Unless a spouse is unfaithful, abusive, addictive or abandoning, Sharilee Swaity urges an unhappy husband or wife to think long and hard before going for divorce, and she offers a number of reasons.
Ms. Swaity, who writes about marriage and divorce, allows that the “average couple” thinks about divorce at least once during their marriage, and for some, divorce is a constant threat. “For others, divorce feels like their only hope. Whether you have thought about divorce once or you think about it every day, this article gives ten good reasons NOT to divorce,” she says.
Divorced and married to a divorced man, she notes, “if your partner chooses to end the marriage, you cannot force them to stay married.”
Any of the four A’s – adultery, abuse, addictions and abandonment – justify divorce, Ms. Swaity says. In one sentence, however, “[m]arriage gives us a place in this world, and divorce takes it away.”
Divorce ends the fairy tale of marriage, and makes children, if any, into victims. Children never get over the loss of their family, and their lives will never be the same. When Mom and Dad part and live separate lives, a child’s world is never the same, and he or she must navigate a fractured world. For that young boy or girl, the fairy tale is officially over.
Yes, kids do “move on,” but they are affected by it forever. In fact, Judith Wallerstein, a well-known advocate of children of divorce, stated that even 25 years later, children of divorce are 40 percent less likely to marry. They had romantic problems so many years later after the divorce.
In a divorce children feel torn between the two people they love the most in the world: Mom and Dad, who now don’t like each other. Just the fact of divorce is an ongoing conflict, even if there is no real squabbling going on, and causes division within the child. So, reason number one for not divorcing is the kids. It does hurt them.
Even the custodial parent loses out, not because being with a former spouse is necessarily bad, but most mothers like to know where their kids are, and how they are doing. Custody changes that because parents share the children. And that is a tough pill to swallow. This is a very important consideration, and a reason that the effect of divorce is so profound.
Divorce devastates most people. Divorce kills all of the dreams the partners counted on when the married. It separates us from the one person we believed would always be there. People deny the pain, but there is always pain with divorce. Divorce is a type of death, and people grieve from the pain.
Divorce is the ultimate rejection, because one person rejects or is being rejected by, the one person who knows the most in this world. The pain is often ignored and not acknowledged, but it’s still real. People may even cover up their pain with addictions or new relationships, but these do not heal the hurt. Many people are never the same after a divorce, because all of their underpinnings have been taken from them.
Divorce occasions a loss of confidence because a person’s belief in himself or herself as one capable of marriage is deeply affected. The divorced feel they have failed at one of the key jobs of adulthood: to find a suitable mate, and make it work.
With a loss of confidence comes erosion in the sense of desirability. The newly divorced may serially date, desperately seeking to re-establish themselves as attractive and wanted. Or they may fall into another relationship right away, rebounding, and not choosing someone that is healthy for them, compounding and complicating the already raw wound of divorce.
A loss of identity stripes the partners of the familiar roles of husband and wife, roles that they were accustomed to. Even a troubled marriage, knowing that a person is someone’s wife or husband makes for security. That goes when the divorce papers are signed. Rhonda is no longer Mrs. Rufius Roundhouse. Women feel this painfully, as they must now go from a “Mrs.” to a “Ms.” As well, women must wrestle with the decision as to whether or not they should change their name back to their maiden one, or continue on with a last name that no longer reflects the reality of their life.
The loss of family is the collateral damage of divorce. Just like the friends, family feels forced to take sides, so the relationship with in-laws changes, and often ends. Even when everyone would like everything to stay the same, it doesn’t, and that’s difficult. Family connections, even in-law ones, run deep, and we take family for granted. It can be very painful to realize that those ties are broken, and must be re-negotiated and sometimes lost.
Friends fall away, too. Few people realize when contemplating divorce that it often torpedoes the social life. Socially, a person’s marital status is important, and affects the dynamic of a social situation. Couples often feel more comfortable being friends with other couples, and making the switch to two singles instead of one deuce shakes everything. If people are really close, the couple might choose to see both spouses at different times but if the tie between the two couples was based mostly on one of the people in the divorced couple, friends often feel forced to take sides, to be loyal to their original friend. This doesn’t sound very nice, but that’s the way it is.
The truth is married people don’t often don’t feel comfortable with a divorced person, whose lonely presence serves as a grim reminder that things always don’t work out. A solitary divorce veteran forces intact couples to question their marriages. Hidden problems may come to the light, as they watch the ending of what they thought was an intact couple. People often don’t know what to say, so they stay away.
Divorce costs money. There are the actual legal costs of obtaining a divorce judgment. If there are children involved, custody must be decided. If there are assets, they must be divided. All of these things usually involve lawyer billing hours. Anytime a judge is involved, you must pay for the lawyer’s time. Divorce means cutting up the marital pie, and this can bring out the worst in people. In a divorce, money is always an Issue because divorce almost always makes people poorer. The longer a couple stays married, the more time they have to build up assets and their livelihood. Staying together often allows couples to accumulate assets, a good reputation, as both of them work together for the good of their household. Divorce disrupts this building process, and forces both spouses to start over, and therefore can be very hard on both party’s financial situation. Afterwards, costs will vary greatly, depending on the situation. But it’s bound to be expensive. The two former sp09uses are paying for two residences, not one. Child support is also a huge cost. Taking care of the child used to be something the two of you shared, coordinating schedules and jobs to cover the responsibilities. Now, one person must find a way to care for the child mostly by herself (usually the woman) and the other (usually the man) must pay large amounts of cash to help her. Economically, this is far harder than trying to do it together. Both parties lose in a child support situation.
Moreover, job situations may change to accommodate a new schedule and a new situation. Childcare needs are different, and sometimes moving is necessary, which can affect the employment situation. If one person has been a student, they may no longer find it possible to continue with their studies, after the support of their spouse is gone.
Second Marriages are hard because the former spouse is often in the background. Second marriages are more difficult because of lost innocence; unfinished business from the previous marriage (often called “baggage”); and a repetition of history. These often come together to make that second (or third) tip to altar difficult and merely a detour to the despair of another failed marriage.
And finally, the wedding vows. These are, above all, the most important reason not to divorce. Couples promise to stay married forever – for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. On that special day, a man and woman promised that they would love. That we would honor. That we would cherish. These days, the “obey” part is usually replaced with respect, or another word, but the point is there. That they would be there for each other, no matter what. They promised. That is the final, most important, and most profound reason not to divorce for those who have the choice, according to Sharilee Swaity.