By: Jason Whiting Ph.D. | June 1, 2022
"Billionaire inventor Elon Musk is known for his stated desire to change the world. He has developed technology that aims to get humans off fossil fuels and up to the stars and is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. By many accounts, he is intelligent, driven, and uncompromising. His successes have earned him respect and money, but he has publicly struggled in his romantic pursuits.
His first marriage to author Justine Wilson was reportedly rocky, with fights about money, work, and the raising of five young sons. Justine reported that Elon acted as an “alpha male,” and criticized what he perceived as her flaws. She pushed back and aired marital grievances on her blog. “I am your wife,” she told him, “not your employee.” His response was that if she were his employee, he “would have fired her.” Their marriage ended in 2008 after eight years.
Soon after, Elon met British model and actress Talulah Riley at a London party. They had a whirlwind romance and became engaged within weeks. Their marriage appeared to be a battle of wills. Talulah described it: “I remember him saying, ‘Being with me was choosing the hard path’... It’s quite hard, quite the crazy ride.’”
The couple divorced in 2012, and Musk tweeted to her, saying: “It was an amazing four years. I will love you forever. You will make someone very happy one day.” He soon presumably decided that he was the one she would make happy, as they remarried in 2013. Despite their apparent desire to be together, the problems continued, and the couple divorced a second time in 2016.
Next, he dated Amber Heard for a year, and after they split, he became involved with Canadian musician Grimes, with whom he had a baby boy, named “X Æ A-Xii Musk,” in May of 2020. Later they stopped living together, but remained in a “fluid” relationship, and had a daughter, “Exa Dark Sideræl Musk” via a surrogate in 2022 (his seventh child, her second). Despite Musk’s business successes, then, it appears to an outside observer that he has had a rocky ride in his intimate relationships. He is not alone in this challenge.
Signs of DeteriorationEven the brightest and most passionate marriages can get derailed. Some relationships are planted in rocky soil from the start, but others develop weeds or die from neglect. Certain problems are particularly important to root out before they do permanent damage. Here are six research-based warning signs that indicate a relationship is heading in the wrong direction and may need professional help.
1. Distance or Lack of Emotion
It is natural for the initial headiness of love to wear off. However, it is possible to revive emotional sparks that have gone dormant.
One study showed that couples who went on interesting dates, such as rock climbing or taking Italian lessons for about eight weeks, experienced greater feelings of closeness and affection than those who stuck to traditional dinner dates. Other studies have shown that meditations focused on appreciation of a partner strengthen affection. If you have lost that loving feeling, do things together, act kind, and the love may rebound.
2. Sarcasm and Disrespect
It is fun to laugh, and humor bonds couples together and keeps things fresh. However, if jokes turn sarcastic or cutting, they can damage the relationship. All forms of contempt and cruelty harm both partners, and often lead to divorce.
If one partner acts disgusted with the other's choice in clothes, or she mocks his parenting, it is time for a gut check. Both partners need to show self-control and be respectful in words and tone.
3. Lack of Trust
Couples who are getting to know each other often stretch the truth, especially when trying to impress. They might be falsely enthusiastic (“That is so cool!”) or claim to love the same things (“That movie was my favorite too!”). One study found that strangers lied several times in the first 10 minutes of talking. Chris Rock accurately observed: “When you meet somebody for the first time you are not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative.”
As relationships progress, however, people need to be authentic to develop true intimacy. When partners are deceptive, even for “good” reasons like keeping the peace or flattering, it will create distance. Although some fudging may occur in relationships (“I'm fine with your mother coming over for two weeks!”), all lies damage trust, and a willingness to deceive is a red flag. When trust has been lost, it takes time and energy to regain."