Cupid's Pulse Article: Love Lessons Learned from Marilyn MonroeCupid's Pulse Article: Love Lessons Learned from Marilyn Monroe

By Amy Osmond Cook, Ph.D.

Marilyn Monroe had it all–fame, beauty, wealth, and some powerful boyfriends–but the one thing she wanted most eluded her. She had three troubled marriages and a host of unfulfilling affairs, and she removed herself from all of them for various reasons.[1] Marilyn’s unhappiness amidst spectacular success is nothing short of tragic, but we can learn from the path she trod in her short 36 years of life. From her brief comments about the unraveling of her marriages, here’s the advice I believe she would give about how to learn from her relationships and find lasting love.

1. Find a guy you enjoy talking with:

Marilyn married her first husband, James Doherty, when she was just 16 years old. Her legal guardian was moving away from California and convinced the two young lovers to get married. The marriage was not a good fit from the beginning–he didn’t approve of her modeling career, and he spent much of the marriage in the Pacific during World War II. But when Marilyn was later asked why they divorced, she said simply: “My marriage didn’t make me sad, but it didn’t make me happy either. My husband and I hardly spoke to each other. This wasn’t because we were angry. We had nothing to say. I was dying of boredom.”[2]

Love Lesson Learned: Be in a relationship that you enjoy.

2. Don’t let jealousy get in the way:

Marilyn married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio in 1954, two years after they began dating. While they remained friends until the end of their lives, his jealousy of her fame and acting career contributed largely to the dissolution of their marriage. Tension grew, culminating in a verbal and physical altercation over the famed skirt-blowing promotional pictures for The Seven Year Itch. Marilyn filed for divorce shortly thereafter, citing mental cruelty. She stated before a judge that Joe was “cold and indifferent” to her and that days would go by when he wouldn’t speak to her.

Love Lesson Learned: Don’t waste your time with a jealous partner.

3. A “meeting of the minds” matters:

Marilyn’s third husband, Arthur Miller, was a brilliant playwright who dazzled her with his sharp mind. Marilyn was an avid listener, but she was all too aware that she was not his intellectual equal. Regrettably, her fears were realized when she read in his journal that he had second thoughts about marrying her and considered her his inferior. After one particularly emotional conversation, she overdosed on sleeping pills, and the marriage ended.

Love Lesson Learned: Choose a partner that loves you for who you are.

Marilyn’s untimely death was mourned by millions of fans, associates, and former flames. Joe Dimaggio placed roses on her grave every week for 20 years to remember her. But she was tragically unable to find lasting love in her three marriages. If she were here today, I believe her advice to us would be to find a partner that you enjoy being with, that isn’t jealous, and that loves you for who you are. Only then may we have a shot at having the one thing that Marilyn desired most–a soul mate.



  1. [2] ^ My Story by Marilyn Monroe. ISBN 1-58979-316-1.