If you’ve been reading those silly Yahoo or MSN articles about why January is the season for divorce, you know that it’s either because there wasn’t enough court time during the holidays or the “consciously uncoupled” (Re: 10 Words I Hope Will Die Off in 2015) desire a fresh start in the new year. You also know that it’s every dating website’s yearly Christmas gift:
“Divorcées appear to like company. Jan. 4 was the busiest day of the year for online dating with traffic peaking at 8:52 p.m. Eastern Time, according to dating website Match.com. The country’s largest dating website — which has 2.8 million subscribers in North America — sees a 38% jump in registrations between December and February. Dating app Zoosk typically sees a 26% spike in sign-ups in the two weeks after Christmas.”
These days, it feels like the media talks about divorce as if these people are ordering a quarter-pounder with cheese. We hear that magic number: 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. I don’t think it’s that simple. First, that’s such a round number and no one can really attribute it to any current research. Second, how many once-happy relationships end in a split after years of cohabitation and children? Probably more than the divorce rate.
Now, I’ve never been married or divorced for that matter, so I kind of don’t have a pot to piss in. But that’s the beauty of blogging. The idea of marriage to me is as binding as a live-in boyfriend/girlfriend whom you have children with or co-parents with you. You act like a married couple, however when the split occurs, it’s no less painful or fails to come with legal consequences (i.e. child support, custody, splitting shared accounts, breaking leases, etc.).
We homo-sapiens are ruled by our emotions, need to partner, bond, procreate and feel connected. Paper contracts sound silly when you put it into the evolutionary context.
I sympathize with the separated and newly divorced. My split with my ex-fiancee felt like a divorce. We never jumped into the contract of marriage, but the legal hearings more than made up for that. There will never be a clean break with us because we share a child for the next 17 years. Or arguably, forever.
This sort of begs a ton of questions:
- Why do we marry? On a hope, a whim and prayer we will love each other until the bittersweet end?
- Is lasting marriage practical in a world where we are now more “connected” than ever? With the advent of instant access to other people and the temptations to connect, will marriage devolve into a series of divorces and mini-relationships?
- Should society accept this change in human behavior and stop romanticizing marriage? Did Medieval marriages get it right by calling it a business transaction (sans the women as chattel part)?
- Should we be more mindful of marriage as a contract vs. marriage as a higher/spiritual form of partner bonding?
These questions lead to my next post on weddings and marriage.