There were three different articles in The Age newspaper last week all written around the same time, which caused me to reflect upon modern relationships. Each article was quite engaging in its own right and although on the face of it looked like they were talking about very different things, all three articles were about modern relationships in the 21st century or the ending of modern relationships in the 21st century. The links to each of the articles are set out below.

The first article is entitled “John Cleese on life after divorce and that long awaited Monty Python Reunion”. Poor John, I have heard him complain about how much he has had to pay his ex-wife before in previous articles. Last year when he bought his one man show to Sydney he was calling it the “Alimony Tour”. In fact all of the surviving Pythons when announcing their reunion were joking about mortgages and divorce settlement.

Cleese is 74. He estimates he paid his ex-wife somewhere between $23million and $24million over a period of seven years. He jokes about it, he is clearly pretty upset about it but he is also pretty mindful that he has to continue to work in order to earn the money to replace the money that he has had to pay out to his third wife. John’s loss is our gain. Gotta love the Monty Python crew.

Relationships, modern relationships are not guaranteed to last forever and modern relationships are conducted in so many different ways. The Y generation and some of the X generation are the first generation that have experienced in unprecedented numbers marriage breakdown, the experience of either living with either their mum or their dad and the financial fallout that occurred as a result of those divorces.

This leads me to the second article again in The Age (I have to confess my favourite newspaper in Australia) written by CityCat (aka Katherine Feeney) She is getting married, her parents divorced and for her what she learnt from their divorce was “thou shalt not be put in a position where thy financial security depends upon another person. Thou shalt not wash ones hands of hoop jumping, painful though it may be. And though shalt clearly establish the reasons for and expectations of marriage long before marriage is actually done”. So she thought she would never get married – but now she is and so she is looking at what she calls the “BFA Buffet – let’s toast to love and common sense”.

Her take on it is really interesting, it is not as a lawyer talking about the pros and cons of pre-nups, she is thinking about it as something which absolutely makes sense to her and her soon to be husband. She talks about how her friends have said “how unromantic”, “don’t you trust each other?” and she says “I am crazy in love but I am not crazy”.

Again I was reflecting – modern relationships in modern times and how sometimes we are simply lucky to just have a great relationship for a period of time even if it isn’t forever so long as that great relationship doesn’t leave us in a place where we are working to 74 or 80 or leaving ourselves financial vulnerable.

Two great articles and then that lead me to read purely by coincidence a third article and it was called “Marital bliss – see yourself out will you darling” and again it is all about modern relationships and how do we survive life in the 21st century when simply having a room of ones own isn’t enough.

It is an article written by Rowan Pelling and she explores the idea that maybe it is better to live apart to stay together forever and that at the end of the day observes isn’t it ok for us to have a bit of space and enjoy the best of each other (may even keep it exciting for a little bit longer) if we are sneaking through the back fence to visit our beloved rather than picking up their dirty laundry as part of the domestic drudge? Again a reflection on our choices in modern relationships.

My favourite line in Pelling’s article is when she writes (about her husband) “it is fair to say he has never quite got over the shock of my domestic sluttery”. Read the article. Anyone with little kids who doesn’t necessarily enjoy (always) having lego with their toast or stepping on bits of lego in the middle of the night (OW!!!!) will enjoy.

So what do these three articles say?

  • We shouldn’t bring a 1950s mentality and expectations to relationships in the 21st century;
  • Unless we are John Cleese it is pretty hard working until you’re 80 to pay off your ex partner;
  • We all have different ways of living our relationships and that’s ok!

The links are below:

By Juliette Ford, Director
Farrar Gesini Dunn.