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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dissecting Divorce

Children Caught in the Middle
Just because you are happily married this instant, doesn’t mean that you haven’t experienced divorce in your family history, or won’t in the future.
Divorce statistics abound, and most can't be substantiated with the exception of statistics derived from the Census Bureau. A statistic often quoted is that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Even that statistic is difficult to validate because most marriages that end in divorce take place at variable years down the road. A well-researched statistic is that in the 1980's, 81% of college graduates that married after their 26 birthday were still married 20 years later, compared to 65% of college grads who married before the age of 26. There must be some truth to it because I married long before 26 and failed at my first attempt. Five often quoted reasons for divorce in no particular order are:

·       Infidelity: Not all infidelity leads to divorce, some partners are more forgiving than others, however, the majority of infidelity cases do lead to divorce.
·       Dishonesty; For many couples marriage needs to be built on absolute honesty, deception is not acceptable to a majority of couples.
·       Addiction:  Couples feel that if they were misled in the beginning about an existing addiction of any kind, it leads to the trust issues.  Also, couples feel that an addiction places the relationship in a position of second priority.
·       Abuse:  Most couples feel that zero tolerance for any king of abuse, physical or sexual is the standard, especially from a person that promised to love and honor.
·       Growing Apart:  Growth is good but should be something that happens together and for a common purpose.  Many times priorities change with individuals and it leads to growing apart.

We all must accept at least a portion of the responsibility, especially because of that old saying, "it takes two to tango," which applies as much in divorce as anywhere else. Among the many regrettable things about divorce, the major one is that children of divorced parents will not understand the separation until after they grow up, and can make sense of it. Until then they may walk around with a sense of guilt, blaming themselves for the breakup.

I have been happily married for a long, long time, but I do have divorce in my life history beginning with my paternal grandparents, followed by my parents, and myself in the early start of my life. There is no accurate predictor for who will end up in divorce. It can also be argued that divorce is preferable to an unhappy marriage. The old fashion mentality of staying together for the children, can turn out to be detrimental for the children later in life. Just the same, marriages of convenience doesn't work for everyone.

I am the product of divorced parents and was raised by my mother, I can't compare that life to the alternative of living with and unhappy set of parents constantly fighting over everything. My mother was always tired but happy and proud of her accomplishments. I can't remember her talking much about my father, but I do know that she never said anything negative about him.

As for my divorce, it was more intricate than I can explain in one post, but I do know that I was a participant in the event, and admittedly didn't Tango like a professional (get it; "it takes two to Tango."). Many years later I have no regrets, I have three wonderful children from my first effort, and four from my long lasting (happy) effort at Family Life 2.0. I would absolutely not do anything different, I am fortunate that life has treated me very well.

If you are facing unhappiness in your relationship, don't take the path of least resistance, and definitely look inwardly to make sure that you are doing your part to find solutions. Once you have done all you can to save the relationship, keep in mind that you were in love once (or at least in lust). If you have children, make their comfort, wellbeing and happiness your priority. Avoid the instinct to go ballistic, or negative, it serves no purpose. Neither of you will be considered a coward for not fighting back. The best is yet to come….

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