Implicit Intransigence – Relationships Blog

Exploring The Hidden Dimensions Of Relationships

A Dance of Carrots and Sticks… Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

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Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

After seven long years (has it really been that long?), the ring is finally on her finger and this exciting couple is ready to enter into a brave new phase of their relationship.  This couple is one of my absolute favorites, and my affinities are a lot less superficial than some may think!  There are many things to enjoy and admire about this couple.  I congratulate Brad and Angelina, and I wish them both the best in their impeding marriage, which by all accounts has the potential to be a very successful one if certain caveats are acknowledged and effectively assimilated into their relationship.

For the longest time I credited Brad’s success to his way-above-average ability to “go for it”.  This guy can out-drum the Duracell bunny any day, and wear out the Eveready cat with sheer displays of energy.  Working, playing, or pursuing his heart desire is almost always an all-or-nothing affair for Brad.  Overwhelmed with things to do and need someone to pull a crazy and brilliant all-nighter with?  Give Brad a call!  Thinking big and acting big (no pun intended) is his way, and there are no signs of slowing this guy down anytime soon.  Of course all this energy, like with all excess or aggressive energy, can get him into serious trouble and even conflict sometimes because you can’t always have your way.  But Brad certainly knows how to mold things to his advantage for the most part, and bring things to a successful conclusion, even if the effort required may bring him to abject exhaustion!  In the realm of love and emotions he also gets high marks.  His amazing displays of devotion to Angelina and their children makes it clear that this is a guy that has a healthy wealth of high passion and love.  Many men have certain insecurities and perhaps certain inhibitions when it comes to love and emotions, but Brad has no such issues.  It is my impression that throughout his life, and despite his success, Brad never seems too complacent or satisfied, and has had to struggle with reality not always been commensurate with his desires and ideals, leading to disappointments.  This last thought is critical because it partly qualifies his relationship with Angelina.

Angelina is a lot less straight forward to comprehend than Brad.  This is a complex woman with a history of roller coaster changes, evolution, and even devolution in some cases.  I’m not going to delve in her past, which as many know, is fraught with certain heartbreak and tragedy.  Let me just say that I admire her incredible recovery in the last few years, made possible through love and courageous redemption.  I don’t know many people that would be able to manage half the things she has gone through!  Reviewing her life carefully makes it very clear to me that Angelina has had to fight all her life for everything she has and accomplished.  Nothing was given to her and this life-long sense of constant striving has made her one of the strongest women in the world.  Relationships (of all kinds) are exceedingly difficult for her, and when there is trouble in this area she often falls victim to intense bouts of anger, frustration, coldness, and even depression.  She is very unique and obviously does not follow the “rules of society” when it comes to family and relationships.  Love has been an intense and oft painful topic throughout her life, making jealousy and possessiveness in her relationships a key area of discussion.  For better or for worse, her feelings are powerful and intense.  She sometimes has a hard time seeing things for what they are, and as a result she struggles with the onset of unexpected surprises and problems, more so than the average person.  This applies to her personal as well as her working life.  She is very idealistic and extremely active as her well publicized activities show, and she is capable of incredible good deeds, but I’m sure she constantly learns more and more of the harsh realities of life, commitments, and the latent effects of her decisions.

There is no question that for Brad and Angelina this is a very challenging relationship.  It is not always easy and it is not always as good as many would think.    One of the most important factors that binds them together is sexual compatibility.  After all these years it seems that the passion is still very much alive and is a source of enormous happiness for the both of them.  A good, active, and passionate sex life is a key to a long lasting relationship for these two.  However, these are two very different people, and while the contrasts in personality are a source of excitement and passion, they are also a source of power and control struggles within the relationship.  After all, these are two strong minded people, and while they often do a good job in keeping their in-fighting in private, absolute harmony is impossible in a relationship such as this, and passionate battles can erupt at any time.  They really do seem to work very hard to keep their relationship in good working order, and I like how they are able thus far to compromise and support each other despite the fact that their impulses and actions are not always in tune.

It is interesting that the main reason why these two haven’t married earlier is due to Angelina’s reluctance to marry Brad.  I’m sure that Angelina’s troubled past is a big reason for this.  If it were up to Brad they would probably be married already.  After seven years of displaying his love and devotion, Brad finally has his way.  He even got a little naughty and ganged up with the kids on Angelina to get it done.  Blaming the kids for the pressure to marry? Tsk Tsk Brad.  Isn’t that what he wanted all along? Do kids normally have the upper hand over adults on matters of marriage to the point they can’t be convinced otherwise? Mischievous Brad.  Anyways, the reason I mention all of this is because I found it hard not to notice a certain tension in this relationship.  I have learned over the years that underlying tensions in strong minded relationships such as this can give way to subtle and not-so-subtle manipulation, deception, and underhandedness in order to control or influence the actions of the other partner.  If this relationship breaks up, intense disappointment in actions committed by one partner toward the other is the likeliest cause.  It would serve them well to be very straightforward about their affairs and resist the temptation to play games of deception or manipulation whether physical, mental, or emotional.  They both mean well and love each other but they both have needs, dreams, and wishes which can lead them to act in certain ways to mold the relationship to these projections, to undermining effects.  In marrying Angelina, is Brad really expecting to finally turn the relationship into all he wants it to be?  What is he expecting to change in pursuing this marriage?  Brad should be very careful and insightful in answering such questions.  Neither Angelina or Brad should expect this relationship to conform to their idyllic views because it simply won’t.

This is a marriage of resources.  Deep down, Angelina sees in Brad an incredible enabler with whom she can spread her proverbial wings and just fly.  Almost anything seems possible and she feels that Brad is really taking care of her in many ways; however, the fun factor must be high or she will not be happy.  Brad sees this incredibly sexy and free wheeling woman that is irresistible and exciting, and deep down he somehow wants to turn this high-flying world ambassador and idealist into his wife.  Somehow (mainly in certain key non-material respects) they both feel that their partner can provide above and beyond what their wildest dreams could offer, making this an electrifying union for the both of them.  All of this is fantastic but it does create problems.  The key question embedded in Brad’s psyche is “Where is my wife?”.  The key question in Angelina’s psyche is “Where is my playmate?”.  For best results, Brad should somehow convince Angelina that their marriage will double the passion and child-like fun they have, not reduce it by Brad turning into some sort of boring and dictating father figure!  As for Angelina, she should whisper “husband” into Brad’s ear every now and then, and “play at wife” sometimes even if it is not always easy!  Brad would certainly get a kick out of that and the relationship will be the most pleasant for the both of them.

On another topic, Angelina should heed the general cautions and advice that Brad sets forth, and she acknowledges and even loves this about Brad, but she is also compelled to resent and resist this natural authority Brad commands if he is not careful.  Brad for his part not only knows when to back down, but he actually supports Angelina even if he suspects that her actions might have an emotional or material toll attached.  To illustrate, it is almost as if Angelina needs to cross a dark ditch to arrive at an oasis on the other side of the ditch.  It’s somewhat dark but what appears to be water or mud sits at the bottom of the ditch… it looks somewhat safe and certainly no legs can be broken, so she says “Let’s jump”…. Brad answers “It’s dark down there and we don’t know exactly what might catch us”… Angelina pouts and says “I’m jumping!”… Brad loves Angelina so he says “To heck with it, I’m going with you”.  After they gleefully jump, it is not too long before they realize they landed in a quicksand pit! The fun-filled adventurous jump en route to the oasis turns out to be more problematic than either of them thought (fortunately there were some sturdy vines in the vicinity for them to pull on!).  This sort of carrot-and-stick scenario may seem fanciful, but the concept it represents actually applies to some of the most important interactions and decisions they make.  They have the resources to pursue juicy carrots, but they have to deal with the big sticks and unyielding strings they are attached to.  The result is heavy burdens, responsibilities, chaos, and an inability to enjoy the relationship as they both would like.  My thoughts and tentative advice for this marriage would be that “Simple Is Better”.  It may seem possible to ensnare the moon in a relationship like this, but once they do, what are they going to do with it?  If they want to sweeten and lighten up this relationship for maximum enjoyment they should make every attempt to consolidate and enjoy what they have and not try to expand or overdo things as this will sap their happiness in the long run.  Just picturing myself trying to emulate their activities and decisions gives me a poetical headache, and I’m quite active myself.  This is a very enabling relationship, and they should eventually learn how to slow down or risk getting trapped or mired into undesirable situations, surprising reversals, and chaos.

This relationship has many potentials for happiness and longevity.  The trick is to realize that “less is more” sometimes and be realistic in that despite all, this relationship will never be everything they ideally think it could.  They should love each other “as is” with minimal interference because with marriage typically comes a progressively increasing desire to change a partner into something the partner isn’t.  Whether overtly or covertly, they shouldn’t play or manipulate each other to conform.  Just keep things simple (as much as possible) while working hard on loving each other and making the marriage sweet, passionate, and pleasant (which will not always be easy).  If the relationship collapses it is likely because of the chaos or impositions surrounding it, and due to undermining actions committed by one partner against the other in exercising their will, potentially leading to heartbreaking disappointment or a sense of betrayal.  It is my sincere hope that they are able avoid this and that this great relationship endures.

Due to new research and other projects, the publishing of the new e-book has been postponed.  Announcements and pertinent updates will be posted on the progress of the e-book.  Thank you all for your patience and readership.



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