By now, you’ve probably heard that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are no longer a couple.
The news dominated social media feeds the morning of April 3.
And even if you’re not the kind of person who goes in for celebrity couples — Me? I remember where I was when Brad and Jen announced their split — it’s probably been impossible to ignore the inevitable headlines pronouncing that the Tatum-Dewan breakup means love is over, dead, finished.
No matter what you may be feeling right now, love is most certainly not dead.
First of all, Tatum and Dewan said themselves that love is still alive and kicking in their separation announcement.
The short note to their fans on Instagram celebrated the couple’s nine years together and made it clear their love for each other — and their daughter — is still there. It’s just changed.
Which sometimes happens in relationships.
Of course, the split is still a hard pill to swallow. That’s because even though we know nothing about the couple, we expect a lot from our celebrities. And when they — the shiniest, most beautiful people — get married, we expect them to stay together forever.
Because, if they — again, the shiniest, most beautiful people — can’t make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Celebrity expectations? They’re unrealistic.
All relationships are different. And all relationships face different pressures. Tatum and Dewan, for instance, underwent intense scrutiny and idolization because of their celebrity. Could that have contributed to their breakup? We don’t know. And that’s the point!
As they shared in their statement: “There are no secrets or salacious events at the root of our decision — just two best friends realizing it’s time to take some space.”
While it’s sad when celeb couples break up — I remember where I was when Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced their split, too — their separation isn’t an automatic reflection of the overall state of marriage and relationships.
The reality is that this is actually a great time for relationships.
You’ve probably heard the oft-touted statistic that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.
But it’s probably time to let that one go. The truth is that divorce rates in the U.S. have actually declined since their peak (at 40%) in 1980. According to a 2014 New York Times report, “If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce.”
And while divorce happens for a variety of reasons, the reality is that people getting married less because “it’s a mandate” (thank you, #feminism) and more because they “love each other like whoa,” the more they stay together. According to recent stats from the National Survey of Family Growth, “the probability of a first marriage lasting at least a decade was 68% for women and 70% for men between 2006 and 2010.”
Marriage isn’t the ultimate barometer of a relationship’s success.
So, if you’re spending your summers lamenting the fact that you’re being invited to fewer and fewer weddings, don’t despair!
It’s not that people aren’t still living, laughing, and loving together like those inspirational quotes are reminding them to do. It’s just that Americans are waiting longer to get married, with some couples choosing never to get married at all.
The truth is that relationships exist on a spectrum of possibilities.
Stats won’t keep you warm at night, but at least they can remind you that one couple’s separation (or even the breakup of all your favorite celebrity pairings) isn’t a sign that love has packed up and gone home.
Relationships end. For many reasons. That’s just the way life is.
As Tatum and Dewan thoughtfully stated, “love is a beautiful adventure” — it just happens to be taking them on “different paths for now.”
Are we sad about this latest ending? Absolutely. (You can bet I’ll remember where I was when I heard Tatum and Dewan had called it quits.) But that’s no reason to rule out love on a larger scale. And if you suffer a few broken hearts along the way? Consider them learning experiences.
In the immortal words of Aaliyah: “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”