The number one reaction to divorce is fear. Most people fear the unknown. Divorce creates a series of questions that may remain unanswered for a lengthy period of time. Where will I live? When will the children be with me? Will I be able to afford my cost-of-living? What kind of social life will I have? Who will remain my friend? What will I do at night and on weekends? Will I be happier or sadder after I leave my spouse? Will I forever be single?
Divorce creates anxiety and negative thinking. For the most part, this is normal. For many people, marriage serves as a familiar and stable living condition. Ending a marriage with divorce provokes significant uncertainty in life. That is the one main reason why people avoid divorce and decide to remain in a marriage, despite how dysfunctional it may be.
The second reason why divorce scares people is the change in their relationship with their children. There are times when the divorce is caused by chronic parenting disagreements. There are times when divorce is caused by reasons unrelated to parenting. In either case, parents are very fearful of what will happen to their children as a result of divorce. The main concern is what will be the new living arrangements and whether the children will be able to adjust to the new living conditions. Another concern held by many people is whether the other parent will be able to responsibly care for the children when the children are in his or her care. This is especially the case with younger children.
The third reason why divorce scares people is the loss of their family home. The family residence is the anchor for the family. This is where every day begins and where every day ends. This is the place where the children return after school. This is the place where the parents read stories to their children in bed while they fall asleep. This is the place where family functions, birthday parties and holiday celebrations occurred. Divorce usually results in the loss of that home and of all the memories that have occurred there.
The fourth reason why divorce scares people is its economic impact. It is without doubt that it is more expensive to pay for two homes than one. Divorce does not increase the incomes of the spouses, but it most definitely causes the cost-of-living to spike. As a result, financial fear is a common consequence of divorce.
The fifth reason why divorce scares people is the loss of a social circle. Neighbours, family, friends and colleagues are all affected by divorce. Many of them do not even know how to relate to the couple during and after divorce. Some relationships are permanently damaged by divorce. Other relationships evolve and survive divorce, often in a different way. But in all cases, divorce most definitely impacts each spouse’s social circle.
People remain in unhealthy marriages for a host of reasons. The family home, the cost-of-living, social life and the needs of the children are all important considerations for divorce. That is why it is critical that spouses considering divorce consult with their closest friends, family and therapist to work through these fears, understand their true impact and be able to navigate the necessary choices and actions to ensure that all decisions are based on rationale and not on fear.
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