Since confirming their engagement last Friday night Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have been photographed together several times by the paparazzi. I’m not mad at this – and thank you to those who’ve been emailing sharing your thoughts on their second chance romance. Some of us are living for this, OK? Right now I’m living for this unofficial engagement tour.
Here they are yesterday on the school run, and there’s a cute moment (which I’m not including a photo of, I’ll just describe it) from when they meet up with Emme, where Emme’s face appears to light up when she sees them. She’s looking at her mom and Ben with a big smile, and while of course, Photo Assumption is never a reliable indicator of how things are and how they’re working, at least from this angle, Bennifer aren’t the only two who are happy right now.
But I know there’s some cynicism out there. Not as much as there was 20 years ago, but I’ve seen the takes on Twitter mocking JLo for how many times she’s been engaged etc etc etc – and I totally get it, I understand the doubts. Last week, however, we had a guest on The Social who wrote a book about heartbreak, and I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the information she shared about the biology of heartbreak. Makes me wonder if we all might benefit from thinking differently about heartbreak.
The book is by Florence Williams, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. Florence got divorced after 25 years of marriage and she gets really sick – like to the point where she was diagnosed with diabetes type 1, quite rare in adults! Someone else she knew experienced the same, also after the end of a relationship, so she started thinking about what the biological responses are to a breakup… and went about doing research, looking at blood work and cell function as a study of the response to heartbreak.
I know you know this if you’ve been through it, but a breakup can have a devasting impact on your body, not just your mind (obviously the two are connected) and she’s bringing the research receipts! She’s also analysing whether or not some people are predisposed to severe heartbreak setbacks while others can bounce back quicker, which is when I introduced JLo into the discussion.
Sure, you can laugh about how much she loves love and falls out of love and back in love and the number of engagement rings she’s worn but if that’s a joke, what’s the alternative? Pine and mope and mourn and struggle for years? Have her immune cells weaken? If I had a choice, having read this book, with details about how heartbreak (in other words a LOT of stress) can deteriorate your cells, I would choose JLo, every f-cking time. If we all had a choice, why wouldn’t we choose to be more like her? Look at her skin, LOL!
Anyway, it’s an interesting book, gave me a lot to think about, including how heartbreak is often feminised – think about that stereotype of someone heartbroken, hitting up the freezer for ice cream in pyjamas and sobbing on the couch surrounded by tissues? The person most people picture when they play out that scene is a woman. What are the consequences, like on a cellular level, of that kind of social conditioning? If this kind of study is as fascinating to you as it is to me, check out the book.
If not, well, then we can stay here, on Bennifer, and specifically JLo and her love of love – in the context of what I was just talking about, maybe it really is a superpower.