Why Root for Couples of Power and Pain Their Break-Ups: Therapists

  • We set our fantasies and unrealistic expectations on powerful couples, therapists say.
  • When power pairs break down, we can feel that our vision of what is possible in a relationship has been shattered.
  • Therapists say it’s important to remember that celebrities have to deal with the same relationship problems as everyone else.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

Bill and Melinda Gates announced on May 3 they will end their 27-year marriage – the last of a series of power couples to share in recent months.

In recent months alone, there have been several divisions of power couples, including John Mulaney and Annamarie Tendler; Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez; Addison Rae and Bryce Hall; Kim Kardashian and Kanye West; and Zoë Kravitz and Karl Glusman.

Also this month, actress Anna Faris has elaborated on her 2018 divorce by actor Chris Pratt, once a golden couple in Hollywood. “I think I stunted myself in so many ways,” Faris said, adding that they rarely talked about difficulties between them because they both “protected this majority” from being a star couple.

Every split – or memory of a split, like Faris ’- triggers a spill on social media, with a chronology of shocked fans speculating on what might have gone wrong.

It’s a natural reaction, Suzanne Degges-White, president and professor of counseling and education counselors at the University of Northern Illinois, told Insider. Celebrity couples are used in popular culture as role models for our relationships, meaning we put them on a pedestal.

Similar to the movies, power couples are an escape: we project unrealistic expectations and aspirations on them, as was the case with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, who split in 2005. it is still talked about today. See you again with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck – or, Bennifer 2.0 – which may have revived their love story – to the delight of the fans.

“In our minds, we make them more than they can be,” Degges-White told the Insider. “We all need a fantasy. We all need to believe that magical things can happen.”

But these couples are also human, and they struggle with the same relationship problems as the rest of us, with the added ingredient of global fame.

Amy Nobile, matchmaker and founder of love, amy, says it’s important to remember that the key to a successful relationship is always the same – famous or not.

We don’t see the day-to-day realities of celebrity power couples

The diversity of our personal lives, where a sparkling relationship fades or makes friends break up, The everyday realities of celebrity couples are not public. That’s why sharing a power pair can be shocking.

“We haven’t slowly lost our fantasy image of them, all of a sudden it’s just gone,” Degges-White said.

Degges-White said the Gateses split is particularly painful because people admire his charity work.

“They’ve done so much philanthropy that we have higher expectations because they’re good people,” Degges-White said.

Even though celebrities seem to have it all, they are still human

As a society that appreciates monogamy in the long run, we want to believe that there are resources to solve marital problems, whether it’s therapy or going on special holidays as a couple.

When wealthy couples like the Gateses split up, Degges-White said, she questioned: they probably had every resource in the world to make their marriage work, if they couldn’t make a relationship work, who could?

But Degges-White insisted they are still human.

“Everyone does the best they can, but sometimes no matter what resource might be available, sometimes we can’t make the ends of history books happen,” Degges-White said.

A long relationship requires initial conversations

Nobile says some of her clients aspire to be in prominent relationships, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, but said she doesn’t put power couples on a pedestal because her image doesn’t represent the realistic parts of a relationship. .

“We see it through this kind of fairytale lens and so we’re stuck. We like, ‘Oh gosh, well, my relationship must be hurting so you look at their smiles and see how happy they are.’ “And it’s not true,” Nobile said.

Nobile also stressed that it is important to focus on the wounds from your past relationships because it can lead to a stronger bond, and power couples will not post these sincere conversations. “It’s not what’s painted in the culture of celebrities.”

In Nobile’s work of helping people identify what they want in a partner, he finds that couples who have long relationships do the hard work of having initial conversations about habits, strengths, and weaknesses in the relationship. first report.

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