Tom & Katie Breakup has Nothing to do With Age, Everything to do With Parenting, says Dr. Bonnie

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Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their divorce amid speculation as to what caused the demise of their relationship. While many people may point to their age difference, relationship expert Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says that's not the case.

a solo marriage is a front, and usually a child is put in the middle of it

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their divorce amid speculation as to what caused the demise of their relationship. While many people may point to their age difference, relationship expert Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says that's not the case.

Hollywood power couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing and - contrary to how it may look in the surface - Dr. Bonnie says their breakup has nothing to do with age. She attributes the split to the fact that the couple was more child-centered than relationship-centered. In speaking to USA Today (http://alturl.com/9626t), “a solo marriage is a front, and usually a child is put in the middle of it," says New York psychotherapist Bonnie Eaker Weil, author of Make Up, Don't Break Up.

Tom and Katie seemed so focused on Suri, though that's not inherently negative. Theirs was a "child-centered marriage," says Weil — a kind of union that can be doomed. "What kept them together this long was Suri.". Dr. Bonnie points to their decision to keep her out of the limelight for many months - but questions how Suri then seemed to become a mirror image of Katie, showing up everywhere in the tabloids. "Suri was almost a fashion plate in her own right. She was attached at the hip to Katie," says Dr. Bonnie, who contends that this is an example of how couples can use their child as a buffer between them. "On the outside, Tom is a 'man without a country' so it's easy to see that he would fixate on Suri as a way to feel more connected to Katie."

But, whether in Hollywood or the real world, this tactic couldn't hold up indefinitely. "Eventually, the thing that they thought was holding them together will end up pulling them apart," explains Dr. Bonnie. She cautions people in similar situations look at the actions of their partner, not their words: "Tom was jumping on Oprah's couch, declaring his love, but it likely wasn't how it looked in the long term. The honeymoon was over." Toms wives have all left him at age 33 history has shown, “When they first met they were star struck, then the honeymoon was over.” says Weil.

Dr. Bonnie says that instead of intimacy and closeness between Tom and Katie, they were focused on the child, and as life brings changes it's harder to keep that focus. "Much like a couple facing empty nest syndrome, now that Suri is in school and growing up, they likely realized they hadn't sustained their own relationship," Dr. Bonnie says. She acknowledges that it's natural and important to need space in a relationship, but a couple should also create and foster intimacy.

Dr. Bonnie calls it the "two porcupines in an igloo" theory which she discusses in her book Make Up Don't Break Up - "They need to stay close enough to keep warm, but not so close that they prick each other. In this case, Katie and Suri were in the igloo, with Tom outside." Dr. Bonnie contends that the couple subconsciously wanted it this way - they had pseudo-closeness through Suri but a lack of connection and intimacy between themselves.

This isn't unusual, points out Dr. Bonnie. Intimacy is scary so it is often avoided, except in the honeymoon phase; it can be easy to rely on something or someone else as a way to feel that closeness still exists.

To see Dr. Bonnie talking more about how to foster intimacy and connection, click here: http://youtu.be/9oP9R_LvStc and check out her book Make Up Don't Break Up.

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