First this story:
Just a day after Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced that the terms of their divorce had been finalized, TMZ reported that the woman who’s dating the Amazon CEO has filed for divorce from her husband.
Divorce papers were filed on Friday to end the marriage between Lauren Sanchez, a former TV anchor, and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of the Hollywood talent agency WME, according to TMZ. The couple, who were married for 13 years, reportedly asked for joint custody of the two children they have together.
Today, for the first time in a while, I spoke to a Venezuelan friend of mine who now lives in Angola. Being South American he is full of wisdom passed down from his grandmother, some of which is even half-sensible. The one piece of advice of his which really stuck in my head, despite it not really applying to me, was that you should never, ever quit a relationship in order to be with someone else. The decision to end a relationship should be made solely on the pros and cons of the relationship itself, in isolation of whoever might come along afterwards. Similarly, the suitability of the next relationship should be considered in isolation, not benchmarked against the one you’re in now.
It’s hard enough to weigh up a relationship clearly and objectively on its own, let alone when it’s wrapped up in the context of another. Judgement gets clouded, and grass appears greener. This is why Thai bars are full of divorced expats in their fifties with a look on their face which says they’re still trying to work out how they got into this mess. It’s also pretty difficult to ascertain whether the new person is a suitable candidate for a long-term relationship when you’re already in one, because the dynamics are so different. Even if they’re running concurrently for a long time, things will inevitably change once the old relationship ends and the new one formalised. Anyone who reckons they can work that someone they’ve known for a month or two will make a better long-term partner than someone they took years to properly get to know is a fool. And we’re back to Thai bars again.
Women aren’t a whole lot better. They can be single for years before meeting someone, and then six months into the relationship a bloke smiles at them at work and suddenly they think they’ve got options and start ramping up the pressure on their partner to commit in some unwise manner. Some are even dumb enough to jump ship, even those with kids and in full knowledge of the effect a rotating roster of men dating their mother will have on them.
Any relationship born out of another will take place in a pressure cooker. One or both parties may feel intensely guilty, and be feeling the wrath of family and friends. These are not emotions you want kicking around when trying to build something from scratch. Any shortcomings in the new arrival will automatically be compared against the skills the ex had in the same area. Negatives will be amplified, and the person who’s switched horses midstream will be under intense pressure to make things work because failure means admitting having made a terrible decision.
There’s also the small matter of how far you can trust someone who’s ended a relationship to be with you. I knew a young buck in Sakhalin whose wife kept complaining he was shagging everything that moved. The problem was, she was his bit on the side when he was married to his first wife. As Jimmy Goldsmith said, when a man marries his mistress he opens up a job vacancy. And if a man trusts a woman who’s just ditched a long-term partner to be with him, he’s a fool.
Jeff Bezos will probably do all right, given he as a few hundred billion stashed behind him. But he should probably have invited my Venezuelan mate around for a chat over a bottle of rum anyway.