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Jennifer Garner
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner)

What Jennifer Garner Learned From The Horror Show Of A Divorce From Ben Affleck

Jennifer Garner and Ben Aflleck seemed to be the picture of a perfect marriage until the unthinkable happened. Yet, Jennifer never gave up on her man.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s marriage has been one of the most scrutinized relationships in the past couple of years. Up until their divorce, they had been seen and celebrated as a picture-perfect couple who had found each other despite the baggage of their former high-profile relationships. 

But when news of their separation emerged, the spotlight had shifted to Ben Affleck and certain wrongdoings on his part. While the press had devoted their energies to obsessing over Ben’s collapse and subsequent redemption, Jennifer’s perspective was by and large overlooked.

As a mother-of-three, she was left to pick up with the pieces and protect her family from the brutal public attention. Very few desired to follow her journey as she dealt with the divorce, established a functional co-parenting relationship with Ben, and found love yet again with another person. 

It’s also worth investigating how women are barely noticed or praised for handling these domestic crises with empathy, and understanding, whereas men are pretty much placed on a pedestal for doing the same. Jen’s commitment to Ben and her family despite all the ups and downs shouldn’t just be taken as a default; it should be honoured as an incredible act of kindness and love. 

Jennifer Garner said she’d still remarry Ben if it was up to her

It’s no secret that Ben’s drinking had caused a massive rift within the marriage. Ben himself has admitted that he’d made a routine out of drinking on a daily basis. “My drinking, of course, created more marital problems,” he’d said. Therefore, Ben’s reflections on divorce are similarly steeped in feelings of regret and guilt. He’d famously referred to it as the “biggest regret” of his life, in fact. 

Yet, despite the devastation caused by the divorce, Jennifer has been forthcoming about her feelings towards Ben in that her love for him will never wane. 

I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him. And I would go back and remake that decision. I ran down the beach to him, and I would again. You can’t have these three babies and so much of what we had. He’s the love of my life. 

Jennifer Garner to Vanity Fair

Jennifer acknowledged that there’s very little she can do in changing that. When you have designated someone as the love of your life and have gone on to have three children with them, you will undeniably be part of their struggles. Jennifer still sees him as the “most brilliant person in any room, the most charismatic, the most generous.” 

Yet the divorce still managed to take a toll on her

Jennifer also admitted that just because she still loves her ex with all her heart doesn’t mean she doesn’t have regrets or frustrations over what happened. She did not envision this reality as she walked down the aisle at their beach wedding but the mother-of-three has already accepted that they can only work on the situation at hand — not reverse the course of events that have brought them here. 

We still have to help each other get through this. [Ben]’s still the only person who really knows the truth about things. And I’m still the only person that knows some of his truths. 

Jennifer Garner to Vanity Fair

Being an A-list celebrity couple, they had more to reckon with than just the complexities of their divorce. Jennifer turned on a news channel one day and found details of their personal lives completed plastered all over the screens.

She wrote an oath to herself at that very moment that she would not take it anymore. She would go offline and stay away from the media barrage, come hell or high water. Ben questioned her decision but Jennifer told herself that she couldn’t let herself be driven by how her divorce is being presented to the outside world. 

I cannot be driven by the optics of this. I cannot let anger or hurt be my engine. I need to move with the big picture always on my mind, and the kids first and foremost.

Jennifer Garner to Vanity Fair

When asked what she’s learnt from the divorce, Jen said that she can’t let external pressure influence her judgment. She indicated that one of the reasons she chose to say yes to getting married in the first place was because people had always been asking her about it. The same goes for divorce as well. She has to approach the proceedings in her own way, not buckle under the weight of other opinions. 

But to be honest, public scrutiny, everyone says, 'Oh, you've had to go through this in public.' The public isn't what's hard; what's hard is going through it.

Jennifer Garner on CBS News

Her kids have been her number one priority throughout the divorce 

Divorce has a way of offsetting or potentially damaging the lives of everyone in the family, the children often proving to be the number one victims. They can’t help but suffer at the hands of a decision made by their parents. 

That’s why Jen chose to support her ex-husband as he went through recovery and rehabilitation. She knew how much he meant to the kids and by extension, to her. This is why she highly values him as a father and as someone that’s essential to their kids’ happiness. As long as her kids manage to grow up in a loving, stable environment, she’s willing to make it work with Ben on amicable terms. 

The main thing is these kids—and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person. 

Jennifer Garner to Vanity Fair

Jennifer also said that when it broke out that Ben may have slept with the kids’ nanny, she sat down and had a conversation with her children about the intricacies of a “scandal.” This further highlights that while she wants her kids to be protected from the messiness of a divorce, she also wants them to understand the seriousness of the situation, particularly the public attention surrounding the matter. 

The best sort of parent doesn’t keep their children in the dark and unaware; they inform them of the dangers and misconceptions that exist in the greater world out there. Jennifer did just that, and as a result, the kids are probably that much more equipped to deal with the divorce. 

She’s found love again and holds no hard feelings for Ben

It’s been over three years since the pair filed for divorce and they’ve both done well to move on from the horror show from the looks of it. Ben has found love with actress Ana de Armas whereas Jennifer has been dating businessman John C. Miller. While Jen hasn’t officially confirmed the relationship, sources have revealed that she’s indeed very happy with John and that the businessman is highly supportive of his girlfriend’s bond with her ex. 

Both Jennifer and John have been divorced and have kids from previous relationships; while that could have easily been an issue for other couples, it’s a point of similarity for the two, something they bond over. 

And the most notable thing is that Jennifer has been able to find love again without abandoning or burning bridges with her ex-husband. Ben’s very much a part of her life and will be for the remainder of her life. And therefore, she knows she can’t hold any animosity towards him. 

People have pain—they do regrettable things, they feel shame, and shame equals pain. No one needs to hate him for me. I don’t hate him. Certainly, we don’t have to beat the guy up. Don’t worry—my eyes were wide open during the marriage. I’m taking good care of myself. 

Jennifer Garner to Vanity Fair

Empathy for others is the biggest gift you can give yourself

Jen has displayed tremendous strength, patience, and most importantly, empathy in the face of a distressing situation. Having been on the frontline of Ben’s problems, she could very well have been the first to dismiss her ex-husband and criticize his behavior. But she chose the high road and decided that he needed love and support to get through rehabilitation, not resentment or anger. 

Exhibiting empathy for others is not only vital for their recovery or acceptance; it can be massively rewarding for your own mental health. Removing all vestiges of hate from your mind gives you the courage to live your life with love and kindness.

Generating empathy for others and trying to understand what it’s like from their perspective will go a long way in helping you bring positivity into your own life. In many cases, self-care and care for others become intertwined, and to put yourself first, you might need to learn to show empathy and love for someone else. 

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