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Why is everyone getting divorced?

Viola

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May 19, 2009
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I just read about the separation of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and wondered, what is going on?

I've been seeing more and more celebrities getting divorced. Elizabeth Hurley just got a divorce, Eva Longoria, Olivia Wilde, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Christina Aguilera, Jaime Pressly, Kate Winslet, etc etc.

I realize that some get divorced because of adultery, different types of abuse and other factors that one can't control, so I'm obviously not questioning those, and i'm not speculating on specific cases as to why they're getting divorced. It's more of a general question.

Something struck me with Maria Shriver, and it got me thinking. She was a guest on the Oprah-show a while back, and she was so careful to make her marriage appear as the perfect union, and how she and her husband are frisky with eachother like they were newly-engaged etc. And then I read on People magazine's website today where it said that she'd been miserable for years, and I see this with a lot of people, not only celebrities, how they try to make they're marriage look like something it's not.

I'm not only questioning celebrities, but also "real life" people, why do people try to make their union seem like perfect and act like they're deliriously happy and talk very openly about their very active sex life, only to get a divorce a few months or a year later? And then coming clean about the *real* dynamic of their relationship.

I realize that most of us on PS (including me) are in longterm relationships, marriages, partnerships, and people come here to find advice on engagement rings. So I know it's a "weird" place to make an attempt to start a discussion on this topic, but I found it interesting, and thought perhaps it would make an interesting discussion.

So...
What is marriage?
Is it a lifelong monogamous romantic marriage/relationship? if yes, is it a realistic goal?
Does the dynamic of a relationship change over the years?
Why is the divorce rate so high?
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
I think the more people talk about having an amazing relationship, the worse it is! Maybe they're trying to convince themselves? But seriously, it's interesting that vow renewals always seem to precede divorces!

ETA I think it must be hard for 2 celebrities to stay together, too-so much ego in one relationship.
 

Dancing Fire

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Viola|1305047837|2917482 said:
What is marriage?
Is it a lifelong monogamous romantic marriage/relationship? if yes, is it a realistic goal?
Does the dynamic of a relationship change over the years?
Why is the divorce rate so high?
cuz the wife is spending too much money on jewelry and handbags.. :devil:
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
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thing2of2|1305048301|2917490 said:
I think the more people talk about having an amazing relationship, the worse it is! Maybe they're trying to convince themselves? But seriously, it's interesting that vow renewals always seem to precede divorces!
yup,and the couples whom are showing loveydovey in public will be next in line for divorce.
 

jaysonsmom

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Mar 13, 2004
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3,245
Viola, my thoughts mirror yours as well. I think marriage is taken too lightly these days, especially for celebrities. I'm a strong proponent of working things out or just "suck it up" unless there's violence or infidelity. I'm saddened by each divorce and separation that takes place, no matter how long the marriage the lasted. A lot of celebrity gossip state that the couple separated due to not having time for each other (scheduling conflicts)! Can't these ego-mongers lay off tours, or appearances for a while to work on their marriage?
 

Tacori E-ring

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I remember when I was pregnant it seemed like EVERYONE was pregnant because I was concentrating on it. I doubt that there was a spike in pregnancy in 2007 but I was paying attention to it. I think the same is for divorce rates. There are high profile divorces every year. It may seem like the numbers are higher but I would guess they are just getting more press coverage.
 

ForteKitty

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Oct 7, 2004
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I'm 31, most of my friends are the same age. Out of the 10 or so couples who are married... 2 are getting divorced already. One couple has only been married 1.5 years. A third couple almost split because he cheated on her w/ about 6 different women in a span of a year.. but they're "working out his sex addiction issue".

One couple realized they have different life goals and priorities when it comes to money. He wants a big house and acres of land (HA, good luck w/ that in L.A.), even if it means eating ramen and staying home all the time, she wants a modest house and travelling. They were fine up to their wedding... then fought for the entire length of their marriage.

The other couple was married 9 years. He wants another mother to take care of his lazy ass, she's tired of being his mother and realized she married too early. He also can't keep a full time job despite having 3 Master Degrees, because "everyone picks on him", so he quits after a month. Then blames his neglectful parents for the way he is, and never accepts responsibility for any of it. Loser, get over it.

Both couples did not live together prior to the wedding. I suspect some of these issues may have come out had they lived together. My other friends who are married have lived together for a few years, and are very happy.

Both divorcing couples have always stated how ecstatically happy they are with their mates... none of my other friends do that. I believe the friends who don't create a facade will fare much better in their marriage.
 

y2kitty

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People have unrealistic expectations for long term relationships.
 

Viola

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Messages
155
I think you guys are right about the couples who act overly loveydovey and their divorce rate.

And I also think that really getting to know eachother before marriage is key, living under the same roof won't make a bulletproof marriage, the chances that it'll work out in the long run are just a bit higher.

Herekittykitty, I agree with you, I think people go into a marriage with unrealistic expectations. But what are realistic expectations?

What is the realistic definition of a marriage? Considering that up until 100 yrs ago, marriage was considered to be a contract, and romantic love wasn't really the deciding factor when couples got married. Marriage used to be about survival, and now it's morphed into finding your soulmate.

Is it realistic to aspire to that?
 

Amys Bling

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I too agree with the overly lovey dicey behaviors in public and talking about your relationship and how great it is.... I tend to think they are trying just as hard to convince themselves as they are trying to convince others. My sister's bestfriend is always talking about how great her relationship is and get they both cheat behind each others' backs. Go figure they are under the age of 23... Getting married.... And no real financial prospects (recipe for disaster!)

Dicey= dovey .... stupid spell check! :nono:
 

janinegirly

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But everyone you've listed are celebrities? I don't think we can equate trends in celebrities' lives with every day people. Celebrities by nature tend to be more self absorbed, more driven by their looks (and seek out reaffirmation of their appeal as they get older through affairs etc) and also have access to alot of temptation. I don't think many celbrities take marriage very seriously - more like something to do on a whim, get on the cover of People, OR in reaction to pregnancy. Not all of course, but many.

Now Arnold and Maria Shriver was a bit of a shock since they seemed to fall more in line with the traditional family, were together 25 years,etc. but again, I can see how the differences that everyone noted when they first started dating would start to grate on them more once the kids were grown and he was out of political office. He does have quite an ego which apparently was noted by a "source/friend" of Maria's.

The average couple does not have the same challenges although divorce rate are still high. BUT I can't say everyone around me is getting divorced, in fact I only have 1-2 friends who are, so that's pretty good!

As for your comment on the celebrities who brag the most being the first to have their marriage fall apart - are you really surprised? They're actors and it's all about image and perception most of the time. You cannot watch interviews and feel like that is real life...I had to roll my eyes when I heard Julia Roberts say how AMAZING Benjamin Bratt was, or Eva going on and on about how incredibly romantic and "normal" her marriage was (all while her young husbad was silent and staring bored into space), or Christina Aguilera lecturing us on how perfect her husband is and how they have naked Sundays to keep things fresh.....I could go on and on with examples. I do agree that this applies to "real life" couples too - the ones who need to prove things outwardly the most, usually have the weakest foundation.

PS Had to laugh at Tacori's saying how everyone seemed preg when she was - me too! I thought, wow I must be setting a trend,haha.
 

Viola

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Messages
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janinegirly said:
But everyone you've listed are celebrities? I don't think we can equate trends in celebrities' lives with every day people. Celebrities by nature tend to be more self absorbed, more driven by their looks (and seek out reaffirmation of their appeal as they get older through affairs etc) and also have access to alot of temptation. I don't think many celbrities take marriage very seriously - more like something to do on a whim, get on the cover of People, OR in reaction to pregnancy. Not all of course, but many.

Now Arnold and Maria Shriver was a bit of a shock since they seemed to fall more in line with the traditional family, were together 25 years,etc. but again, I can see how the differences that everyone noted when they first started dating would start to grate on them more once the kids were grown and he was out of political office. He does have quite an ego which apparently was noted by a "source/friend" of Maria's.

The average couple does not have the same challenges although divorce rate are still high. BUT I can't say everyone around me is getting divorced, in fact I only have 1-2 friends who are, so that's pretty good!

As for your comment on the celebrities who brag the most being the first to have their marriage fall apart - are you really surprised? They're actors and it's all about image and perception most of the time. You cannot watch interviews and feel like that is real life...I had to roll my eyes when I heard Julia Roberts say how AMAZING Benjamin Bratt was, or Eva going on and on about how incredibly romantic and "normal" her marriage was (all while her young husbad was silent and staring bored into space), or Christina Aguilera lecturing us on how perfect her husband is and how they have naked Sundays to keep things fresh.....I could go on and on with examples.

PS Had to laugh at Tacori's saying how everyone seemed preg when she was - me too! I thought, wow I must be setting a trend,haha.
I know I started out naming celebrities, but You're absolutely right, a celebrity marriage is a different monster than a "real life" marriage.

I probably wasn't too clear on the point I was trying to get across (English isn't my first language), so I just rambled.

But I just asked in another post,

"What is the realistic definition of a marriage? Considering that up until 100 yrs ago, marriage was considered to be a contract, and romantic love wasn't really the deciding factor when couples got married. Marriage used to be about survival, and now it's morphed into finding your soulmate.
Is it realistic to aspire to that?"
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
3,689
Viola|1305053275|2917577 said:
janinegirly said:
But everyone you've listed are celebrities? I don't think we can equate trends in celebrities' lives with every day people. Celebrities by nature tend to be more self absorbed, more driven by their looks (and seek out reaffirmation of their appeal as they get older through affairs etc) and also have access to alot of temptation. I don't think many celbrities take marriage very seriously - more like something to do on a whim, get on the cover of People, OR in reaction to pregnancy. Not all of course, but many.

Now Arnold and Maria Shriver was a bit of a shock since they seemed to fall more in line with the traditional family, were together 25 years,etc. but again, I can see how the differences that everyone noted when they first started dating would start to grate on them more once the kids were grown and he was out of political office. He does have quite an ego which apparently was noted by a "source/friend" of Maria's.

The average couple does not have the same challenges although divorce rate are still high. BUT I can't say everyone around me is getting divorced, in fact I only have 1-2 friends who are, so that's pretty good!

As for your comment on the celebrities who brag the most being the first to have their marriage fall apart - are you really surprised? They're actors and it's all about image and perception most of the time. You cannot watch interviews and feel like that is real life...I had to roll my eyes when I heard Julia Roberts say how AMAZING Benjamin Bratt was, or Eva going on and on about how incredibly romantic and "normal" her marriage was (all while her young husbad was silent and staring bored into space), or Christina Aguilera lecturing us on how perfect her husband is and how they have naked Sundays to keep things fresh.....I could go on and on with examples.

PS Had to laugh at Tacori's saying how everyone seemed preg when she was - me too! I thought, wow I must be setting a trend,haha.
I know I started out naming celebrities, but You're absolutely right, a celebrity marriage is a different monster than a "real life" marriage.

I probably wasn't too clear on the point I was trying to get across (English isn't my first language), so I just rambled.

But I just asked in another post,

"What is the realistic definition of a marriage? Considering that up until 100 yrs ago, marriage was considered to be a contract, and romantic love wasn't really the deciding factor when couples got married. Marriage used to be about survival, and now it's morphed into finding your soulmate.
Is it realistic to aspire to that?"
Ah no problem (and your English is very good!) - I guess I took your post to be 2 parts and focused on the first. I personally don't think it is realistic to aspire for marriage to be about finding yoru soulmate or some kind of idealistic romantic love out of a Meg Ryan movie. In fact this belief will lead to marital troubles since marriage (to me) is more about finding a life partner, which is much much more than romance and a lot of the times, less exciting day to day. Stability, maturity, similar styles/goals/moral beliefs all count for much more. I do think marrying later helps alot - people evolve over time and sometimes the person you were at 23 is not the same as who you are at 43.
 

TravelingGal

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Joined
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Messages
17,193
My opinion: Marriage is the joining of two lives. If you want marriage to last, you have to making the JOINING happen.

See my highly technical drawing below. :cheeky: There are those few marriages (my bro and SIL are one) where they are just SOULMATES. They live for one another and just LOVE being together. They go through life, side by side and grow together. (fig A)
For the rest of us mortals, we have to work on it. People continue to grow and change their ENTIRE lives. Priorities and interests as INDIVIDUALS just change! If there is no effort in really connecting and REconnecting in a marriage, it's very easy for two people really start heading in their own directions...and soon they find the are far apart from their spouse (fig B)

Personally, in my own marriage, we are always striving for figure C. There are so many things that pull us apart (the craziness of day to day life, kids, friends, quest for personal time) that we have to make an effort to come together. For us that comes in the form of a date night every Thursday to just hang out and look each other in the eye for more than 15 minutes in a day. Some date nights are better than others. Some date nights are "heavier" in that we may talk about something that's bothering us. Other date nights are just a rip roaring good time. And sometimes, date nights happen on nights that aren't supposed to be date nights.

If you veer too far away from one another, it's harder to loop back around. I know that even though right now our marriage is good and resembles figure C - at ANY time we can just let it slip and we'll shoot into a form of figure B. Maybe that's what happened with Maria and Arnold, especially in the years of his being the governator.

So to answer your question...

What is marriage: the joining of two lives TOGETHER

Is it a lifelong monogamous romantic marriage/relationship? if yes, is it a realistic goal?
Yes, it's lifelong, yes it's monogamous, no it's not always romantic, but love is not romantic. Is it realistic? As long as people realize it's work and worth it, yes.

Does the dynamic of a relationship change over the years? As far as I can see of my own - yes, definitely.


Why is the divorce rate so high? I don't know and don't have time to figure this out. Too busy working on my own marriage day to day! ::)

marriage.jpg
 

Sha

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
2,329
That's very interesting, Tgal! I like that.

Some pretty insightful points made so far. Interesting discussion.
 

TravelingGal

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Oh, and one more thing...marriages can survive a lot. They can survive horrible things like infidelity. But I find that marriages, or just relationships in general cannot survive contempt. And that seems to happen when one or both feel they aren't valued by the other, either because love or respect are missing. And both those take a lot of cultivating and a lot of figure C. :rodent:
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
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Messages
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TGal--Your illustration is my new favorite thing on PS.

Viola--First, you are very skilled at writing in English.

To answer your most recent question, I can say that believe that I've found my soulmate in my husband. Of course, that sort of lovey-dovey terminology makes me feel uncomfortable to use, but I'll admit to feeling that way about him. I'd define our marriage as the lifelong pursuit of a shared existence. I feel like I'm currently living the best possible version of my life, and I feel that I owe a lot of that to the fact that I'm with my husband.

Now I have to run away from this thread and shake all the cheesiness off my fingertips. :cheeky:
 

Haven

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TravelingGal|1305056186|2917631 said:
Oh, and one more thing...marriages can survive a lot. They can survive horrible things like infidelity. But I find that marriages, or just relationships in general cannot survive contempt. And that seems to happen when one or both feel they aren't valued by the other, either because love or respect are missing. And both those take a lot of cultivating and a lot of figure C. :rodent:
I saw a film about the Doctors Gottman's work on marriage and they made a point to discuss this very thing--if one partner shows contempt toward the other during a discussion it was a very bad sign. You are so insightful TGal!
 

kenny

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People get divorced because they don't want to be married any longer.
 

Amys Bling

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kenny|1305057007|2917647 said:
People get divorced because they don't want to be married any longer.

simply stated, b ut true. I think there are a lot of reasons why they no longer want to be married... and so many times gaining freedom in one area or another is a big part of this.
 

wannaBMrsH

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My SIL is currently separated and (she hopes) headed towards divorce. She recently admitted that she's been miserable for the last three years and finally talked herself into walking away. I was suprised because she always gave the impression of a happy marriage (in the four years that I've known her).

I think that people try to present a happy front because it's easier than showing everyone how unhappy you are. If you pretend everything is okay, then no one will question you. KWIM?

DH and I are one of those annoying lovey-dovey couples, but we have always been outwardly affectionate since we started dating. As silly as it seems, we are even more so when we are alone. DH randomly screams, "I LOVE YOU!" from the study from time to time and I've made up some horrible and goofy versions of a song whose only lyrics are: I love you bear-y, bear-y much. :rolleyes:

SIL told me that when she met me and saw how happy her brother was, she realized he'd been miserable for a long, long time before me. So much that everyone thought that it was normal...it made her reflect and realize that because she thought everyone had a miserable marriage and you just "dealt with it", she was "dealing with it" as well. It wasn't until she realized that it's completely possible that there is someone out there who will not only inspire her to chase her dreams, but share them with her, that she knew she had to walk away from the situation she was in.
 

kenny

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Divorce is not a bad thing.

People do it because they see it as the only way to be happy.
 

Viola

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Wow, you're all making really great points!

TravelingGal, I LOVE the example you posted, so much that I'm saving the image so I won't forget about it.

Haven and Janinegirly, Thanks for the comments regarding my English, I'm pretty rusty these days, but I'm trying.

Haven and WannabMrsH, Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt that many couples who act loveydovey are sincerely expressing their emotions, and that they aren't putting on an act. I think many people perceive me and my BF (of 5yrs) to be loveydovey, well, he's always loveydovey, I'm less than he is. I can speak for myself and my relationship and say that whenever I'm acting loveydovey it's sincere, and I'm sure it's the same for him. :bigsmile:
 

Circe

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jaysonsmom|1305049828|2917511 said:
Viola, my thoughts mirror yours as well. I think marriage is taken too lightly these days, especially for celebrities. I'm a strong proponent of working things out or just "suck it up" unless there's violence or infidelity. I'm saddened by each divorce and separation that takes place, no matter how long the marriage the lasted. A lot of celebrity gossip state that the couple separated due to not having time for each other (scheduling conflicts)! Can't these ego-mongers lay off tours, or appearances for a while to work on their marriage?
Oh, man, I completely disagree with this - I think the ability to divorce is one of the great advances of modern society. I don't think it's the goal to which we all aspire ... but if people grow apart, it is considerably better to have the option to develop separately instead of being shackled together in misery. Violence and infidelity are bad (and I think T-Gal's point about contempt is very, very wise), but there are lesser factors which can lead people to develop is ways that don't equate to hating one another: just to ... not wanting to be together anymore. And what's wrong with that, necessarily?

One couple that I respect, both for how they handled their marriage, and for how they handled their split, would be Al and Tipper Gore: they were mature and private about it all, while still pursuing the path that they thought would bring them both the most happiness. Interestingly, they, too fit that demonstrative model. I wonder if it might just be a case of vivid people taking dramatic action? Love passionately, fall apart dramatically ....

P.S. - For what it's worth, I don't believe in the concept of soul mates, but I do believe in partnership, and mutual sublimation of some personal desires for the greater good of the family. I just think you need to be on the same page on all of that, which sadly, a lot of couples aren't ....
 

MichelleCarmen

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15,880
Dancing Fire|1305048524|2917494 said:
Viola|1305047837|2917482 said:
What is marriage?
Is it a lifelong monogamous romantic marriage/relationship? if yes, is it a realistic goal?
Does the dynamic of a relationship change over the years?
Why is the divorce rate so high?
cuz the wife is spending too much money on jewelry and handbags.. :devil:
ha - or possibly b/c the husband's are cheapskates that nit-pick every little purchase?
 

MichelleCarmen

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You know, I think that celebrities have higher rates of divorce b/c they don't truely know who they are. They spend so much time plaiyng out rolls, both in movies and in front of US mag photographers that when the REAL person emerges, the couple is stuck with a bit of a reality check. Actors are fun to watch on tv, but in real life, they're still pretty, but are now regular people (and are probably lame in bed.) lol

Nice graph TGAL. You should have a three-set pendant collection made that couples can buy before marrying. Decide which best fits the wife!
 

CrazyMaybe

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I am getting divorced because I was so miserable that I no longer cared about people like Viola wondering why I was getting a divorce.
 

AGBF

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herekittykitty|1305049980|2917514 said:
People have unrealistic expectations for long term relationships.
And now they are able to leave those relationships, whereas in the past there was far too much pressure, both internal and external, to remain in them. I think that really says it all.*

Deb/AGBF
:read:

*No matter what, reading the news about Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenenegger made me sad. Maybe, in part, because I am in the middle of a divorce after a long marriage. I felt I could relate to them as people who had been together for many years.
 

Viola

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CrazyMaybe said:
I am getting divorced because I was so miserable that I no longer cared about people like Viola wondering why I was getting a divorce.
Well, I'm sorry you feel that I'm singleing out people who are getting divorced, I didn't mean to offend anyone.

It's generalization, and not speculation on specific cases, I'm not questioning or depriving you of your feelings.

I suppose I could've picked a better title than the one I chose.
 

ksinger

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Circe|1305061495|2917723 said:
jaysonsmom|1305049828|2917511 said:
Viola, my thoughts mirror yours as well. I think marriage is taken too lightly these days, especially for celebrities. I'm a strong proponent of working things out or just "suck it up" unless there's violence or infidelity. I'm saddened by each divorce and separation that takes place, no matter how long the marriage the lasted. A lot of celebrity gossip state that the couple separated due to not having time for each other (scheduling conflicts)! Can't these ego-mongers lay off tours, or appearances for a while to work on their marriage?
Oh, man, I completely disagree with this - I think the ability to divorce is one of the great advances of modern society. I don't think it's the goal to which we all aspire ... but if people grow apart, it is considerably better to have the option to develop separately instead of being shackled together in misery. Violence and infidelity are bad (and I think T-Gal's point about contempt is very, very wise), but there are lesser factors which can lead people to develop is ways that don't equate to hating one another: just to ... not wanting to be together anymore. And what's wrong with that, necessarily?

One couple that I respect, both for how they handled their marriage, and for how they handled their split, would be Al and Tipper Gore: they were mature and private about it all, while still pursuing the path that they thought would bring them both the most happiness. Interestingly, they, too fit that demonstrative model. I wonder if it might just be a case of vivid people taking dramatic action? Love passionately, fall apart dramatically ....

P.S. - For what it's worth, I don't believe in the concept of soul mates, but I do believe in partnership, and mutual sublimation of some personal desires for the greater good of the family. I just think you need to be on the same page on all of that, which sadly, a lot of couples aren't ....
Yep. Ain't no one passing out brownie points for how much misery was endured. Marriage shouldn't be something to be endured to death, in spite of what any book or group of people tell you.

I think divorce is a great advance too. It's not without it's unintended consequences for society, but on balance, I think it needed to happen - the availability of divorce.

And there aren't more people getting divorced "these days". It's all just a matter of focus. You see what you focus on, that's all.
 
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