Here is an interesting article,
Unbeknownst to me, family lawyers apparently call January “divorce month.” As the Christmas tree is thrown out and the wrapping paper cleared away, the empty Champagne bottles taken out behind the garage, Google searches for terms like “divorce lawyer” and “file for divorce” spike. Many of the people researching how to untie the knot will probably not do so. But some will.
I wonder why divorce is so prominent in January. Is it because the excitement of Christmas is past, and people are cooped up together?
Brad Wilcox and Samuel Sturgeon of the Institute for Family Studies suggest that there might be good reason to hold off, particularly if you have kids. Of course, there might be good reason not to hold off! But the majority of divorces involving kids don’t come from “high conflict” marriages or situations involving abuse; Wilcox and Sturgeon point to data indicating that most divorces come from couples who are still basically functioning as parents.
I have always wondered about those kinds of divorces. Things don’t seem so bad. Probably they are not. But mountains out of mole-hills must be made. I just wonder why people just can’t get along.
Perhaps it is because the present situation is not just not as good as hoped for. “I deserve more, and the way to get it is to be free”.
But if your parents are basically civil to each other, divorce could come as an unwelcome surprise. Our parents, our family unit, are the first and most bedrock fact of our lives. Suddenly breaking that apart — for no reason apparent to the children involved — shakes a faith in the world that will never be rebuilt in quite the same way.
How many parents truly think through what they are potentially doing to their children? I have known many divorcing couples over the years, and one very odd aspect that occurs regularly is that one can’t articulate what the problem is. This always seemed odd to me. Perhaps in some cases it is because the problem is such that the person does not really want to mention it due to it being selfish in nature.
Anyway, think of the chilllddrennn!
Small wonder, then, that the children of divorce tend to have worse outcomes on various measures than the children whose parents stay together: According to Wilcox and Sturgeon, “Divorce typically doubles or triples the odds that children will experience depression, delinquency, school failure, or future relationship difficulties.”
This is sad. What to do? The first thing to do if you are actually divorcing is for the parents to work together for the sake of the children. So many times I see parents using the children as pawns to hurt the other parent. I just can’t see how parents do this. But they do. Surprisingly they are not called out on it often from what I have seen. Perhaps these people avoid people who might do so. Lowlifes – Unite!
We have a script in our heads about what divorce does, much of it lifted from the divorce revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Two people meet … they fall in love … they develop irreconcilable differences, or they grow apart, and must split so that at least one of the parties can develop into their truest, highest self.
That truest, highest self stuff seems like a cop-out. How many post divorcees actually really do go onto such. Especially the ones who are the driving force in the divorce. Very often, the ones so eager for the divorce have some issue that is holding them back, marriage or not. Perhaps these issue(s) that is where the focus should be.
But more recent research suggests a very different truth about happiness. As Daniel Gilbert argues in the brilliant book “Stumbling on Happiness,” unless our circumstances are truly unbearable, our brains will seek to find their natural level of happiness, like floodwater evening out across a plain. Whatever we are stuck with … whatever we commit to … we will find ways to make it work — and we will be just as happy with it as we would have been with any other outcome.
That is a very interesting theory. Two thoughts come out it: how can one increase their happiness within such a framework, and do the various disorders associated with so many modern day people preclude this system from working on those people?
So if one is given lemons, make lemon-aid.
Under this theory, all other forces being equal, those who avoid divorce end up with the same long-term level of happiness that they would have had post-divorce … and they skip the short-term financial and emotional pains of separation.
Perhaps so. But still I wonder if this would not be true on both the personal and the marriage levels if one person has a personality disorder.
So what to do? When considering divorce, try to figure out what the real issues are. This, of course, is easier said than done (and many therapists are a hindrance in this regard, just peruse Dalrock’s posts). With root cause(s) in hand, get to work on the problems. Yes, once again, easier said than done.