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Surviving Divorce

by Victoria Perrett

Once upon a time there lived a guy and a girl.  They fell in love.  He bought a ring.  She said I do.  Confetti rained down.  The kids grew up.  And they retired to the coast.  But how often does this really happen?  With about half of marriages breaking down, divorce is becoming a daily reality.

Marriage-Fairy Tale Or Nightmare?

Have you ever wondered why a fairy tale always ends with the wedding scene?  Well, fairy tales are about weddings, not marriages.  We get carried away on a cloud of tulle and think that the sweetness of the wedding cake will satisfy us forever.  But sometimes it seems that our happily-ever after vanishes with the last wedding guest.

Weddings have always been common.  The union between a man and a woman is primal, and our need to legitimize it is almost as old.  Divorce, although an aged institution, has never been so common as it is today.  But does that mean relationships in the past were always the happier ones?  Not at all.  It’s just much more acceptable to be divorced now than it was then.  For centuries, to be divorced was to be a social outcast.  Of course, money and power in every age have provided notable exceptions but, even then, few people would look to Henry VIII as a role model for relationships.

The passing of time lessened the social stigma of divorce and it even became a tag of glamour in certain circles.  For most, though, the breakdown of marriage is never glamorous but it is a reality.  In fact, it’s now rare to find someone who hasn’t experienced divorce, either firsthand or through their parents or children.

So why has the stigma of divorce lessened?  Well, society has changed.  The role of women has changed:  They’re able to be financially independent in a way that was impossible in years gone by.  One result of this is that they no longer have to stay in unhappy relationships for fear of losing every means of support they have.  Another reason is that religion is less dominant these days and therefore, the religious ruler that once dominated society no longer have such power.  It’s notable that in Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Greece, all deeply Catholic or Orthodox countries, the divorce rates are at their lowest.

Of course, the decline of religion and the rise of feminism aren’t the only reasons for the increase in divorce and the decrease of its stigma.  Many other factors come into play, but a common theme is that both individuals and society are now less accepting of things they find unpleasant or unbeatable, so if our marriages are broken beyond repair we no longer feel we have to limp through our lives without the hope of happiness with someone new.  And that has to be a good thing.Excerpted from the book, Surviving Divorce:  Your Roadmap Through The Emotional And Financial Maze

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