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Why are so many people getting divorced?

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HollyS

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We - us - society puts social pressure on young women to want marriage, to look for marriage, and to find their self-esteem in marriage and children.

Still, today, after years of women being in the workforce full-time, years of women building careers and making it to the top of their chosen professions; years of women being financially able to provide for themselves and have the life they want aside from partners and children, society wants to demand that we find our fulfillment in marriage and children. We are taught, from an early age, that this is what we should do; and subliminally at least, assured that we will be failures if we do not.

Now, because of that pressure, there are women who do not take a close and careful enough look at the men who present themselves as potential mates. They don''t spend enough time getting to know the real guy behind the dating facade; or they refuse to acknowledge that there might be a red flag flapping over the guy''s head. They think they can change him to be the perfect guy. We see this periodically on the LIW thread. (I can''t speak for why guys get married, as I''m only a woman.
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)

Sure there are some who cheat on their spouse, but most marriages will end because of ''irreconcilable differences'', which is legal speak for they don''t want to accept reality and do the hard work of making it work. Because the person they wake up to either isn''t their fantasy after all, or he/she didn''t change - big surprise. And since cutting one''s losses is emotionally easier than growing and changing, people opt out of the marriage. That''s what happens when you wake up one day and the spouse says "I don''t want to be married anymore." And both men and women are guilty of using that self-serving escape hatch.
 

tradergirl

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Just celebrated 24th anniversary. First and only marriage.

I attribute the longevity in great part to not having any kids and the financial problems they cause.
 

ksinger

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Date: 3/9/2009 4:25:33 PM
Author: lulu
''Anecdotes''? I have ''anecdotes'' to support my position? How snidely dismissive. For the first 28 of my 31 years as a family attorney I was a domestic relations referee. I worked with people everyday to resolve custody, parenting time and property disputes. I interviewed their children at least twice each week. Twice each week for 28 years-you do the math.

Of course there are situations where it''s not possible for people to stay together. But my point is that if two people can live harmoniously under one roof, as friends, until their children are 18, it''s better for their kids. If someone has to bear the results of a bad marriage it should be the people who made the vow sucking it up for the children. You bet that''s a strong opinion, but consider how many years I''ve been thinking about this. It''s hardly based on ''anecdotes''
I didn''t mean that snidely or dismissively. But you may take my post and attribute all the snideness and malice to it you wish.
 

lulu

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terrific story. I know my husband would do that for me, but would I be able to do it for him? I hope so.
 

HollyS

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Date: 3/9/2009 5:39:24 PM
Author: decodelighted
A must read. .

They have a marriage. So many people are just roommates by comparison.
 

CNOS128

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Those I know who were divorced or are getting divorced at a relatively young age (or rather, after only a few years of marriage) have all told me the same reason -- that they realized at some point that they "wanted different things." I''m not certain if this is due to not taking marriage seriously, or rushing into it, or immaturity, or selfishness, or that they didn''t understand each other, or what. I''m not sure they know, either.

The people I know who had been married 10 or more years before divorcing generally had stronger reasons - like infidelity or other betrayal, or abusiveness.

But this, of course, IS merely anecdotal -- and probably doesn''t ring true for the majority of the divorced population.
 

TravelingGal

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Interestingly, no one I directly know is divorced. My three closest friends have all been married over 10 years. My social circle consists of 10 couples, all still married.

Within those 10 couples, I would not say all are happily married, but they are still striving to work on things.
 

ksinger

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Date: 3/9/2009 1:26:27 PM
Author: musey

Date: 3/9/2009 11:45:45 AM
Author: Dreamgirl
I honestly think its because too many people jump into marriage before really thinking about it first. You really have to know yourself and know what you want out of life before making that commitment and make sure that you are both on the same page. Also, sometimes when couples get married very young, they then decide they made the wrong choice down the road. It all depends on how committed they are to one another and if they can get through the good times and bad together...
While these are valid points, I think they really oversimplify the issue(s). Sure, lots of people get divorced because they got married ''too quickly'' or ''too young'' (whatever that means), but just as many people from those categories stay together... and just as many people who got married after YEARS together and at a completely socially acceptable age get divorced.

The reality is that there are a million and one reasons why people get divorced, and no collection of reasons posted on a PS thread will begin to cover it.

Peoples'' lives get messed up, regardless of whether or not they or their parents got married/divorced/widowed/separated/etc/etc. I think divorce is an easy scapegoat for a lot of peoples'' life stories of woe. The reality is that it''s simply the dissolution of what was supposed to be (in idealistic terms) a lifetime relationship. There can be as much or as little mess surrounding it, and as many or as few reasons leading up to it as one can imagine. In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all (or even 35-sizes-fit-all) answer to why people decide to dissolve their relationship, or how it affects them or their children.

People are responsible for their own lives, and the lives of their children (though only to a point). We can sit around and talk philosophically about divorce trends and their impact on our lives, but in the end it''s all meaningless. People will do what they do, and hopefully it''s right for them and their family. Our only job is to be responsible for ourselves and our own families, and make our decisions with the best foresight and most information we can muster - what we can do about other peoples'' life decisions maxes out at trying to understand them and integrate them (whether in an anti- or pro-fashion) into our own decision structure.
Amen to that. After a divorce of my very own, I quit (though I actually don''t think I ever did, now that I think about it) judging people on divorces. I also don''t give advice to anyone on the topic. I''m hardly one to talk and I know it. But I truly do know some long term marriages where both people are living lives of quiet desperation. I personally find it sad, but then who am I to say what a person should put up with or not? Besides, I''m too busy enjoying and maintaining my ridiculously happy second marriage. I got damn lucky, and I know it.
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JulieN

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Date: 3/9/2009 4:53:59 PM
Author: TravelingGal
Many people don''t know what love is.


It is ''I love you.'' Period.


Whether or not we know it, I love you is often ''I love you BECAUSE...'' Well, the stuff that comes after the because often changes. And when the latter part of the sentence changes, oftentimes the ''I love you'' part does as well.


An oversimplification, sure, but just the way I see things.

Yes, exactly.
 

Phoenix

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I guess there are many reasons why peole get divorced and whilst for some that seems to be an easy way out, to others I'll bet you it isn't. It is traumatic, both for the couple and especially for the children. I myself have never been in a divorce but I see with my friends and in fact my family.

My oldest brother got divorced when I was a little girl and we lived many miles apart so I don't really know what happened, even to this day. He and his ex-wife still dislike each other though they do speak to each other now, I gather for the children's sake. Two of their kids seem fairly "normal" or as normal as one can be. Their oldest daugher is herself a divorcee, twice and is now onto her third partner and refuses to get married again.

Another one of my sisters is going through a nasty divorce after having been married the same no of years as we have (12 years). Mind you, they should never even have got married in the first place. They're both immature, thoughtless and self-centred, despite them being in their late forties. She's the one that wore her own white wedding dress (yes, white WD
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) to my wedding and her husband is a spoilt mummy boy who could never hold down a job for longer than a year. They do have two adorable kids though who I know are thoroughly devastated by this whole thing.

My parents however were married for some 60 years. My mum actually became paralysed towards the end of her life because of some medical complications. My dad took care of her everyday for like six years. He had help (nurses coming round for a few hours a day) but he still ran around looking after her, cooking for her, helping her to go to the bathroom and helping to clean her up if the nurses were not around/ during the night. This is not unlike the link that Decode quoted. That's what I call marriage. It's about being there through thick and thin.

I personally think that *some* people underestimate how difficult it is going into a marriage. It's about compromises, it's about thinking about someone else other than yourself. Like others have said, once the "magic" - if you like -ie. the lusting is gone / almost gone, you have to be mature and committed to each other to stay married. That's what real life is all about. You're with someone because you want a life companion, someone who will be there for you no matter what and vice versa, someone who will respect you as an individual and again vice versa, someone who you know will share with you the most beatiful moments of your life with as well as your downs etc. I can go on, but you get my point. Some people have unrealistic expectations of what marriage will bring them and when their expectations do not turn out, they walk! Another big mistake is when one partner clearly wants kids so badly and the other is determined they don't. They get married, hoping that the other partner will change their mind, BIG mistake!

Some marriages however should and must be dissolved, where it is clearly a case of domestic violence or abuse (whether physically or psychologically). Infidelity, I think unless the man or woman is a serial cheater, one indiscretion (esp when the guilty party is clearly sorry and is not going to repeat) does not necessarily warrant walking out on a marriage and tearing up the whole family. I think that it is when the cheater is clearly not committed or has no respect for his or her partner, that's when one should walk. The money problem thing, I don't see how that can be a cause for divorce, unless it is when one partner clearly does something very very wrong so as to make his/ her partner completely distrust them, I don't see how couples cannot get past that. It's weird because it is statistically the number one cause of divorce, but I don't really understand that, perhaps someone can enlighten me?
 

Phoenix

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I just want to add about the money thing, my family went through a period of poverty, I mean we were really really poor. My parents didn''t split up over this, if anything their marriage became stronger because of this. I don''t say this to be condescending or judgemental towards others who got divorced because of money problems. I simply don''t understand how they can''t work it out. Surely, it''s for "richer or poorer".
 

steph72276

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Date: 3/9/2009 6:04:21 PM
Author: tradergirl
Just celebrated 24th anniversary. First and only marriage.


I attribute the longevity in great part to not having any kids and the financial problems they cause.
Wow, really? I think our child has only made us closer. I really don''t think of my child as a "financial problem"....we are planning for his future by saving for college, etc.
 

Dancing Fire

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Date: 3/9/2009 11:18:39 PM
Author: Phoenix
I just want to add about the money thing, my family went through a period of poverty, I mean we were really really poor. My parents didn''t split up over this, if anything their marriage became stronger because of this. I don''t say this to be condescending or judgemental towards others who got divorced because of money problems. I simply don''t understand how they can''t work it out. Surely, it''s for ''richer or poorer''.
or til debt do us part.
 

Haven

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Date: 3/9/2009 7:06:44 PM
Author: JulieN
Date: 3/9/2009 4:53:59 PM
Author: TravelingGal
Many people don''t know what love is.

It is ''I love you.'' Period.

Whether or not we know it, I love you is often ''I love you BECAUSE...'' Well, the stuff that comes after the because often changes. And when the latter part of the sentence changes, oftentimes the ''I love you'' part does as well.

An oversimplification, sure, but just the way I see things.
Yes, exactly.
Oh, yes. I very much like this.

As for the original question:
I think marriages fail because somewhere along the way one partner or both decides that they no longer care to be committed to making it work. Period. Sometimes it starts out in year one of a marriage and works its way into a long, messy history by year 30, and a couple divorces because he cheated. Or she became hateful and mean. Or it happens in month two instead of year 30. But really, it happens because one of them decides that it just isn''t a forever thing anymore, and acts accordingly. If you don''t care to work something out, you won''t. If you do, but your partner doesn''t, you can''t.

My parents'' 30 year marriage is ending because my father cheated. Or my mother became bitter and angry. Or because he felt like he was never good enough. Or because she felt like she was the only adult in the relationship. Or they couldn''t get their finances in order. But somewhere, at some point along the way, one of them gave up inside. They didn''t declare it. They didn''t face it. But one of them acted on some feeling that it just wasn''t worth it to work at it anymore, and out came the anger, and the accusations, and the lies, and the ugly. They didn''t stop loving each other. They stopped being committed to their marriage. And so it failed.

At school, I call these individuals internal dropouts. They show up, they sit in my class, but they aren''t really there. They aren''t committed. They don''t care what happens in the class, or if they learn anything, or earn a passing grade. They just show up because that''s what is expected of them and they feel some pressure or obligation to do so. I think it''s similar with a failing marriage--one of the partners is an internal dropout, and until they can admit it to themselves or their partner, they slowly chip away at the marriage. Eventually, it all pours out and then they''re signing divorce papers. Or telling their teachers to F off in the middle of a lecture about Fitzgerald and the American dream.
 

FrekeChild

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Date: 3/9/2009 5:39:24 PM
Author: decodelighted
A must read. .
OMG Deco, that article moved me to tears. That''s never happened before.
 

Deelight

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Date: 3/9/2009 6:02:39 PM
Author: musey
Date: 3/9/2009 5:54:55 PM

Author: TravelingGal

Date: 3/9/2009 5:47:57 PM


Author: TravelingGal



Date: 3/9/2009 5:39:24 PM


Author: decodelighted


A must read. .
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I''m still f''ing crying!!! And people want me to read an article about kids being baked in a car? No thank you!

Seriously!! Hangout has been tearjerk-central, lately!

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that was beautiful
 

justjulia

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Date: 3/9/2009 11:22:02 PM
Author: steph72276

Date: 3/9/2009 6:04:21 PM
Author: tradergirl
Just celebrated 24th anniversary. First and only marriage.


I attribute the longevity in great part to not having any kids and the financial problems they cause.
Wow, really? I think our child has only made us closer. I really don''t think of my child as a ''financial problem''....we are planning for his future by saving for college, etc.
Agreed, Steph.

If you think children "cause" financial problems, you probably don''t have your ducks in a row in the first place. Sure, I have many times given up something I want or need for sake of my children''s needs, but it has not left me bitter. Quite contrary. It made me grow up.
 

steph72276

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Date: 3/10/2009 7:02:12 AM
Author: justjulia
Date: 3/9/2009 11:22:02 PM

Author: steph72276


Date: 3/9/2009 6:04:21 PM

Author: tradergirl

Just celebrated 24th anniversary. First and only marriage.



I attribute the longevity in great part to not having any kids and the financial problems they cause.

Wow, really? I think our child has only made us closer. I really don''t think of my child as a ''financial problem''....we are planning for his future by saving for college, etc.
Agreed, Steph.


If you think children ''cause'' financial problems, you probably don''t have your ducks in a row in the first place. Sure, I have many times given up something I want or need for sake of my children''s needs, but it has not left me bitter. Quite contrary. It made me grow up.
Exactly. It''s all about priorities. And if your priorities don''t include children, then that''s okay. I''m glad those people are wise enough to not to bring children into the world. But to say they cause financial problems which lead to divorce is just wrong. Unless you''re having 14 babies at once, they are pretty manageable to bring into a household.
 
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