She wrote the song. Got the ring. But can she take his word?
Alex Rodriguez finally answered J.Lo’s burning question this weekend, “Y el anillo pa cuando?” with a reported 12 to 15 carat emerald-cut diamond estimated to be worth $1.8 million. So, that answers that, girl. Felicitaciones.
The all-star pair romantically feted their two year anniversary on a Bahamian beach and treated us all to a mouth-watering sneak peek of their engagement via Instagram. Sadly, it wasn’t much more than 24 hours before another allegation of infidelity sullied the celebration.
Over the course of their courtship, Alex and Jennifer have held a united front amidst similar accusations and are employing the same tactic now. Multiple sources report that, “She has heard the cheating rumors in the past and has never let it bother her. She trusts [Alex] and his love. They are inseparable and together almost all of the time. Jose Canseco has an ax to grind, but she doesn’t hear the noise.”
The accuser, long-time rival Jose Canseco, fired cheap shots via Twitter making his credibility quite dubious. However, A-Rod, a 14-time MLB All-Star, is no stranger to scandal, having been caught cheating both on and off the field. Alex’s first marriage to Cynthia Scurtis, mother of their two daughters, ended after five years with a scandal involving Madonna, among others. And in 2014 he was suspended for an entire season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Alex retired from baseball soon after in 2016 with an estimated $437 million in career earnings.
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez are clearly not above the fray. The New York Times reports that “according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs. The incidence is about 20 percent higher when emotional and sexual relationships without intercourse are included.”
The Netflix original docu-series, “Explained,” recently dug into the history and principles surrounding monogamy. As the narrator astutely points out, “love is a feeling, monogamy is a rule.” One that was introduced during the agricultural revolution approximately 12,000 years ago. With the primary purpose being: to consolidate access to power, accumulate generational wealth and protect long-standing property rights.
Later around the 1700s, marriage for love was introduced. However social constructs and their consequences, such as gender inequality, did not negate the bedrock upon which marriage was built. Women were forced to be dependent on partnership for survival. While diversity in relationships becomes increasingly accessible in today’s age, the old is still embedded in the new. But, progress is on the horizon.
“For the first time in human history, we’re trying to develop relationships that are not based on coercion; coercion of women by their economic and legal dependence, coercion of women by their bodies, coercion of men by the social and economic structures. We’re trying, I think, to find maybe a new balance,” explains Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, A History.
As a 36-year old, self-proclaimed “serial monogamist” I have been in J.Lo’s position. A few times. And in the face of concrete evidence chose to stay with a man who cheated on me, repeatedly. It was exhausting, humiliating and painful. And nothing I ever did made it stop.
It took many years and wide perspective to see that my ego was really the one betraying me. My ex was suffering and incapable of fulfilling the contract we entered for monogamy. That had nothing to do with me. However, after learning his limitations, I still arrogantly persisted. I passively accepted the breach in our terms through denial because I didn’t want to be publicly shamed. And I hid my own needs for safety, honesty and commitment because I refused to be vulnerable.
“I do believe in marriage, and I would love to grow old with somebody in a committed relationship,” Jennifer Lopez told Harper’s Bazaar in March 2018. There is no doubt that this desire is within her grasp but the symptoms of unavailability exhibited by Alex Rodriguez are equally clear. And the fantasy-saturated image touted by the troubled couple, is as dangerous as the unattainable expectations of beauty plastered across magazine covers.
Whatever the chosen arrangement for your relationship, the key is to not judge it. Don’t be ashamed of what you want, but always be honest about what that is. It’s not about the contract, it’s about communication. As David Barash, author of The Myth of Monogamy, reminds us:
“Monogamy isn’t natural. It means we have to recognize that because it’s not natural, it’s something we’re going to have to work for, if we want it. One of the things that I think makes human beings particularly interesting and maybe even unique in the animal world, is that we’re capable of doing things that aren’t natural.”