No, I don’t know Ariana. But if I’ve learned anything from watching her flourish post-breakup is this–everything will be OK.
An admitted reality television lover, I too, have been caught in the whirlwind of Vanderpump Rules (or VPR) drama. Since season one I’ve been there for the hookups, breakups, fights, friendships, makeups, weddings, and divorces over the last ten seasons.
Reality TV is an escape from my own reality like a lot of people. The way I see it, if people voluntarily live their lives on TV who am I not to watch?
When news broke in March about Ariana and Tom’s relationship coming to an end because Tom was cheating on her with her (Ariana) former best friend, Rachel-Raquel, my emotions were both sad and rage.
Truth be told, my love for Tom never has or will exist. Ariana, however, is Bravo’s favorite cousin which means my tolerance for Tom happened because of her. Joining during season 2, she was more level-headed than the rest of the cast. She didn’t feed into the pitfalls of the former mean girl group. What connected me more to her was her honesty about her mental health struggles. We both struggle with body image, depression, anxiety, and ideation so not only did my heart break for her, I connected with her. It puts into perspective how people on TV are human beings too.
Parasocial relationships can be healthy if you understand boundaries, but for those who don’t, it can tricky and can be messy. With that said, I felt worried about her when news broke about the split. Not for the split itself, but for how it ended. A partner cheats after nine years and buys a house together? Tries to gaslight you to believe you were the problem when it had nothing to do with you? Gross.
During this time, I was working through a new breakup of my own. The reasons differ, but breaking up with someone unexpectedly is one of the hardest things to deal with.
I started working on the stages of grief of this relationship because mentally it wrecked me. If I’m honest, it still does.
Often, I wonder why this breakup is so big. Not only for people who follow the show but for people outside of the Bravo universe–the Today Show and The View invited Ariana to give her side of the story during finale week. I wonder what Biden thinks of all of this (just kidding we need healthcare)?
Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz, married for six years, filed for divorce before filming picked up in the summer, and while people felt empathy, I believe a lot of people are relieved this is over. The split didn’t hit as big with audiences though.
My belief is, while a lot of us don’t know what a divorce is like, going through an expected breakup feels super relatable. Not that divorces can’t be gut-wrenching, but this seemed…shady. Plus Schwartz was not a good husband to Katie and it is a long time for our girl to be happy. The “explosive” breakup though mimicked a Lifetime movie plot: A partner of nearly a decade cheats on you with your best friend of four years in front of your face while you’re dealing with two close deaths. Jesus Christ.
From my point of view, it seemed as if Ariana was putting herself second in the relationship. Her ex and Schwartz opened two restaurants in the past three years. The Ex also has a cover band he started randomly that she supported which…girl.
Now that she’s away from him, mama is THRIVING. She wrapped up filming a movie for Lifetime in Canada, collaborated on a capsule collection with Bloomingdales, got invited to the White House Correspondence Dinner by The Daily Mail, saw her Drink From the Home kit sales skyrocket, and is rumored to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. Bonus, Something About Her, a sandwich and cocktail restaurant in West Hollywood that she’s working on with Katie is opening soon. We love seeing thriving queens.
In relationships I tend to put myself second–friendships, romantic relationships, it matters not. This is part of the inner child work I’m doing with my therapist. Imagine giving myself the amount of encouragement I give my relationships. It’s over for a lot of you when I do. Watching Ariana go from being ride-or-die for others to being ride-or-die for herself for what seems to be the first time in years makes me want the same for me.
While I won’t get a capsule wardrobe or a role in a movie like Ariana, I’ve learned to put myself and happiness first. That it’s OK to put your goals first. A good partner, whoever that may be, To not sink behind someone who is only in a relationship for themselves. Asking for someone to care about your feelings is OK, and if your partner doesn’t reciprocate, you can let them go.
If Ariana is teaching me anything it’s that there are peaks and valleys when processing the end of a relationship, but it gets easier with time. Cutting out toxicity can help you thrive and step out of the shadows of a partner who dimmed your light before. And…that karma is real, so keep your head high and do you. They will get theirs.
“What doesn’t kill me…better run.” -Kacey Musgraves
Pssst. If you’d like a playlist to sing and scream to, you’re in luck 🙂