Divorce, in the situation of an unhappy marriage, does not necessarily lead to happiness...
July 11, 2002 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Divorce, in the situation of an unhappy marriage, does not necessarily lead to happiness... Does this throw doubt on our culture of individualism and the pursuit of happiness? Maybe we should stop being self-obsessed and stick it out
posted by zia (18 comments total)
 
perhaps we shouldnt get married in the first place. from now on, only casual sex is allowed.
posted by howa2396 at 5:12 PM on July 11, 2002


I 'had re-married and oddly, just before opening this I had a call from my ex-wife about tickets for Rolling Stones that my kid is messing about with. The call reminded me of the mess that was my first marriage. I am about as happy as a guy can be with my second marraige and I have been married now some 19 years to a woman 29 years younger. This has been magnificent! The point: each case differs If I had one piece of advice to offer: do not remarry till some 3 years have passed. It takes a while and lots of Metamucui to flush out what needs to be cleaned out. And too many guys I know bounced right back into marriage for this or that reason only to discover that the 2nd and sometimes the third no improvement.
posted by Postroad at 5:17 PM on July 11, 2002


If you are a) getting married because you think it will make you happy or b) getting divorced because you think it will make you happy, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what 'happiness' is. Nothing you can change in your life will 'make you happy'.

What will make you happy (or not) is the way in which you approach and react to the things that are in your life.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:08 PM on July 11, 2002


I'm not really sure I agree with the statistical analysis here.

I would argue of the unhappy couples, the ones that toughed it out would be the ones who's problems weren't all that serious in the first place.

I believe if there are serious problems in a marriage, such as one member being unfaithful or alcoholic or abusive, and they are unwilling to get help, then the other person should divorce them and cut there losses and ignore their priest or marriage counselor or those 'scientific studies' telling them to tough it out.
posted by bobo123 at 6:39 PM on July 11, 2002


that's not true, I just saw The Royal Tenenbaums and it was very believable...

*snort*

personally, I believe that most of the reasons for failed marriages are carried on into the next ones. most people try to blame their faults on incompatibility and other nonsense, but it's really a personal issue that is just going to get passed on to piss off their next spouse
posted by LuxFX at 7:05 PM on July 11, 2002


I'm sure the state of 'happiness' can be measured and understood especially when talking about highly charged issues like one's ex. I think stavros really nails it, this mysterious state of happiness has a lot more to do with just partner, wealth, job, etc.

It almost sounds like the researchers trivialized complex factors for an easy to swallow answer that serves them. The Institute for American Values cooking reports to be pro-marriage? Say it ain't so guys!

Perhaps I should buy a copy of their Why Marriage Matters book for more impartial information.
posted by skallas at 7:18 PM on July 11, 2002


Maybe we should stop being self-obsessed and stick it out

Whatever for? Masochism?
posted by rushmc at 7:26 PM on July 11, 2002


I would argue of the unhappy couples, the ones that toughed it out would be the ones who's problems weren't all that serious in the first place.

bobo123: Maybe that's you think things should be, but it isn't the way they are. Some people stick together through very serious problems, while others break up as soon as staying together becomes difficult. And still others do everything in between. It completely depends on who the two people are, and what they care about.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 7:32 PM on July 11, 2002


Maybe we should stop being self-obsessed and stick it out

Whatever for? Masochism?


No, because stable marriages and families improve everyone's quality of life. It takes sacrifice, it's a commitment, and the commitment ought to precede either individual's preferences, for all of our benefits.

So, yeah, if you're a fuckup and make a bad decision, you should live with the repercussions, just like any other mistake in life, instead of foisting your misjudgement on your kids or another spouse.
posted by anildash at 10:07 PM on July 11, 2002


Agreed, anil. But taking responsibility for one's decisions and actions is a character trait that's being methodically bred out of us, unfortunately.

It takes an effort of will to do the right thing these days, it seems, where in days past it took an effort of will to do its opposite.

[geezervoice]Kids these days. [/geezervoice]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:10 PM on July 11, 2002


So, yeah, if you're a fuckup and make a bad decision, you should live with the repercussions

First marriage is forever binding eh? Sometimes the best thing to do is admiting that the marriage is unsalvagable and breaking it up. You also falsey assume all divorcees carry grudges into their next marriage and all have kids.

One size-fits-all advice rarely works in complex situations.
posted by skallas at 11:14 PM on July 11, 2002


No, because stable marriages and families improve everyone's quality of life.

That's a matter of opinion, extremely dependent upon your personal criteria for "quality of life."

So, yeah, if you're a fuckup and make a bad decision, you should live with the repercussions, just like any other mistake in life

Odd perspective. When I make a mistake, I try to correct it, learn from it, and not repeat it, not punish myself by wallowing in the "repercussions."
posted by rushmc at 11:20 PM on July 11, 2002


One size-fits-all advice rarely works in complex situations.

'Do The Right Thing' seems to work in most situations to which I apply it, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:21 PM on July 11, 2002


'Do The Right Thing' seems to work in most situations to which I apply it, though.

Its also 100% subjective on who is the one deciding what the right thing is. Most people act in a way that they believe is the right thing. You may not agree, but then again its probably none of your business.
posted by skallas at 11:24 PM on July 11, 2002


Its also 100% subjective

Well, no. Actually, I would argue that in the vast majority of disputes, the honest-to-goodness Right Thing is clearly discernable, in the absence of greed and self-interest. But people tend to be assholes.

You may not agree, but then again its probably none of your business.

Fair enough.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:34 PM on July 11, 2002


I try to correct it, learn from it, and not repeat it

Um, that's what I'd consider repercussions. Just walking away and giving up, as most people feel they can do these days, since they don't feel a very large sense of social obligation, is shirking those responsibilities.
posted by anildash at 1:25 AM on July 12, 2002


the honest-to-goodness Right Thing is clearly discernable

You've been on Mefi long enough to know such rules don't apply here...
posted by owillis at 1:54 AM on July 12, 2002


I try to correct it, learn from it, and not repeat it

Um, that's what I'd consider repercussions. Just walking away and giving up, as most people feel they can do these days, since they don't feel a very large sense of social obligation, is shirking those responsibilities.


"Correcting it," in such cases, could quite possibly include "walking away and giving up." When I make a commitment, it is virtually absolute, but the problem is that it takes two to tango and few will work to overcome difficulties when it is easier to give up and move on to something new. And I find that contemptible, so in that respect, we agree. But given the fact that most people seem to give about as much thought to whom they will marry as to what they will have for dinner on Wednesday night, quite often, after a period of time, the best thing for both of them to do is sever all ties and get as far away from one another as humanly possible.

I have my idea/preference of what a marriage (for me) should be like. And were I ever to marry (not bloody likely at this time), it would have to conform somewhat along those lines. But that doesn't mean that I want to go around telling OTHER people what their marriages should be like. Different strokes, and all that. If it works for you, great. It strikes me as extremely simplistic to believe that there is only one right way to do a thing.
posted by rushmc at 9:19 AM on July 12, 2002


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