Divorce Facts and Findings

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Choosing to get a divorce is one of the biggest and most personal decisions a person can make. It’s a decision that has sweeping implications for everyone involved. It is almost always an upsetting event that leaves people feeling great disappointment and grieving the loss of hopes and dreams. Compounding these losses are people left trying to adjust and cope with the stressors that affect us legally, financially, emotionally, socially, as a parent, all the way down to logistically in terms of living space. For many this is perceived as the lesser of two evils as relationships have become too acrimonious, painful, and toxic. Most Americans believe that it is better to get a divorce than be in an unhappy and unproductive marriage.

Overall, the divorce rate is declining, having gone from 50% of all marriages ending in divorce to only 39% recently. Millennials between the ages of 25-39, now comprise 60% of all divorces. Although age 30 is still the average age of divorce, the divorce rate in people over 50 has doubled since 1990 likely giving way to changes in former conservative beliefs in an era that has become more accepting of divorce. Next, let us look at the primary factors that cause divorce.

Causes of Divorce

There are countless reasons and causes for divorce that run the spectrum, however, we will discuss the most common causes of divorce here. Still leading the list of causes for many years now is infidelity. Cheating has long been a deal breaker for many people. Interestingly, there are increasing numbers of people reporting emotional affairs and not just physical affairs. Related to this is a cause that is rapidly moving up the list, which is the search for emotional closeness. It seems these days people have much higher expectations for relationship satisfaction and fulfillment. Coexisting, cohabitating, and coparenting no longer suffice as people want closeness and connection. Similarly, a lack of commitment in the marriage is also reported as a more common cause of divorce. Also rising on the list of causes is the division of labor within the home. With many couples both working outside the home, traditional outlooks on women bearing the load of chores is becoming increasingly intolerable and a source of conflict in marriages. Other factors continuing to be high on the list are substance abuse problems, domestic violence, financial problems, marrying too young and irreconcilable conflicts and arguments.

Impact of Divorce

When a person chooses to act on divorce, they will be faced with some inevitable consequences that impact their lives. As noted earlier, the grieving process occurs for most people and they end up cycling through periods of sadness and loss and periods of anger and frustration eventually achieving more acceptance over time. To the surprise of some people, divorce is as much an emotional process as it is a business transaction. The legal process is largely about facilitating the separation legally and financial separation of assets in a fair and equitable way. Many are hurt by the social impact that divorce takes. Couples they may have formerly hung out may gravitate toward other couples. Other friends may take sides or have judgmental attitudes about divorce that cause friendships to wane. Often people who divorce find they have a lot of time on their hands and not only alone, but end up feeling lonely. The divorce process itself is very stressful and an unfortunate impact of the process can be increased mental health issues. As our normal structure and routines are gone, it creates uncertainty and insecurity that can drive anxiety and depressive issues for many people.

If you have children involved, it compounds the complexity of all these stressors. You will likely find yourself trying to tend to your children’s need, often at the expense of your own. It can be heart wrenching to be without your kids when custody is shared between two parents. Coparenting for many continues to be as difficult as it was when they were married, or even worse. Many are surprised to find there is not a “clean break” from their partner, especially when kids are involved. They will always be tied to their ex and often be forced into situations where they must interact such as high school graduations, their kids marrying, future grandkids, etc. Although for many people divorce does come with a sense of relief, it is not without its challenges. It is also important to figure out your own role in the dissolution of the marriage or you may run the risk of repeating similar patterns or behaviors in future relationships, which is why the divorce rate goes up dramatically for those in second or third marriages.

As you can see divorce has a great number of residual ramifications that are quite challenging to navigate successfully. If you need support and guidance through the divorce process, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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