Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Jesse James: The Perpetual Adolescent

Jesse James: The Perpetual Adolescent

Celebrity motorcycle maven Jesse James is back in the news this week. You may recall that after two failed marriages, Jesse married America's Sweetheart, actress Sandra Bullock, in 2005. Only days after receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress this last March, Sandra was blindsided with the shocking news that Jesse had been carrying on a torrid eleven month affair with tattoo model Bombshell McGee. Sandra divorced Jesse in June and now Jesse has a new flame in tattoo artist Kat Von D.

Jesse James, like many mirage men, wants to live his life in the perpetual Honeymoon stage of Tiger Woods Syndrome. Men like Jesse think something is terribly wrong when reality comes crashing down on their fantasyland of love in the Resigned Compliance stage of Tiger Woods Syndrome and they realize they have bonded with a stranger. They run away from their problems and find another person to recreate the  illusion of love. Author Jane Velez-Mitchell refers to this repetitive cycle as "chasing the high".

We see this type of behavior in adolescent children who are obsessed about themselves. All they care about is how life is going to serve them. They indulge themselves in addictive activities. They pursue crushes and  are devastated when they don't lead to true love. Then the next day they pick themselves off the ground and become infatuated with someone else. It's all innocent fun in 9th grade, but when adults behave in the same immature way it has devastating consequences to their partners and children they leave in their wake.

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Today we have millions of American men like Jesse who have never transitioned from the adolescent stage to adulthood. They may work on motorcycles, host television shows, hold political office or win golf tournaments, but they have no real purpose in life. They will "chase the high" but have no real joy in their lives until they discover their true selves and their gifts they have to contribute to society. 

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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