Thanks to Lori Lowe for this guest post. Lori Lowe provides hundreds of free research-based marriage tips at www. MarriageGems.com. She will release a book this December called First Kiss to Lasting Bliss, sharing personal stories of couples who found true marriage. Lori and her husband of 16 years live in Indianapolis with their two children.
Did you know divorce is contagious? If you have a divorced friend, you are 147 percent more likely to get a divorce! One reason is that when a friend or family member divorces, it normalizes divorce and makes it seem more acceptable. Sometimes, they can even make it look fun. But there’s nothing fun about divorce, especially after the first three months of freedom wear off.
I was asked to write about these feelings of jealousy which can be common among the still-married friends. These friends may see the new doors and possibilities open for the divorced person, as well as their new found lack of responsibilities and the freedom to go and do as they please.
I don’t have the experience of being a divorced woman (although I’ve had friends and family divorce), but the following article that was recently published on Huffington Post is a must-read for anyone even remotely considering divorce: Wasbeens and Wives: 7 reasons to stay married. It’s funny and serious at the same time.
Don’t be tricked by the shiny new opportunities of someone with divorce papers still hot off the printer. Here’s what your friends probably won’t admit:
- Going out with single friends is fun, but just for a short while. After that, they realize that true companionship has a lot more going for it than the singles scene does. Loneliness is not just about being alone; it’s about not having a mate to share the joys and sorrows of life and child rearing.
- Being a single parent is harder than almost any other job. Helping kids through a divorce is even more difficult than negotiating with your ex. Children of divorce die an average of five years earlier than people who grew up in intact families. And, they have more academic, mental, emotional and health problems. The instability of divorce affects the foundation of their identity, and that instability is never completely repaired. Even if your kids are in college, a parental divorce can be very difficult for them.
- When a divorced woman is ready to date again, she often finds herself dealing with many of the same issues with men as she did with her ex, plus some new ones. You don’t get rid of your relationship problems with divorce; you just trade them for new problems. (Read We all married the wrong person.)
- Most divorcees are not living high on the hog with fat alimony checks. In fact, their standard of living generally declines if they weren’t the breadwinner. The fights about money after the divorce are usually much worse than the ones that occurred during the marriage. Now, there are just more people involved.
- Down the road after the anger has dissipated, two-thirds of divorced people admit they and their spouse didn’t work hard enough to save the marriage. They face lifelong wounds and often regret the decision. In fact, they are often jealous of you, the married friend, the one with a husband waiting for you at home after you go out for drinks with your girlfriends.
The truth is when we have problems in our marriage, we are quick to blame our partner and quicker yet to rationalize why we are blameless. But if we make the decision to focus on pleasing our partner and meeting our own needs (instead of making our mate responsible for meeting all of them and “making us happy”, the relationship dynamic changes and improves.
In part 2, I will address how to keep your marriage interesting and lively so that you aren’t tempted to be jealous when a friend “breaks free” of their marriage. Sign up for free email updates at marriagegems.com if you would like to receive part 2 and future posts.