Social effects of divorce
MARRIAGE is the foundational relationship for all of society. All other relationships in society stem from the father-mother relationship, and these other relationships thrive most if that father-mother relationship is simultaneously a close and closed husband- wife relationship.
Good marriages are the bedrock of strong societies. Marriage is an important step in an individual’s life.
It means agreeing to spend the rest of the life with this special someone and building a family with them.
Marriage tends to affect all aspects of one’s life, be it financially, spiritually and, not to forget, socially.
Many people are stuck in bad marriages. They think that divorce is not an option because they have to stay together for the kids.
Yet many kids and adults are children of divorce. Are they any worse off than children whose parents are still married?
Children are also more likely to suffer emotionally, negative feelings, lower self-esteem, behavioural problems, anxiety, depression and mood disorders due to divorce.
Boys are more likely than girls to experience emotional disturbances. Divorce also tends to have social effects, for both children and adults.
Children suffer the most, as they are treated as pawns. They are forced to go back and forth from one house to another.
They often feel isolated. Many harbour feelings of guilt for thinking they caused their parents to split up.
Many deal with their parents’ fighting and often feel as though they must choose one parent over the other.
There are trust issues involved and many children feel incapable of having loving relationships.
When a couple divorces, they will likely see their social circle change. They go from a couple to half a couple.
They likely spent their marriage befriending other couples. The couple may have spent time doing activities with others, as a couple.
This changes when a couple divorces. It no longer feels right to socialize with just one person, as it causes a couple to think they are taking sides.
The relationship changes and the divorced couple find that their social circle narrows. They may lose their married friends and be forced to find single friends who they can better relate to during this difficult time.
The divorcing couple tends to feel left out and isolated. Many turn to isolation and develop depression.
Divorce changes the whole family dynamic and can be a source of contention for all involved.
Family members and friends may have difficulty maintaining relationships with the divorced parties as they feel forced to take sides.
It makes some relationships awkward. In the past, divorce was seen as wrong, even though it was legal.
Those who divorced were looked at negatively. While divorce is a no longer a stigma in today’s society, it does come with consequences.
Many people tend to overlook financial consequences. Sure, one party may get the house in a divorce, but they still have to make the mortgage payments, and that can be difficult with just one income.
Instead of one house on two incomes, there are now two houses on two incomes. Money does not stretch as far as it used to.
Divorce breeds poverty, particularly in women with children. Many fathers fail to pay child support, so it is not uncommon for mothers to work multiple jobs in order to survive.
Many children go without the essentials. Many children also perform poorly in school. Many suffer emotional and behavioural problems caused by the divorce.
Divorce disrupts children’s lives as they are constantly shuffled from one home to another. Their parents are busy and unable to help them with their homework.
Many children of divorce drop out of school or do not attend college. Many children of divorce experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sex.
They are likely to run away from home or be suspended from school. They also tend to fight and use weapons.
Given that divorce comes with many negative consequences, should you stay in a bad marriage solely for the children?
Not necessarily. Divorce is a stressful process and nobody wants to go through it unless it is a last resort.
Therefore, if you find your marriage is in trouble, you may want to take some steps to try to repair it.
A happy marriage is good for kids. However, if you are married and you and your spouse are always fighting, that type of situation can be damaging to kids, as well.
Your kids will be exposed to all your yelling and fighting. Children learn what they see and by continuing to stay married in a negative environment, you are setting your kids up for relationship failure.
The effects of divorce can last for many years. By divorcing in an amicable and collaborative manner, you can show your kids how to have a healthy relationship.
If you and the other parent work hard to give your children love and attention, they can grow up just as happy and healthy as children with married parents.
They may actually feel better knowing that there is no more stress and tension in the house due to you and the other parent arguing.
Nobody should be forced to stay in a bad marriage. However, it is important to think about this decision thoroughly, as the effects of divorce can linger for many years.
It can affect one’s economic status, as well as emotional state of mind and social circle.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.