Lessons from the Tom Cruise Katie Holmes Divorce

Buzz, Heartbreak

Should she have stayed? What are insufficient and what are legitimate reasons for divorcing?

Kim Karshashian; Katy Perry and Russel Brand; and now Tom Cruise—Katie Holmes’ divorce from the actor is only the latest in celebrity breakups. Holmes recently quietly filed for separation and continues to remain mum about her reasons for divorce. With the announcement comes the endless parade of analysis, insider information from “close anonymous sources,” and wild theories. 

My colleague Naomi Grunditz wrote the following thoughts on celebrity divorces.  I hope you find them helpful:

Celebrities are notoriously bad at holding down relationships (the Katie Holmes divorce will be Tom Cruise’s third). I am constantly reminding myself not to be cynical and write off each new breakup with a roll of the eyes. Divorce is serious, and I believe that couples take it so. Just because divorce rates are high in this country doesn’t mean that people are going out and getting them for fun. Couples separate because they are unhappy and each spouse has his and her share of pain and heartbreak.

Every divorcing couple believes they have good reasons for divorce. But do they? Is divorce actually the only answer?

Many marriage problems are caused by lack of skills in key areas such as communication and positivity. Learning these skills through coaching and practice can resolve most marriage problems.

These are the top five cited reasons for divorce—and all of them are addressable:

1. We just don’t communicate very well and can’t seem to resolve our conflicts. Communication and conflict resolution difficulties are the most common complaints of divorcing couples.  Luckily, they are also simplest to change. Learning how to communicate positively and cooperatively will give couples the tools to solve current and future problems.

2. I just don’t love him anymore. Love is a cornerstone of marriage and feeling “out of love” can be frustrating and scary. At the same time, the quality of love is constantly changing; sometimes hot and passionate, other times a cool, subtle bond. Do you really not love each other at all?

3. Because it’ll be better for the kids. Many couples believe that fighting is a natural part of relationships. It’s not. While a couple may feel that arguments keep things “spicy,” eventually it overwhelms the marriage with negativity and stress. Having parents who fight is hard on kids. At the same time, so is divorce. And, if you keep fighting while you’re divorced, it’s still bad. A better solution is to learn to stop the fighting.

4. He/she’s just not the same person I married. We all change and grow as we go through life together. As a spouse, the important thing is to know how to support each other on your personal journeys. Again, counseling can teach couples how to turn differences into powerful tools instead of a source of marriage problems.

5. I don’t trust him/her anymore. He lied and made a stupid deal, she gambled or cheated…this one is tricky because it could definitely be grounds for divorce. At the same time, people do make mistakes, and most mistakes are repairable. If this is a first time offense, nip it in the bud by getting the skills to analyze your errors and prevent future repeats.

Next: Some celebrities could try harder to make their marriage last...

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