Are People Happier After Divorce?
People Divorce to be Happier; Does it Work?
Many people look to divorce as a way out of their present unhappy situations. They think that if they can only get out on their own they will find happiness and fulfillment. What does the research show?
Does Divorce Actually Make People Happier?
A team of well-respected marriage therapists and researchers authored a 2002 report sponsored and published by the Institute for American Values. They wanted to answer the question "Does divorce make people happier than staying in an unhappy marriage?"
This 5-year study suggests the simple answer is "No."
People are not happier after divorce.
Divorce Research Study Learned A Lot
Of course, there is a lot more information they discovered:
Divorced or Still Married: No Better Off
When the unhappily married spouses who separated or divorced were compared with those who stayed married, the ones who divorced or separated were no better off five years later.
This was true even for those who remarried after the divorce.
Still Depressed After Divorce
Divorce did not relieve depression for those who were depressed while married.
Divorce Didn't Alter Outlook on Life
Divorce did not significantly alter the person's outlook on life when evaluated at the five-year point.
Staying Married Had Best Outlook for Happiness
Of those unhappy couples who managed somehow to stay married, after five years, almost 80% of the previously unhappy couples were now happily married, and a smaller group was even very happily married.
One of my understandings of these results is that most of us are looking for an outside solution.
Divorce seems easy, a way out, a way to fix all that is wrong in life. If something is broken, throw it away and get a new one.
Staying married actually provided more satisfying options in the long run.
The Solution to Unhappy Marriages
The real solution is much more difficult: change yourself, and improve your character.
You can follow the difficult but tremendously rewarding path of:
- ...being responsible for your own feelings.
- ...taking charge of your own life.
- ...building your own character.
You and your spouse will benefit greatly and those around you will benefit as well. Family and friends will see that you were able to overcome adversity and stay together despite the odds. Once you have created a better, happier marriage and are more emotionally and intellectually fulfilled, your family, friends and particularly your children will see that you value people, relationships and commitment.
Your children will have new role models when they see you take an obviously painful situation and turn it around by working on yourselves.
In A Few Years, You'll Thank Me
Based on the statistics above, if you stay together you are more than likely to be happily married in only a few short years, despite what troubles you may be experiencing now. I urge you to work together to create a better, happier marriage, and in so doing, build a wonderful life for the two of you together.
Wishing you a wonderful marriage,
Getting Marriage Help
I am a registered marriage-friendly therapist. This marriage-friendly therapist registry is the only resource that screens for a pro-marriage commitment by the therapists, and requires appropriate graduate training, state license, and years of experience.
If you think you cannot work out your marital problems on your own, I urge you to use a marriage-friendly therapist. If you want to work with me personally, I offer marriage counseling and marriage retreats, or you can get one of my self-help programs for marriages to use my methods on your own to improve your marriage.
If there was a extra-marital affair, I have a specific program you can use to work through the infidelity. The self-help program is called Survive An Affair.