First Aid: Part 11 (3min)
Divorce isn’t catching! But some people may act as though it is. Don’t be surprised if your social circles change and evolve. Funnily enough, it’s when you stop ‘being a victim’ and begin to thrive as a single person that the dinner invites and dry up even quicker. It’s threatening to some people that you are single and still happy – they may not be as secure in their own relationships as they like to make out.
You will make new and better friends if you allow yourself to be approachable and not bitter.
Avoid playing the ‘blame game’ – only you (and your children) will suffer. Some people feel a ‘failure’ if they have been divorced. But that is an odd view to take. Surely the failure would have been to remain in a relationship where one of you was not thriving?
- The gloves are there to protect the other person – not you! Divorce isn’t catching
- Busting myths: examining some common misconceptions
- Avoid playing the ‘blame game’
Even today, Groucho Marx’s words on the subject of divorce resonate: “Hollywood brides keep the bouquets and throw away the grooms.”
Don’t think that you can put on a pair of sterile gloves and protect yourself from being ‘tainted’ by divorce or family breakup. You see, it’s not catching. The sterile gloves are to protect the other person – not you – from further harm.
There are many misconceptions around divorce, many judgements.
“If you’ve been diagnosed with cervical cancer, your likelihood of getting divorced is 40 percent higher than standard rates; it’s 20 percent higher if you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer.” (xxviii)
“If both you and your partner have had previous marriages, you’re 90 percent more likely to get divorced than if this had been the first marriage for both of you.” (xix)
But what’s the real truth behind these statistics?
Norwegian Cancer Registry researcher Astri Syse reckons that cervical and testicular cancers are linked to higher divorce rates because they affect the sexual activity and afflict mainly young people. In contrast, Syse also found that breast-cancer survivors, an older group, are 8 percent less likely to divorce than their counterparts who have not had breast cancer.
Are 2nd marriages doomed to fail?
A lot of data shows that second marriages should be more successful than first marriages, but this statistic is skewed by serial marriers, and no one has yet found a way to take the Larry Kings and Elizabeth Taylors out of the equation. (xix)
Busting the divorce myths:
The following data is from the ONS but has been analysed by Harry Benson, Communications Directory for the Marriage Foundation, in February 2013.
The 7 Year Itch – is a myth:
For over 40 years, divorce rates have been consistently at their highest between 3 and 6 years after the marriage. After peaking between three and six years, the likelihood of a marriage ending in divorce decreases with each year thereafter.
Recession raises divorce rates – is a myth:
The divorce trend has remained constant in the UK despite recessions, booms and cultural changes in social attitudes.
2nd Marriages are more likely to fail – is a myth:
The second marriage for the husband shows a lower divorce rate than if it is the first marriage – possibly because the first marriage could have been a ‘slide’ whereas a second marriage is more likely to be a conscious commitment.
You see it’s easy to jump to conclusions and to make judgements based on skewed perceptions of the information at hand. You’ll have your own judgements, your own ‘stuff’ from your past, that you will unwittingly and unknowingly dump onto the other person who is navigating divorce – and make their life even harder than it already is.
Now that doesn’t mean you have to avoid the person going through a divorce like they have some kind of disease – but it does mean you need to have some awareness about how what is happening to that other person, is affecting how you feel.
All I ask is, that you try not to judge them.
I read a book recently called ‘The Lost Boy’ about a foster child who encountered prejudice because in 1970’s America people treated Foster kids as if they must have done something wrong to be cast out by their family. Of course, the reason this child was taken away from his family was that he was being horribly mistreated by his alcoholic and mentally ill mother. But other families didn’t want to believe that parents could be cruel to their children, so instead, they blamed the children for ending up in foster care.
In the same way, people with rocky marriages may prefer to cast blame on those who are going through divorced, assuming they have done ‘something wrong’ – rather than recognise that their own relationships may need work, or that marriages can come to a natural end as people change and want to go down different paths in their lives.
So please don’t judge. Divorce and family breakup can happen to anyone.
(xxviii) Astri Syse, “Couples More Likely to Divorce if Spouse Develops Cervical or Testicular Cancer,” study presented at the European Cancer Conference, 2007
(xix) Rebecca Kippen, Bruce Chapman and Peng Yu, “What’s Love Got to Do With It? Homogamy and Dyadic Approaches to Understanding Marital Instability,” Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2009
- (xxix)Marriage Foundation Press Release: https://www.marriagefoundation.org.uk/Web/News/News.aspx?news=133&RedirectUrl=~/Web/News/Default.aspx
(xxxiii) CoHabitation: Professor Rebecca Probert: Warwick School of Law
suzyMillerCreator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
6th March 2022
29th November 2023