Relationship 101: How Not to Have a Tabloid-Worthy Love Life

So you swear you never peek at the tabloids or follow Hollywood gossip. “Beyonce who?” you ask. Or “What is a Kardashian?” you wonder. Even so—it’s practically impossible to avoid news of the latest celebrity breakup. If you check your e-mail, stand in line at the grocery store, or turn on the morning news, you will hear something about somebody’s dysfunctional love life. And even if you don’t care about the state of “Brangelina” or J-Lo’s latest boy toy, we can all learn something from their breakups. The truth is, celebrity relationships are no different than ours. They may seem like real-life on steroids, but they all date, marry, break up, and rebound for the same reasons we do.

The day after Kim Kardashian announced the end of her 72-day marriage, she tried to explain what went wrong. Before her “momager” Kris Jenner started doing damage control, we believe Kim shared the truth about why she went through with a wedding she knew was wrong from the start. She said she was caught up in the  “fairytale, ”and she ignored the obvious red flags in the relationship. She also said that she didn’t want to let everyone down and that it was too late to call off the wedding. Once the backlash started, Kim’s PR team got involved and it was suddenly ex-husband Kris Humphries’s fault!

Fast forward to Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s announcement that their 14-month marriage was over. What went wrong? Again, it was a case of two people who got caught up in the idea of being married without thinking through the long-term. Were they compatible? Did they want the same things out of life? Like so many people they ignored their gut feelings and went ahead with a marriage that they both deep down knew probably wouldn’t last.

Like Katy and Kim, a lot of us regular people wind up in relationships that aren’t right for us. We know it, but we stay anyway. What are these reasons?

1. Loneliness and insecurity

Latching on to someone for the sake of latching on will not make you feel better. It might work for a while, but it won’t last. Want unconditional love? Start with yourself.

2. Belief that a relationship is a solution to their problems

Don’t look to a man—or a relationship—to solve your problems. Figure out what’s really bothering you—your job, unrealistic expectations of yourself and others, your harried 21st-century lifestyle—and tackle your issues by yourself.

3. External pressures (passing time, friends, family, etc.)

No one’s opinion matters more than your own. Don’t let outside pressure or some arbitrary timetable dictate your life. It won’t end well.

4. Belief that you can fix your partner, or vise versa

It’s not your job to fix him or change him. And you shouldn’t change who you are in order to make any relationship work. If you need something fixed, hire a handyman. If you need to fix yourself, find a good therapist.

5. Ignoring red flags and gut feelings

Instincts are to relationships what Pepto-Bismol is to indigestion. Your gut feelings are your internal warning system. Ignore them at your own peril.

Any of this sound familiar? If you’re in a relationship, ask yourself which reason resonates with you . . . and why. If you’re single, promise you won’t let these reasons lead you astray. The bad news is if you date (and ultimately marry) for any of these reasons, you will most likely end up in divorce court. The good news is that you won’t end up on the front page of the National Enquirer! But what’s best of all is you will have a much happier life if you date and marry the right guy (or girl) for the right reasons.

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