Friday, March 19, 2010

Sandra and Jesse

I know I shouldn't, don't have time, but I have to throw my two cents in here.

Every morning, Monday through Friday, although some weeks more than others, I watch the morning news. Local, national, international. I can't help it. I like seeing people moving on teev while easing into the day with my morning coffee.

And all week long, nothing but talk of Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. Remember that spread in People, had to be over a year ago? How happy they were?

Since her recovery movie, 28 Days, I've been a fan of Ms. Bullock. And as a fan, it hurts to hear that Mr. James cheated on her. She deserves better. She didn't cheat on him.

We hear it's ego, you know. The spouses of several "best actresses" in recent years have cheated on their starlet wives, seeking to beef up deflated egos. Jesse James (gotta love that name) isn't the first spouse of an Oscar winner, and he won't be the last, to feel threatened by a woman's power, popularity, fame, and beauty. The girl, if she's the best, will be in demand.

Best actresses have egos, too, which can be a problem. Everyone loves them, they feel their guy does, why wouldn't he? The doc tells us that stars should worry about this, that their men have egos and these egos will demand attention. If she's on a shoot for eleven months, someone will fill in the emptiness. This is what it's about, ego and power, and now we're hearing, loneliness, chaval (rhymes with duh-doll, Hebrew meaning a shame).

The family therapy take? Cheating is transgenerational, at least it can be. Your dad shows you the notches on his belt, gives you permission. Alternatively, if he says, "That's not what we do," you listen, usually. Not always, of course, but some do. The psychological dope on cheating is that it's some form of passive-aggression, anger, some sense of deserving. The affair is usually never as good, by the way, the sex is not as good, as it is at home.

The most important variable, the one not spoken, is commitment. It's when the commitment is gone, or when the commitment was never there, that at least one of the two partners is vulnerable to extracurricular activity, regardless of sexual identification. This is why, when you do that initial assessment, commitment is the first thing you talk about with a couple, along with that transgenerational stuff.

And you do it in individual visits, too, not when they're together all cozy on the sofa.

The good news is that a person can re-commit at any time. Those re-commitment ceremonies are cheaper than divorce and everyone loves them. You get presents.

But yeah, she'll take that grudge to the grave, honey. You can count on it. Famous or not.



CiCi said...

I know it is possible to stay together or get back together after one has a fling. I just don't believe there is ever the trust without thinking about it any longer. You can accept what happened, understand it hurt so much, decide to keep what you already have, but it won't ever be the true trust any longer. Even if no one sees a sign of mistrust on the outside, it is hidden away peeking out humming the quiet hum of never trust again. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I am not famous, but my ex realized that all his co workers like me, invited me to their otherwise co-worker get togethers, and then, I did something absolutely out of control -- I went to college. He couldn't handle it and within a couple of years walked out on me, but not before having several affairs to throw in my face. His way of knocking me down a knotch or two. He is the one who had to tell me that he "has a big f*4#king ego." Egos are ugly.

Lily said...

I generally don't pay attention to these things or get all worked up over them, but this one hurts. She seems like such a good person and really appeared to be happy.

Cyndi said...

Great post! I was shocked to hear about this one, although I don't know why. How many celebrity relationships are all that they seem? I have found it actually is possible to release that grudge after an affair, although it did take me 10 years + marriage and individual counseling. I did nurture it lovingly for those 10 years though. :) And back to this always kills me that they cheat with some random bimbo...I suppose it feeds their ego that they are higher up on the celebrity food chain than the person with whom they are cheating, right?

Wait. What? said...

Having been in Sandra's position, I can agree with you in that the grudge (pain of it maybe is better word for me) will go to my grave with me.

Glimmer said...

Mother would have a simple explanation for this one. And right now, I feel like agreeing with her: Sandra B. is just too good for him.

Mark said...

I was very sorry to hear about Sandy and Jessie. Cheating is as you said usually and act of aggression more that anything else. It is important that we maintain our commitments and not take each other for granted. Probably even more so in a celebrities world because they are exposed to many more opportunities than the average Joe/Jane.
Being in the spotlight of gossip hungry media does not help at all.

LDUTheCoach said...

Well if it isn't a gallery of this sexy (cough cough discusting) tattooed looking piece of yuck...
check it out, i'll admit it is worth it lol

damn shes nasty!!

Wendy said...

I did. I'm sorry I did. We've been together 31 years (this happened in year 17), 5 children, somehow forgiveness works when you really want it. It wasn't about ego and power, it was about SOMEONE PAY SOME FRICKEN ATTENTION TO ME!! Some may call that ego and power, now I call it pathetic, but we moved on and survived. I'm glad we did, we found ourselves at a different level - something deeper. It made us survivors - and later we badly needed that confidence that we were and could be survivors when we lost a child to suicide.

Isle Dance said...

Somehow I missed this entire story, but I'm so glad you said something.


She gave an interview, way back when (dating? engagement?), that had me concerned.

I heard little pitter-patter red flags spelling potential control/abuse.

And it wasn't on her part.

jss said...

What Wendy said. I'd like to second that.

It's all so easy for those of us looking on from the outside to judge the behavior of others when we have absolutely no idea what is going on in the life of the participants. Maybe she has a part in it. Maybe his cheating is a wake-up call to her to re-assess where she is falling short in the marriage. And maybe after a wake-up call they can both do what is necessary to find and fix the problems and maybe, just maybe she won't carry the grudge to her grave.

Affairs are not always just 'cheating'.

Isle Dance said...

For some reason, I'm now wanting to share my opinion on the cheating and who-is-responsibile factor.

Not sure if this is right or wrong, but it's definitely what I'm thinking...

Freely choosing an affair is the sole responsibility of the person freely choosing an affair.

Not only has the person cheating now devastated the ability of a child to trust a parent or a solid emotional and physical foundation, but...

The person cheating is now also directly responsible for putting the life of the other partner (they were supposed to protect) in permanent harms way...

-For STDs
-For future cervical cancer
-For hepatitis
-For future liver damage/cancer

Take your pick.

And the cheater needs to accept the consequences (take their medicine) if attorneys/courts hold them responsible or take them for everything they've got.

For the cheater ((cannot)) give safe health back to the one who trusted them to stay faithful. (Come hell or high water.)

Unhappy in a marriage? Speak up. Work on it. Or get out.

But cheat? It's called cheating for a reason.

(Of course, the cheater has issues, too, which deserve help. But not at the hands of permanently hurting another.)

Anonymous said...

I wonder how it is possible to know with certainty that Sandra Bullock never had another relationship with someone while married. It can be awfully hard to see into another person's marriage even when you know someone well, never mind when the parties involved are as remote from my life as movie stars are. I think I remember TD, that you said something similar about the wife of the governor of South Carolina, that you could tell by looking at her that she was a nice person. If I'm remembering that right, I'd wondered then, too, how one can be absolutely certain, as an observer of politics from a distance, whether or not she is nice.

I think marriage can be a good thing for people but it is, after all, just a relationship. Sometimes relationships fall apart, for all kinds of reasons, and not necessarily in a neat and tidy way. I keep thinking of a friend of mine who died from Lou Gehrig's a number of years ago. She lived for 7 years, substantially longer than people do with such a diagnosis. She was also frank about the fact that her sexual relationship with her husband ended long before that 7 years was up. There were those among us who were her closest friends who, toward the end, expressed the hope that perhaps her husband had found some other relationship to help sustain him. None of us would have faulted him if he had. Though it is probably best if a relationship (a marriage) remains exclusive between two people, I think sometimes it is the cultural sense that Marriage is more important than the people in the marriage, sometimes to their detriment.

Glimmer said...

That was an amazing comment, Anonymous! Even more amazing is the fact that it took a catastrophic diagnosis, perhaps, to strip away the artifice. And even when we see that artifice, we pretend we don't because to do so threatens structures like marriage as a whole. At least I think that's what you are saying. And I totally agree.

And you are absolute correct that we cannot look at Sandra B. and think that she has been the wronged one. Also just because he took up with a strumpet (love that word, therefore do not use it in a perjorative sense). What if they agreed ahead of time on an "open" marriage and things got out of hand due to Mz. chatterbox? Then they agreed on this story to make sure SB's career was not jettisoned. Wilder things have happened in "real" life, I can testify to that.

Anonymous said...

Glimmer, it has struck me at time, over the years, that people will try to save marriages that, if it were "only" a relationship without marriage probably friends would be urging their friend to end the relationship.

I think there are good marriages around. I think there are also people who struggle to stay in bad marriages because there are a lot of societal/cultural pressures to stay. I think there is some feeling that Marriage will be threatened, and that our culture will be threatened, if we don't treat this one kind of relationship as if it is sacred. To be clear, I think it is probably, though not always, a good system for raising children. Exceptions would be when the parents fight a lot or make their children responsible for the parents emotional well-being. There may be other exceptions, too. I do think that shared responsibilities become a kind of "glue" to holding people together. But that seems a separate issue from the idea that Marriages must be saved, even when it is harming the people in them. I think it is this that may sometimes lead to some people developing emotional relationships with others outside the formal marriage.

I know of a relationship where two people are living together who are not married to each other, one of them married to someone else, that someone else being a woman who is in prison for embezzling money, a situation that led to financial difficulties so complicated that the husband can't get divorced without losing everything he has since it is jointly owned.

For whatever it's worth, I've been married for 29 years to the same person. I've also listened to a lot of people, observed quite a few marriage relationships, some of which ended when they didn't really need to and others that have far outlasted any kind of benefit to the parties involved who struggle to stay married for the children or for appearances in their communities or because of religions that support Marriage as more important than anything else including what actually goes on in the marriage.

Sometimes there are situations that don't make it clean and neat and tidy or as simple as, just get divorced. And people struggle to do what they can to maintain a marriage while also trying to get something of their emotional needs met. It isn't always passive aggressiveness, nor anger, nor about thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. And it isn't always simple, neat and clean. Life is messy and many, if not most people, are doing the best they can.

therapydoc said...

Wow, what a great conversation going on in the room. Just a note, if I say that I can tell by looking at someone that he/she is a nice person, doesn't mean I'm right all the time. I tend to err on the idealizing side, try to see the nice in everyone, and the reasons they do the things they do. It's not about finding one person good, the other bad. In this situation, a man has admitted to carrying on a relationship outside of his marriage. If Sandra and Jesse brought this to me, to my office to fix, I'd start with the deception and what that was about, not the affair. It's the dishonesty that wrecks the marriage, not the affair. Nobody's perfect, although it's nice, I gotta' tell you, to be able to idealize your spouse and not have to lose that lens. So sometimes you have to rearrange your brain so your lens is still in focus.

Susan said...

28 Days is a great movie!

My two cents on's cheating, it's dishonering your commitment to another person and it happens because of anger and resentment and pain and all those things but it doesn't make it right, no matter how much you rationalize it.

"I am having a bad day! The worst damn day of my whole damn life! If it is not too much to ask will you all just back the f*** off! " Gwen from 28 Days

Anonymous said...

porn star, and then bombshell tatoo girl...all i can say is...he is NO vanilla in the bed room...GOOD for you Sandra!!! She, im sure had a fantastic uninhibited time in the boudoir for the 5 or so years they were together! and her on screen work showed it! now dump the cheating bastard and move on!

Brian said...

I'm glad someone finally thought that there could possibly be another side to this story (thanks anonymous)..I've always thought that Jesse James was one scary dude. I've never been a fan. I still have no idea WHY Sandra ended up with him? Isn't he what we all thought he would be? Does anyone ever ask what Sandra was doing with such a sleaze? Anyway, the one thing I know about Hollywood is that things are NEVER what they seem..There is ALWAYS some kind of act going on..Nothing is real..Sandra did a great job making us believe that she had a fairytale love, but she's always been a great actress.. I go back to my gut on this..I'm glad they are apart..They never seemed like a good fit..I'll never fully believe that Sandra was a perfect angel, just like I will never fully believe Jesse was a great guy because Sandra said he was..
At the end of the day, both Jesse and Sandra go out of the relationship just like they came in. Jesse as a hardcore idiot, and Sandra as a sweetheart. That's hollywood.

therapydoc said...

It's true, whatever we read about famous people we only read what we read. They're complicated, no more, no less than we are. But wow, don't we ever want to believe what we want about them. It's called projection.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled on this blog - like finding a gold mine . . .Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Therapy Doc,

Can you tell me why mud will stick to the woman who interfered in Sandra's marriage but it wont stick so much to Jessie James?

For example look at the Tiger Woods scenario, the women he was with are still called "hos" in the media. Yet, he is going back to work golf, he is still with Nike and within 18 months this will be a bad memory for him. But for the women he was with they will always be the "hos" who slept with Tiger Woods. Is it because it is there only claim to fame? Or, is it because it is more acceptable for a man to sleep around than a woman?

I'm interested in your thoughts.

Love your blog,


therapydoc said...

Maree, I think that "acceptable" is always in the eye of the beholder, but being sexual is certainly not as stigmatic for women or men, as it used to be.

Some would go so far as to say that women and men who are not sexually active have problems, are repressed, or some such label. I say that with an attitude, and believe that generalizing about anything can be, usually is, ridiculously short-sighted. Whenever I generalize on the blog, my readers slam me, thanks all.

All that in mind, sexual competition is probably still frowned upon, and the "other woman", or the "other man" will still suffer aspersions, will take the blame when a supposedly monogamous person "falls" for a "seduction."

What I think is that monogamous people don't fall for seductions. Monogamy actually implies commitment and promises of fidelity. Some people keep 'em, promises, some don't.

Anonymous said...

This was a very hard post for me to read. Four days ago my husband told me of all the ways he has betrayed me over the past 12 years, since the last time he told me of such dalliances and made promises to stay faithful. Interestingly, he know he was going to be making this disclosure and forwarded me your blog any way.

My emotions have run the gamut from anger to compassion to fear to shame and everything else. I do not know what the future holds for our relationship. I do know that my trust is shot and I am not sure it will ever be regained.

Reading everyone's comments was helpful. I am surprised no one brought up the sex addiction issue. In our case, my husband is a sex addict, sober now for one year. It is a disease like every other addiction. So, does marrying in sickness and in health make a difference?

therapydoc said...

Ho boy. We haven't scratched the surface with sex addictions. Worthy of its own post, for sure, an anwer to that. If i don't get to it soon, poke me.