I always root for the underdog. And I mean, like, always. I campaigned for Elizabeth Warren. I wanted Vanessa Kirby to win the Oscar for Best Actress. I don't watch sports, but I feel that I truly understand Mets fans. Perhaps this is why I, and I alone in this world, have always wanted Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian to work out. I wanted it to be real when Kourtney said they were happy together. Because that meant when my parents told me they were in love, I could (and should!) have believe them, even if they acted like they had zero respect for one another. The more Scott undermined and disrespected Kourtney, the harder I clung to the idea that they must have something special, something we as mere spectators, Konsumers if you will, could not see.
Friends — there was not. There wasn't any special secret something hidden below the surface of my parents' marriage, either.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians fans got to watch Kourtney and Scott's love story unfold from the beginning. In the early days, before anyone had children and the sisters still wore chunky belts over their T-shirts, Scott was introduced as Kourtney's kind-of-a-dick boyfriend who nobody but she seemed to like very much. But as time wore on, and Kourtney seemed to tire of Scott's sardonic asides and witty digs at her and her family, it was this very snarkiness that endeared him to the audience. Watching them together, it was almost like I fell victim to Scott's negging on Kourtney's behalf — if he's so critical of everyone in that family, there must be something special about her that he likes, right?
Consistent, low-level negging was also a relationship dynamic that was pretty familiar to me. It was how my dad always treated my mom, making little comments on everything from her idiosyncrasies to her conversational style to her neuroses. At times it even seemed like he was inviting my siblings and me to make fun of her as well, like some kind of bonding exercise. But this was what I grew up around, and my parents had always assured us that they were soulmates. So I took the mocking thing as an expression of love when it was really just mean.
Watching Kourtney and Scott's constantly on-again, off-again relationship on TV, especially near the end, I began scouring every scene for any sign of affection or tenderness or even just intimacy. It became personally important to me to find proof that Scott did love Kourtney, even if his attitude toward her always seemed to land somewhere between indifferent and hostile. And as for Kourtney, well that flat, apathetic affect, isn't that kind of her whole vibe anyway?
Amid the many, turbulent romances on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, it was nice to think of Kourtney, Scott, and their little family as a relatively solid, if unconventional, domestic unit. And I just didn't want to see that destroyed. In the early days, watching them cuddle in bed or Kourtney's emotional confessional interviews about them, it was easy to believe Scott when he said he was ready to marry Kourtney right off the bat. And even after all the ups and downs, he's always said she's his one-and-only. "Well, I love you and I'm ready to marry you. Right here, right now," he said in a Season 20 episode, echoing a declaration he made way back in Season 1. "Kourtney knows that eventually we'll get married and live a good life."
But while Scott's hard-partying ways may not have been an issue when the couple first met in 2006 when Scott was a 23-year-old single guy, now he's a 38-year-old father of three and his lifestyle has never changed. When Kourtney needed him to step it up as a partner or a father, he couldn't seem to stop his flirting or philandering or get his drinking or partying under control.
"I've worked so hard to keep this family together, it just makes me sad for the kids. He's not being a good partner to me. I could never rely on him, depend on him for one single thing and I don't want to show my kids that that's okay," Kourtney said in the Season 10 finale, which depicted the final breakup. The final straw was when Scott went on a month-long partying binge without coming home. Since then Scott has dated younger women, including Sofia Richie and Amelia Hamlin, while Kourtney has moved on with her Calabasas neighbor, Travis Barker.
Scott has sworn up and down that he's ready to commit to Kourtney, that she's the only woman he's ever loved, that he just wants to know what it would take for him to do. But, as they say, actions speak louder than words. Kourtney seems to have to come to this realization in 2015, when the relationship ended for good. Not me, it seems.
When my parents did divorce when I was 25, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that my entire world was rocked. I was not like one of those disaffected characters on TV and movies who say things like, "My parents should have divorced ages ago." I am simply not that astute. But looking back at all the put-downs, all the fights, the fact that they only got married because they got pregnant with me when they were 20 years old … Let's just say it was an aha moment.
This is not to say my parents never got along or that they didn't have inside jokes or even that they never loved each other — they just were not compatible. And perhaps a more observant daughter would have noticed this dynamic, but I never did.
Returning to the Kardashians with a slightly more critical eye, then, I could see how Scott was never a good partner to Kourtney and that he never showed her the respect she deserved as his partner. If it never seemed like he liked her — well then maybe he didn't. And that just kind of breaks my heart.
Breakups That Broke Us is a weekly column about the failed celebrity relationships that convinced us love is dead.
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