January is known as Divorce Month, when the highest number of U.S. divorce filings occur. I find it ironic that Divorce Month is followed by Valentine’s Day, although with the high rate of second and third marriages and their equally high failure rates, the irony makes sense.
Sadly, it’s often women — the people feminism promised were our sisters — who are the most insensitive to divorced women’s struggles and make the cause of strengthening marriage and achieving divorce reform all that more difficult.
It’s also women who file for divorce more often, even though it’s well-established that divorce is far more of a sucker punch for women than men, with post-divorce household income for women declining by an average of 41 percent — almost double the loss men experience — plus now life’s many expenses are not shared with a spouse. That’s an enormous amount of lost income, often needed for necessities and retirement.
At least two-thirds of divorces involve low-conflict marriages, not high-conflict ones that may involve domestic violence. And although husbands are apparently more unfaithful than wives, husbands are also more likely to remain married than proceed with divorce after an affair.
Married Women Often Lack Empathy and Gratitude
Shortly after my ex left, a female friend exclaimed how fortunate I was to be in the dating pool again. Frankly, I’d have taken Mr. Boring who hooked their necklaces, lightened their to-do lists, and paid a bunch of bills. And don’t forget about that second pair of hands when you’re sick.
An abandoned woman in an online forum I belong to recently commented on how tired she was of people who had never walked in her shoes telling her to move on. From what I’ve seen, that seems to be our No. 1 pet peeve.
Women Unnecessarily Thwart Divorce Reform
Forty-eight U.S. states allow “no-fault divorce” and permit one spouse to divorce the other, unilaterally, for any reason and without cause. These laws violate the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Women were early proponents of this system. Some continue to claim that these unconstitutional laws must remain in place even though if revoked, domestic violence would remain a fault-based cause of action for divorce (and, as pointed out, even though most divorces involve low-conflict marriages, with boyfriends more often abusers rather than husbands). An extensive network of state and federal laws that protect domestic violence victims would also remain untouched.
Even when modest reform bills have been proposed that provide specific carve-outs for such victims, applying only to low-conflict marriages, women have flat-out opposed any change whatever to divorce laws. I was speaking before legislators in Georgia about just such reform several years ago when a group of women made their voices heard above the rest, shutting down the inroads we’d made after alleging that any reform threatened the lives of women. The mostly male legislators frankly got scared. This was patently wrong on all sides. If your spouse is an abuser, I get it. I’m your champion. But please, work with the rest of us. Your cause isn’t the only one.
And ladies, if you’re still tempted to file for divorce, pause. Don’t let little things tear you apart. Work at your marriage. Remember the ways you can count yourself lucky. Stand up and speak out in support of marriage in our culture because so few people do. Educate yourself about the consequences of divorce. Add your support to divorce reform.
Because for many of us, your actions and misassumptions only make it that much harder than it already is.