A “Good” Divorce is No Myth

With a such a high rate of divorce in the U.S.—currently 42% of all marriages end in divorce—it’s often hard to see the positive when there’s so much negative: The loss of a home, changes in the amount of time you spend with your children, a huge hit to your bank account, the challenge of “starting over,” venturing back into the dating pool…and so much more.

The negative can be overwhelming, but it’s just as important to focus on the many positive things that come with being single. And, you’re not the only one who can actually benefit from a divorce—your children can see upsides as well.

Good for the Parents

Writer and Editor Brittany Wong compiled insights from other Huffington Post contributors concerning the “good” that can be found in the dissolution of a marriage:

Marriage may give you a sense of security, but divorce gives you a new lease on life. 

“Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope—the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy, and the hope to find someone else to love.” ―Barry Gold

Divorce clears the way for you to meet the right partner.

“Divorce is painful, but it’s kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid: The anticipation is horrible, but, once it’s over, it’s pure relief. Bonus: It allows you the freedom to meet the person you were meant to be with!” ― Al Corona

You get to focus on you for once.

“After divorce, you find yourself again and fall in love with the wonderful attributes that make you, you. As a mother especially, you can parent with just your own mama instincts and all your love and energy can flow into your little one(s). You find genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that may have been sucked out of you during your bad marriage.” ― Shelley Cameron

There’s a big difference between loneliness and solitude. 

“My divorce helped me discover the gift of solitude when I once experienced the pain of loneliness. Now that I’ve learned to enjoy being alone…I’m free from that awful feeling of separation that comes from being with the wrong person.” ―Tammy Letherer

You and your partner may be stifling each other’s growth.

“I feel that divorce should rarely be the first choice because generally the only thing keeping a ‘bad’ marriage from being a ‘good’ marriage is sustained mutual effort. That being said, there are times that divorce is the best choice to allow both partners to grow and achieve the life they desire, and in some scenarios, the life they deserve.” ― Derick Turner

A happier parent is a better parent. 

“Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity and the sanity of those around you. Divorce proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.” ― Carey Fan

You can devote your energy to other important areas of your life. 

“If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. The pay off? You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.” ― Cherie Morris

You deserve a partner who’s just as invested in the relationship as you are. 

“Divorce is preferable to a marriage without love. We all deserve to be loved. I never want to be in a marriage where that partnership isn’t sacred and a priority.” ―Carly Israel

You lose a spouse, but you gain happiness.  

“Divorce brought me happiness. Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.” ― Nicole Lavery

The bottom line is this: Divorce means choice…that two people don’t have to remain bound to each other until the day they die. Divorce means you—and you alone—get to determine the path your life will take. Basically, divorce can provide the most crucial, most valuable of human experiences: Happiness.

Good for the Children

Divorce can be especially hard on children. It’s difficult to accept the two people you love most no longer love each other, but Author Leanne Bell believes it’s far more damaging a child to grow up in a household where love has disappeared from the marriage. Such a situation, she feels, leads a child to believe marriage is a “doomed institution, a miserable partnership…something he never expects will give him joy.”

Bell warns that the biggest mistake parents make is putting their marriage last. She writes that parents should “show children what a marriage is…what they can expect and look forward to when they grow up.”

Michele Zipp, a contributor for The Stir and a divorced mother of two, says there are “benefits of divorce that far exceed having two bedrooms, two sets of toys, and parents who (sometimes) compete for the coolest award.” She explains things this way:

Children learn positive ways to solve problems.

A bad marriage is a terrible example for kids, so it stands to reason that removing that example would be good for kids. Statistics show that when parents have a “high conflict” marriage their children “fared better in adult relationships if their parents got a divorce.”

After all, kids are very aware when there’s a problem in the home. When those issues are resolved through divorce, they see firsthand how to handle the stress and anger.

Children have more one-on-one time with each parent.

Kids in shared custody situations tend to fare better than those raised by a single parent with no interaction with a second, absent, parent. What comes out of co-parenting? The kids end up having a lot of one-on-one time with each parent.

That’s important, according to a study published in the April 2015 Journal of Marriage and Family. Researchers said the amount of time parents spend with their kids between the ages of 3 and 11 has little to no relationship with how they turn out—meaning it’s okay for kids to spend time apart from their parents in split custody situations.

Children experience more happiness.

A recent study calmed many fears (while bringing up new ones) saying that it’s not a two-parent household that’s key for a child’s happiness—it’s financial security. Money stress is awful, but if a child is able to live in a clean home with food and love, having two parents is not key to their well-being.

This is especially comforting to single moms or dads. Being wealthy isn’t the point here; it’s making sure a child is fed, clothed, and loved. Children benefit from love and structure, so as long as that’s established, there will be happiness.

Children can build communication skills.
Living in two households gives kids good communication skills. There’s a lot to keep track of with children—soccer matches, piano practice, swimming lessons—and those dates and times must be communicated to keep everyone on their routine. While it’s important for divorced parents to not make their child the messenger (the parents must also have good communication skills with each other and the kids), it’s good for everyone to be communicative with each other.

Children are stronger and have a better life.

A Dartmouth study on the effects of divorce on kids, noted that “75 to 80% of children develop into well-adjusted adults with no lasting psychological or behavioral problems.” Further, “[kids of divorce] achieve their education and career goals and have the ability to build close relationships.” It was also reported that as many as 42% of young adults whose parents have divorced “received higher well-being scores as compared to young adults from non-divorced families.”

The takeaway her is that children are resilient and stronger than most realize. In life there are often obstacles, issues, and problems, but all are solvable—even children can work through these come out on the other side stronger.

To learn how North Carolina law may apply to your unique circumstances, call one of the qualified attorneys at Greene Wilson Crow & Smith at (252) 634-9400 or visit nctriallawyers.com.

(Sources: Huffington Post; The Stir; And They Lived Happily Ever After…; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and CNN.)