Back in the seventies and eighties, as the divorce rate soared, there were a lot of psychologists saying that the children of these divorces stood a better chance of getting divorced themselves one day.
But is this true? If your parents divorced, are you more likely to have a marriage end in divorce as well?
According to an article today on the blog Care2.com, the answer isn’t as cut and dried as those old predictions made it seem. The article is called “My Parents Divorced – Will My Marriage fail Too?” and it makes some great points, some of them from writer Leslie Doares’ own life.
In the article, Doares points out that the National Opinion Research Council conducted a survey of adult children of divorce over a period of more than 20 years. According to the results from 1973, adult children of divorce were 172% more likely to get divorced than adult children from happily married parents. However, in 1999, adult children of divorce were only 50% more likely to get divorced than adult children with happily married parents. To be fair, they also found that adult children of divorce were 26% less likely to get married at all.
Doares herself comes from a divorced home, and she points out that while some of her siblings had marriages that ended in divorce, others didn’t.
I have been married for 26 years. My other sister just celebrated her 28th anniversary. Several of the second marriages in my family lasted until the death of one partner—often over 30 years.”
So if you’ve been thinking that your parents’ divorce made it almost inevitable that you would also be divorced, it just isn’t true.
The key is to understand how your parents’ divorce impacted your thoughts on love and marriage and how you behave in your relationship.
As Doares explains,
Children of divorce often experience expectations of failure, fear of loss or abandonment and fear of conflict throughout their lives. These anxieties are reflected in their romantic relationships by poor partner or behavior choices, giving up too quickly when problems arise or avoidance of any perceived level of commitment.”
It’s essential that you understand how the divorce of your parents influences your feelings, behavior and expectations. When you do, you can look at patterns and issues in your marriage and recognize that the source isn’t your own marriage, but the impact of your parents’ marriage. If necessary, get counseling for any problems that are affecting your marriage, but don’t for a minute think that your marriage will end in divorce simply because Mom and Dad’s did.