I want out! Divorce Dilemma
Enduring relationship in the times of freedom and independence is quite a daunting task. Living in the world of instant gratification and mass consumption human beings became very disposable as well. In our practice we see how speaking of divorce became so easy. Even before people tie the knot they already consider the ‘what if’ they would be heading this route. Also when they are already married they would like to know their possible way out, and many have their secret lawer visits to ensure their strategy best they can. These days we even have divorce parties! What do you really need to consider when thinking of a divorce?
THE experts thought they had it right. ‘You need to focus on your happiness,’ they advised parents in troubled marriages, quickly adding: ‘Don’t worry about the children. They’re resilient. It’s easier for them to deal with divorce than to live with two parents who can’t get along!’
“The benefits of divorce have been oversold,” says University of Chicago sociologist Professor Linda Waite, who headed a team of scholars studying unhappy marriages. Similarly, after spending 11 years analyzing the responses of thousands of people, Oxford Professor Michael Argyle found that “the least happy in society were those who are divorced or separated.” Why might that be?
While divorce may eliminate some problems, it can also unleash a series of traumatic events over which you may have little control. Indeed, research shows that divorce usually does not reduce symptoms of depression or raise one’s self-esteem.
Even if you do not have the “perfect marriage,” sticking to your mate can bring benefits. Many who are determined to do so find happiness. Professor Waite states: “A lot of problems resolve over time, and married people tend to get happier.” In fact, one study shows that almost 8 out of 10 who were “very unhappy” with their marriage but avoided divorce found themselves “happily married” five years later. Even when there are grave problems, then, couples do well not to divorce hastily.
Four Facts you should know about divorce:
1 The Problem of Finances
Daniella, in Italy, was married for 12 years when she found out that her husband had been having an affair with a colleague. “By the time I knew about it,” says Daniella, “the woman was six months pregnant.”
After a period of separation, Daniella decided to get a divorce. “I tried to save my marriage,” she says, “but my husband continued to be unfaithful.” Daniella feels that she made the right choice. Still, she relates: “As soon as we separated, my economic situation became disastrous. Sometimes I didn’t even have an evening meal. I would just drink a glass of milk.”
Ashley, in USA, suffered a similar setback. “My ex-husband doesn’t give us any financial support,” she says, “and I have to work very hard to pay off debts he had. I also had to move from a comfortable house to a small apartment in an unsafe area.”
As these experiences show, the breakup of a marriage often deals a devastating financial blow to women. In fact, a seven-year European study revealed that while the income of men increased by 11 percent after divorce, women’s income decreased by 17 percent. “It’s difficult for some women,” says Mieke Jansen, who headed the study, “because they have to care for the children, find a job as well as deal with the emotional trauma of divorce.” London’s Daily Telegraph noted that according to some attorneys, such factors are “forcing people to think twice about splitting up.”
2 Parenting Issues
“My husband’s unfaithfulness came as a terrible shock,” says a woman in Britain named Jane. “Also, I was devastated to think that he actually chose to leave us.” Jane divorced her husband. She still believes that she made the right decision, but she admits: “One challenge I faced was having to be both mom and dad to the children. I had to make all the decisions myself.”
The situation was similar with Patricia, a divorced mother in Spain. “I was given full custody of my 16-year-old son,” she says. “But adolescence is a difficult time, and I was ill-prepared to raise my son alone. I spent days and nights sobbing. I felt like a failure as a mother.”
Those who share custody may face an additional problem—having to negotiate with the ex-spouse on such delicate issues as visitation arrangements, child support, and discipline. Christine, a divorced mother in the United States, says: “Creating a working relationship with your ex is not easy. There are so many emotions involved, and if you’re not careful, you could end up using your child as a tool to try to manipulate the situation.”
3 The Effect of Divorce on You
Mark, from Britain, was betrayed by his wife more than once. “The second time,” he says, “I couldn’t cope with the possibility that it could happen again.” Mark divorced his wife, but he found that his feelings for her lingered. “When people say negative things about her, they think they’re helping; but they’re not,” he says. “Love stays for a long time.”
David, quoted earlier, was similarly devastated when he found out that his wife was involved with another man. “I reacted with total disbelief,” he says. “I truly wanted to spend every day of my life with her and our children.” David chose to divorce, but the breakup has left him with doubts about his future. “I wonder if someone could really love me or whether this might happen again if I remarry,” he says. “My confidence has been shaken.”
If you are divorced, it is only to be expected that you will experience a wide range of emotions. On the one hand, you might still feel love for this person with whom you shared a one-flesh bond. On the other hand, you might feel resentful over what has occurred. “Even after several years,” says Patricia , quoted earlier, “you feel confused, humiliated, and helpless. Many happy moments from your marriage come to mind, and you think: ‘He used to tell me that he couldn’t live without me. Was he always lying? Why did this happen?’”
4 The Effect of Divorce on Children
“It was devastating,” says Josh, a divorced father in Spain. “The worst moment was when I discovered that the other man was my sister’s husband. I just wanted to die.” Josh found that his two boys—ages two and four—were also affected by their mother’s course. “They could not come to terms with the situation,” he says. “They didn’t understand why their mother was living with their uncle and why I had taken them with me and moved in with my sister and my mother. If I had to go somewhere, they would ask, ‘When are you coming home?’ or they would say, ‘Daddy, don’t leave us!’”
Children are often the forgotten casualties on the divorce battlefield. But what if two parents just do not get along? In such a case, is divorce really “better for the children”? In recent years, that notion has come under attack—especially when marital problems are not extreme. The book The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce states: “Many adults who are trapped in very unhappy marriages would be surprised to learn that their children are relatively content. They don’t care if Mom and Dad sleep in different beds as long as the family is together.”
Admittedly, children are often aware of parental conflicts, and marital tension can take a toll on their young minds and hearts. However, to assume that a divorce will automatically be in their best interests could be a mistake. “The structure that marriage provides appears to help parents maintain the kind of consistent, moderate discipline to which children respond, even when the marriage is less than ideal,” write Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher in their book The Case for Marriage.
What about your marriage? Is it characterized by one or more of the following traits?
- Constant arguing
- Bitter speech
*You may also like: Don’t Divorce
Tough decision to make? You may be quite fatigued by being stuck in this situation itself. But here is some things to consider:
- NOT making decision eats up time and causes lots of anxiety
- The wrong decision cost you even more time and often money
- The feeling that you do not have choice is a top cause of anxiety
How to make a tough decision?
- Gather clarity around your choices
- Evaluate the impact of your decision
- Say no with grace and confidence
- Seek professional, objective opinion (friends and family always takes sides)
About the Author
I am a psychologist, Certified Holistic Health Counselor , and Wellness Business Strategist dedicated to helping others create positive change in their lives on multiple levels while living the best life possible. I am also the CEO & Founder of EndoPositive International™ organization which gives stage and voice for women from all over the world who suffer from endometriosis and other autoimmune diseases.
I am an international author of a book: Alone in the Crowd – Living well with endometriosis, translated into five languages! Working with women worldwide made me realize how important it is to convey the message in the native language. My book is a good way to get to know me and see my life was not always so pretty. I tell all and how it was. I am sure you will be able to relate.1Awake 2010 pp 4-8