Sunday, July 17, 2016

"We do not feel this takes away from us being a family"

The American actress Drew Barrymore has filed for divorce from her husband Will Kopelman with whom she has two young daughters. Announcing the divorce, the couple wrote in a press release that:
Sadly our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family.

I have heard this before - the claim that after divorce you are all still a family just like before, that nothing significant changes. And I really don't understand the mentality behind it - maybe readers can suggest to me what is going through a person's mind who says something like this.

After all, a divorce dissolves a family. It means that a father and mother no longer live together; they are likely to go off and find other partners and form households with them; it means that the unique little community that a family once was no longer exists.

I can only think that some people are beginning to separate in their minds, as two different things, the raising of children platonically with the children's father/mother and the pursuit of romantic and sexual fulfilment with someone else. In other words, family is something you do separately to the pursuit of romantic and sexual fulfilment. If you are comfortable with this idea, then perhaps you might well think of 'separate household families' as being part of a normal family life.

I don't really know if this is what is happening, I'm just speculating. But when I read the quote "Sadly our family is separating legally, although we do not feel this takes away from us being a family" I am still struck by it. Divorce does not take away from you being a family? Then does marriage have nothing to do with family? Does growing up together in a family unit have nothing to do with being a family?

8 comments:

  1. It's the classic Beta bux, alpha fux strategy pursued by Western females.

    And to think, there are some people who still blame men.

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  2. Denial is a very powerful tool. It allows us to lie to ourselves whilst we either deal with the overwhelming issue, or find another way to lie to ourselves indefinitely. In this case its probably being used as a justification to separate as they know in reality that their decision will significantly harm their children, but their own selfish ambitions won't allow them to work through the issues, so they tell themselves that they will be able to operate as a 'family' so they can still separate with out too much guilt; Sick and sad really.
    ps. Liberalism is based on denial.

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  3. It means we are not responsible for any of the negative repercussions this decision means.

    Saying the right words, having the right intentions, fixes all.

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  4. That is how women justify doing what they want to do - usually, sleeping with a new man.

    Other rationales include "better to divorce than raise kids in an unhappy home environment."

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  5. Thanks to all four commenters for their excellent observations, they were all helpful. I hope, if I have time, to write a follow up post to this.

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  6. I think a pr person wrote this. Sadly Barrymore & Koppelman just want to protect their image and the public finds this an acceptable situation. They likely only communicate through their assistants now.

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  7. "I can only think that some people are beginning to separate in their minds, as two different things, the raising of children platonically with the children's father/mother and the pursuit of romantic and sexual fulfilment with someone else. In other words, family is something you do separately to the pursuit of romantic and sexual fulfilment. If you are comfortable with this idea, then perhaps you might well think of 'separate household families' as being part of a normal family life. "

    I think that's a brilliant insight. Even over here in America I've noticed a trend towards an almost buddy-buddy relationship between spouses whilst at the same time the children are regarded more as furniture. Thought and imagination is put into the romantic relationship between spouses. But the relationship between parents and children receives no imagination at all. They seem to be viewed more as the natural by-product of romance than as distinct human beings in their own right.

    As such, they are put into school, and given a bare-minimum amount of guidance. I've watched parents and children bizarrely grow apart over time. The parents still go about life focused on each other. But the children are increasingly aware that they aren't part of the equation. The children come to resent their parents in time, and the parents respond with a sort of on-again-off-again attempt to improve relations. But by this time the children are usually in their mid to late teens, and the parents, by never paying any attention to them, don't know their children hardly at all. Thus all their attempts at reconciliation make things worse, since every word and action betrays the ignorance that their lack of interest fostered.

    Back to Barrymore and Kopelman: I don't think their announcement is meant to cover guilt. I think instead, as you said, they regard child-raising and marriage to be two different things. There is a little natural twinge of guilt, that causes them to say they still think they can be a family. But it's not an advanced idea at all. It has no form in their minds. As such, it's a vague, nagging notion that gets pushed aside in pursuit of what _is_ clear and distinct: their desires for new lovers.

    I doubt there is even the least malignancy in Barrymore or Kopelman. I doubt there is consumptive selfishness in either of them. But to understand what's good for children requires intellectual development that actors are famous for not having.

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  8. "I've watched parents and children bizarrely grow apart over time."

    Yes, that's another striking development in the modern family. It's not just "teenage rebellion phase" stuff - but, for instance, sons just not feeling much connected to their mothers even at the age of, say, ten. I don't recall it being this way in my own childhood, not in my own family nor amongst my friends.

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