When Opposites Attract…

The topic of my last post, Relationship theories, lends itself to a discussion, or at least a look, at famous married odd couples. I think if you know the background on any of the following couples you’ll agree that they are, or were, attracted by the pull of “Repetition Compulsion.” Let’s take a look, shall we? (I’ll just lightly skim the surface.)

Jane Fonda and Ted Turner-  She has major father issues. Ted Turner is the ultimate overbearing father figure – Jane (we know her as a strong woman) reverted to her childhood wound, trying to win his (her dad’s) approval and love.

This one is so twisted it’s off the Richter scale.

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn- He has mother issues galore – he punished and rejected Mia Farrow (maybe his mom) and chose the quiet/passive, compliant Soon-Yi as a replacement – someone whose approval he didn’t have to win.

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller –She always felt deficient intellectually. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that marrying Marilyn was a big boost to his male ego making him the ultimate virile Man. They both married what they believed were their deficiencies. Then there’s the issue of her need for a father… This was doomed.

Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson – This one is very obvious. She married her father; a tragic, American superstar, icon. She probably needed/wanted to be loved by him and simultaneously wanted to save him from himself. Very sad.

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James – I think Sandy wanted to save or love a man back to being happy. This was a rescue. I think she may have felt that her mother abandoned her father on some emotional level and so sub-consciously she would be there for her husband. She’d make it right. Also at play, is that on a subconscious level maybe she knew he would emotionally abandon and reject her as she had experienced as a child with her mother. He never felt worthy of her (low self-esteem, a gift from his abusive father) so he would sabotage the relationship and hurt her before she hurt him. Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger – She married someone who appears   slightly arrogant, strong and willful — someone interested in politics and acting. He obviously needs and enjoys being the center of attention and feeling important. He also happens to be a philanderer. He’s immature. I’m guessing that Arnold was emotionally unavailable to Maria. She was never the center of his world. She’s intelligent, strong, maybe disapproving? Somewhere between their pasts was fertile ground for working out childhood emotional issues.

Even though we’ll never know the full story on these couples, it’s clear that there are other subconscious forces at work in their relationships. Other odd couples might include:

  • Keith Richards and Patti Hansen – She’s a beautiful super model. She’s a devout Christian, conservative Republican and he’s none of the above.
  • Mary Matalin and James Carville – Republican and Democrat deluxe!
  • Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi – No need to state the obvious.

Lastly, I’d like to add that LOVE is not necessarily in question in these relationships. I think there was real love in all of them, but sometimes love is not enough to overcome the wounds of the past. (Unless you enjoy and can afford years of therapy!)