If you have no idea who they are my hats off to you. I’m not proud that I’ve seen several episodes of the Bravo TV show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but because I write on a marriage website I thought it might be useful to check out the show for material to blog about. So I’ve seen a few episodes and read some other blogs and I’ve noticed that Kyle Richards, the aunt of Paris Hilton, is the most popular housewife. Kyle, 42 years old, is married to a good looking, athletic man who recently turned 40. The two appear to have a very good marriage. I’m not sure how long they’ve been married. They have 3 children together I think. What has stood out to me are scenes between Kyle Richards and her fellow Real Housewife of Beverly Hills co-star Taylor Armstrong in which Taylor has complained to Kyle about her marriage. I wrote about it in Lessons to learn from the marriage of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Taylor Armstrong and her husband Russell Armstrong.
Someone left a comment that I think is right on target as far as what I myself noticed in one of the episodes where Taylor was complaining to Kyle about her marriage. Kyle’s responses are not very helpful. They border on boastful about her perfect marriage, but she boasts in a very subtle way. So when I come across comments or notice from researching that people are curious to almost wishful that Kyle’s husband Mauricio Umansky is cheating on her, I can understand, though I do not agree they should, why some people would want to laugh at Kyle if it turned out that Mauricio is cheating or has cheated on her.
I’ve written on this subject before, about how it ‘s hard to be happy for couples who flaunt their relationship, especially when you are in a difficult relationship. I don’t know Kyle Richards so I can’t make accusations against her that she flaunts her relationship and works to make her marriage appear on the outside more perfect than it might be in reality. It could be that in reality her marriage is perfect and if so then that is good for everyone because it tells us that happy marriages are possible; but to me, Kyles motivation in her responses to Taylor aren’t to be helpful in encouraging Taylor to believe in her marriage and in her relationship with her husband and to work to achieve the closeness she craves. She basically simply agrees with Taylor’s comments about how close she (Kyle) and her husband (Mauricio) are and how they seem so happy together and so connected. How is that supposed to help Taylor feel better about her own situation? And that is why I think some people would be glad if Kyle fell off her high horse. She comes off like the type who would go to any length to preserve the image of perfection she presents as far as being the perfect wife and mother, having the perfect husband and the perfect life. When your life is perfect you’re not supposed to gloat about it and show off about it, especially not in the face of someone who is crying about how imperfect her own life is. It makes those people able to see through your sympathetic smiles and your reaching across to dry the tear on your friends face and holding her hand in a show of support while telling her to forget about her loser husband right after you’ve praised your own husband for being your best friend, dislike you and wish you ill.
So how does all this affect you?
Well, if you’re in a bad marriage for example, there is something to be said for not speaking poorly about your spouse to other people, whether you do it directly or indirectly. Taylor Armstrong never actually said her husband was a cold, unfeeling, douchebag, but by complimenting Kyle Richard’s husband while complaining about the kind of relationship she wishes she had with her husband, she basically states that her husband is the opposite of the good qualities she detects in Mauricio Umansky. She is putting down her husband to her so-called friend. And the so-called friend does what? She basically says what amounts to an agreement with Taylor that Taylor’s marriage sucks and her husband really isn’t interested in her at all and is not her friend.
Depending on the role you play, whether you’re the complainer or the one with the perfect marriage your friend expresses envy over, there are more productive ways of handling either situation. If you’re the complainer, reconsider how you speak about your marriage to others. It’s okay to cry on a friend’s shoulder but be sure you’re crying to a friend who respects your marriage otherwise if it’s help fixing your marriage you’re seeking you’re not going to get it there.
As for being in the role of the happily married friend whose shoulder is cried upon, what someone who is supposedly happily married and wants others to be as happily married should do in that situation is admit that it takes work to achieve the kind of harmony and closeness they have with their spouse. Uplift the spirits of the person in need with encouraging words. Speak in general about the fact that marriage isn’t always easy, but if two people are willing to work at it they can learn how to be closer and they can grow in friendship with each other and their marriage can thrive. Unless they are married to a complete and total loser (and who is to be the judge of what constitutes a complete and total loser?), point out good qualities their spouse possesses, or try to offer helpful ideas for why their spouse might act a certain way.
In the case of Russell Armstrong for example, the main discussion centered around his lack of attention to his wife and how he doesn’t ever seem to want to be at the events they attend, how he’s always off alone in a corner somewhere and never seems to enjoy himself. Well, maybe he’s not comfortable in social situations. It happens, and the episodes I’ve seen in which he has had to socialize he looks uncomfortable in his own skin. Maybe he has social issues. Maybe he doesn’t like having the whole world looking in on his private life. Maybe, as someone put it, he’s socially awkward. Some people are socially inept. It doesn’t make Russell Armstrong a freak if he’s unable to act natural and normal with cameras in his face and the knowledge that the world is going to be watching him on reality TV. It’s on his wife to care enough to be aware of him, be aware of where he’s at mentally and emotionally, know what’s going on with him and why he isn’t reacting the way she wants him to react. Talk to him. Look inward, not outward. Maybe it might be easier for her to make an adjustment than for him. Who knows? But complaining about him for all the world to hear, comparing him unfavorably to other women’s husbands, these actions will not create the marriage she supposedly wants.
Finally, just because the grass looks greener doesn’t mean it is. Don’t long for a marriage that’s like this friend’s or that friend’s marriage. You only know about their marriage what they want you to know and it empowers them to have you expressing your wish to have a marriage like theirs. Do take a lesson from them though. Unless you know you’re talking to a friend who loves you and wants the best for you and has respect for your marriage and the person you’re married to, keep your business to yourself. Discussing your marital problems with people who think poorly of your spouse is as bad an idea as it is to go around flaunting your perfect marriage in the faces of your unhappily married friends.