Dear Well-Meaning Persons:
I know that you’ve noticed that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have gotten married. I personally don’t have any particular feelings about the two of them. I suppose I hope they’ll be happy, the way I’d wish that for any pair of newlyweds, but that’s about all I can manage.
I’m not writing to talk about them, though. I’m writing to ask you for something.
I need you to leave Jennifer Aniston alone.
I was a little surprised by how many well-meaning persons came out of the woodwork as soon as the blessed news broke. Right after “they finally did it” came all that hushed concern. “How is Jennifer? Is she okay?”
Why would she not be okay? She and Brad have been done for ages, long enough for her to move right along to Justin Theroux. But was there quite so much hand-wringing when the wound was fresh?
And why is it so important for you to check on Jennifer now that Brad’s gotten married, as opposed to when he and Angelina started showing up in public with their large family? Where were you for all these breakup-recovery milestones?
I don’t mean to bash you. I think you really are well-meaning people. I just don’t think smothering Jennifer with your … well … your pity is especially helpful to Jennifer because Jennifer doesn’t need your help. She seems perfectly contented with her personal and professional lives.
She’s even said as much. This is from Vogue in December 2008:
“But there is more to me than just a tabloid girl. This whole ‘poor lonely Jen’ thing, this idea that I’m so unlucky in love? I actually feel I’ve been unbelievably lucky in love. Just because at this stage my life doesn’t have the traditional framework to it — the husband and the two kids and the house in Connecticut — it’s mine. It’s my experience. And if you don’t like the way it looks, then stop looking at it! Because I feel good. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be any further along or somewhere that I’m not. I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”
I’m going to break that down into four words: “Um, I’ve moved on.”
You need to do the same.
To do otherwise is to define Jennifer by that one relationship — the one that didn’t work out. First, she was with Brad. Then, she used to be with Brad. Now, you’re all worried about her because, well, she used to be with Brad and now (gasp) Brad’s gotten married. Again. To someone else. You know, Angelina.
Well, Jennifer is like most women. Our relationships with significant others are just a part of our lives. They’re an important part, but they’re not everything. We have work that sustains us, spiritual lives that inspire us, and friends who embrace us, whether we’re single or not. We have a host of little things, from pets to exercise to favorite books, that keep us lively. There is more to all of us than our failed relationships, or our successful ones, for that matter.
So stop worrying about Jennifer. This is a beginning for Brad and Angelina, but it doesn’t mark the end of anything for her.
She’s just fine. She’s been fine for a while. And if you give it time, you’ll be fine, too.
Get over this.
All the best,