Added: Mon. Jan 07, 2013 10:11am
Fortune? Fame? Affair?
None of the above.
Unfortunately, it’s official. Another famous TV couple, Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy, are headed to divorce court. She filed divorce papers Saturday, January 5. Married less than three years, the Skinnygirl founder and former star of Housewives of New York City and her always cool, calm and collected hubby are calling it quits. Why? Rumors are swirling and tabloids are passing judgment.
Having interviewed hundreds of couples married 50 years or more, I think the predominant reasons Bethenny and Jason’s union fell apart had little to do with any of the three guesses above. In fact, I fully believe the following three interlocked factors were major causes of their marriage collapse:
1) What you love in a person sometimes turns to hate. They seemed like a perfect complement to each other: strong-willed, outspoken Bethenny paired with soft-spoken, easy-going Jason. They clearly admired traits in their partner that they personally didn’t possess. However, the admiration wore off and turned into bones of contention.
To put this love-hate teeter-totter into very simplistic context, here’s an example: Imagine a husband who’s frugal and tries to negotiate the price on everything he buys. His wife, in contrast, buys things at sticker price, never questioning, and she always takes time to be pleasant and cordial to salespeople. At the outset, the husband admires his wife’s hospitable ways and how she easily makes friends with everyone. In the beginning, the wife is enamored with her husband’s ability to speak up and the reward of saving a few bucks here and there. Fast forward. The husband grows impatient with his wife’s letting people step all over her, and the fact that it takes her so long to get things done because she strikes up a conversation with someone everywhere she goes. The wife becomes embarrassed by the way her husband wrangles with others over dollars and cents, and she quietly disappears when she’s in the presence of such an exchange. This phenomenon, “the likeability factor turns into sour grapes,” is not a predictor of divorce, but it can certainly cause significant relationship rumblings.
2) When you marry, you marry your spouse’s family. It’s true. And not being accepted by your in-laws to-be is a humongous red flag. Jason’s parents never seemed to fully open their hearts to Bethenny. Both sides tried, but tension reigned. Jason was often caught in a tug-of-war between Bethenny and his parents, and he dilly-dallied trying to appease both sides.
In my interviews with long-married couples, one wife told me that she came from a very poor background and her husband had grown up comfortably. His parents didn’t want them to marry, and they never made her feel welcome. No matter how many years went by and no matter how evident it was that she made their son, her husband, happy, safe and loved, nothing changed. But, she went on to explain, her husband was cautious not put her in a position to be treated nastily by his family and he always made her feel like a queen. Their marriage successfully endured.
Bethenny didn’t have a clear understanding of the broad-reaching effects the existing family dynamics would have on her marriage. And Jason didn’t do what a husband should do – always put your spouse first.
3) Money and materialism masked reality. Her immense wealth didn’t tear them apart. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being rich and having an abundance of possessions. But, if you want to find out if you really love somebody, imagine having barely anything. Do you still love the core person?
The majority of couples married 50-plus years ago who I interviewed started off nearly broke. A place to live, a decent bed, and a kitchen table and chairs were treasured. They truly loved each other for who they were and looked forward to building a life together.
Bethenny and Jason lived a whirlwind romance as the whole world watched. They had “everything.” Reality was concealed. The many large, complex issues between Bethenny and Jason (both individually and together) from the get-go should have gotten quality attention before the couple tied the knot. Bethenny was vocal about her commitment problems due, in great part, to her strained relationship with her parents, and she did pursue help through counseling. Having lost a brother to tragedy, Jason was torn by the obligation of being an only son, albeit a loving one, to his parents. As reality set in, all of their baggage showed up and the relationship unraveled. Sadly now, it’s over.
Sheryl Kurland, The Relationship Insider, is a relationship expert, speaker, and author whose advice is based on interviews with hundreds of couples married 50-plus years. Sign up for her FREE, easy and sensible Relationship Tips here.