Divorce is fairly common, which is why people are typically willing to offer advice when they hear what you’re going through – many of them have been through it themselves. Yet, it’s important to take each piece of advice with a grain of salt, as even well-meaning individuals are guilty of spreading fallacies when trying to offer their support.
When it comes to divorce, it’s important not to believe everything you hear. Below are ten common myths that you may encounter:
- Living together reduces the odds of divorce. This is a common misconception, and in fact the opposite might be true. Some experts suggest that individuals who are willing to live together are more likely to have attitudes that could contribute to divorce. For instance, these individuals might approach relationships as if they are temporary, and therefore easy to walk away from.
- Second marriages have better odds of lasting than first ones. While it’s certainly possible to have a successful marriage after a prior divorce, statistically speaking, remarriages actually have higher divorce rates than first ones.
- A woman’s standard of living drops by 73% post-divorce, while the man’s actually improves by 42%. While the fact that women’s standards of living drop and men’s rise is actually correct, more recent studies suggest that the percentages are actually as different: the average woman’s loss is about 27% whereas the average male’s gain is about 10%. Remember, these are averages and do not apply in all cases. For example, in a case where the primary breadwinner is the wife, the opposite may be true. Also, now that same sex marriages are legal in most states, these statistics likely do not take same sex marriages into account.
- If parents fight often, it’s better off for the children if they just divorce instead of trying to make it work. A long-term study suggests that this is only true for children in extremely high-conflict homes. In other, lower-conflict marriages, the post-divorce arrangements had a negative impact on the children, which could have been negated if the parents had opted to work their problems out and exercised better problem solving skills.
- Children whose parents divorce are more likely to avoid divorce themselves. This is another instance in which the opposite is in fact true: children whose parents have divorced are statistically much more likely to experience divorce themselves, due to the fact that their perception of lifelong commitment has been undermined.
- Post-divorce, children with stepfamilies fare better than children with single-parent families. In reality, research shows that despite better financial support, stepfamilies can lead to higher levels of conflict versus single-parent families.
- Having feelings of unhappiness throughout a marriage is a likely indication that divorce is imminent. Despite what the fairytales say, marriages aren’t 24/7 bliss. Every marriage has ups and downs, but the couples who stick through the less-happy parts of their marriage tend to be happier down the road. For instance, one study found that 86% of people who were unhappy in their marriages were actually happier when interviewed five years later.
- Although children are negatively impacted by divorce, the effects are short-lived and they can recover quickly. Unfortunately, divorce can have long-lasting effects on children, which can actually manifest themselves on a worse level into adulthood.
- Becoming pregnant is a good way to prevent divorce. Typically, marriages become more stressful directly after the birth of the first child. While couples who have a child may tend to have a slightly lower risk of divorce than those without children, that risk is much lower than it was in past decades.
- Typically, men initiate divorce. On the contrary. The majority – a whopping 66% of all divorces are initiated by women. Typically, this is due to the fact that women have better odds of receiving custody of children. Additionally, some experts speculate that men are more likely to have drinking, substance abuse, and infidelity issues.
The most important aspect of going through a divorce is having a support team that you can rely on. Whether you’re seeking collaborative divorce or exploring your options for litigation, finding a lawyer who is well-versed in helping couples split with as minimal damage as possible is what will help both parties fare best in the aftermath of divorce.