As someone who speaks to people daily that are contemplating divorce, I found myself very curious about whether studies have been done about whether people who have chosen to divorce are happy with the decision or not. Afterall, people usually question themselves for months or years before reaching a decision about divorce. So, once the decision has been made to divorce, do most people end up feeling they made the right choice or the wrong one? I wonder how the people I have helped feel about their decision in hindsight.
After some research, I found an interesting statistic about this topic. A study including 10,000 divorcees who were questioned over the course of 2 decades by researchers at Kingston University, found that more women were happy after divorce than men.
The reasons generally flow around the same idea, that women are more likely than men to seek help for any emotional issues following their divorce. For example, women are more likely to see a therapist, to surround themselves with positive support systems, and to stay physically healthy during and after the divorce. Women are also less likely than men to rely on unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol, drugs, and casual sex, which some people use to distract themselves from the stress and trauma of divorce. This isn’t to say men don’t also handle divorce in a healthy way, but women, statistically, practice these positive behaviors more.
In short, whether you are happy or repentant at the end of your divorce greatly depends on how you handle it. Most of those with regrets cited poor management of their divorce process, or the resulting strain on their children. On the other end of the spectrum, those who found happiness after their divorce felt that way because they coped with their divorce in a healthy way.
To me, this makes sense. It also backs up my belief that overly aggressive divorce attorneys and divorce “wars” can make things much worse for people and families. So, whatever you decide, try to depend on mental health professionals or mental health research to help you make choices during the divorce process that will result in a healthier, happier you. Oh, and stay away from the overly aggressive attorneys that may get you the extra set of plates but will hurt your future chance of happiness.