Category : Surviving Divorce

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Evolving Divorce Opinions

Times and commonly held views are changing, and new research on Americans and the Brits further points to exactly how. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, divorce is becoming less taboo and more accepted, even while the dream of marriage is still alive and well.  Granted, this greater acceptance of the divorce process is more prevalent among younger people than older generations.

The growingly popular opinion is while divorce remains rampant and many have had to feel the pain of it themselves, or through other couples who are parents, relatives, or friends, it has also become more normalized. The news of divorce is no longer the shock it once was perhaps because it has become so common. The perspective is beneficial to people who might otherwise feel shame, adding to the emotional turmoil already accompanying the split. Essentially, divorcees no longer have to worry so much about what others think of their choice.

The British Take

A new study published in the UK Daily Mail shows how the amount of people labeling divorce as a stigma is shrinking. Specifically, out of a poll of 2,000 people, about two thirds say the stigma is no longer existent. There are significant differences in opinion according to age, with 56% of 18-24 year-olds saying divorce is still taboo, and 67% of 24-54 year-olds saying divorce is still taboo.

The article quotes British relationship counselor Christine Northam explaining how it’s changed from past generations: “Divorce has become much more familiar in modern life; it’s not the hushed secret it was years ago…There is no such thing as a painless divorce; we are just getting better adjusted to it as a part of modern Britain.”

At the same time, many if not most people are still hopeful and greatly value the institution marriage and all it implies. Only 4 percent said divorce was a word they most frequently associated with marriage, the most common words associated with marriage being commitment and love. They consider 28 years-old the best age to tie the knot.

What Americans Think

Americans view divorce as much less of a shame than other behaviors possibly perceived as immoral. According to a recent Gallup poll, an impressive 68% of the Americans surveyed believe divorce is morally acceptable.

Similar to the Brits, there is still a high value placed on the sanctity of marriage, with a whopping 91% saying marital infidelity is morally despicable. There is a strong sense of despising hypocrisy in how people choose to live out their romantic lives. It seems the prevailing opinion is you are either in a marriage all the way, or you might as well file for divorce.

A respect of individual choice then is becoming much more important than traditional views of sticking through a marriage through thick and thin. While divorce is now seen as more of a personal choice that should be accepted as normal, when you are married, happily- and faithfully-ever-after is the ideal.

Love at Any (St)Age

Let’s just acknowledge this right off that bat: Just because you’re divorced does not mean you’re dead. Although at times during the divorce process you might feel like a fine specimen of the living dead, you are not. Just repeat that to yourself in the mirror a few times a day and maybe you’ll actually start to believe it.

But this blog is about the post-divorce stage when trips to the grocery store becoming a grazing ground, in more than one way (if you catch our drift). For some, this stage approaches faster and with more ease than for other divorcees. But we have a sneaking suspicion one of the contributing factors to the time and ease at which a divorcee re-enters the dating scene is whether they come in a multi-pack.

The More the Merrier?

It’s difficult for a divorcee to re-enter the dating world, let alone for a divorcee who also holds the title of parent to re-enter the dating world. The statistics overwhelmingly shout that children of divorce are scarred for life, do poorly in school, might be suicidal, don’t seek healthy relationships, and for some reason are not math whizzes. So it’s no wonder a newly divorced parent’s head explodes at the thought of what dating would do to their children.

We are all for independent thinking, and let us emphasize no one knows what’s best for your family other than you and your family. But in case you were wondering, popular opinions on this topic range the entire spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, we have people who believe dating and children should be in totally separate spheres; at on the other end of the spectrum, we have people who believe they can be mixed healthily.

Finding Your Comfort Zone

In a HuffPost Live segment, host Marc Lamont Hill invites divorced parents/ HuffPost bloggers Ed Housewright, Emma Johnson, Jena Kingsley, Jessica Solloway, and Robin Amos Kahn to discuss the topic of single parents dating. The diverse group shares ideas about how to approach dating after divorce, and shed light on all the beautiful points of the spectrum.

Here are the arguments behind the two opposing sides of the issue, as brought up by the HuffPost bloggers:

  • Slow and Steady: The first concern dating parents under this philosophy have is their children’s emotional and mental state. Divorce presents a horrible upheaval for children and their families, which can cause confusion and emotional instability. Dating parents fear introducing romantic possibilities to their children will open the gateway to further feelings of abandonment and pain, should the relationship not work out. Parents operating under this belief promote only introducing a romantic partner after about 6 solid months of being in an exclusive relationship.

  • C’est La Vie: The opposing camp believes dating parents can approach dating with their children in a positive, balanced manner. As stated by one of the HuffPost bloggers, teaching your children about the ebbs and flows of life can prepare and strengthen a child to handle all of life’s curveballs. Age-appropriate communication about dating is the key to going this route, especially explaining the role (or lack of a role) dates have in the child’s life.

Wherever you may fall in the spectrum, don’t forget the players in the relationship. As Housewright said in the HuffPost discussion: “It just depends on your child. You need to know your child, and know their make-up. I don’t think you can make across the board rules. I wouldn’t give any advice to anybody else.”

Where do you fall on the spectrum and why? Sound off, Readers.