Our last post began a discussion on our blog about the trend of couples living "un-divorced," according to a Politics Daily piece. Today, some marriages in the U.S. are left unbroken not because couples still love each other and want to grow old together, but because they are avoiding the threats they equate with divorce.
We previously went over some of the financial reasons why couples are avoiding divorce, but today we are adding to that discussion. Emotional and family reasons also prolong unhappy marriages when they could be ended in what does not have to be a complicated nor expensive divorce.
Many parents believe that staying married is what is best for their children, plus they do not want to put children through what they believe is going to be a hostile, divisive divorce process. Some couples, therefore, will live and parent together, but their relationships are not romantic nor necessarily exclusive.
As mentioned before, however, divorce does not have to get nasty. If parents find it easy enough to live and parent together despite being unhappily married, then they would likely be able to divorce civilly.
Also, studies have suggested that kids often face difficulties in their adult relationships if they were raised by parents who stayed in an unhealthy marriage. Divorce, if handled responsible by the parents regarding child custody and the sensitivity of their children, does not significantly damage kids and their futures.
The Bottom Line is Fear
Some relationship experts and divorce lawyers are cynical when it comes to the excuses used to justify staying "un-divorced" in an unsatisfying marriage. They believe that too many couples are relying on financial arguments and on the seemingly noble argument that their marriage protects their children in order to hide the real reason for not filing for divorce:
They are afraid of change and the unknown.
Some argue that by staying in an unhappy marriage, spouses are keeping themselves from potential happiness that could be found somewhere or with someone else. Sure, they might be comfortable and not hate their lives living "un-divorced," but they could create a life after divorce that they love.
Politics Daily: The Un-Divorce: When Leaving Your Marriage is Just Too Much Work (8/2/2010)
FoxNews.com: Divorce Not Always Bad for Kids, Study Says (7/1/2010)