“We should applaud divorce, not stigmatise it”

Written by Joe Ellison

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Divorce. The D-word. The reason McDonald’s shift so many Happy Meals on a Sunday. It’s admittedly never an easy topic to raise in some quarters, but the dynamics are shifting massively.

Men are filing for divorce more than ever. In 2017, the rate of guys requesting marital splits jumped up by 8.5% compared with the figure two years prior. Out of 106,959 divorces, men were behind 39% of them – the highest level since records began. And when you consider how uneven the balance has traditionally been between genders – despite the murderous, philandering mega-douche that is Henry VIII as the original patron of the act – any parity should be welcomed. More than that though, divorce should be welcomed.

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Statistics show the most likely people to get divorced are couples in their 20s, which, while hardly surprising, is quite important to remember. People change – and not least in their twenties, a decade where people are still finding out who they are. So, if divorce is what it takes for people to be truly happy rather than staying stuck in a loveless endgame until the other partner dies of old age because a stranger in a shiny cloak once stood at an alter telling them to, then you bet it’s a good thing. Oh, and nobody ever talks about this, but, yeah, your friendship groups will also begin to increase again.

single happy group dating

Slowly but surely, thanks in part to changing attitudes and politics, the stigma of divorce is becoming less and less. We’re not exactly at a point where the term ‘divorcee’ is freely worn as a badge of honour, but we’re not far off it. The act of divorce itself is a brave one, while the upshots can be plentiful: it can be a new start, a time to go travelling and clear your mind, or simply a fast-route towards being happy once again. Above all, what should come first is your mental wellbeing, and the more we view divorce as simply part and parcel of normal relationships, almost like we would with Tom Cruise, who seems to get through marriages quicker than he does Mission Impossible films, it can only be healthy for us all.

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Don’t get me wrong though. Matrimony can indeed be a wonderful thing, and it would be plainly naïve of me to ignore those other parties impacted by divorce – children, grandparents, your best mate Pete who she definitely met first but you’ve always been closer to ever since you both bonded over Jean Claude Van-Damme’s filmography.

And to those who’ve left a marriage and are thinking the worst, I say don’t. The great country of Denmark has a rapidly rising divorce rate and is regularly cited as one of the happiest places to live on earth. Meanwhile, over in Japan, where 30% of households are single occupancy, being single and living alone is so common that they even have a word for it: ‘Ohitorisama’. Who knows, perhaps the western world could even learn something from Japan’s approach to being single, coining our own word for someone living their best life and focusing on themselves. Come to think of it, we have a good one already.

Yes, that’s it: ‘divorce’.


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