03/05/2012 04:46 pm ET Updated May 05, 2012

Uma Thurman and What Matters Most in a Relationship

Can the anticipation of a baby bring people together? That's a good question, and it looks like Uma Thurman is working toward answering it right now. She announced this week that she is expecting a baby with her on-again boyfriend multimillionaire financier Arpad "Arki" Busson. Thurman and Busson have been dating since 2007, with a split in 2009, after which they reconciled. The "Kill Bill" and "Pulp Fiction" actress, 41, has two children from her marriage to actor Ethan Hawke. Busson has two children from his former relationship with Elle Macpherson.

The expectant couple once planned to be married, which ended with their time apart in 2009. Since they got back together, they reportedly date while living on separate continents -- Thurman in New York and Busson in London.

It is widely known that Thurman suffered enormous emotional strain and gut-wrenching betrayal when her marriage to Hawke ended. When someone goes through something like that, it brews so much mistrust that it can become difficult to move forward in a new relationship. It might be a long time before that person feels ready to take the next step with a different partner. In addition, Thurman once told Oprah Winfrey that the fact that she and her ex-husband shared children made it that much harder to accept the break-up.

Perhaps the devastating betrayal she endured earlier on factored into their continuing to live apart and date across the ocean. But a pregnancy can change all of that. When you are living that far from each other and there is a baby on the way, it becomes necessary to make a decision about where to live if you want to raise the child together. It can be the catalyst that compels people to finally put aside their old fears and emotions, as well as their own needs to some degree, so they can think about what is in the best interest of the baby. It can take the focus off of the past and put it on the future, which in this case often means building a family together.

I've seen this happen many times with my patients. Pregnancies can help people become motivated to put aside their differences and work together as a team. The idea of a baby is incentive to take steps to be together which might mean making changes they were reluctant to make in the past. I have even seen separated couples reconcile when an unplanned pregnancy reveals itself.

Thurman made it clear that the reality of having a baby with someone you love is so powerful to her that this may be her way of saying she is willing and ready to deepen her commitment to her relationship with Busson. It might be her declaration of love for her new partner, and a strong indication that she has now healed emotionally from the upheaval of her unsuccessful marriage to Hawke. In the end, all you really need to bridge the great divide is to have your heart in the right place.

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