Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

John Mayer and Katy Perry Repeat the Insanity

The hidden cost of being a mirage man

"You paint me a blue sky and go back and turn it to rain                                                               

And I lived in your chess game but you changed the rules every day

Wondering which version of you I might get on the phone tonight.

Well, I stopped picking up and this song is to let you know why."

–"Dear John" by Taylor Swift


What do you get a superstar like John Mayer who has everything? A healthy relationship, perhaps. In a cover story in Rolling Stone Magazine, the singer related how humiliated he felt when his former lover Taylor Swift released the song "Dear John" after their brief relationship ended in 2010. Yet our irrepressible Mirage Man is back at it again, this time with pop superstar Katy Perry. And once again the tabloids document the familiar patttern writer Morris Street described, "Man meets woman, man woos woman, rockets go off, romance blooms and then the bubble bursts and reality sets in." Apparently the relationship is off.

American men and women like John Mayer and Katy Perry have been practicing this contemporary pattern of courtship and marriage and are continually shocked at the ultimate negative result. Caught in a great collective insanity, they limp away from their last romantic disaster, exclaiming that they are swearing off women or washing that man right out of their hair. Then a day, a month or a year later, they use the same failed technique of romance in their next amorous adventure.

Actress Kim Cattrall is a perfect example. Kim costarred in the CBS Television movie "Every Woman's Dream", a real life account of a mirage man who lived a double life with two separate wives who were both oblivious to their shared husband's twin deceptions. Regarding the theme of romantic deceit, Kim commented, "Making the film, I wondered  how women could have been so deceived-- but then I realized the smartest of us can be so stupid. I started to look at my own life and some of my past relationships, just how little I knew of them."

When we participate in the contemporary system of dating and mating, we are all capable of ending up with a stranger. Kim Cattrall could easily see the folly of the cuckolded woman in her television movie. Her character's tragic life illustrated the importance of learning about a person over an extended period of time before committing to them romantically. Yet while this movie was being made, Kim was involved in a mirage relationship, preparing to marry actor Daniel Benzali. Even though she had only known Daniel for eleven months, she rationalized that it was okay to rush into marriage because "I know absolutely everything about him...Daniel and my relationship [sic] is based on truth and honesty."

Well maybe  not everything. Kim's engagement to Daniel Benzali blew up like a Saturn Five rocket on the launching pad at Cape Canaveral just short of T minus five seconds. However, a year later the irrepressible Kim was featured in the news, planning a wedding with another gentleman she had known for four months. Said Kim, " We've been together ever since [meeting], and are now headed toward marriage."

Sadly, Kim's marriage to this virtual stranger ended abruptly after three years. Like many American women and men, Kim was caught up in this insane romantic loop lauded by our society. Millions of other American women like Kim are participating in the same  media-approved courtship behavior of artificial intimacy and approval-seeking with mirage men over and over, and then wondering why they aren't getting the results they see their favorite characters like Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big enjoy on romantic fantasies like "Sex And The City."

Poor Katy Perry is likewise mystified why her pop career is so successful and her love life is such a failure.  Before hooking up with Bad Boy John Mayer, Katy was coming off a failed marriage to actor/comedian Russell Brand. For some reason Russell and Katy never considered the challenges of a two career marriage during their courtship. Katy was apparently shocked to find out after irreversible commitments were made that Russell was a teensy bit jealous of all her success. Historian Ellen Rothman chronicled how once upon a time American men and women determined compatiblity and character issues like insecurity and jealousy before committing to one another, using open communication to protect against the twin plagues of "insincerity and misplaced affections." Sadly, today's sophisticated men and women are making foolish mistakes their ancestors wouldn't have dreamt of doing.

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


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