The problem with going public over private breakups
It's becoming increasingly common for celebrities to describe their breakups so they appear aspirational, writes Sophie Donaldson
If you thought your eyes couldn't roll further back than when you heard Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were 'consciously uncoupling', then brace those eyeballs.
Last week, representatives for Katy Perry and actor Orlando Bloom announced that the couple were taking "loving space". In PR speak, it means the relationship is ov-ah.
The public statement was made before the rumour mill "got out of hand". But things have been getting steadily out of hand since Gwyneth and Chris reduced the quaking pain of a breakup to the title of a self-help book. Their carefully-worded parting of ways made the act of the breakup aspirational, despite the fact that Paltrow has since described Martin as her "brother". Ick.
We'd all love a clean split but more often than not reality trumps romance. No matter how much you'd like to end things calmly matters of the heart are rarely that simple.
When you begin to wade through the murky waters of modern dating things get even messier. In the age of ghosting, in a world where you are more likely to swipe left than be swept off your feet, we need honest conversations around relationships and how they end.
As cringe-inducing as they may be there is merit to concepts like conscious uncoupling. They advocate respect, understanding and compassion at a time when it is far easier to send torrents of angry text messages.
But going to pains to let everybody know that you are sailing through your breakup just as you did through your honeymoon period is not a healthy approach. It sanitises the condition of heartbreak and dumbs down our capacity to talk about emotion.
Celebrities are not responsible for the foibles in our relationships but popular culture has immense influence. From what we wear, to how we speak, what we aspire to, we are constantly taking cues from the orchestrated celebrity world that is reflected back at us.
This extends to our romantic relationships. Think about Sex and the City's sexually liberated characters who convinced a whole generation of women to buy vibrators. Or bad boys like Johnny Depp (circa 1997, not 2017) or a modern day Leo, whose serial 'modelising' has no doubt served as inspiration for a litany of straight men. Homemade sex tapes have existed since the humble camcorder, but the leaked antics of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian have undoubtedly popularised this questionable act.
Couple this with the presence of social media and celebrity culture infiltrates our lives 10-fold. It is well documented that unattainable standards of beauty, body image and lifestyle have negative impacts on our self-worth and there's every chance the new celebrity breakup etiquette will be emulated by the masses.
The pressure to have a Rachel haircut or Jason Statham abs is one thing but imagine the emotional turmoil of having to quash your gut-wrenching sorrow because everyone else is respectfully uncoupling. If there is going to be public discourse on the matter then it's important we go for candid rather than contrived.
Amicable breakups happen all the time but no matter how mutual the decision there is going to be some iota of hurt, even if it's shared. This can be acknowledged without airily glossing over the glaring fact that something went terribly wrong. Breakups are fraught with emotion and the last thing we should feel the need to do is convince others that our former partners are immediately our best pals.
If it happens organically it can be a wonderful thing. You can hang out and it's not weird. You don't get jealous over their new partner. You may even write an adoring forward to their memoir, like Angelina did for her ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton.
If it doesn't, that's OK too. In life and relationships there will be blissful happiness and there will be screaming rows, but mostly there will be many ordinary moments.
Sometimes they are tinged with sadness and often there is no grand gesture or soap opera worthy finale.
Even Kermit the Frog knows this, and acknowledged it in his Twitter statement that he and Miss Piggy had broken up after both "thoughtful consideration and considerable squabbling". See? It needn't be nasty and it needn't be framed as the happiest of unhappy endings either.
When it comes to our own relationships, let's leave the public proclamations to the 'slebs.
If you do manage to reincarnate your romantic relationship into a plutonic one there's really no need to tell us all about it, unless you want to risk looking like a total muppet.