Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Regretting Divorce

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:

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.


Dennis said...

This rule I now live by took me years to learn. "Nothing of lasting value can be made or forced to happen. One needs to create the conditions that reenforce the good outcomes."
This takes work and an understand of what really is important. Far too many people argue over things that have little value nor importance. One needs to take the time to realize that "one up man ship" solve no problem and only creates alienation. Winning is not a family value. Not that I have not in over 50 years of marriage not made my share of stupid mistakes.
We are equal in worth and our importance to the marriage, but we are also different in a variety of ways that the strengths we both possess create a solid family and survival unit. If one is observant one quickly sees who has more skills in one area or another. Accepting those difference is the foundation of any good relationship. The point is to allow it to happen.
One would be surprised at how ease life is when one stops and tries to enjoy life with another person.
Women are almost always the initiators of divorce. I suspect that they are far more prone to external forces and expectations than men. There is not a man alive, or woman, who could live up to the unreasonable expectations we seem to have set for men by usually very bitter feminists. A good marriage needs feminism like a fish needs a bicycle.

Anonymous said...

#2 #9 #10

Those are my regrets.

Sam L. said...

My wife was divorced.
#s 1,3,4,7,8,9 were not in play. And her kids have seen what their Dad is.

Ares Olympus said...

It's curious the article doesn't differentiate between divorcers and divorcees, nor between men and women. You'd think that would be interesting, but maybe distracting from the central point of propaganda, that people shouldn't dismiss their sentimental attachment when making this life changing decision.

About regrets, who knows how to interpret this? I think we need to go deeper.

Some people regret ever getting married, and deny their choices to listen to their heart, while others might feel regret from their blame and dishonesty they used to justify the divorce, thus are looking for redemption, willing to carry their misdeeds.

I've never been married, but I do see my parents divorced when I was about 10-11, and neither dated much at all or remarried. Another friend had parents divorce in her teens, and eventually got back together and remarried.

These small cases make me think there is something "forever" about marriage, at least ones that last a decade or more, and knowing second and third marriages have even lower probability of success than firsts suggests its good to consider divorce as a permanent post-marriage state, I mean at least as a thought experiment, and in part, yes, acceptance "I failed at marriage" as a point of shame you have to carry for the rest of your life whether society disapproves or not.

I remember in college debating with friend whether marriage should have an "expiration date" where they'd have to be renewed, or they'd end automatically, maybe every 7 years or something? The intention was to break up the expectation that you "owned" your spouse, but instead had to "earn" the privilege to stay married, but when children are involved, its more complicated.

Of course, we also debated B.F. Skinner's ideal that parents shouldn't be possessive towards their children at all, and that youth should be encouraged to have kids, but then they'd be passed over to communal rearing by more experienced adults. Knowing about genetic diseases increasing with age, the suggestion almost makes sense.

Then you can go to "A brave new world" where all sentimental attachment is discouraged, and reason and free will are allowed to shine their light of liberty.

Maybe thought experiments are harmless, but regrets are forever.

Unknown said...
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Aaron Jennie said...
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micheal pan said...
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