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What are the Possible Consequences
of Divorce for Adults

The document was created by the Utah Commission on Marriage. Members of the commission are appointed by the Governor of Utah. This report has been published as a service to the public. This is page 4 of a 7 page web presentation. Marriage counselors and therapist throughout the U.S., including bonita springs marriage counselors, are pleased to have such a resource at their disposal. For further research, you can review the source to the footnotes at strongermarriage.org Here is the next section of the report.
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C. What are the possible consequences of divorce for social support?

The decision to divorce can bring about major changes in the social lives of individuals. Compared to married individuals, divorced individuals are less involved in social activities33 and report more social isolation.34 Being involved socially is often difficult because accomplishing the day-to-day activities of home, work, and childcare is often more difficult to do alone.35 Divorced adults often face greater loneliness than married individuals. In addition to losing a spouse, they also lose many of their social contacts such as in-laws, married friends, and neighbors.36 The loss of these social contacts often results in the loss of emotional support. [naples marriage counseling sees many such cases.]

Divorced individuals often find that friends disappear following the divorce. Often friends, even close friends, distance themselves from the divorced individual because they do not know what to say or do to make the person feel better or they are not interested in continually talking about the divorce and the changes associated with it. Although the newly divorced individual desires to maintain friendships and be involved socially, many complain they feel socially awkward because they struggle with whether or not they still fit into social activities as a single person.

Also, divorced individuals find they have less in common with their married friends. Many times friends sort themselves into "his" friends and "her" friends. And married friends may see the newly divorced person as a possible threat to the stability of their own marriages.37 Married friends often find it difficult to sustain independent friendships with both sides of a divided couple because the newly divorced person is often wrapped up with the struggles and challenges of single life.38 [A new sense of social isolation and loneliness set in, observes fort myers fl marriage counselors].

The amount of social activity that men and women experience varies, because divorced men and women generally approach the transition into single life differently. Divorced men report a more lasting attachment to their ex-spouses than divorced women.39 Often, to compensate for losing their spouse, male social activities tend to rise rapidly and dramatically following divorce.40 Many divorced women seek out a support group to help in their single-life adjustment.41 Friends help the newly divorced woman get a new perspective on the divorce.42 Women like to talk about their problems while men are more likely to "tough it out" than "talk it out." 43 Men often have fewer close friends to rely on for support after divorce. In addition to men losing their spouses, they are at greater risk of losing contact with their children as well. [Issues of attachment certainly come into play, notes cape coral fl marriage counseling].

One such man we know, devastated by divorce, began to drink heavily and use other addictive drugs. This problem, when discovered, resulted in legal changes to his co-parenting arrangement. He ended up having to pay for supervised visitation with his children until he became more stable. This was financially costly for both spouses because they had to use the court to deal with the substance abuse and control the conflict after their divorce. [Cape coral marriage counseling and therapy has similarly observed that money that could go to support the family's ends up being used for newly developed social and mental health issues].

Following a divorce, children usually reside with only one parent, most often the mother.44 This increases the amount of loneliness men feel after divorce. Most fathers make real efforts to stay involved with their children even if they do not have custody and live together. But research indicates that after a few years, most divorced fathers do not have regular contact with their children.45 The ex-wife and children of one father we know moved across the country after the divorce. His visitation is limited by the expense of the airline tickets to transport his children back and forth for visitation. Therefore, he can only afford about two visits a year, which makes it difficult to have a solid relationship with his growing and developing children. When a friend of his was considering a divorce, this divorced father encouraged him to think seriously and try as hard as possible to make the marriage work. [The sense of loss of control over one's life sadly becomes front and center for many ex-spouses, states fort myers beach marriage counselors].

And it's not just the quantity of father - child contact that suffers; it is common for the quality of these relationships to deteriorate, as well.46 The proportion of single fathers raising their children has tripled in the past generation.47 However, having custody of the children often creates more social isolation because fathers must deal with the challenges of being a single parent.48 Men as well as women find it difficult to be successful at work and home and still find time for a social life.

Even though parents love their children and want to be with them, the children often add an emotional strain on both mothers and fathers. Single parents struggle with trying to balance being a parent and being involved socially. The balancing act between being a parent and having a social life can have a negative effect on the parents' happiness.49 Both men and women who have custody of their children face more isolation because they are less active in social activities and have fewer friends than married individuals.50 Many divorced mothers report that meeting the needs of their children limits them from being socially active.51 [According to estero marriage counseling life can become very challenging for couples who divorce].

One single mother we know admitted how difficult it is to parent full time with little or no breaks. When visitation comes for the children's father, she is happy to be able to spend a little time on herself. Still, her work schedule and the back and forth on the weekends associated with her children's visitation with their father limits her ability to socialize.

Although work can be a source of stress for mothers during a divorce transition, it can also be a source of social support. Newly divorced working women generally feel less depressed and less isolated than divorced stay-at-home mothers.52 Working mothers have adult company that can help them to feel better about themselves as they work to rebuild their lives.
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Marriage is not always easy. Yet, when all is said and done, saving a marriage if often be the best option for struggling couples. If you are looking to try and save your marriage and avoid the pitfalls of divorce, contact Dr. Kenneth C. Newberger. He serves the Southwest Florida region, including the cities of Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, and Estero FL. Learn more at his alternative to conventional marriage counseling. Go to www.MarriageCounselingAlt.com


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