herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Michael O'Doherty: No, I'm not the kiss of death for marriages

On a related subject, I want to clear up the much-discussed 'Curse of VIP'. Many people believe that we put a curse on couples' relationships, that the very fact of featuring your wedding on our cover will inevitably lead to a demise.

Yes, Andrea and PJ received pride of place in VIP nearly four years ago. Yes, Claire Byrne and Sile Seoige both walked down the aisle accompanied by a VIP snapper, only for their marriages to flounder.

And perhaps the vigour with which a high-profile couple have been dodging our recent attempts to lure them onto our pages is because they believe in, and fear, this curse.

But to lay the claim to rest once and for all, I've done the maths , and the result may come as a surprise. Out of the 23 weddings we've featured on the cover in the past 11 years, only four have failed, which is well under the national average. So statistically, you've a far better chance of making your marriage last if you opt to go with us.

Brian and Amy, are you listening? We may be your best hope of a long and successful marriage.

Andrea deserves full marks for having the courage to admit her fairytale marriage to PJ was at a dead end

It felt like that Terry Keane moment on the Late Late Show some years ago when she revealed to the nation that she'd been having a long-term affair with Charles Haughey.

You could hear not just the audience gasp, but the whole country draw breath as she confessed this dark secret -- while her inner circle shrugged as if to say "What's the big deal? We've know about it for ages".

And so it was with Andrea Roche. The revelation this weekend that her marriage to PJ Mansfield was over will have come as a surprise to many, but their friends -- and I am one -- have known about it for months.

The reality was that the 'fairytale marriage' had turned out to be nothing of the sort.

What seemed from the outside like a match made in heaven -- the shy and unassuming billionaire's son marries the gorgeous and feisty beauty queen -- had lost its halo.

Differences

The differences between PJ and Andrea, which many took as being a sign that they complemented each other perfectly, ultimately drove them apart.

PJ's calmness and gentlemanly behaviour may have been the perfect antidote to Andrea's fiery temperament, but ultimately her madness needed to be fed, at least occasionally, and not just neutered.

PJ may have been a successful vaccine to the fever that is Andrea Roche, but most of Andrea's friends love that fever, that madness -- it's what makes her 'Rochey'.

For quite some time it was obvious to us all that she was tired of trying to be something she wasn't -- the quiet, conforming wife of a successful businessman. And we should have nothing but respect for Andrea admitting that. A fair number of high-profile marriages that I know are a sham, but they continue on with their shallow, delusional lives.

Will these couples ever admit that it's all gone horribly wrong, and go their separate ways?

Not on your life, for a combination of reasons.

The old 'better the devil you know' argument.

The comfortable existence, lunching and shopping with friends, they have built for themselves, which insulates them from the reality of their home life.

And the unfortunate fact that as women, in particular, approach their late 30s and early 40s, they dread the idea of starting over again.

Andrea could have endured, and many in her position would have chosen to do so.

She had all the comfort anyone could want and, despite the fact that they had grown so much apart, she still had a husband who respected her and cared for her.

Yet she's had the courage, in her early 30s, to admit that this wasn't good enough -- that marriage should be about integrity, and she wasn't happy to continue living a lie.

Unlike so many couples who stay together through thick and thin, simply because they accept an endless round of 'thin' episodes, Andrea had the courage to realise that if it wasn't working, there were only two solutions -- either fix it properly, or get out.

In admitting that her relationship with PJ was over, she has put to shame all those other married couples, particularly of the rich husband/beautiful wife variety, who refuse to do so.

There are plenty of people in her position who realise that whatever love they had was now gone, never to return, but console themselves with the comfort that their husband's money will bring them and, in settling for a life of luxury without love, form a pact with the devil.

Spark

Like the seemingly happily married couple, always pictured out together while the wife is conducting a long-term affair with one of her husband's best friends. Or the beautiful, successful broadcaster who finds out six months after the birth of their first child that her husband has been cheating on her since the time she was pregnant.

The fact is that all marriages need a spark. It's all very well to talk about respect and companionship, but please, save that guff till you're in your 80s. When you're in your 30s, you don't just want someone who's good for you -- you also need to feel the desire to jump their bones.

You can say what you like about Rochey, but she's got more balls than most of the men I know. And for that alone, you've got to admire her.

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