In approximately sixth or seventh grade, it became cool to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Everyone began coupling up. You may have met your new main squeeze when he picked you for his kickball team, or maybe he sat next to you in social studies. Your romantic activities probably included talking on AIM and walking around with a few other couples at your local mall. It was all fun and games until you saw your love talking to another girl during math class. Then it got ugly. Until the next day at lunch when you found a new sweetheart. For celebrities, it seems like engagement and marriage are their form of the middle school relationship. They’re doing it often, and they’re doing it without a lot of thought. One marriage or relationship ends? Time to get engaged to someone else. No biggie. It makes me twitchy when these lavish weddings are almost immediately followed by a divorce announcement and a request for privacy “during this difficult time.” These celebrities are changing spouses like some people change nail polish.
For instance, this week we have Kim Kardashian’s “shocking” divorce announcement after a lengthy 72 days of marriage. I wrote this post predicting the end of their marriage, and now I’m pretty sure I have psychic powers. Or they just had a really crappy marriage that was obviously made for TV. Either way. The Kardashian/Humphries marriage ended up costing the couple almost $200,000 a day when you calculate the cost of the wedding compared to the length of the marriage. Those crazy kids. This week there are also reports that Kurt Cobain’s 19-year-old daughter Francis Bean is getting married. To a guy who looks like Kurt Cobain. I’m sure psychiatrists everywhere are having a field day with that one. Adding to the flurry of engagement/divorce announcements this week is The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco. She’s getting hitched even though she just recently got out of a long-term relationship with someone else. Then we have the shocking and sad announcement that double cuties Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard are divorcing.
All of these quick engagements, marriages, and divorces have me concerned. I know Hollywood is a different world. But it’s still troubling. What happened to dating someone for a year or two before you got married? What happened to living with someone before you got engaged? What happened to taking some time to be single after a breakup? All of these things are really important and valuable. There’s a lot that we mortals can learn from these troubling celebrity relationship patterns. Before you get engaged or tie the knot, consider the following:
1.) Do you actually know this person? Yes, you’re probably familiar with the person you intend to marry. But think about what you’ve experienced as a couple. If you’ve only dated during happy times then you’re lucky, but you should probably wait a little while before you take the next step. Unfortunately, when you get married you’re not just going to experience a life full of rainbows and Lucky Charms and magic. Craptastic things are going to happen. You need to know how you’re going to get through those times together. How do you handle financial stress? How do you react when one of you gets injured or loses a job or has one of those, “WTF am I doing with my life!?” moments? Do you support each other and work through it? Do you get stressed and take it out on each other? You need to know. How do you balance your career and his career? These are really important questions that contribute to overall marriage health, and unfortunately they don’t usually reveal themselves within the first two months of dating. You need to get to know someone really well before you can truly see what that person is about and where his/her values lie. You should also figure out some of the broader points of your future together. Where do you want to live? How many kids do you want to have? If he wants to get back to his home of Minnesota and you’re a total L.A. girl ( a la Kris and Kim) then you may run in to some problems.
2.) Do you even want to be married right now? Say what you want about Kim Kardashian, but she’s got a busy career. Doing what? I don’t really know. Looking like a porn star and endorsing various products, I suppose. Kim travels a lot and she has her attention going a lot of different places. This was probably not the best time for her to get married. Right after she tied the knot, she and Kris moved into an apartment with Kourtney and Scott so they could shoot Kourtney and Kim take New York. Not exactly the ideal lifestyle for newlyweds, which Kim has admitted. Maybe she should have waited for her career to slow down a little bit so she could turn her attention toward her new marriage. In my humble opinion, it seemed like Kim got so caught up in the idea of a wedding (the dress, ring, etc.) that she forgot that she actually had to make sacrifices and be married when it was all over. Consider why you want to get married, and if the timing is right.
3.) What’s your dating history like? Did you just get out of a relationship? If so, it might be time to take a few months to collect yourself before you get into another committed relationship. Kim went from Reggie Bush to Miles Austin to Kris with very little time in between. She kept talking about how she was going to be single for a year. That didn’t happen. Kaley Cuoco went right from her ex to this new guy. I’m not saying the engagement/marriage will fail, but there are benefits to taking time to be single after a split.
4.) Are you a grown up yet? Your teens and early 20′s are a time full of change. I don’t know about you, but I’m very different at 23 from how I was at 19. I will probably be different at 27 from how I am now. That means that, depending on who you are, getting married really young is probably not a good idea. If you feel like you’re done growing, then getting married is great (as long as you’ve met the right person). But when you’re still figuring out who you are and what you want, it’s not smart to make a lifetime commitment to someone. That’s why Francis Bean Cobain’s engagement is making me a Skeptical Sally. Who she is at nineteen will probably be very different from who she is at thirty. Obviously she’s been through a lot in her life, but when you’re a teenager you’re still figuring out who you are and what the next few years of your life will hold. Why not stay in a committed relationship and wait and see how the next few years progress?
5.) Do you know your partner’s dirty little secrets? I would strongly suggest living with your partner before you get engaged. There are some people who don’t believe in this for various reasons, but I think it’s really important. Spending a few hours per day with someone is very different than living with them permanently. Living with someone allows all of that person’s dirty little secrets and quirks to come out, and it’s better to see what you’re working with before you get married. Back to the Kim and Kris example: Kim is a neat freak and Kris let his dogs run all over the house. That caused some issues. If they had spent some more time living in the same house, this might have come out earlier. When you live with someone. you pick up on that person’s habits, and find ways to adjust and make it work. Or maybe you realize that person is a disgusting freak and you break up. Either way.
You may not get paid to go to clubs and tweet about products, but there are some advantages to being a mere mortal. Take a few pointers from these ridiculous celebrity relationships and consider these points before you put a ring on it.