Can divorce actually make people happier than they would be if they were married? While previous studies, such as an article published in the journal Addiction, suggest that divorce is linked to higher unhappiness rates and more problems with substance abuse, new research is starting to suggest that such trends may be shifting. Indeed, according to a recent article in Psychology Today, more Americans are content—and may even be happier—after finalizing a divorce. And this may be particularly true for people who are part of the “gray divorce” trend. Given that gray divorces are increasing, according to data from the Pew Research Center, the more that gray divorcees find themselves happier being single than married, the more we may see a shift in the ways that divorce on average affects a person’s mood and overall emotional health.
In short, the long-term consequences of being divorced appear to be changing as more people find themselves happier after a divorce than they were during the final days of their marriage.
More People Getting Divorced Are Happier Across the Globe
It is not only Americans who are learning to be happier after getting divorced. To be sure, the article suggests that divorcees in various parts of the world report being happier once their divorce is finalized—a level of greater happiness than during the marriage. One of the reasons for this shift may be that single and newly divorced people are better at maintaining friendships and close relationships with family members, and they may also be better at taking care of their bodies and their everyday health.
More specifically, a study involving over 300,000 people suggests that “divorced and separated individuals age 30 and above are the most proficient in interacting with friend s and family over the internet.” Accordingly, the ease of maintaining friendships and interpersonal connections through the internet may be contributing to the shift in happiness after divorce. In addition, more people—women in particular—are showing health improvement after divorce. While older studies contended that divorce tended to result in worsening physical health, newer studies intimate the opposite. Indeed, studies suggest that divorced people tend to exercise more than married people and tend to consume less alcohol.
Shifting Assumptions About Divorce and Its Social Implications
Another primary reason that divorced people may be happier is that divorce is no longer stigmatized in the same way it was even a couple of decades ago. Being divorced, for many people, meant losing the “key to health and happiness.” However, for many people, that idea no longer carries as much weight. Whether a person is filing for a “gray divorce” or is making the decision to get divorced much earlier in life, the sociocultural stigma that used to be attached to divorce does not seem to apply as significantly any longer. The article emphasizes that “we must rid ourselves of the outdated notion that marriage is the only way to be healthy.”
Based on recent data, the article argues that getting divorced may be able to make a person physically healthier, which ultimately can improve psychological health. People who are healthy are more likely to maintain relationships with important people in their lives, and as such, those people are likely to be happier than those with poorer physical and emotional health.
Contact a Fairfax Divorce Attorney
While the recent study is only one perspective on divorce and emotional well-being, it makes clear the importance of de-stigmatizing divorce and focusing on the benefits of dissolving an unhappy marriage. If you are considering divorce, you should speak with a Fairfax divorce lawyer about your case. Contact Leary Law for more information.