Recently, Jennifer Aniston’s latest rom-com “The Switch” (about a 40-something single woman who gets pregnant via artificial insemination) opened in 8th place at the box office to a disappointing 8.4 million. Surprising numbers, given the fact that anytime Aniston’s face graces a magazine cover – whether fashion or tabloid – copies fly off the shelves. The general consensus seems to be that the roles she plays too closely mirror her actual life, and that people are actually far more interested in her off-screen romances (or lack thereof).
So why is it that we’re so consumed with who Jennifer’s dating or getting dumped by? What makes our celeb-obsessed society set their watches to the ticking of her biological clock?
Perhaps, after so many years of watching her as Rachel, we feel like we’re “Friends” and want to see her find her Ross? Or could it be that, despite her enviable beauty, fame and fortune, Jennifer Aniston’s rollercoaster-ride of a love life makes us feel a little better about our own?
No matter why we buy US Weekly with the Brangelina cover story or tune into Access Hollywood to drink in the details of her latest rendezvous with John Mayer, there are some lessons we can learn from Jen’s less-than-fairy-tale love life.
1. SOMETIMES LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH
They were one of the most beautiful celebrity couples of all time: he, the Hollywood heartthrob and she, America’s sweetheart. Life was good for Brad and Jen, or at least that’s what we would believe from the glittering paparazzi photos of them gliding down the red carpet.
Then she came along.
In her 2006 interview with Vogue, Angelina Jolie swears that she and married Brad did not cheat while on the set of their movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” but rather developed a friendship that would eventually become something more. But there was one inadvertent clue Jolie provided in that same interview that may shed some light on how Brad’s attention could be diverted from his wife. She said, “It was clear [Brad] was with his best friend, someone he loves and respects.” Sounds like a lovely sentiment, but it doesn’t exactly evoke images of fireworks.
No one but Brad and Jen knows for sure what went on behind the scenes, so to speak, in their marriage. But as an outsider looking in, we can learn the lesson that it’s crucial to work on keeping the passion alive in a long-term relationship. The comfort and stability that comes along with building a life with someone can be wonderful, but love alone can’t sustain a bond. The next time you think to yourself, “I can throw on my sweats again tonight – my partner won’t mind…” think twice. Maybe even ask yourself, “What would Angelina do?”
2. IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
Not every relationship succeeds. For most daters, breakups are inevitable bumps in the road on the path to finding lasting love. When your relationship ends – or worse, when you are unceremoniously dumped by someone you really care about – as painful as it is, it’s always better to refrain from nasty remarks, insults, and dragging anyone else into the drama.
In addition to being left for another woman, Jennifer Aniston has also faced the humiliation of John Mayer discussing their breakup with the media. Ugh. Take a cue from something she has always done right: take the high road and keep your mouth closed. Of course you should allow yourself to have your feelings of sadness and anger. But work through them in private or with close friends. You don’t “get” closure from someone else; you find true closure through processing an experience emotionally.
3. IT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO HAVE A “TYPE”
Vince Vaughn, Paul Sculfor, John Mayer, Gerard Butler, John Mayer. It seems that Jennifer Aniston likes “players.” Did I mention John Mayer? While it’s good to be clear on what you want in a mate, falling into the pattern of dating one kind of person can be detrimental to your love life. Especially if you’re not having success with your preferred “type,” challenge yourself to date a little out of your comfort zone. If, like Jen, bad boys are your flavor, you may be surprised to learn that the kind, non-commitmentphobe you never originally would have considered might just be perfect for you.
4. YA GOTTA HAVE FRIENDS
When it comes to tabloids, you can never be sure what to believe. Some stories claim that a pattern of needy behavior is to blame for the demise of Jennifer Aniston’s romantic relationships. And, certainly, nothing kills a relationship quicker than clinginess. But one thing Jen is definitely doing right: she’s got a great group of girlfriends and spends lots of quality time with them.
One of the most common mistakes people make in relationships is to make their lover the center of their life. When you spend all of your free time with your partner, you’re bound to make him/her feel claustrophobic, and eventually your relationship will suffocate. Maintaining close relationships with friends as a part of a full and satisfying life will make you irresistibly attractive to your significant other. When you respect the fact that no one person can possibly meet every one of your needs, you take the pressure off your partner, which makes the time you do spend together a lot more enjoyable.
5. YOU CAN’T CHANGE ANYONE ELSE.
Hollywood rumor has it that the on-again, off-again relationship between Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer is on again. In my humble opinion as a dating coach, this is not a great decision. Not only has the commitment-phobic playboy broken his share of hearts, Mr. Mayer has also made a habit of mouthing off to the press about the demise of his relationships. If it is true that Jennifer wants to settle down, get married and start a family, John Mayer probably isn’t the right guy for her. And there’s nothing she can do to change him. Albert Einstein once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”The lesson here: Look at your relationship. If all you see is a field of red flags, STOP THE INSANITY. Stop trying to change your partner and instead change your circumstances. Move on to someone who deserves a friend like you.