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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Marriage Today, the Latest

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 20th 2007

The numbers:

Today, September 20, 2007, the New York Times reported the latest statistic gathered by the Census Bureau, on the fate of marriage in the United States. The numbers do not look too good. According to the Times, 50% of couples who would have celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2000 were either, divorced, separated or widowed. The reporter advises that it is not worth saving up to buy silver anniversary cards.

What is interesting is that most Americans marry and after having been divorced 4 to five years, remarry. Second marriages that end in divorce do so after 7 to eight years. Also, people are waiting much longer to marry but they eventually do. Among baby boomers (those in their fifties) the divorce rates is40%. The article also points out that there are many more widowers as a result of men and women living longer. Because women outlive men by about 7 years many of them are left to live alone after their husband dies.

Discussion:

What a survey or census cannot do is evaluate the impact of these numbers on the quality of life of those involved in divorce. For example, divorce is an emotional, depressing and wrenching experience. Children are also deeply impacted by divorce and remarriage. First, there is the loss of what might have been a fairly stable family. After divorce, children must adjust to some type of modified living arrangement in which they either share time with each parent, moving from one household to the other on alternate weeks, or they see one parent only on weekends. When parents remarry the blending of two families takes place in which the children of each of the parents in the new marriage must adjust to living with a step parent and step siblings.

A lot of the research shows that if divorced people can cooperate with one another for the sake of the children everyone benefits and there is a minimal amount of emotional harm done to the children. However, if one or both former spouses are vengeful and manipulative of the children by using them as pawns, lasting harm can be done.

The divorce rate is really something of a puzzle because the statistics show, as stated above, that Americans do want to be married. The puzzle is why they cannot seem to remain married to the same individual for more than seven years?

What are your thoughts, ideas and experiences on this subject?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    power trips - deshawn stubbs - Jan 8th 2009

    Why the bitter break-up. I wonder why marrIage does'nt mean much these days. I'm tired of women who use kids to hurt the ex-spouse when the dead beat dads get the bad title so do the good dads. Why? These days everybody has high expectations with the lack of happiness. I also think that tv shows these days shows un-faithful relationships and nothing positive.

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