Divorce is full of myths and legends. There are myths and legends regarding statistics of divorce and how others see people who are divorced. The myths and legends that I am talking about are not the ones that are propagated by others, but feelings that many divorcees have themselves. Dispelling the myths of divorce is not easy, and trying to do so can be a lesson in futility, but let's give it a try.
1. Divorce is the easy way out. Divorce is NEVER the easy way out. In fact, it takes more courage to leave a bad or abusive marriage than it does to stay in a situation that is miserable. I am not encouraging divorce, but, if you are not happy in your marriage and decide to go out on your own, believe me, it will be the most difficult path you can take.
2. Divorce is a dirty word. Considering that 50% of the couples that marry end in divorce, you would think by now that our society would be more forgiving of divorce, as well as more accepting. Divorce is not a dirty word or a disease. It is a place that you are in after you have been married and decide that marriage was not the best marriage for you.
3. One person is always to blame in divorce. That is not always true. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out. You married young and decided you wanted different things or you grow apart. There are so many reasons for divorce, and because it takes two to make a marriage work, it usually takes two to make a divorce happen.
4. One person always gets screwed in divorce. It has been said that a successful divorce is where both party's walk away feeling like they got screwed, and generally that is the case. He complains that she gets the house and the kids and she complains that she doesn't get enough child support. Do you see what I mean? Both parties feel like they got the short end of the stick.
5. Judges in divorce court favor the mother. Judges are impartial and are supposed to take the best interest of the children into consideration. When they make their decisions, based on the facts they have, that is what they do. Mother's do generally get custody, but not all fathers ask for custody. According to The New York Times article by Lisa Belkin, there are now 2.2 million divorced women in the United States who do not have primary physical custody of their children, and an estimated 50 percent of fathers who seek such custody in a disputed divorce are granted it. Judges try to consider all factors when it comes to support and to custody and rule accordingly.
6. After divorce everyone gets along better. If you are the healthiest and most grounded person in the world, then this could be true. But, most of are not. Just because you are no longer married does not mean the fighting stops. It is just a different type of fighting; the key is that since you are no longer married, you no longer have to engage in those fights.
7. Your ex will be happier when they find someone else. Bitter ex spouses are bitter until the end. Do not live under the false illusion that because your ex has remarried or repartnered that they will turn around and it make your life better. It is not realistic to assume that happiness erases bad feelings. It doesn't. In fact, it can breed more resentment, as that ex couldn't find the happiness with you, so they get even angrier.
8. Your couple friends will take sides. Oftentimes what happens when you first separate and delve into divorce, your friends that are still married take sides. But, as the divorce process drags on, generally those friends lose interest in both people. Don't think that your ex gets the friends, because usually no one gets the friends by the time your divorce is done and you both have to start over fresh.
9. The only one that wins in a divorce is the attorney. It is true that attorneys make a lot of money from divorces, especially if they drag on, but if you hire a good attorney that you trust, they will look out for your best interest both emotionally and financially. Also, with the growing rise in collaborative divorces and successful mediations, the attorney does not walk away with all the money in the joint accounts. But, remember, a good attorney is worth their weight in gold when you have a litigious divorce.
10. The kids will be better off. The kids are never better off living in a single parent household, and being sent back and forth from one home to the other, unless there was abuse going on. Chances are, your children will need therapy and will have several rough patches regarding this new situation over several different periods in their lives. Be prepared to talk to them, love them and let them know it is not their fault.