Look, I promise this isn’t going to be a post about the Kardashians. But I do need to reference them briefly to make a broader point. So even if you’ve had a gutful of them, stay with me.
I may or may not [cough] have been listening to Kim & Khloe Kardashian’s interview with Kyle and Jackie O the other night when the subject of Kim’s divorce was tentatively raised. The girl is a pro, knew how to deflect the question and was never going to give away more than she wanted to. But her answer was revealing (and alarming) in an entirely different way:
“I would never marry for a TV show, for money… it’s really ridiculous that I even have to defend that.”
She continued: “I am a hopeless romantic, and I’m in love with the dream of what all of that (marriage) represents… I don’t know if that’s what’s in the cards for me.”
Sister Khloe was quick to jump to Kim’s rescue throughout the interview and added:
“Kim is an amazing person… of course she’s sad, but she’ll get through it with us by her side, I’m just so proud of her. I’ve always admired her view on love and life… I love that about Kim… I never want that to go away.”
This made me so mad I had to get out of the car.
To me, these two bold quotes embody everything that’s wrong with modern relationships. And it’s what troubles me deeply when it comes to the attitudes of so many women towards marriage.
Where do we start?
How about with the fact that being ‘a hopeless romantic’ and being ‘in love with the dream’ is not a recipe for an adult relationship of any kind let alone a marriage.
Or the fact that Kim’s ‘view on love and life’ is probably not something to be admired right now if, as she said in another interview, she felt she would have been letting too many people down if she’d listened to her gut and pulled the pin BEFORE the wedding.
This is not just about one person. This is about a warped phenomenon that sees far too many women focus far too much on the wedding (and The Ring and The Dress) instead of the relationship, the PERSON they’re committing to spend the rest of their life with.
It’s about whirlwind romances and Prince Charmings and being swept off your feet and love at first sight. It’s about the fact that all of that is a crock if you don’t actually know someone well enough to understand their values, if you don’t have effective communication and you’re not prepared for what happens when the honeymoon to wear off.
Life happens, that’s what. It’s not always pretty or exciting or glamorous. It’s not always romantic. And THAT’S OK.
Because marriage – and any long term relationship – isn’t about the flashy stuff. It’s about highs and lows, deepening intimacy, working as a team, learning to be equals while complimenting each others strengths and weaknesses. It’s about acknowledging those weaknesses in yourself and your partner and choosing to work through them.
And reaping the rewards of that.
It’s about hard bits and dull bits and getting through those too because on the other side are a whole lot of wonderful things that aren’t apparent in the early days.
I’ve written before about my distaste for the way girls are imprinted with the ‘fairytale’ fantasy of marriage. All the Disney heroines have whirlwind romances with their Prince Charmings who save them from some terrible peril, carry them off on their white horses and marry them immediately, turning them – hey presto – into Princesses in brightly coloured frocks. Happily Ever After! Etc!
So every time a celebrity rushes into a marriage with someone they met five minutes ago and the media fall over themselves to call it ‘a fairytale’ (KK’s 2-part TV special was actually called Kim’s ‘fairytale wedding’), I throw up my hands.
YES, I got sucked in and I watched the damn show. And I hated myself a little bit for it. Because it was more like watching the Oscars red carpet than anything based on real emotion.
So when Kim insists she is a true romantic and Khloe cheers her on for having such an idealistic, dreamy view of relationships, why is that something to be proud of?
Relationships require foundations if you want them to last. ‘Foundations’ may not be as sexy an F-word as ‘Fairytale’ but when the wind blows – and you can be sure it will – romance and flimsy fairytales ain’t going to hold up your house.
As Sam de Brito said in a conversation we had in Mamamia on Sky News the other week, relationship skills should be taught in schools. It’s as important as sex education – possibly more.
How else can we dismantle the childish notion that being hopeless romantic is anything other than….well, hopeless.
Are you a romantic? Have you searched for the perfect romance and found it doesn’t exist?