Why is there still so much stigma attached to divorce?
On Ideas.Ted.Com, Astro Teller and Danielle Teller propose a more compassionate and humane viewpoint on divorce, suggesting we should take a look at our role in perpetuating influential negative messages throughout society.
Dissolving a union that was intended to last forever is logistically challenging and emotionally painful. By nature, divorce is difficult and sad, often affecting multiple parties in devastating ways. Teller and Teller suggest that divorce is painful enough on its own and made much harder by societal judgments and attitudes, adding guilt and shame to the plethora of painful emotions that are already inherent in the divorce process.
Teller and Teller describe that most people view themselves as a “loyal, responsible, morally upstanding, caring person who keeps promises”. In other words, we do NOT see ourselves as the “type of people who get divorced.”
Once again, these are societal assumptions engrained by the world around us, and these overgeneralized character judgments are unfair and inaccurate. When saying “I do”, most all couples hope for “happily ever after”, but it just doesn't always end up that way. There is not a certain type of person that gets divorced, and it is wildly erroneous to suggest there is. Teller and Teller offer a more compassionate perspective on the process of deciding to divorce. Culturally, we are encouraged to pursue love and happiness as we look toward joining with another person in marriage. We are told we “deserve love and happiness”, and these are painted as life's ultimate goals. Once we are married, however, society sings a different tune. If a couple is considering divorce, they are likely quite unhappy, but pursuing love and happiness by exiting a marriage is certainly not celebrated and often condemned.
Teller and Teller propose that it is “not reasonable to expect people to marry for love yet not to divorce for lack of love”. Our heart's desires are not generally within our control – We cannot be forced to love. In short, when it comes to the emotionally charged topic of marriage dissolution, we should be kinder to ourselves and to those around us.
Please see the Teller and Teller article at Ideas.Ted.Com for a more detailed description of their refreshing perspective.