Life after Divorce
Divorce in the United States no longer carries the social stigma it once did when divorce was viewed much more negatively and was thought to be the ultimate disaster that could befall a family. When the divorce rate began to rise after the widespread adoption of no fault divorce laws in the 70′s, many people began to propose that perhaps divorce was not such a bad thing after all and certainly better than staying in an unhappy marriage. Many people at the time felt divorce was a viable solution for a bad marriage and it was not necessarily traumatic for children if they were given enough time to adapt.
Now we know that while a divorce may offer new freedom for the adults involved, it will almost always have adverse affects on children in the family. Marriage therapists and counselors have found that if a marriage can be saved, it is almost always better than a divorce, except when abuse is present in the household of course. The result has been a gradual shift toward more encouragement of marriage and less attraction to divorce.
Many marriage therapists used to think that a divorce was only initially disruptive and as time passed, the problems would disappear and things would get better. While that may be true for the parents, research now shows that the negative effects of divorce on young children can last for decades. One of the most common long-term problems experienced by children from divorced families is their own inability to commit to marriage because they have had no experience or example of a successful long-term love relationship in their own lives. Studies show that when a couple is willing to try to work through their marital problems, the marriage can actually be strengthened and the children will learn from the experience and benefit too. It has also been shown that kids involved in a divorce can lead normal lives if they can overcome their fear of commitment and learn to focus on solving problems with open communication.
Divorce is never part of anyone’s marriage plans and terminating a marriage that has lasted long enough for two people to combine their hopes, dreams and finances can be tough. If a negative situation between spouses cannot be resolved without physical and emotional separation, a divorce may be the only option left. Rebuilding your life after a divorce also means taking care of yourself first in many cases. The responsibilities of caring for children and managing the household are important tasks that will require time and attention, but you won’t be much use to your children, family or job if your life and emotions are in complete disarray.
Professional counseling, support groups and your church community can be a big help in facing the changes in lifestyle and emotional issues of divorce. Many educational programs for recently divorced parents are often found at local schools, libraries and park districts too. Support from people who have already learned how to move ahead with their lives after a divorce can help give you the insight, strength and courage needed to make it through your own breakup. Just because you are recently divorced doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy and happy in the future.