Although sometimes divorce may be inevitable, it often comes with painful consequences. It’s important to be sure the consequences of divorce are worth the benefits. Of course, if you are in an abusive or manipulative relationship, getting out is always the best option. But if you and your spouse have drifted apart, fight more often than you make love, and have lost sight of each other, couples counseling may help you reconnect and relit the fire you once had. Before considering divorce, consider counseling. A licensed marriage therapist can help you solve the problems that may be plaguing your marriage. Remember–many problems you experience in your marriage will continue to be problems in your divorce, as well. Here are just a few of the painful consequences of divorce:
When you divorce, more than just your nuclear family are affected. Your parents, your in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews are impacted as well. Relationships you spent years building will suddenly be strained or destroyed. Your kids will likely spend alternating holidays with one parent and will wonder why they won’t see the other parent on days that used to be about the whole family. They will only get to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins half the time they used to see them.
Especially during the holidays, you are going to feel lonely. Although you may initially revel in your new life without your spouse’s constant criticisms or daily arguments, your days are going to feel empty without them. The holidays, as intense as they are for anyone, can be excruciating for divorcees. You might also find that your friends don’t invite you out as often or include you in things that you and your spouse used to do together. It’s not that your friends don’t want you there, but they may perceive certain events as “couples” events. Now that you’re single, they may not think about including you.
Your children will feel torn between their parents, no matter how amicable your divorce–and keep in mind, most aren’t. They will miss you when they are with the other parent, and they will miss the other parent when they are with you. In addition, your friends may feel forced to “choose sides” and align with one or the other of you. They may find it hard to maintain relationships with both of you as you move your separate ways. Your friends may choose your spouse over you, or vice versa.
Yes, jealousy. Let’s be honest: men “recover” from divorce more quickly than women. They have more money, more liberty, and less responsibility. While most women divorce for themselves, men who divorce are usually doing it for someone else. While women may not be ready to date for a year or more after a divorce, men may be remarried in as much time. And even if you’re not ready to date, ladies, you need to be honest about how you’re going to feel when your ex-husband has a shiny new wife and what looks like a perfect new life while you’re still sitting at home nursing your injuries. Men are much more likely to remarry, and do it with far fewer reservations than women do the second time around.
Living on one income is much more difficult than living on two. If your spouse worked while you stayed home to raise children, you will be forced back into the workforce. If you were keeping up with the Joneses before your divorce, you can say goodbye to the Joneses after the divorce. Attending business dinners, school functions, and social events can be difficult for you when everyone else around you seems happily married. Dating will be difficult because of the expense of hiring babysitters and paying for food and entertainment. And let’s face it, after working all week and taking care of the children, you’re probably not going to have much energy left to find someone to date, much less go out!
Although divorce seems like a common occurrence in today’s society, divorce rates are actually lower than they have ever been. In Fairfield County and many other places, divorce still carries a stigma. People will talk about who left whom and speculate about why. Your children may catch wind of it through their classmates at school, which can make them feel ostracized. Neighbors may look at you with pity or anger, depending on what they believe to be the cause of your divorce.
Although divorce may be better in the long run for the couple who can’t work things out, it’s rarely, if ever, better for the children. If you are worried that your marriage is heading in the wrong direction, call me. I can help. Call Lisa Ryan at 203-226-8800 or click here to reach me by email.