It’s been a week since Hollywood’s favorite portmanteau called it quits.
Brangelina is no more.
Although I was not as devastated as the rest of the world, news of their split shocked and saddened me. Brangelina were the ultimate Hollywood power couple. With six kids in tow, a relationship spanning over a decade, a jet-setting lifestyle, commendable humanitarian work, a portfolio of lavish estates, and box office hits and flops, Brangelina were – as how the millennials say it – #goals.
But in keeping with the tradition of Hollywood, the couple’s mythic status (and the fans’ faith in a happy ending) ended with a lawyer’s blandly worded press announcement of their impending divorce.
How could such a grand Hollywood romance end in such a cliché ?
At 1 year and 10 months old, I know you will never understand or care about the strange national mourning over Brangelina’s divorce, much less know how to say their name right. (Right now, dinosaurs and the alphabet are what’s keeping you busy.) But I think their relationship is a great source material for real talk, also known as “inspiring nuggets of wisdom your mom will share, which you will probably not understand now but will surely thank me for later.”
So what can we learn from the breakup of these two beautiful strangers?
Lesson 1: Starting a relationship with cheating almost never works.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt met while shooting the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith (which I haven’t watched yet). But the start of their romance wasn’t exactly the stuff of fairy tales. While Jolie and Pitt were cozying up to each other and pronouncing their undeniable connection to the world, Pitt was still married to “Friends” star and America’s girl-next-door, Jennifer Aniston.
Yes, anak, one of the world’s power couples started their relationship with cheating.
Cheating, infidelity, affairs – some people call these “an accident.” They’re not. Falling from the stairs is an accident. Driving your car off the cliff is an accident. Ending up in someone else’s bed isn’t!
Now I don’t want to sound so righteous, but personally I think cheating is never a good way to start a relationship. I think it’s the biggest and most unforgivable sin one can ever do because it erodes the very foundation every relationship is built on: trust and respect. It diminishes your character, and makes your partner question all of her life choices, her self-worth.
And this I tell you, if I ever learn that you strayed from your partner, regardless of the cause or the level of attractiveness of the other woman, I will definitely reward you with a good beating! (Yes, may this serve as a warning to you and your dad…)
You wouldn’t like it done to you. So why would you do it to someone else?
Lesson 2: Kids are never to blame
In a press statement, Jolie cited irreconcilable differences for the divorce. Gossip sites (wow I have so much time reading trashy gossip sites haha) speculate such differences could be due to Brangelina’s disagreement over parenting methods (that and Brad’s rumored affair with Marion Cotillard, which has already been debunked by the latter). With a brood of six, I’m pretty sure Brad and Angelina got caught up in parenthood.
Heck, it’s already tough to raise one tiny tot – imagine multiplying a kid and all his or her energy, tantrums, and issues to six! But despite this, I don’t think kids are ever to blame for a breakup.
I remember watching a movie in my pre-mom days. A significant chunk of the plot is already lost on me (and even the title!) but I remember that it was about kids and music and family issues. The most memorable part of the film that has stuck to me ever since was the scene where one girl talked about her parents’ divorce. Despite being reassured by her parents that the divorce wasn’t her fault, the kid still feels guilty and blames herself for the turmoil in her family.
Putting two and two together, she said, “…but what happened between then and now? I happened.”
Kids often blame themselves for their parents’ marriage troubles or think that they have contributed to the situation because they might have heard their parents argue about them.
But the thing is – kids don’t cause divorce. Zero sleep, high levels of stress, and lack of communication do. This is especially true in the first few sleep-deprived and very hormonal months of parenthood. Your dad and I can attest to that.
Relationships are never the same once a baby is added into the equation. Responsibilities get bigger, couple time and dates become fewer and rarer, and hanging out with friends gets next to impossible. Sometimes parents long for their old lives, too. But just because we miss our sweet, joyful, baby-free days doesn’t mean we regret having a kid.
If kids were to blame for anything, it would be for making our lives more colorful. Raising you, my ever-adorable tiny tyrant, has tested our relationship countless times but it also made us better, stronger…I think. Yeah, I think. (hahaha)
Lesson 3: Love isn’t dead!
When news of their divorce broke, the collective sighs of sadness of the world echoed throughout social media. Cynics were saying #walangforever and everyone proclaimed that September 20 was the day love died.
Just because one couple failed doesn’t mean the rest of us are doomed. Love isn’t dead, kid. It just isn’t alive in some relationships.
Breakups are never easy, especially when kids are involved (and you’re a high-profile couple with a whopping net worth of about $400 million). At best, they can be uncomfortable and painful, and at worst, messy. But the great thing is, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from it which can hopefully make you a better person in the future.
I hope you learned a lot from my first letter, my little man. There will be more coming because (to borrow the words of our HR supervisor) “whether you like it or not, you will like it.”