The Reality of Divorce in American Society
As with most life transitions, divorce can be liberating, depressing, frustrating, or traumatic to any person who experiences it. Perhaps the most painful part on the process of divorce is when the children get involved and when they all get trapped in the situation. These children may suffer significant losses in their lives and unless the situation can be handled in a civil manner, they will become prone to the psychological torment that could affect them for the rest of their lives. The issue of divorce however is becoming more and more intense since for the past ten years the divorce rate in the United States has skyrocketed to a record high of almost fifty- percent. It is also believed that the divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world and the reason for this are primarily the ever-changing role of the husbands and wives in their household, early marriage, infidelity, extra marital affairs, domestic violence, financial instability and psychological incapacity.
In America, there are many families going through divorce or being affected by divorce. There are several reasons as to why adults choose to divorce their spouse. Looking at the issue from a conflict theorists point of view, there are several contributing factors in both the male and female that go into a declining relationship. There are also many negative effects that divorce has on the family and their children because of those reasons. Bruce F. Dykeman, Marita p. McCabe and Stacey Richardson, and Linda Nielsen discuss their different points of view on children of divorce.
Divorce is an emotionally painful experience for everyone involved, especially toward the children in the family. But yet, the law officials continue fabricating laws and devising regulations to make it harder for spouses seeking a divorce or separation to get one. The family has to deal with child custody and support, spousal support such as counseling, property distribution, and a possible name change. Divorce is not only a financial struggle for the families involved, but it is also a nuisance between family relationships.
Divorces in the United States are often only thought about from a single perspective, that being the two spouses involved. However, children are severely affected by the aftermath of divorces probably even more so than the parents, especially on the long-term basis. About one third of children experience this fallout, and of those divorces only a third claim to have done all they could to save their marriages (Holst). Based on middle-class cultural norms in modern society, both the psychological and physical effects on children from parental separation constitute many factors during and after the divorce.
Many people who have suffered through the emotional trauma of divorce strongly believe that losing a spouse as a result of an unwanted divorce has had a greater impact on their emotional health and well being than losing a spouse in death. A significant number of therapists and other psychiatric professionals agree, for they understand that divorce is far more than just a legal process. (Rich and Schwartz)
Cause and Effects of Divorce in the United States of America
“You change for two reasons: either you learn enough that you want to, or you’ve been hurt enough that you have to.” While maturing, young adults start searching for other peers to settle down with and marry. Although glamorous to picture, marriage is a commitment two partners make for life. To stick by one another “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health” (Sample Marriage Vows, 2004).
Divorce is a very common word in today's society. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage or a complete or radical severance of closely connected things"(Pickett, 2000). This dissolution of marriage has increased very rapidly in the past fifty years. In 1950 the ratio of divorce to marriage was one in every four; in 1977 that statistic became one in two. Currently one in every two first marriages results in divorce. In second marriages that figure is considerably higher, with a 67% average (National Vital Statistics Report, 2001). One critical aspect of divorce is often not taken into consideration: How it affects children. Every year 1.1 million children are affected by divorce (Benjamin, 2000). Children from divorce or separation often exhibit behavioral and long-term adjustment problems (Kelly, 2000). Throughout this paper I will discuss divorces effects on children at different age levels, how they react, and what can be done to help them.
Divorce is commonly linked with depression. When two people divorce, they lose their best friend and partner, hopes and dreams, and even at times financial stability. Women handle divorce in a more collective way than men. Women feel a great deal of relief when marital problems finally come to an end, and later gain more self-confidence after they take on a new role as “dad.” However, men respond to divorce differently than women do. Men are more likely to experience the emotional aftermath of a divorce due to their newly founded lack of companionship, intimacy, and social connection. It is said that because of the lack of social connection, men will remarry quicker than most women.
“A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you.” In the words written above by well-known poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, I believe she makes a clear depiction of brokenness that occurs in the divorce process. I believe this quote sets the framework of what is true amongst most divorces. Divorces have become more frequent and in return to the steady rate, there has been an influx of broken homes in our current generation’s lifetime and the number will only grow from here. Divorce has a direct impact on those who are incorporated into all facets of the process and for that reason divorce roots run deep causing those involved to never the ability to escape.
Marriage is a commitment that seems to be getting harder to keep. The social standards placed on an individual by society and influenced by the media inevitably lead some to consider divorce as a “quick-fix” option. “Have it your way” has become a motto in the United States. It has become a country without any consideration of the psychological effects of marriage and divorce. The overwhelmingly high divorce rate is caused by a lack of moral beliefs and marital expectations.