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Unfortunate Divorce
Gary Brainerd
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You probably know the statistics

You probably know the statistics:  46% of couples who marry eventually get divorced, at least partly because at least one of them believes he or she made a major selection error.  You may not know that in second marriages, 57% end in divorce.  If the problem was a selection error problem, it would appear that many are still making the same selection error. 

We believe that most of the time, the problem is not a selection error problem.  The problem is that we as a culture do not yet understand the nature of intimate, committed relationships, what’s trying to happen in them, why they get difficult and why these difficult times do not indicate a relationship that should not be.

Another statistic you may not be aware of is that in the 54% who stay married, a very large percentage (up to 90%) report their marriage as “unsatisfactory”.  Some look at this and say, “There’s something wrong with marriage.”  We believe there is nothing wrong with marriage.  It is probably one of the greatest institutions and relationships and challenges of all time.  Most couples just to not understand why it gets so difficult and what to do when it gets difficult.

Here are the main situations in which we believe that divorce is unfortunate and unnecessary. 

  1. After a wonderful romantic and exciting start, couples perceive their partners as changing for the worse and they start noticing negative traits, characteristics, behaviors and habits that seemed only minimally present if present at all in the early stage.   See Stages in Love Relationships to see why this is not a reason to divorce!
  2. One or both partners discover that their partner behaves in very hurtful ways, and that these behaviors are distressingly similar to traits or characteristics of one or more of their primary caretakers. See How We Really Choose Our Mates to see why this is not a reason to divorce!
  3. The relationship deteriorates into constant arguing and fighting, a cold war or a rollercoaster ride that gets more and more distressing.  See Three Brains and a Partner to see why this is not a reason to Divorce!
  4. One or both persons experience that the fun, playfulness, sex and enjoyment has greatly diminished and attempts to reconnect seem to fail.  See any of the three articles above to see why we believe this is not a reason for divorce. 

  Here’s another interesting and I believe relevant statistic.  Couples who seek professional help for their relationship do so 5-6 years after they first believe the relationship is in trouble or in need of help.  I think this is tragic.

One of the reasons I have developed this website was to create easy access to important information and relationship skills, so couples can get help long before 5 or 6 years pass.  I believe that there will be many couples who will use the tools and information in the Couple’s Workstation (the membership area of this site - Click Here for Tour), starting early in their relationship and who will then be able to avoid the pain and tragedy of unfortunate divorce.  But if you and/or your partner are considering divorce, we encourage you to do more than join the Couple’s Workstation.  Couples’ Counseling or Therapy or a Workshop or Seminar for Couples will also be important for you. 

  Finally, if you are wondering about the impact of divorce on children, you will want to read “Divorce and the Long Term Effects on Children  Divorce is sometimes necessary, but when it is unnecessary, it is indeed unfortunate.

Gary Brainerd, PhD

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