Broke-Ass Tag: divorce


Real Bride Shannon: Never Tell Me the Odds

It’s an unfortunate fact that almost all of us have that work “friend” or casual acquaintance or sometimes even a family member that’s gotta be a total Debbie Downer when it comes to marriage. You’re in a state of bliss with a ring on your finger and a head full of forever and someone’s gotta be the person to roll their eyes and ask why because, “Half of marriages end in divorce!”

Seriously? Wow. WOW.

If you’re anything like me, the first time someone dropped that little nugget of “wisdom” you had to shake yourself from the daydream of pouncing on that person like a lion and ripping out fistfuls of hair before you could respond. While I’ve certainly never acted on any thoughts of violence, I do tend to handle these situations with a large dose of biting sarcasm.

“Actually, divorce rates are down because people can’t afford it. If we’ve got the cash when we start to hate each other, things can’t be all bad!”

Yes, I’ve actually said that and the words tasted like vinegar coming out of my mouth. Some people will tell you sarcasm is the lowest form of wit; I speak it as a fluent second language, but that was a little heavy-handed, even for me. We’re not entering this marriage with divorce in mind and certainly not anticipating a time that we will grow to hate each other, but I’ve always been a fan of the ad ridiculum (otherwise known as the appeal to ridicule) argument in specific situations and this seemed to fit.

It’s terribly likely that someone will, at some point, drop this little factoid on you. A year into my engagement I’ve heard it plenty. Suck the power out of the words as fast as you can. You can argue about the validity and health of your relationship, but it’s important to remember that anyone who tells you this is likely coming from a place of bitterness. Speaking to the goodness of your relationship will likely just end in the person accusing you of thinking you’re better than everyone else and both parties are going to walk away mad. Making it a joke and making yourself the butt of it denies them the satisfaction of hurting you. I’ve used more benign quips like, “Well, I’m really sure I’m right about this, but we all know I’ve been wrong before! *shrug*” “Nah, he knows he’s stuck with me for life. It’s basically a threat at this point.” “Oh, we agree we’ll stay together for the pets.” Just try not to attack back. It never ends well.

The fight over who keeps the cat would be brutal.

The fight over who keeps the cat would be brutal.

The whole “half of marriages” thing is one of those largely untrue ideas that a lot of people believe and continue to misrepresent, but sometimes people can get even more personal. My fiancé is a law enforcement officer and that comes with a whole bunch of ugly statistics, true or not. There is a fairly common idea that police and law enforcement officers have a divorce rate of upwards of 70%. The truth is, there are very few scientific studies to support or deny these claims. Now, my favorite way to argue is to pluck a contradictory statistic from the encyclopedia of my mind that can be immediately verified with a Google search producing a .gov or .edu source (Thanks, journalism school!), but there just isn’t a lot verified data on the subject.

What is widely known to be true is that marriages in which at least one partner has a high-stress job or one that commands a lot of traveling and separation do tend to dissolve more frequently than average. You may not be marrying a cop, but a lot of you are marrying teachers, coaches, military personnel, pilots, journalists or any other profession that’s considered “high stress” (which, let’s be honest, is most jobs). When bitter people throw out statistics that are more personal than societal, it stings.

This is when I feel like it’s totally appropriate to turn the statement back on them. Put them on the spot. “So do you have a problem with cops, marriage or me?” is my favorite. I’ve run into this situation three times in the last year and every single person has stuttered and responded with some form of, “I’m just saying … ” Cool, dude. Conversation over. You’re dismissed.

We’ve all got a lot that’s going to ruffle our feathers during the whole wedding planning adventure. Don’t give negative people the power. Your relationship is the sole property of you and your partner and no one will ever understand it like the two of you! Divorce isn’t the end of everything. Some of the people I love most in the world have been divorced. Have an open dialogue with your partner about what your vows mean, what you feel is grounds for a divorce and what your two will do together. Looking to the future can keep you from getting blindsided by the present.

Photoby Shaina Sheaff
Photo by Shaina Sheaff

Has anyone tried to neg on your engagement? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments!

  • 7/29

    As an often-times (admittedly) snarky person, I’m not immune to flippantly “predicting” the outcome of others’ affairs. I know it’s not a good thing and it can breed negativity, but I also mind the company I keep when doing so, and I know with all certainty I’m not alone in my passive judgements. But what’s more telling than an outsider’s view on a couple’s status is how the couple themselves talk about their pairing. In a similar vein to The Masters of Love post from a few weeks back, Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce — published on The New York Times website — considers our interactions with one another over time as an indicator for how relationships fare.

    On Marriage: Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce

    Photo by Angie Chung via Flickr Creative Commons. Modified with PicMonkey.

    One of the great love stories of our era is not a celebrity coupling or an on-screen romance but a series of psychological experiments. These experiments aim to predict which couples will divorce, based on how they act while married. And while some have questioned their findings, the idea that marital discord is predictable (and, perhaps, preventable) retains its hold on our hearts.

    This week, Melissa Dahl and Abraham Riesman of The Science of Us riff on a 1992 study that looked at the way couples talked about their lives together — and that’s now, as they note, “something of a social psychology classic.” They write:

    “The couples who told their stories in a more withdrawn, negative manner were more likely to have split three years later, while couples who told their stories in a more expressive, open way tended to stick it out. All couples face hard times, it’s true, but the couples who were more likely to stay together spoke about those tough moments with more fondness and nostalgia than the couples who eventually parted ways.”

    By analyzing how the couples talked, the study authors — Kim T. Buehlman, John M. Gottman and Lynn F. Katz — were able to create a model that predicted with close to 94 percent accuracy which of them would be divorced within three years. They wrote, “We can suggest at this juncture that not only can we predict divorce and the process of marital dissolution with high accuracy but we may also understand what drives the process.”

    To continue reading Our Love Affair with Predicting Divorce, head over to The New York Times website.

  • 6/9

    Like Lindsey Ellison, author of this post -- which originally appeared on The Huffington Post -- , I also read a plethora of advice columns before my first marriage. But I've found, in my time since leaving that marriage, that it's the divorced ladies that actually know their shit. Not that married ladies don't, but there's an extra wisening that happens when you make the…

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    It's easy to get caught up in fantasy land and think about nothing but whimsical details, cake flavors, and reception playlists while planning a wedding.  Zach and I recently got smacked back down to reality, though, when we heard the sad news that two of our old friends are getting a divorce. It was hard not to feel a bit shaken by this event, especially…

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