To separate or to divorce?

This week, three celebrity couples have announced their separations/divorce: Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, and Jessica Simpson’s new beau, Eric Johnson is finally divorced from his wife.

As explained to his 6-year-old daughter, Coco, David Arquette stated the reason for his split with Courtney was so that the couple could take “some time apart to get to know ourselves better and get to know what we want out of our mate better.” They have been married for 11 years.

Christina Aguilera said that while she and her husband are separated, “our commitment to our son Max remains as strong as ever.” They have been married for five years.

And finally, it was announced this week that Jessica Simpson’s boyfriend, Eric Johnson’s divorce was finalized last month from ex-wife Keri. They were married for five years.

Why is it that the magic number for separations or divorce in Hollywood is somewhere around five years? (Eleven was pretty good for Courtney and David).

Maybe it’s because after five years, some of the novelty of being newly married has worn off and each person starts to see each other for who they really are. And that can be both good and bad. Perhaps certain flaws that were covered up or ignored in the early years come to the surface and are now under a microscope. Or the unrealistic expectation of, “I’ll just marry him/her and change things I don’t like about them later,” has finally hit a hard reality and the couples involved are realizing that their spouse is not going to change.

So why separate?

I’d like to know how many couples actually come back from a separation stronger and better compared to couples that call it quits. I’ve known couples who have done both – and from what I’ve seen, usually once a couple takes that first step of splitting up and moving on, divorce soon follows.

I wonder if, in a way, separation is just a way to make the transition from the married life to the single life a little easier? I know there can be plenty of reasons why divorces take a long time to be finalized, but what about couples like Courtney and David and Christina and Jordan who are just sort of testing the single waters?

To me, that would be extremely hard emotionally to still technically be married to my husband, knowing that he’s thinking about what it would be like to move on and start dating other women.

Why do you think marriages in Hollywood have such short lifespan? How can we teach our youths to stick it out, even when the going gets tough? Have you ever been separated from your spouse and decided to stay together and make it work?

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