The Commodification Of Fairytales And Love

White dresses. Multi-tier cakes. Diamonds. 

Prenups. Custody battles. Lawyers.

These are expensive and synonymous with marriage and divorce. Most people get caught up in the first three expenses while hoping to never have to think about the latter three.

Marriage is ultimately an economic partnership, but it is seen in our culture as a milestone in the relationship of two people who love one another. Marriage has become a cultural product known as the industrial wedding complex. 

“Say Yes To The Dress”

As many people know, in many cultures and religions, white symbolizes purity. But what many people don’t know about wedding dresses is that white also subliminally symbolizes wealth. White is the hardest color of a garment to maintain, as stains are much more noticeable on white garments. White dresses were unsuitable for chores or labor that were traditionally assigned to women. The wedding dress was only ever meant to be worn once—on the bride’s wedding day—thus symbolizing the family’s wealth in being able to afford a dress that had almost no functional use outside of the one-day occasion. 

The fashion industry has capitalized on the notion of the wedding dress being a one-in-a-lifetime dress, drawing parallels between a bride’s wedding day to the narrative climax of a princess’s happily-ever-after in childhood fairytale stories. The illusion of reality mimicking fantasy is why shows like “Say Yes To The Dress” have become so popular in mainstream culture, and why some brides are adamant about spending an exorbitant amount of money on a dress, or even on multiple dresses, that can cost more than the average American mortgage.

“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”

Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe didn’t make diamonds the aspirational gift when she sang “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”—she merely reiterated the clever marketing messages of corporations like De Beers. The notorious “three months salary” rule pressures a prospective groom to prove his love by proposing to his prospective wife with an expensive engagement ring.

Free Wedding Preparation Stock Photo

A Fairytale Wedding Can Mean A Nightmare Divorce

A survey of over three thousand people in the United States found that couples who spend more on their weddings are more likely to get divorced.

And is it any surprise that money cannot buy love—nor happiness? What’s even more depressing is that divorce not only kills the hope of a true happily-ever-after, it can also cost far more than people can afford. 

Many couples are ashamed of the breakdown of their marriage, especially if they had an extravagant wedding. It can also be difficult to afford divorce lawyers years into the marriage, while the couple is raising a family. In many parts of the United States like Orange County, couples are choosing family law mediation over traditional divorce. In addition to usually being more affordable than litigation, mediation usually results in more mutually amicable terms rather than court rulings.  

Read K S.‘s review of McNamee Mediations on Yelp

Vanity Fair recently reported that the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is at a standstill as Jolie has filed a complaint that the judge did not allow her children to testify in court. Given the influence that celebrities have in our culture, the divorce case of Jolie and Pitt may have more people choosing mediation instead of litigation.

Divorce: Why Do People Cheat?

Cheating is a major social taboo. Those who have been cheated on know firsthand how damaging it can be to them. It is not only an act of betrayal, but it is also more than likely to cause betrayed partners to ask existential questions about themselves. It can ruin somebody’s self-confidence–or worse, it can lead to a divorce that results in suicide.

What are the reasons for cheating? Does everybody have the potential to cheat? Or does it take a special type of individual to do it? 

Reasons Why People Cheat

Experts have determined individual risk factors such as personality, gender, political orientation, and religiosity. 

One contributing factor is disconnection. A sense of disconnection can occur for different reasons. One of the most typical causes of cheating is the feeling that an individual and their partner have moved slowly apart. In this specific scenario, cheating can feel like a coping mechanism in seeking something thrilling and new when their relationship has become foreseeable and familiar. 

People also often utilize the word “love languages” to describe how they show affection and love to one another. Some partners connect more verbally by saying affectionate words, while a few may want to show affection physically by cuddling or kissing. If the love languages differ between each individual within the partnership and are not accounted for, this can leave each individual to feel that their needs are unmet. They may feel unloved and more willing to the love of somebody who seems to know them more. Hence, feeling unloved is a reason why people cheat. 

There are also instances when a partner can begin to feel a bit more like a parent and the other is like a kid, especially if cooperation is absent in the relationship. For instance, one partner may feel they need to be accountable and more mature. That partner may feel like they are the one who organizes the home, manage finances, and makes decisions, while the other does not pull their weight. An affair may then look so tempting so they can feel appreciated and equal. 

Falling out of affection and love can lead to cheating which later leads to divorce. Boredom can lead way to an affair, seeking the excitement of the chase, with passion being connected with newfound excitement and love. Few individuals can find that in their life partner. Therefore, they aren’t seeking a way out of their marriage, but they are seeking a spiced-up experience. The famous sex and relationship therapist Esther Perel discussed why cheating is not the ultimate betrayal. Having difficult conversations from the beginning about commitment and love can help couples steer clear of rocky waters, particularly when it comes to infidelity.  

Woman Playing Chess
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Life After Infedility 

Research published by the National Institutes of Health discovered that one partner in eighty-eight percent of couples cited cheating as a contributing factor in divorce. 

If you have recently been cheated on and are seeking a divorce, you may find it difficult to separate on mutual terms. In this case, consider hiring a Divorce Mediator as an alternative to traditional litigation.

Read Alexander M.‘s review of McNamee Mediations on Yelp

The saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” refers to individual motives for cheating; the quality of an individual that makes them more susceptible to cheating. You may not be able to control your partner’s susceptibility to cheating, but you can take control of your life by calling a certified mediator today.

McNamee Mediations
4590 MacArthur Blvd Suite 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States