During and after a divorce, the less said about one's former spouse the better. I am sure that at this point Brad Pitt would agree with me and wished that he had taken the high road when it came to commenting on his relationship with his ex.
Ever since my divorce I've acquired two new habits that I can't seem to shake: I can no longer watch Divorce Court, yet at the same time I am eerily attracted to articles about divorced couples, especially celebrities. Tom Cruise left Nicole Kidman around the time that my husband deserted our marriage, and thus I probably know as many details about their split as were printed in the press. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston separated at the same time that my post-divorce relationship broke up. My guy left me for someone else, and thus I felt great empathy for Aniston.
Since their divorce neither Cruise, Kidman, nor Aniston have had much to say about their defunct marriages and rightly so. What went on in their private lives is really none of our business. Somehow Pitt and Jolie have felt no such restraint, prompting Aniston to say at one point that a sensitivity chip was missing.
In July 2005, before his divorce to Aniston was finalized the following October, Pitt was photographed with Jolie for a glossy magazine spread for W magazine as an ideal couple in Domestic Bliss. (See image.) They were seen spartling on a South African beach with her adopted children even as they denied having an affair. A few years later, Jolie was quoted as saying that she felt great joy knowing that her children would someday learn that their parents fell in love while filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith (debunking her own denial about breaking up Pitt's and Aniston's marriage).
Recently Pitt made public statements about how boring his life was during his marriage to Aniston, and how he's found fulfillment with Jolie. Aniston has wisely not responded, but the public outcry on her behalf forced Pitt to backtrack and explain that he considered himself boring at the time, not Aniston.
I find it fascinating that these two lovers, whose lives are presumably filled with children and new found happiness, still find it necessary to make comments about an event that occurred in their lives seven years ago. The lesson, if Pitt and Jolie are willing to learn it, is to simply keep their mouths shut and move on.
In my own life I have discovered that the less I say about my marriage or divorce, the more comfortable people are around me. If someone asks a question, I will answer it without revealing personal details that are no one's business but my ex's and my own. The moment I step over that boundary (and I have at times, I am human after all) I can sense a change in my listeners. They feel either uncomfortable or titillated, neither of which are good reactions.
It is hard for friends to remain neutral and give good advice if they are told all the sordid details of a broken relationship. Usually such information is one-sided and slanted towards making the teller seem sympathetic. The listener can commiserate only so long before beating a hasty retreat, for even the best of friends becomes tired of hearing the same rehashed story over and over. Most of us know that the truth lies somewhere in-between, and while we want to help our friends through rough times, this can only be accomplished by respecting the boundaries of love and friendship.
That Pitt was willing to step over those boundaries and reveal such highly personal information to strangers for the sake of publicity was absolutely wrong.