Attitudes about divorce may need to change, researchers say

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

You can ask most anyone about their thoughts on divorce and they’ll probably feel confident speaking in generalizations. You may hear that “divorce is failure,” or that “divorce is selfish.” Some might say that “divorce harms children” or that someone getting a divorce hasn’t “found their one true love.”

Are any of these generalizations accurate? Are they even helpful? Certainly, there have been plenty of sociological studies about divorce and its effects on the whole family, but controlling the variables in such studies can be nearly impossible. And according to one couple studying the “sacred cows” of marriage and divorce, American society needs to reframe how it views these two institutions.

The researchers are Astro and Danielle teller. He’s a high-level Google executive (with the title “Captain of Moonshots”) and she’s a prestigious physician and medical researcher. Both draw on their experience as previously divorced individuals who both brought children into the marriage.

In a recent book called “Sacred Cows: The Truth About Divorce and Marriage,” the Tellers share some important insights. They argue that:

  • Existing research on the effects of divorce on spouses is too flawed to draw any accurate conclusions
  • Because of flawed research, we also cannot trust the claim that divorce invariably harms children
  • American society offers contradictory attitudes about love, marriage and divorce as well as unhealthy cultural attitudes
  • Every couple’s marital situation is different
  • Divorce is neither “good” nor “bad,” and those judgments should be irrelevant for anyone except the two people going through a specific divorce

There’s no question that the stigma surrounding divorce is not nearly as strong as it once was. But are we still being harmed by societal attitudes about marriage and divorce that are unhealthy? The answer to that question may be unclear, but it is definitely worth talking about.

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