A Controversial Thought on Divorce

 Posted by on 19 May 2014 at 10:00 am  Marriage
May 192014

I wish that the divorce rate were higher.

I know some people who’ve been married for decades, and they’ll likely never divorce. Yet life in that marriage is miserable due to ongoing dishonesty, manipulation, malevolence, and even physical abuse.

Divorce requires courage, and many people don’t have enough of that. Those who do — and who’ve seen their way to independence — are so much better off as a result, in every possible way.

Hence, the divorce rate should be higher.

  • digdug

    The problem with divorce, at least for fathers (and their children) is this:

    A Tale of Two Children: The Stolen Generations, Then and Now – http://valme.io/c/mens-rights/88qqs/a-tale-of-two-children-the-stolen-generations-then-and-now/

    • Ruth1940

      If a couple divorced around 1900, the father got custody because of course the mother couldn’t support the children, so she’d go to live with some of her relative (as spinsters often did). Even Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t get divorced because her mother-in-law told her that Eleanor wouldn’t see her six children if she did. I always prefer to hear both sides before judging, as my ex-husband’s false statements sounded very convincing.

  • Arwen Morton

    Another tangential thought: I would like to marriage rate to be lower – that people consider and make better decisions in the first place in who they want to marry. That might lead to a lower divorce rate if the marriages were entered into with more care and reflection (though the issues that cause divorce aren’t always apparent at the time of marriage), even if people were better at separating when it is needed.

    • Ruth1940

      There’s something wrong if a couple doesn’t know it will be forever when they marry, but circumstances change, and some people are very good at BSing the world. Removing the stigma from divorce is a wonderful thing.

      • Arwen Morton

        Indeed – that is what I meant by the part of my comment in Parenthesis. I think people (in general) should approach marriage seriously, but also know that getting out is an option if things are bad and not able to be reconciled.

  • khaight

    One might also argue that there are people who divorce too easily, taking normal relationship rough spots as signs that the marriage is doomed. Such people never put in the effort required to build a lasting, solid romantic relationship and wind up lonely and unfulfilled. Ergo, the divorce rate should be lower.

    As with most issues it’s more illuminating to think of it in terms of individuals instead of aggregates. There are some people who stay married when they should divorce, and I wish those people would get divorced. There are other people who get divorced when they should have stayed married, and I wish those people would stay married. Whether the first group outnumbers the second is an empirical question about which I have no opinion.

  • William H. Stoddard

    I have mixed feelings on this.

    On one hand, Carol and I have lived together since May 1, 1984. We’ve never married, but we’ve seen many of our friends marry (or not) and later split up, sometimes multiple times. Now, we’ve gone through rough times, but we stuck things out and we’re now happier together than we’ve ever been. And it doesn’t seem to me that our friends who broke things off repeatedly are better off, especially the ones who’ve ended up alone.

    On the other hand, I do see a lot of couples who’ve stayed together, but who’ve gotten to a kind of scorched earth phase of their relationships. And I can certainly see why one might think that no relationship at all would be an improvement.

    I think I’d say that the crucial thing is to mutually have the will to continued effort to make each other happy—to work for a win-win relationship rather than a win-lose one. And a lot of people don’t have that, or don’t clearly understand the concept. But with those people, the problem isn’t so much that they stuck things out too long, as that they shouldn’t have gotten into relationships in the first place, because they were never fit to have them.

    In the special case where person A wants win-win and made the mistake of choosing person B, who wants win-lose, yes, I’ll say that person A should correct the mistake by getting out, if possible. But if both A and B want win-lose, and one of them leaves, they’re just going to end up in another bad relationship. And the same is true, though in a less pathological degree, of people who aren’t clear on the concept that a relationship, like any other value, has to be created by continuing effort.

    • Ruth1940

      I think the sense of commitment is important, married or not and the process of divorce is very costly. I’m glad the stigma has subsided. It used to be that the protections (especially for females) built into the marriage laws were important, but those don’t seem to be there anymore, what with DNA testing, etc.

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