On Thursday, Feb. 15, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced they are separating after two years of marriage, and the internet immediately became a sullen teenager. As fans react to Jennifer Aniston's separation, they are casting the actress entirely wrong. Girl has been there before, and she doesn't need our pity.
The concern for Jen comes from a caring place, of course. She's been America's sweetheart for decades now, displaying her acting chops with roles that range from the dramatic (Cake) to the downright hilarious (Horrible Bosses). But we are never more collectively obsessed with Aniston than when we analyze the state of her relationships: Does she really want to be single? Will she reunite with Brad Pitt? Is she content to be childless in a culture that conflates women's value with their ability to raise children?
Aniston has dealt with our constant thirst and probes into her psyche with grace, offering reassurance that she is indeed solid, happy, and healthy with her life, whether she's in a relationship or single. "We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone," she wrote in an op-ed for The Huffington Post.
Despite Aniston's unwavering message that she is whole and complete on her own, many fans are tweeting that they just want Jen to be "happy," even though ending her marriage may indeed be the optimal move for her well-being.
Enter the flood of "let Jen be happy" tweets taking over the internet.
"This makes me sad. I want #JenniferAniston to be happy," wrote one user.
Another user simply wrote "Jennifer Aniston" next the heartbreak emoji.
"I just want Jennifer Aniston to be happy," chimed in another user, adding to a chorus that sounds more like a broken record.
"JENNIFER ANISTON IS SINGLE AGAIN WHY," exclaimed a particularly upset fan. Perhaps the reason is that Aniston wants to be single, ever think of that?
"Nope. Love is over. Jennifer Aniston & Justin breaking up gives me no hope," wrote a despondent fan.
"If Jennifer Aniston can't find love then there's no hope for me anymore," echoed another fan.
"So the news of Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux splitting up ruined my night," tweeted another user.
All of these reactions epitomize how fans believe Aniston's happiness is inextricably linked to her relationship status. Perhaps more curiously, they also represent that Jen's likability lends people to believe that their own fates are influenced by her choices.
Other users understand that Aniston is a grown woman who don't need no man to thrive.
"Man, I hope Jennifer Aniston is on a yacht right now and some hot dude is lathering her legs up with Aveeno like the funny, hot goddess she is," wrote a fan who totally, completely hit the nail on the head.
"Stop saying that Jennifer Aniston can't be happy because her marriage to Justin ended. She can be happy, she doesn't need someone else for that. We can be sad for them and I'm sure both of them are hurting and mourning but don't act like her only shot at being happy relies on a guy please," tweeted a particularly on-point fan.
Another fan jumped to Aniston's defense when a fellow user tweeted, "This makes me irrationally sad, I WANT TO RACHEL TO HAPPY."
"You're fixed on the fictional character's happiness. We don't know what's Jennifer Aniston in private. We all want Rachael to be happy," they wrote. Spelling errors aside, it's important for fans to separate Aniston from her beloved Friends character Rachel Green, who coincidentally began her tale by deciding not to marry the wrong guy...
I'm sensing a patten here.
We all love Aniston and Rachel — two women who decided not to settle for less-than-fulfilling romantic relationships and take a gamble on life on their own. Aniston has done it once before by divorcing Brad Pitt (and accordingly, the internet has plenty of theories on a Pitt/Aniston reunion) and she was fine, and despite the pain we all experience from a breakup, she will be fine again.
She will star in movies, and invest in hair companies, and then sell them to giant corporations for loads of money. She will spend hours drinking margaritas in the Mexican sunshine, with a crew of comedically-gifted friends like Courteney Cox and Chelsea Handler. She will probably even date again one day.
I understand feeling sadness for a relationship we hoped would be forever, but Jen is doing Jen like she has time and time again. And she does it well.