Is “Healthy Divorce” An Oxymoron?
Divorce has been called a lot of things, but not usually “healthy.” Is it possible that the divorce process is not as destructive for individuals and their families as we think?
In an article from the American Psychological Association (APA), the author recognizes the emotional instability triggered in partners parents, and children at the onset of divorce. For some, divorce is an anticipated end to a marriage that was essentially a long goodbye. For others, divorce is abrupt, anxious and angry.
Can divorce ever be healthy?
The danger of divorce to personal well-being and stability is well known. A recent article by United Press International (UPI) suggests that dangers to the health of men from divorce include:
- Divorced men have higher rates of death from various causes, including depression, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Risk of suicide is 39 percent higher for separated or divorced males.
For either gender, divorce increases the following concerns:
- Financial difficulty leading to reduced quality of life
- Loss of friends and social connections
- Necessity of taking low-paying or less-satisfying work to make ends meet
For children, the effects of divorce can be devastating, including:
- Damaged self-esteem
- Lowered quality of life
- Altered relationships with parents
- Permanently formed opinions about marriage, commitment and the role of parents
These facts do not leave much room for the concept of a healthy divorce, but it may be that some aspects of divorce outweigh the negative factors of divorce for couples who choose that route.
The benefits of divorce
Despite the instability and financial drain of divorce, it can lead to a good end. The decision to end an unsatisfying marriage can provide benefits, including:
- Renewed sense of self-esteem and interest in the world
- Development of new social connections based on common interests and future dreams
- Rediscovered intimacy and joy in authentic relationships
- The hard-earned reward of self-reliance that often follows in the years after divorce
Unless parents can work cooperatively, there are few real benefits to children in divorce. Future studies will reveal how our drive for quality of life shaped the world these children create as adults. The process of divorce may not be healthy, but it may lead to renewed health in many areas of life. If seeking a healthy divorce, get good legal counsel and do your best to keep conflict low and hopes for your future high.
To learn more about your divorce options, consult a California family law attorney. A careful, savvy lawyer can help the divorce process run as smoothly as possible.