Archive for November, 2012

Marriage – Unrealistic Expectations?

Sir Paul Coleridge was interviewed in the Daily Mail today saying that young people enter marriage with expectations that are unrealistic.  He cites Hallo magazine as setting up idyllic marriage scenarios which people buy into and then get disappointed that life is in fact, not like that.

I’m not sure how true that is.  We can all see that many celebrity marriages end badly and last for less time than it takes to eat the wedding cake.  I don’t think the population is fooled into believing that marriage is a bed of roses, just like we know when we watch Downton Abbey that life isn’t like that.  No-one who comes to our groups has had unrealistic expectations of love and romance.  They have tried hard to make their marriages work and often have had no voice in the decision to end it.  We may as a society like looking at glossy pictures of fairy tale weddings.  It is a form of escapism not a method of learning what marriage looks like.  Sir Paul Coleridge I feel, needs to give people some credit. 

Doubting the Christian Grey effect on Divorce

A curious article appeared last week in The Mirror: http://bit.ly/SVGdyk which said that a woman was divorcing her husband because he refused her demands for raunchy sex.  The article went on to say that more women are divorcing their men because of the Christian Grey effect.  I find that really hard to believe.  I see hundreds of men and women going through divorce and have heard many reasons given for leaving a marriage, or being left, but never this.  Was the newspaper, taking the divorce petition out of context perhaps or exaggerating some small reference to lack of sex to sell newspapers? Christian Grey seems to have captured the imagination in more ways than one, but let’s not let it invade the divorce courts too. 

Do Women Work harder when they anticipate divorce?

There is an article published today http://bit.ly/TZqrmV about women who anticipate divorce, working longer hours. In this economic climate, divorce is an added stress on the household budget, even more so than normally.  

Women who historically have not been the primary earner feel in those circumstances that they are going to be considerably worse off once they are separated.  In a bid for some financial independence and autonomy, they may be driven to increase their workload.  In a country where jobs are contracting rather than expanding, it seems unlikely that this would be easy, but if this research is correct, then it is another indicator, if ever we needed one, that divorce impacts all aspects of our lives. 

Are women still struggling after divorce?

There is an article in the Telegraph http://bit.ly/YOJuSW  about women relying on joint savings on retirement.  This has an impact when people divorce after a very long marriage.   One of the most stressful things for women is going into the next phase of their lives financially unprepared. Women who find themselves single having spent 30 years or so in a marriage, have not historically, prepared themselves for retirement.  They have assumed (all evidence seeming to corroborate that assumption) that having been around for the long haul of spending most of their adult lives with their partner, that they could retire together and depend on joint savings.  Joint savings, meaning, savings that the bigger bread winner contributed more to.  Women may have been the homemaker, brought up the children and whatever work they did part time or otherwise, paid less.  Without the complication of divorce, joint savings could be depended on and retirement was faced together.  On divorce, women come face to face with the financial worry that the savings they thought they could rely on now have to be fought for.  There are no winners.  Women feel anxious about how they will manage and men feel that they have done all the saving and earned the money and are reluctant to share it. A lose lose. 

A friend in need is a friend in deed. What role do friends play in divorce?

It is natural to think that those you thought were closest to you would jump to the occasion and provide all the comfort and security needed.  However, friends who you might have been on numerous holidays with as families or as a couple, or friends that you spent nights in the pub with, or Saturday nights having dinner with sometimes seem to disappear.  That feeling of taking for granted some very basic elements of security get whipped away at the same time as your relationship.  It is incredibly painful to know that your friends are now inviting your ex and not you, and have perhaps ‘coupled up’ with your ex and his or her new partner instead of staying loyal to you.  There are also friends for whom you are suddenly not the draw that you were before, no longer invited because you are not part of a couple.

Then there are the friends who are real friends, but who you feel you are burdening with the looped tape of your divorce.  You, of course, need to talk endlessly about your feelings and what your ex has done and continues to do, but your fear is that the friendship can’t sustain it.

There are also the friends who don’t really understand and say, ‘it’s time to move on, you should be over it by now, nobody liked him/her anyway.  None of those things, although meant well are at all helpful.

With separation come all sorts of changes and losses.  Friendships are one of those.  Lifestyle changes with divorce and so do friends.  Don’t be surprised, be ready and think of it as a way of meeting new people more in keeping with your new life who will grow with you through it.  They will be more relevant and fit better.  There is a loss inevitably, but there is also a gain.