Shrink Wrap

What we can learn from the trials and triumphs of celebrity relationships.

Melanie Griffith: What’s the Breaking Point?

Facing what’s in your face.

For years they had one of Hollywood's hottest marriages but, after 18 years of wedded unity, Melanie Griffith has filed for divorce from 53-year-old Antonio Banderas. The 56-year-old actress has said that the two have irreconcilable differences. The couple, who fell in love on the set of the 1995 film Two Much, have been plagued by rumors of a split for most of this year.  Griffith is asking for child support and sole physical and joint legal custody of their 17-year-old daughter Stella. The couple has always been vocal about the strength of their love. Antonio once revealed that he's fallen in love with Melanie numerous times over their 18-year marriage. The last time they were pictured together in public was as they arrived back to L.A. following a vacation. They were grim-faced, but they were still holding hands. Then in May, eyebrows were raised when Banderas was pictured in a very friendly embrace with another woman.  Sources say "Melanie was angry about the picture, but it's not the first time - there have been so many photos of him flirting." So the question is, why did Melanie decide it was finally time to take a stand and say no more. After so many ups and downs, why now?

Given that there have been pictures in the past of his flirtatious behavior, what was it about this particular embrace that brought the house down? Lots of times, out of sight can really mean out of mind. That’s to say if you don’t actually see something taking place or in your face, you can manage to convince yourself that it is not true and it’s not as bad as it seems. In addition, if you do broach your fears with your partner, but he or she denies what happened, and gives you a plausible explanation to mitigate your doubts, you may find yourself dismissing the facts and instead buying into their take on the situation because you really want to believe them. Once the upset and or crisis passes, you’re likely to forget it even happened, and it’s out of your mind. This all takes place because otherwise you might find yourself at a point where you will have to take action that is too daunting to deal with for lots of reasons. Whether it is money, children, and or the life you are living together with family, friends, and social connections, you are not prepared to jeopardize your security by confronting a problem that could spell the demise of the relationship.

For Melanie, this last picture might have been worth a thousand words, and finally forced her to realize how far apart she and Antonio had grown. For everybody, that is a very difficult reality to accept. Facing the facts doesn’t always mean you have to end your relationship, but it probably does mean you will have to take some steps to deal with the problems that have created the distance and space that came between, and may have made room for another person to step in.

There is no way to tell exactly what it will take for you to say you can’t deal with it anymore and feel compelled to take action. It may be when you trust what you know to be true, because the hard truth becomes more welcome than living with the lies you’ve heard and those you’ve told yourself.

Please tune in to “Let’s Talk Sex” which streams live on HealthyLife.net every last Tuesday of the month at 2 PM EST, 11 AM Pacific. We look forward to listener call-in questions, dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships, at 1.800.555.5453.

Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.

            For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.

Jane Greer, Ph.D., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, author of What about Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship, and radio host of Doctor on Call.

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