Demi and Ashton. What can we say? After we get past all the Monday morning quarterbacking about how everyone knew it was bound to happen to the cougar/cub power couple, the announcement that she's ending their 6-year marriage really appears to boil down to a simple case of betrayal. (At least as far as we know.)
One of the most painful experiences in life is betrayal. It always triggers the knee jerk response... ‘How Could You Do This To Me?’
Not only is it heart wrenching, but it gets even more so when you layer it with the humiliation of feeling exposed and looking like a fool in everyone's eyes. While anyone who is dealing with the aftermath of deception goes through this in dealing with their family, friends and colleagues, the magnitude of exposure for a celebrity under the glare of the spotlight can, at times, accelerate the incineration of a marriage.
That said, it really does depend on the two people going through the ordeal. In my book, How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust after Betrayal, I talk about how a couple must evaluate the relationship they have with each other, the love they share, the time and history they have spent together to determine if it is worth it to try to repair the damage.
Infidelity and betrayals abound. For some couples who actually fight through it and heal, their marriages get stronger (it’s actually true, I’ve seen it in my practice.) For others (many others), the hurt, anguish, rejection, and rage from the broken trust are simply too much to surmount.
Without a doubt , Demi Moore loved Ashton Kutcher to such a degree that, from the very beginning of their relationship, she was willing to do whatever it took, including taking on the public disapproval of the big age difference between them. She stood by her guy and, in the beginning, it looked like he stood by her. They exposed themselves to their millions of Twitter fans regularly, tweeting about their marriage, even showing photos of themselves in their home on a regular basis.
That really set the tone of their love and devotion, their willingness to go the distance to keep their love alive.
Then, the rumors started. Cracks were visible and the lovey-dovey tweets ground to a halt. Recent reports claim Ashton cheated on Demi with a 22-year-old woman named Sara Leal. The alleged one night stand reportedly occurred in September on the couple's wedding anniversary.
If she is now saying that she's come to the end of the road, it seems that perhaps the obstacles to rebuild broken trust no longer seem possible.
This decision appears to have come after a prolonged period of pain, one that Demi has given great thought to and after she gave the marriage the chance to recover.
Sometimes, it is not so much the public humiliaition as much as what it means to one's own self esteem that makes all the difference in the end.
So ending the marriage can become the beginning of reclaiming your lost self esteem. Who knows if that's the case here...but we wish them the best. Divorce is never pretty.
Jane Greer, Ph.D., is a nationally known marriage and family therapist with a thriving private practice for over twenty years. Her latest book: What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, published by Sourcebooks. She is the author of How Could You Do This to Me? Learning to Trust after Betrayal, published by Doubleday, The Afterlife Connection: A Therapist Reveals How To Communicate With Departed Loved Ones by Saint Martin’s Press, Gridlock: Finding The Courage To Move On In Love, Work And Life and Adult Sibling Rivalry, published in hardcover by Crown and paperback by Fawcett.