What You Can Learn From Celebrity Break-Ups

Zanessa no ‘mo.

If you’re like me, you consume your fair share of celebrity gossip. Unfortunately, a lot of this news consists of updates about which power couple is lawyering up for a nasty divorce, or which cute, long-term couple has parted ways. Some of these divorces and break-ups don’t surprise me. But other times, I check my favorite celebrity gossip sites and am left with my mouth hanging open.

A few recent splits have had that effect on me, for instance: Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz, Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron, Ryan Reynolds and ScarJo, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, and most recently Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

All of these great pairs gone wrong have got me thinking about relationships and break-ups. It seems like so many couples (both celeb and mortal) are breaking up or divorcing at the first sign of tension in the relationship. But isn’t fighting (and working through fights) a crucial part of making your relationship stronger?

When you fight, you find out what really matters to your significant other and to yourself. You also find out how to accommodate two different sets of needs. I don’t think you should give up on a good relationship just so you can avoid the temporary discomfort you feel when you fight. At the same time, I don’t think it’s worth staying in a relationship that is broken just so you can avoid the messiness of a break-up or divorce. It’s a fine line.

I’ve come up with a few issues that are “deal-breakers,” meaning that you and your partner really need to come to an understanding on the subject or the relationship probably won’t survive. I’ve also got a few issues that may seem hugely important, but can probably be settled with a good, old-fashioned compromise. Take a look:

1.) Marriage/kids: If this thing is serious, this applies. If not, skip to point #2. If you see yourself spending your life with this lucky person, you’re going to want to be on the same page about holy matrimony and rugrats. The order of these two things is up to you. This is the 21st century, after all. If your life won’t be complete without a ring and/or 2.5 kids and this idea makes him projectile vomit, it’s better to move on now instead of wasting everyone’s time.

You might argue that you want to enjoy this person for a while even if the relationship has an end date, but I think it’s better to skip a lot of hurt feelings and wasted emotion. “But….but…we can compromise,” you say to me. Sure you could try to compromise, but I think this issue is too important to compromise on. Someone is going to end up with resentment. It could be you as you’re dressing up your dog and putting her in a baby stroller, or it could be him as he’s waking up at 4 a.m. to change poopy diapers. It’s better to find someone with the same type of life plan.

2.) Trust: This is so important it deserves a flashing neon sign. If you are not 150% positive that this person could go anywhere with anyone and not cheat on you, then it’s not worth it. You will fight about (what seems to be) other things, but in the end you will actually be misplacing your anger about the fact that you can’t trust him. Plus you won’t want to let him out of your sight, and that sucks for both of you.

3.) Travel: You need to agree on what is an acceptable travel schedule. If your guy has to travel every weekend for work and you’re fine with that, then that is fabulous. If your guy has to travel every weekend for work and you hate it, then this is a problem. You can’t be fighting every Thursday night and making up every Sunday evening. You need to figure out what your idea of doable is and make sure that lines up with his idea of doable. There is no right answer to this. It’s what is acceptable for you guys.

4.) Work: This is along the same lines of travel. If you’re a part of the most demanding major your school has to offer, you need to make sure that your boyfriend is okay with you disappearing between the hours of 8am-midnight every day. Again, there is no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. If it works for you and it works for him, then that’s all that matters.

There are other issues that walk the fine line between smaller problems and deal-breakers. For example: You think his friends are annoying and immature. This is a small problem. You can find a way to tolerate these guys in small doses. Eye rolls are allowed as long as no one catches you. However, if you think his friends are telling him horrible lies about you and encouraging him to cheat, then this is probably a deal-breaker.

How about this: His mom makes no effort to get to know you and is generally an ice queen. It’s easy to assume that this is a deal-breaker, but I think (with a little patience and effort) you could work through this. This is a small problem. However if his mom constantly tries to convert you to her religion or tells you to lose twenty pounds, this is a deal-breaker. You’re stuck with your own family members and their quirks. You don’t need anyone else’s family harassing you. Just make sure you take a moment to analyze where the issues you’re facing fall. Are they small problems or deal-breakers? Something that seems insurmountable may just take a little while to work through.

The bottom line is this: before you go breaking up or buying an engagement ring, it’s a good idea to take stock of your relationship. What do you fight about? Is it really a deal-breaker issue, or is it actually a small (slightly annoying problem) that can be fixed with some effort? Does the relationship mean enough to you to put some effort in? Are you actually angry about what you’re fighting about, or is your anger coming from another issue that you are too scared/confused/anxious to address? Just some things to consider.

What do you ladies think?

 ♥AUTHOR: LAUREN LEVINE of “Life With Lauren”

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