On The Brad And Angelina Divorce – My Last Bus Stop Theory

Opinion

I’m not a huge fan of celebrity hookups and marriages. Yes of course some of them are just absolutely adorable but the heartbreak that comes when such couples announce their divorce – not cool at all. Look at the last few years, we’ve had: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes Chris…

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I’m not a huge fan of celebrity hookups and marriages. Yes of course some of them are just absolutely adorable but the heartbreak that comes when such couples announce their divorce – not cool at all. Look at the last few years, we’ve had:

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
  • Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes
  • Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson
  • Guy Ritchie and Madonna

I could go on and on and on but no matter how I feel about these marriages, celebs are also human beings and they also deserve to be happy. Thankfully we still have couples like Will and Jada, Bey and Jay, Kim and Ye still going strong (for now) so it’s not all doom and gloom. However, after Brad and Angelina announced their divorce yesterday, I thought to share a few things I’ve had on my mind concerning marriage and divorce.

To begin with, if you look at the list I have above you’ll notice that most of the couples are Americans married in the US (with the exception of Chris Martin). Now, lets look at marriage and divorce in the US. I did a quick search online and found the following stats:

  • Number of marriages: 2,140, 272 (49 reporting States and D.C)
  • Marriage rate: 6.9 per 1,000 total population (49 reporting States and D.C)
  • Divorce rate: 3.2 per 1,000 population (45 reporting States and D.C.)

As an average Nigerian, you’ll probably say this information is quite scary. To think their divorce rate is almost half of the marriage rate is indeed worrisome right? And I used the Nigerian context because another quick search showed the following as our marriage and divorce numbers for Nigeria:

0.2% of men and 0.3% of women have legally untied the knot, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. And well under 1% of couples admit to being separated.

But of course, we know data gathering isn’t our strong point in this part of the world and as such, this data definitely excludes majority of Nigerians, who only got married traditionally. It is also important to note that despite the inaccurate nature of our data, the numbers provided by the NBS still shows that separation is about five times more than divorce in Nigeria.

How does all of this tie in and where am I going with this? To start off, the divorce and marriage rate figures for the US weren’t so surprising to me. Why? Because for the average American, divorce, no matter how hard it is to take, is just another part of life. It’s a norm for them – one could even say it’s a part of their culture. However, for us in this part of the world, it’s almost some sort of taboo.

Let me explain it this way. For the average American, marriage is a race while for us, its more like a journey on a one-way road. In a race, say even a marathon, you can get half way and feel tired, exhausted and just drop out. You entered it willingly and even though you might be tagged a failure or feel disappointed with yourself for not completing the race, it’s all well and good – life goes on. On the flip side, we tend to see marriage more like a journey on a one-way road. Yes, you also decide to take the journey willingly (even though you can be dragged into it sometimes), but with a journey on a one way road, you’re going from point A to B and even though you can stop along the way to catch your breath or do whatever, there really is no turning back. You just have to make it to point B. This probably explains why we have more separations than divorces in Nigeria. This is the norm for us and you can also say it has become part of our culture. This is why from as long as I can remember, people use such terms as “my last bus stop” when referring to their spouse in Nigeria.

I’m one person who is very vocal about the need for aspects of our culture to become more dynamic so as to help us grow as a people and many attack me for thinking I want to change all aspects of our culture. Today, I’m glad I will be siding with this aspect of our culture because I believe for anyone going into a long term relationship – especially one with legal and religious commitments, having this ‘last bus stop mindset’ is extremely important.

I don’t know about you guys but whenever I go into something knowing I can always get out of it, my level of commitment has already been compromised. In terms of relationships, a simple example here is a casual relationship. You’re 20, he’s 22 and you guys are just messing around. Yes, he has asked you to be his girlfriend officially and you guys have been dating for two years but as long as there’s no commitment beyond “let’s see how things go”, either of you can easily leave the relationship and no body will die. With more serious relationships like an engaged couple or a married couple, I have come to realise that the moment either half of the couple begins to find excuses for having options for his/her partner, that’s like building a bridge towards the end of that relationship.

I believe every man and woman should go into a marriage with the mindset of “this is last person I’m ever going to have sex with”. Heck, you could even go as far as accepting your partner will be the last person you will ever make out with. Accepting this not only emphasises the commitment you made before man and God but it helps or rather ‘forces’ you to do all you need to do to remain committed to this extremely tough decision.

Oh, you thought I’d say this is a piece of cake? HELL NO! If you haven’t gotten married, I’m sorry to break it to you but – this is possibly one of the hardest things you will do – EVER (And I’m less than two years in this so this isn’t solely based on my experience). I’ve written a lot about the male ego and the emotional side of women. These two factors alone make it super super difficult to stick to this script. Something as simple as finding another ‘gist partner’ instead of your husband because he never really listens to you is a red flag. It seems so fickle right? But the moment you start telling that your male colleague all the things you should be telling your husband you’re creating an exit door. Let’s not even talk about the more serious stuff like sex. So your wife isn’t into the things you’re into in the bedroom so you decide to visit prostitutes to ease the pain. That’s an exit.

The hard alternative is to sit with your wife, talk it out till you find a reasonable/compromise-able middle ground. And don’t get it twisted, ‘exit doors’ don’t always come in the form of other people. Take for instance the guy I mentioned above. Let’s say instead of visiting prostitutes, he decides to masturbate. Yes, some will say there’s nothing wrong with learning how to please yourself every now and then – also, technically he’s not cheating on his wife right? WRONG. If a guy goes from the occasional wank maybe whenever his wife isn’t around to a regular thing as a way of giving himself what his wife can’t give, that’s a MAJOR exit door right there because that has technically given him an alternative to his wife.

The Americans and Europeans are brought up in a way that they understand that there’s always an “out” in marriage and so they really don’t need to go out of their way to create exit doors. If you’re not a celeb with millions of dollars that you have to split with some guy or woman who broke your heart, it’s almost not a big deal. I’ve met regular American’s who have divorced twice and don’t have a problem with doing it again. As far as they’re concerned, marriage is trial and error. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the norm in their society and even though I think it’s only down to the fact that their system is so effective and as a result, getting a divorce is so easy, it is what it is.

Before some people come at me, let me state clearly that there are exceptions to every rule. Every contract has terms, clauses and what not. Even though I strongly support this ‘last bus stop theory’ if you can call it that, I do not support people staying in abusive relationships. Yes, the vows talk about ‘sickness and health’ and all that but it doesn’t say you should stick around if your husband abuses you or even worse, your kids every day. All I’m saying is, there is a stronger possibility for a serious relationship/marriage to work out if both parties go into it with the mindset of having to alternatives.

For a lot of guys marriage is check box. They look round and pick whoever they feel will make a good mother to their kids but not a ride or die partner who they can stand for the rest of their lives knowing the are stuck with them forever. For most of our women nowadays, marriage is about the change in status – being addressed as Mrs., having an elaborate wedding and having kids. When push comes to shove, their emotional side takes over and they find other people or things to run to.

Not having that ‘out’ has its disadvantages – a lot of them actually. After watching my parents remain in a loveless marriage for several years all in the name of staying in a marriage, trust me, I know. However, I think the positives outnumber the negatives but that’s up for debate and that’s where I’d like your input today. Please use the comment box to share your thoughts.

Responses

  1. Lipglossmaffia
    Damn!
    I can’t even say anything. But i love the last bus stop thingy. I feel like the folks getting married now, NEED to make this a conscious effort/decision.
    For now, i’m still drowning in tears. This separation is paining me, I can’t lie.
  2. Kels
    Good article, too many typos.
    When the news broke yesterday, what hit me most was the glee a lot of people took it with. Like they’d been patiently waiting for it to happen (myself included). I was sad for the kids though.
    So many people :read – Nigerians are gradually losing faith in the concept of marriage, that much was clear yesterday.
      1. no2_efx
        I have a hypothesis. Remember how people used to say “Nigerians never emulate foreign countries positives, only their negatives…”..?

        Now as much as that’s not 100% accurate, it is true that due to the advent of the internet, and also the constant consumption of western media by our citizens, we’re learning things. We may deny it. We may brush it off as just entertainment and a past time but the truth is our exposure to western media, of all kinds, will shape how we see things little by little. So that also means our attitude towards commitment and marriage can be re-shaped, even if its just a little.

      2. Evelyn.
        Really tools, isn’t it obvious. The ‘marriage lifespan’ is dwindling by the years. It works you stay stay put, it doesn’t, well there’s the door. That’s the new normal in today’s world… Which is why some men would rather have baby mama’s that wifeys* l, one less thing to worry about right? I’m team marriage if you are sure you’ve met ‘the one’, if not, please take your time, no rush.
      3. Evelyn
        Really tools, isn’t it obvious. The ‘marriage lifespan’ is dwindling by the years. It works you stay stay put, it doesn’t, well there’s the door. That’s the new normal in today’s world… Which is why some men would rather have baby mama’s that wifeys* l, one less thing to worry about right? I’m team marriage if you are sure you’ve met ‘the one’, if not, please take your time, no rush.
  3. Uche
    This marriage thing. Scares me. Of course in my head I don’t want to be prime breeding partner, and I don’t want to marry someone because prime breeding partner/supplier of financial needs.
      1. woyi_0c
        It’s not our fault really. It’s the times we live in. I watched this video that said that the inception of any period that is signified by ground breaking technological achievements have a way of shaping the behaviors of generation. e.g. When television came, families spent less time talking and more just sitting and watching. and that’s just TV. Now we have the HINTANET!!
  4. Ronke Adeleke
    I don’t agree with this, “If a guy goes from the occasional wank maybe whenever his wife isn’t around to a regular thing as a way of giving himself what his wife can’t give, that’s a MAJOR exit door right there because that has technically given him an alternative to his wife.”
    Does that mean the man is marrying for the purpose of sex? If that’s the case then that’s the flaw right there. I believe the fundamental problem of divorce is disillusionment. People no longer take time to know who they are with. The Bible does not say, “do not awaken love until you are ready” for fun. There are two things: know yourself and know your partner. When you know yourself, you will know what you want in a partner and knowing your partner will reveal to you if they possess those qualities. That way, there is no disillusionment.
    1. thetoolsman Post author
      Thanks for reading and commenting. In response to your comment, that statement doesn’t mean the man in question is married solely for the purpose of sex but you will agree with me that sex is a vital part of marriage.
      Vital or not though, that’s not the point I was trying to make with that statement. I agree wth you that knowing your partner is very important in marriage and knowing your partner should make communicating with them easy no matter the topic. In this scenario, the man in question decided to find an alternative solution on his own instead of maybe talking to his wife and my point is that this alternative could have potentially lead to problems down the line.
  5. Funmi
    Just to be devil’s advocate… If life expectancy is rising, divorce is more accessible and cheating is arguably rife in society, maybe expecting a life-long commitment is an unrealistic expectation for many.

    I personally think too many people don’t truly buy into permanent monogamy but society, peer pressure or whatever pushes them into it and they cheat/leave/both. The more people have an out, the more marriage/monogamy can be seen as having a good run at something and ending it when it no longer works out. E.g. Brangelina have possibly had a great 12 years and can quit now that it’s not working anymore.

    1. thetoolsman Post author
      Haha. I like this. But they’ve had an out since forever in the US and this hasn’t stopped or reduced cheating in marriages.
      I get your point though and it’s worth considering.
  6. Lipglossmaffia
    But marriage doesn’t scare me. I haven’t been in “proper conventional” relationship but marriage doesn’t scare me. And now that Brangelina made me lose a bet, i am going to bank on David and Victoria Beckham. They look like they will make it to the grave.
  7. Avese
    I too agree that a lot of people (Nigerians) are losing faith in the concept of marriage. There is this constant reminder/ nudge to get married (especially by people in loveless or turbulent marriages) and all I can think is: Why? What’s the point?
    Before I get reminded that there are happy marriages all over the place, i already know that. We all know that. But the fear that exists is: the variable in the equation. You cannot control another person. Neither can you always rightly predict them. So there’s no way of knowing that when the going gets tough Significant Other will stick it out, true true.
    Also, I think we neglect the importance of actually being happy in a marriage. I don’t mean permanently smiling and being jolly. I will refer to hapiness here as some form of contentment with your spouse that allows you plow through any mess and still feel like this person is the one.
    Disclaimer: I am not married. All this talk might be idealistic.
  8. A
    Our values are different, a wife gets cheated on here and she has to make it work; over there, they throw him out. Its sad what our culture allows but I believe just like you that the advantages supercedes the disadvantages. it keeps us grounded with the right mindset . The right mindset of building rather than breaking, We know it has to work once we cross the commitment line , whatever it takes ( abuse excluded) . Our mindsets are different. Why BradJolie was joked about, probably because we watch how they ( Americans) make an important issue seem so unimportant. I am guilty of awaiting a messy KimKanye split !
  9. Sophie
    Great article!!! The Brangelina union to me was based on a faulty foundation though so this comes as no surprise. To me marriage is no joke. For you to get it right I feel you both have to have your priorities right BEFORE getting into it. Like why do I want to get married? Is it for companionship, security, love, great sex, kids? I think most people go into marriage quite disillusioned about what it’s supposed to be. Like magically expecting faults you tolerate when dating to vanish because of marriage. It don’t work like that boo boo. Honestly, like you said the only logical reason for divorce to me is abuse. Any other thing, omo we must to work it out. No escapes here. If you truly agree with yourself that it’s really your last bus stop and there are no take backs then when there’s an issue you’ll release your arsenal to find a solution.
  10. Sharee
    Shall we also explore the possibility that not being married might place less pressure on things and possibly make the union longer? For instance, they had been together for 10 years before they got legally married in 2014. Did he not exhibit those -weed, alcohol and anger – traits in all those years? Why now?
    1. A
      Pressure is caused by fear and the wrong mindset. Would it have sounded better if they had split while unmarried and with the kids involved? If the accusations are right, then the signs were there, so why opt out now? dont forget she has been ill for a while and it appears Brad stood by , even with him literally looking worn out in their pictures. At the end, they are believers in happiness. Do whatever makes you happy!
  11. Priscilla Joy
    The concept of monogamy has gone from one person for life to one person at a time, the westerners have perfected it and it has gradually crept into our culture as Africans. what i learned is that what drives divorce and separation in marriage is the idea that “i’m happy, but i could be happier”, “what i have is ok, but there could be better/great out there” “it wasn’t meant to be this difficult, please make it easier and smoother or i’m out”and so on, which is sad because even with the one outside who may promise a greater degree of happiness or something better to the person in the marriage or the divorced there are still no guarantees seeing as people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves.

    The reason people choose their partners matter a lot, understanding that people evolve and change also matters, but the most important is knowing that your partner will choose you every single day of the rest of your lives together not minding who that “you” evolves into; and that’s where “last bus stop comes in”. I think the marriage vow should be adjusted because let’s face it, the vow is made to the person at the altar not who they’ll turn into 10 years down the line, I don’t know what it could be but please someone should think of something else we can say.

    People should also try counselling with professionals more often, seeking help with an open mind and with a commitment to making things better and stronger might do a world of good.

    1. thetoolsman Post author
      *applause*
      I love your comment.
      “but the most important is knowing that your partner will choose you every single day of the rest of your lives” — this right here sums it up and the point of this post is that hopefully, adopting this ‘last bus stop’ approach will help us get to this point.
  12. no2_efx
    It’s weird how there were fewer divorces with things like arranged marriages being a thing. I think the problem is humans think they know it all when they don’t really KNOW things. There’s this quote I heard one time where the man said “this generation of the internet where so much data can be acquired at the push of a button has the potential to KNOW a whole lot but UNDERSTAND too little.” The world is moving so fast that we get swept along by its pace. We rarely take time out to just…breathe…and think…and be bored and have all those thoughts that you usually don’t pay attention to start to bubble up to the surface.

    We’re in a world that praises the freedom of choice. The more choices the better. But having so many choices can overwhelming. How do you know which ones are good…better yet, which ones are good for YOU? Maybe the reason, or one of the reasons, our elders marriages last(ed) so long wasn’t because of the fact that they HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO STICK TOGETHER, but that they didn’t have so many alternatives that thoughts of discontentment could be entertained to the point it ruins the little good they had/have…

  13. Sophie
    Great article!!! The Brangelina union to me was based on a faulty foundation though so this comes as no surprise. To me marriage is no joke. For you to get it right I feel you both have to have your priorities right BEFORE getting into it. Like why do I want to get married? Is it for companionship, security, love, great sex, kids? I think most people go into marriage quite disillusioned about what it’s supposed to be. Like magically expecting faults you tolerate when dating to vanish because of marriage. It don’t work like that boo boo. Honestly, like you said the only logical reason for divorce to me is abuse. Any other thing, omo we must to work it out. No escapes here. If you truly agree with yourself that it’s really your last bus stop and there are no take backs then when there’s an issue you’ll release your arsenal to find a solution
  14. Tola
    I think divorce should totally be on the table especially for Nigerians. We all grow up with this insane level of pressure to be married and we cave into it without examining if that’s what we really want out of life. We tend to ostracize people who decide that it’s not for them. We say they’re not spiritual enough, they didn’t try hard enough, they’re lazy etc etc. We pass all the judgements and effectively condemn people to live miserable lives without knowing the full scope of their situation. What’s more, we push other people to stay miserably miserably married instead of happily divorced because we’re all too scared of what someone else’s marriage says about our own. ALL of that is total nonsense.

    With more and women in Nigerian society opening up and being more vocal about the domestic violence they are experiencing at home, the fact that anyone can say that is divorce is a bad thing sounds ludicrously callous. I pray none of you experience but such troubles, but if you ever do, I pray divorce is easily and readily available to you.

    Brad and Angelina live lives that we will never understand and have gone through things that we may never experience. Until you’ve gone through the things that they have gone through, you cannot know why it is they came to the conclusion that divorce is their best option.

    Lastly, I think everyone should read this book “Sacred Cows: The Truth About Divorce and Marriage” by Astro and Danielle Teller.

    1. Wuraola
      EVERYBODY knows but nobody really knows..is it me or is it just human nature to effectively place blame and judgement when someone else falls? almost like if we can put a label on it, or apply reason to it then we can separate ourselves from their ‘misfortune’-explaining what they should have done to avoid their failure..either their foundation was wrong, he should not have done this, she shouldn’t have done that, western culture promotes this…is it not the same western culture that brought us the concept of one man-one woman marriage? the abuse that everyone is using as grounds for divorce is still rife in non western cultures were marriages are seen to be ‘thriving’, or do we want to go back to polygamy? and men effectively owning their wives?

      Sometimes a bit of compassion goes a long way; its ok to say ‘I’m not sure how this thing called life works’maybe 12 years of being together and bringing up those kids was a good go; maybe being married for the rest of your life to one person, even if happily is not some prescribed destination for everyone because if it was as simple as following a formula then we’d all be successful wouldnt we?

    2. thetoolsman Post author
      I totally agree that divorce should always be on the cards (as long as there’s that possibility of things degenerating into abuse and so on, there needs to be an exit). However, I just think people going into marriage with the mindset of this exit not being there has its advantages.

      I hear you justifying the divorce option present in Nigeria because of the pressure we face to get married but let’s be honest, is that really enough reason? If someone doesn’t literally put a knife to your neck and ask you to marry against your will, can we really blame them for forcing you into marriage?

      1. Omotola Ajibade
        @thetoolsman It’s not just knives. Sometimes it’s about money and status. Sometimes these marriages are arranged. The metrics that people use when making decisions regarding whether or not to get/stay married aren’t always immediately obvious to those outside of the relationship.

        @wuraola Did you just make a John Legend Reference?? OMG I love you!!!

      2. Emmanuella
        Two things: glorifying separation over divorce is splitting hairs about the same thing. Either way, both parties have come to a mutual conclusion that there’s nothing there anymore, however they choose to move forward is just a legality.

        Divorce/Separation is. Always. In the cards. And anyone that doesn’t think so is severely delusional. According to your stats, there’s as low as a 2% chance that the love of your life might one day fade, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when it does. People being shocked about -other- people’s divorce is like being shocked that the sun sets. You don’t know their lives, and you shouldn’t hang your certainty on it.
        Let’s all just put our heads down and work on our own marriages.
        And it’s not until a marriage is abusive, that it you know it has dissolved. Ask people who have broken off engagements, it’s not always easy to walk away, but if you’re truly unhappy with someone, why stay and continue up be miserable?
        And lastly, I have a strange sympathy respect for people who have been twice/thrice divorced and still looking to marry again. You might scorn them, but those people really and truly believe in love after love. And even after a broken heart, can still find it in themselves to give love another chance. I think they are the real romantics. Lol

  15. Orlaarmy
    I kinda feel that the reason for divorce is that people think marriages should be based on love : the fickle emotion that causes butterflies to dwell in their tummies so that when the feelings settle, they crave to feel it all over again. Thereby screaming ‘I don’t love him anymore’ ‘I need to move on ‘ bla bla. But the truth is love is commitment. It means you may not have that butterfly feeling but you are committed to standing by that person. Finding new ways to make the marriage work. Commitment to give it your all, not looking for exit when the feelings are no longer burning. God did not design marriage to have a life span. Just that people already have that exit mentality. So they don’t give it their all. I totally dig the last bustop mentality. It makes you put in your all to make it work.
  16. Morris
    Jeez jeez jeez, I just had to comment before reading. I have been looking for somewhere to read and gossip (in my head) about this. I should have known TNC was here for me
  17. Mary
    “Something as simple as finding another ‘gist partner’ instead of your husband because he never really listens to you is a red flag”
    This statement struck a huge cord with me. Thanks for the article.

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