Between 1980 and 2008, the divorce rate rose 40%. This rise in divorce rates has continued and 2011 had the highest divorce rate yet. The picture of the American family today is of entering into and dissolution of marriages and cohabitation. Today, only 57% of children live with both parents. Most marriages end with one spouse worse off and that typically is the woman. When surveyed, most Americans say, “Marriage has not worked out for most people I know.” Most people believe that living together before marriage will reduce divorce rates.
So the American family has changed.
One thing has remained the same. Divorce hurts as much as ever. Divorce brings up so many feelings. Anger, hopelessness, sadness, shame, regret, vengefulness, and pity. Divorce shatters our dreams and fantasies. Recovery presents the challenge of a lifetime. It can be difficult to just get out of bed in the morning. Yet, society expects you to go to work, raise your children, and get over the break-up in a week. The lack of support can make some people feel isolated.
How can we learn to hope and thrive again?
Today, I am in a wonderful marriage. I believed that would never happen for me after my divorce. On my 40th birthday, I sat and cried because I thought I would be lonely for the rest of my life. But the road here was not smooth. One of the first things I learned was that the cheering section for me when I left my ex was very small. Even my sister judged me harshly. She told me to never marry again because I couldn’t make a marriage work. But just because I physically left does not mean I really left the marriage first. The one I left, got all the support and could spin any story on the divorce.
And who hasn’t dreamed that the marriage would magically be fixed? We begin to think: What did I do wrong? Am I unlovable? Our friends and families will never understand our pain.
But you are not alone. There are coaches, therapists, and other survivors. So look for support.