The study comes to us from Great Britain, but I believe it would apply as well to Americans.
The question is divorce. The survey asked people who had gotten a divorce whether they regretted their decision. Around one half of them did.
The Daily Mail reports the findings:
The decision to divorce is always going to be difficult, and for many there can be good reason to end a marriage.
Yet, 50 per cent of divorcees have regrets about their break-up, a study revealed. Researchers found that after the dust settled, 54 per cent experienced second thoughts about whether they had made the right decision, with many realising they miss or still love their ex-partner.
For some, the regrets have been so severe that 42 per cent have had moments where they considered giving their relationship another go, with a large percentage actually making the effort to try again and 21 per cent of those still together now.
For some couples divorce is a boon. And yet, if that many people admit that divorce was a mistake, their attitude toward divorce and marriage is surely skewed.
What does it mean?
First, it means that too many of us have been treating divorce unseriously. We underestimate the difficulties and overestimate the benefits. We have a flawed sense of the reality of life post-divorce.
Second, in a culture that sees a marriage license as just another piece of paper—like your paycheck, of course—people see divorce as a solution to their problems, not a problem in itself.
Third, in a culture that sees marriage as an oppressive institution, divorce can feel like liberation.
And, what would the story be without a top ten list.
Here is the Daily Mail’s list of the most common regrets of divorcees:
TOP TEN REASONS FOR REGRETTING A DIVORCE
1. Missing an ex-partner
2. Feeling like a failure
3. Still being in love with an ex-partner
4. Realising they were being unreasonable
5. Feeling lonely
6. Discovering the grass isn't always greener
7. An ex-partner finding someone new
8. Realising they are not better off on their own
9. Damaging the relationship with their children
10. Children's lives being affected
Divorce has been sold as a solution. It has been destigmatized, to the point where it has almost become a developmental stage.
Those who have touted the virtue of divorce—you know who they are—have a great deal to answer for. Unfortunately, precious few people are willing to hold the zealots accountable for the fallout from their bright ideas.