Another celebrity allegedly cheats and blows up his marriage. Is it inevitable? I say NOT.
You'll want to sit down for this one: Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are heading for divorce. He allegedly cheated on Demi with a younger woman. In doing that (if in fact he really did), he joins a ridiculously long list of famous men who've cheated on their wives.
Famous people are used to being the center of attention. This can be problematic when they are in a long term relationship, because couples in long term relationships eventually begin to take each other for granted. The familiar becomes mundane, which is a hard blow to those fragile egos. All egos are fragile, and the egos of famous people are even more so. Yes, I'm generalizing here. But let's face it, when everyone tells you how wonderful you are all the time except your wife (or husband), it does make you more susceptible than the average person to look for greener pastures.
There are two lessons I think we can all take away from this latest marital destruction. The first is to seriously consider how important monogamy is to your relationship. The second is to take steps now to appreciate your partner more regularly.
The first: how important is monogamy?
As I often say, there's a whole lot of room between complete monogamy and utter infidelity. Everyone will have a different answer to that question, based on their life experiences and personalities. Most people assume that a committed relationship means total monogamy, but that's not always the best solution. Although I never condone cheating - I'm a big fan of honesty - nobody's perfect. One, or an occasional, slip in fidelity doesn't have to mean the end of the relationship. It will mean you need to work on rebuilding trust, but that happens all the time. Our cultural model for marriage doesn't support extra-curricular sex, but maybe it should. Sex is just one component of a successful relationship and I think it's up to each individual to decide what the sexual part of the relationship should look like.
The second: take steps to appreciate your partner more regularly.
In all long term relationships, there is a tendency to get complacent. Resist that tendency or you risk an affair, a general drifting apart, or an increasing number of arguments. Relationships need to be nurtured. Just as you can't plant seeds, never water them, and expect a beautiful garden to grow, you can't fall in love, get married, ignore your partner, and expect love to flourish.
It is a natural progression in long term relationships that the "fallen in love" feelings subside after a few months or years. Those feelings are replaced with a more mature type of love that, if nourished, flowers into a deep and abiding love that supports each partner to grow as individuals and together in their relationship. But more often, we fall for the myth that if the relationship isn't effortless, it's not the right one.
The reality is that successful relationships require work to keep them going. In other words, DON'T take your partner for granted. DO remember to tell her she's beautiful. DO remember to thank him for fixing the kitchen sink. DON'T let all of your conversations revolve around the kids and work. DO make time for sex at least twice a week, and change it up every once in a while to keep it exciting. DON'T assume that because it's not perfect, it's not right and can't be fixed. As we were reminded on Twitter, you know what happens when you assume. And lastly, DON'T assume you have to (or even can) fix your problems by yourself. That's what relationship coaches and couples counselors are here for. Use us!
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