best relationship validation there is, in my humble opinion, doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. But I have to say I’m with Annie. Men who have integrity and can value and cherish what they have, are one in a million. I guess that’s why we kiss so many frogs. I loved, loved this post, sister! 🙂

    1. Ola Bella,

      I agree with you 100%. When you commit to something predicated upon escape if it fails, you are setting yourself up for failure. And as any real grown up knows, all relationships have peaks and valleys. It requires a deep level of commitment to do the continuous work needed to keep a relationship in the pink. Of course, if you love someone that minimizes the work lol.

      The sad thing is that there is still a layer of mystery shrouding marriage. We hear more about the dress, the cake and trappings than we do any real exploration and discussion of relationship health. False expectations, in my mind, doom things to failure. I think the divorce rate is also rising in direct proportion to the decline of spirituality and rise of individualism.

      😉 Sex is part of the glue!

      Both you and Annie hit the nail right on the head about Paul. Unfortunately, it seems that people who have integrity and value what lies beneath our pretty exteriors are the most difficult to find. The flip side of that is that it makes all them all the more worthwhile….

  7. I am sorry to hear that the Dashton’s are calling it quits. Doesn’t surprise me because he seems very immature, and she is running as fast as she can to stay young and vital. But, I’m not sure that all Hollywood couples split the sheets. I think people who have no integrity do…or those who house egos that detonate when they receive a little cash and attention. But then I think of Paul Newman and his line “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?” That…right there…is a joy to hear. A man who looks and acts like Newman saying something like that? I melt. Can’t help it. I’m a romantic sap. Love this post, Coco.

    1. Hey Annie,

      Integrity…searching for it amidst the cracks is hard work ;). Great point and no doubt has some bearing on this issue. This is what happen when women try and turn their boy toys into husbands. Unfortunately, they are not all equipped. No pun intended lol.

      Romantics make the world go round! Cynics want to stop and get off for brief periods of examination. Finding that balance is key.

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