After years of playing into his reputation as Hollywood’s most celebrated and consummate bachelor, George Clooney has gotten engaged.
All the world of pop-culture stopped—if only for a moment—when the news hit. Much to the surprise and excitement of Hollywood columnists everywhere, George Clooney got engaged, and they hurriedly released quick-fire versions of the announcement laden with inquiries and suggestions as to how and why it could possibly be true. After all, Clooney has a history of dating beautiful, A-list woman who are significantly younger than him, as well as a penchant for claiming that marriage is not on his to-do list.
The title of a CNN release raises the question “Has he met his match?” This phrase, “met his match,” has been so often misinterpreted as meaning that he has found someone worthwhile; but taken literally, it means that he has found an equal, a balance point, a counterpart.
Amal Alamuddin, Clooney’s fiancé, is a 36-year-old international law and human rights attorney. She has an Oxford education, is a human rights activist—like Clooney—and she was successful well-before meeting him.
She is clearly different than the many actresses and models Clooney has been seen with over the years, and members of the media are feeding into that image to the best of their ability. This depiction of Alamuddin as a strong, smart, independent woman acts as a segue into the explanation of why the un-marriable man has gotten engaged. The evaluation is that “she is on his level” as opposed to the women who were in show business.
Though convenient, this answer seems incomplete.
Can being “on the same level” mean that they will succeed as a couple? And if so, what does this phrase really mean?
Recently, I had an insightful conversation about relationships with my managing editor. During our weekly meetings, we usually discuss things like tone, structure and imagery over a strong cup of coffee; but as we work for a publication that focuses on relationships it behooves and benefits us to discuss our personal experiences in a professional manner.
Although I am sure we weren’t breaking new ground, one of our most poignant reflections was that most strong relationships become even stronger when each half realizes that they depend on each other for too much.
Let’s be clear. Most good relationships develop when two people who respect and are intrigued by each other find that they complement each other in beneficial ways. Mutual support is undeniably important to any bond, but it is a milestone to go from being co-dependent to cohabiting your life together.
In other words, growing as a couple often means realizing your individual development, communicating it and throwing away your old crutches. After all, finding your inner strength should be encouraged and fostered by the person you love most.
So perhaps this is what George Clooney has found in Amal Alamuddin. Perhaps it has less to do with the fact that she is a lawyer and an activist and much more to do with the fact that they do not depend on each other for much. Perhaps the forever-bachelor has found his forever complement.
For more information from the CNN article, click here.
[image: via Mark Mathosian on flickr]