Why are people getting divorced?
43 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. This is definitely a hard pill to swallow especially if you still dream of walking down that aisle. So before you start popping the champagne and writing the “happily ever after” endings you might wanna hit the pause button. As much as people like to pretend that they are happy with themselves and can live the rest of their miserable days on a diet of Vodka acting like Rock n’ Rolla’s, they really don’t. It is part of human nature for a people to want to get married. Partially because marriage gives a false sense of accomplishment and progress in one’s life. The business of marriage has been sold to the majority of an unquestioning public as a stable and trust worthy choice.
Most of our youth has been littered with fables of Romeo and Juliet and other tragic heroes who are willing to die for love. After all, not all of us were made to party and booze it up forever while trying to hit on the hottest girl or guy in the room. Unfortunately not all of us are a Barney Stinson or a Charlie Sheen – pretty soon you are gonna be the old guy in the room, with wrinkly skin trying to bribe his way to getting laid. But if we all want to (at least on a basic level) to grow old and raise kids together why do we have get married to be able to do so? Compared to the fifties, the status quo in 2011 has changed a great deal from what it was twenty or thirty years ago. In these modern times there is less demand for people to get married.
This applies particularly to the fairer of the sexes. As a woman in the fifties, regardless of whether you were a shebeen queen in Soweto or a soccer mom in New York it was very frowned upon to be in your forties/fifties and not be married. In actual fact if you were single I am sure there would have been more than a few rumours about your sexuality and other unsavoury bedroom matters. Fast forward more than a half a century later, the social status of having that rock on your finger is not what it used to be. High society is no longer conservative boys clubs and picket fences. The institution of marriage is balancing on a crooked crutch.
One of the biggest causes of the deterioration of the values associated with white gowns and wedding vows is vastly owed to the changing roles of sexuality in modern society. The fact that women now have “in theory” the same access to opportunities as men widened the gap between saying yes to prince charming or going out and getting a career. In the latter half of the 20th century the presence of lobby and activist feminist movements ensured that the role of women was not restructured in the work place but also at home. But the main reasons that made many women initially want to enter marriages of convenience were not socio-economic ones. Rather it was children. Recent studies have also indicated that the changing “idea” of what family is has also been impacted. According to a recent study , almost 75% of all mothers are single parents and only 25% of that figure are unemployed. There have also been studies that have indicated that children from single parent homes are more likely to succeed then their peers who grow up with both parents.
But if the children are likely to succeed and the mothers are as economically active as ever then that leaves one question – what are the fathers up to? Well, if there is one group that has not benefited from the death of the marriage it’s the men. Contrary to popular belief one of the biggest causes of divorce is not the fact that people cannot stand their in-laws. Although I must say that can push one over the edge. Those Christmas dinners are just brutal. One of the real reasons men start calling their lawyers is money. Over the last two decades male economic activity has been stagnant, this has allowed women to gain a lot of ground. And let’s face it if are still earning what you were making ten years ago whilst your wife has doubled her salary, you are bound to here phrases like “We need to talk” and “I don’t see us making any progress”.
I for one forecast that perhaps in a decade or two the levels of divorce will be down and we will go back to diamond rings and hating our in-laws. But just in case that doesn’t happen I think it would be worthwhile for every romantic to get a career and start making friends with cats because you might have to accept that you might be playing the dating game forever.