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The Psychological Impact of Divorce
Divorce refers to the termination of marriage between two spouses and it involves breaking all matrimonial bonds. In the past, marriage was defined as a union between a man and a woman but this has changed in the recent past with the legalization of the same sex marriages in several countries. Divorces are everywhere in the world as couples are increasingly finding it difficult to live with one another. This paper looks at divorce including recent statistics in the United States as well as the legal processes involved. More to this, the paper will also address the different types of divorces as well as the most common causes of break ups in marriages. Above all other issues, the paper will address into detail the psychological impacts of divorce on both the children and the spouses involved.
Keywords: no fault laws, war of roses
As stated earlier, divorce refers to the termination of the union of marriage between spouses. There are many reasons why spouses can decide to end their marital union and the causes differ from one person to another. There are those who end their marriages because they feel that they got married to the wrong person and there are those who terminate a marriage after discovering a negative trait of their spouse that they cannot live with. In the past marriage was considered as a union between a man and a woman and cases of same sex marriage were very few. In many countries, especially African countries, gays and lesbians were considered as sociopaths and were mainly isolated or discriminated in the society. In some instances, suspected gays and lesbians would be handed long jail terms and sometimes could receive a death sentence. Over the years, things have and many societies have started to embrace the idea of living with gays and lesbians as part of the society (Knox D., Schacht C., 2009).
The recent change in the mindset of many people has seen a redefinition of marriage where same sex marriages are now legal in many parts in of the world. Many countries, including African ones, recognize marriage between people of the same sex. Cases of divorce are on the rise in the recent past with the United States recording the highest number followed by Europe and the United Kingdom (Philip Michael Stahl, 2007). Other countries that have recorded increased cases of divorce are Canada, Australia and the republic of South Africa .In the traditional western law, a spouse who wanted to initiate divorce proceedings was required to prove a fault on the part of their spouse that necessitated the annulment of their relationship. Without this, many spouses were forced to live in abusive relationships since they were considered legally married. During these early times, some of the most common basis for divorce was cruelty, abandonment, unfaithfulness and desertion among other reasons. After several decades, many governments under pressure from civil society groups revised the divorce laws. It was discovered that they there were some other types of maltreatment in marriages other physical abuse and infidelity. Beginning in the 1960s, many countries revised this clause and replaced it with the ‘no fault’ laws. Under these laws, a spouse who wanted to initiate divorce proceedings against their partner was not required to prove any ground for the proceedings. Compared to the traditional laws, these laws were much better because they gave couples the freedom to decided whether they wanted to be in a marriage relationship or not. Although these laws gave couples the freedom they wanted in a marriage, they have been faulted by many people as they have led to the collapse of the institution of marriage as couples can marry and divorce anytime they feel like.
The ‘no fault laws’ were first enacted in the United Kingdom followed by Australia, U.S, Canada and south Africa among other countries. Under the ‘no fault’ laws, simple allegations like irreconcilable differences are enough for a spouse to initiate divorce proceedings in a court of law. According to a 2004 study carried out by Grant Thornton in the United Kingdom, the main cause of divorce was found to be unfaithfulness, infidelity or adultery. According to this study, 75% of men in the United Kingdom were unfaithful to their wives while only 25% of women engaged in extramarital relationships. Other major causes of divorce in the UK were found to be domestic violence, midlife crisis, addictions and workaholism respectively (Knox D., Schacht C.2009).
Psychological impact of divorce on the divorcees
The annulment of a marriage is a very traumatizing experience for both the divorcees as well as the children if there are any. One of the main reasons why divorce is such a traumatizing experience to the partiers involved is because many relationships are initiated with a promise to stick together till death separates the two. This means that people invests a lot of feelings , time and other resources in relationships and its only natural for them to feel wasted when the other party decides to terminate the marriage (Das C., 2011). In many societies, marriage is considered as a major stage in ones life and this explains why divorce is such a painful experience. As stated earlier, people become after marriage and promise to stick with each other for the rest of their lives. This includes sharing all their secrets and this makes it so overwhelming to part ways with a person whom you considered part of you and best friend. The emotional loss that comes with divorce coupled with both the legal and financial ramifications that follow can have very far reaching psychological impact on both parties (John H. Harvey, Mark A. Fine, 2010).
Some of the most common mental health signs affected by divorce are strained social life, depression, anger, aggressiveness and low self esteem. Regardless of who initiated the divorce proceedings, both divorces exhibit signs of metal disturbances which can in some causes result in accidental death, heart attack, liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure. These disease and deaths come as a result of the psychological adjustment that a divorcee has to make in their life. The first and most common psychological impact of death is anger. Many divorcees find it hard to come to terms with the fact the relationship that they valued so much has come to an end. Such people get irritated quickly and it becomes difficult for them to cultivate good relationships with other people. However, such cases of outbursts of anger can be reduced through keeping pets and talking with close relatives about how one is feeling.
Regardless of whether one is getting divorced for the right reasons, there is likelihood that they will suffer from stress. Divorce causes a lot of emotional imbalance in the lives of the involved parties as they try to move on with life in the absence of the person that they considered dearest to them. Many spruces are dependant on each other in all areas of life and they need both internal and external reorganization after divorce so as to continue with life. Such adaptations can have both short and long term effects which can make it difficult to associate with a person of the opposite sex. Its worthy noting that the levels of stress suffered by men is different top that suffered by women in case of a divorce. For example, men are more stressed after divorce as they are forced to take care of some chores that they never took care of during the marriage. Women on the other hand experience a lot of stress before a divorce as they fear the financial burden they are to shoulder as well the social stigma they may undergo. Recent studies have revealed a connection between increased rates of car accidents, drugs and alcohols abuse, anxiety and depression among men who decide to remain single after divorce (Das C.,2011). Unlike men, women who remain single for a long time after divorce must handle increased stresses like financial strains, raising children on their own and clashes with their former husbands. These challenge coupled with the emotional challenges of divorce can pose risks to their emotional wellbeing. Mothers with teenage children especially boys have a more daunting time as such children keep on asking questions that can sometimes be every hurting to the mother.
Psychological impact of divorce on children
Recent studies have shown that children brought up by two parents are better adapted, more confident and secure compared to those brought up by single parents. These findings are reasonable keeping in mind such children receive support from tow parents. One .............
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