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Divorce Rate Horseshit

February 23, 2010
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Jill posted this, about this, which is a great way to get annoyed. It’s so annoying that I don’t even have the patience to take on the whole thing. However, the author — who, with a Ph.D., I think we have a right to expect better from — quotes an old, inaccurate fakey bullshit pop-culture statistic-like-factoid about marriage that makes me cringe. I feel like I should respond to that.

Dr. Walsh says, “the rest are vulnerable to a 50% divorce rate.” There’s that bullshit factoid. As geek friends of mine say, “it’s so bad, it’s not even wrong.” That is, it doesn’t even represent something for which a real number can simply be plugged in; it’s not a real stat, it’s just pop culture.

How many of the people who get married now will get divorced? That’s what the number purports to be. What’s the answer? We don’t know! We can’t, the answer is in the future! We know, for people who got married, how many have gotten divorced. All attempts to speak for marriages that start today, then, are projections.

There was a spike in divorce rates, up to a peak in the late 1970s, as economic changes, legal reforms, a bunch of bad marriages caused by societal constraints in a repressive era, and yes, the effects of the Second Wave arguing for actual autonomy for women, took effect. The pig in the python peaked around the time anyone gave a shit about Bo Derek or Dudley Moore. The per-capita rate, and the rate per married person, have been on their way down pretty steadily since (the latter more than the former because marriage is declining slightly, too.) The chart looks like this.

Projecting forward is highly inexact. Divorce rate changes wildly with things like age at first marriage, income and education, so one has to estimate these factors as a proportion of the population of newly married people to even try a projection. Nobody really knows, for example, what would happen to the rate if we stopped reserving marriage for people whose partners are opposite sex (whatever that is; don’t get me started on the silliness of the states deciding which people folks can marry if they have a trans history). And when factoring demographic changes, which way do the causation arrows go? If women who marry for the first time after age 30 divorce less (and they do), does an increase in that group as a proportion of marriages mean fewer divorces, or does it mean more bad marriages in this demographic and result in an increase in that group’s rate?

All that said, apparently, the current loosey-goosey frequently revised statistical model-based guess is something like 41%. Which is, to my mind, a long way from fifty. I get that from these folks, who say:

PROJECTION/PREDICTION. This is the Census Bureau’s often-cited “50%” rate, the proportion of marriages taking place right now that will eventually divorce, which has since been revised downward to roughly 43% by the National Center for Health Statistics but was moved back up to around 50% by the Census Bureau in 2002, with even more ifs ands and buts than usual. Most recently, according to the New York Times, it has been revised downward to just over 40%.

[Emphasis supplied.]

But, really, that’s a model-based wild-ass guess.

About those demographics: social position matters a lot. People love to break it down by religious denomination, but really I doubt that has a lot of effect. Progressives and anti-religious atheists like to note that Protestant evangelicals have higher divorce rates than other folks, but it’s not clear to me that this difference remains if controlled for income, education and age at first marriage.

I read a really good rundown of all this in the NY Times in 2005, and it has been posted on that divorce reform cite. The Times article says:

Researchers say that the small drop in the overall divorce rate is caused by a steep decline in the rate among college graduates. As a result, a “divorce divide” has opened up between those with and without college degrees, said Dr. Steven P. Martin, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.

“Families with highly educated mothers and families with less educated mothers are clearly moving in opposite directions,” Dr. Martin wrote in a paper that has not yet been published but has been presented and widely discussed at scientific meetings.

As the overall divorce rates shot up from the early 1960’s through the late 1970’s, Dr. Martin found, the divorce rate for women with college degrees and those without moved in lockstep, with graduates consistently having about one-third to one-fourth the divorce rate of nongraduates.

But since 1980, the two groups have taken diverging paths. Women without undergraduate degrees have remained at about the same rate, their risk of divorce or separation within the first 10 years of marriage hovering at around 35 percent. But for college graduates, the divorce rate in the first 10 years of marriage has plummeted to just over 16 percent of those married between 1990 and 1994 from 27 percent of those married between 1975 and 1979.

[Emphasis supplied.]

See also this sex/race/education breakdown, thought he race breakdown is a severely deficient black/white breakdown.

There’s a metric fuckload of information at Centers for Disease Control, which I’m sure someone has time to read …. but Table 3 at p. 5 of the Results tab, and Figure 1 on the next page which is a colorful chart that I’m too inept to paste in here, show the steady decrease in divorces as women’s age at marriage increases.

Women who marry later, women who are more educated, women with more family income … I’m sensing a theme. Women who have more bargaining power, and who choose to marry, find marriages they stay in at higher rates. The next time the shrill antifeminist whiners call for the whaaaaaambulance, claiming that feminism is an ideology of victimhood, bear this in mind. The opposite is true, which is why they try so hard to lie about us. The next time the mainstream media turns on the “you’ll never find a man” scare tactics, remember that empowerment leads to better matches.

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2010 4:37 pm

    But even if the divorce rate really was 50% (yeah, I know it isn’t – but let’s say it was) WHAT’S SO TERRIBLE ABOUT THAT?

    Marriage is a voluntary union entered into freely – and which can be dissolved freely by the consent of the parties – it’s not like it’s slavery or something!

    And some of us have chosen to never marry at all.

    So even if 50% of married couples get divorced – so what?

    Why would anybody even have a problem with that?

    Gregory A. Butler

    • DavidC permalink
      February 28, 2010 10:36 pm

      Not that I’m going to claim divorce as a serious social ill, but I will admit to a certain effect of ‘Wow, such a large proportion of people think it’ll last forever, and are wrong?’ I would wager it’s hard to become engaged without having to consider that proportion (for these purposes 40% and 50% are not terribly different), and probably people should consider that proportion if they’re to become engaged.

      It seems reasonable to take that many divorces as an indication of something being wrong. Where the social conservatives go wrong, I think, is in taking the divorce itself as what’s wrong, rather than the marriages, or something else.

      • February 28, 2010 10:44 pm

        Do people REALLY get married with the illusion that it will “last forever” in this day and age – even fundamentalists?

        Or, do they just SAY that (because they think that’s what they are supposed to believe) but actually realize that relationships come and go – even state sanctioned ones like marriage?

        As for me, I would think people exercising the freedom to freely enter and leave relationships as they see fit is a sign of something RIGHT – that is, the decay of patriarchy.

        So high divorce rates are a good and healthy thing – a sign of increasing sexual freedom and increasing freedom for women (who initiate close to 70% of all divorce actions).

        Beyond that, on the legal side, every day, people quit their jobs, break leases, dissolve businesses – so why should marriage be treated as any different than those contractual relationships?

        Gregory A. Butler

    • DavidC permalink
      February 28, 2010 10:50 pm

      (The comment system won’t let that thread go any deeper?)

      Yeah, of course divorce is good in just the way you’re saying. That’s why I was so careful to say it’s not the divorces themselves that are what’s wrong.

      But yes, I was assuming people actually believe that, and I think a situation where so many people enter into this arrangement believing it will last forever and later divorce has room for improvement.

      • February 28, 2010 11:00 pm

        Well, if they believed that, then they were wrong, because there is no guarantee that any relationships will last forever -plus, we as a species are not naturally monogamous.

        Maybe, folks learn through hard experience (which is usually the best teacher) that their illusions about relationships lasting forever are not correct.

        Gregory A. Butler

  2. February 23, 2010 5:27 pm

    Agreed. I believe that every marriage should be a wanted marriage. If people believe marriage is not right for them, they shouldn’t get married. If people are miserable in the marriages they are in, they should end them. And I don’t believe that staying together for the kids, if there are kids, is necessarily better than splitting up. I’ve been in that house.

    That said, the 50% number is used frequently to say that marriage nowasays doesn’t work and things were better in the “good old days.” But the good old days were not good (which is why the divorce rate skyrocketed when impediments were removed); and the current state of affairs also is not what it’s portrayed as.

    So I’m pushing back against the “feminism ruined marriage” subtext that the factoid so often supports, without necessarily saying that marriage is awesome. Marriage is historically awful, currently descriminatory, more narrow than it ought to be and not right for everyone. But feminism didn’t ruin it; to the extent that it’s worth saving, what it is now is what greater equality made it.

  3. February 23, 2010 6:15 pm

    “Families with highly educated mothers and families with less educated mothers are clearly moving in opposite directions,” Dr. Martin wrote in a paper that has not yet been published but has been presented and widely discussed at scientific meetings.

    Women =/= mothers.

    For that matter, wives =/= mothers.

    Gah.

    Yes, I know you didn’t make that up, and I’m sure the comment is taken out of a context which places it somewhere more relevant, but I HATE the elision of women and mothers and wives and mothers, as if OF COURSE you are or are going to be a mother at some point in your life.

  4. February 27, 2010 12:53 am

    As I recall, the 50% figure is bunkum anyway.

    Basically, it came from something like, “In this year, N marriages happened and N/2 divorces happened! That’s a 50% divorce rate!”

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  5. February 28, 2010 8:00 pm

    People love to break it down by religious denomination, but really I doubt that has a lot of effect. Progressives and anti-religious atheists like to note that Protestant evangelicals have higher divorce rates than other folks, but it’s not clear to me that this difference remains if controlled for income, education and age at first marriage.

    Would it be sensible to control for education and age at first marriage if the denomination disproportionately discourages education and encourages earlier marriage? Even if, all else being equal, membership in a particular religion does not cause unstable marriages, it might still encourage circumstances that themselves lead to unstable marriages, which makes “all else” not very equal at all.

    • February 28, 2010 9:58 pm

      Social class is very important here (and the question of class hides behind categories like “education” and “income”) – and class differences are amplified by race.

      Among US born working class African Americans, marriage is almost disappearing as a social phenomenon (with close to two thirds of African American children being born to unmarried parents).

      Since African Americans are a disproportionately working class and poor group, I wonder, would we find similar declining marriage rates among working class and poor Whites?

      I know the “Atlantic Monthly” had a front page article shrieking about how the biggest problem caused by mass unemployment was the decline of marriage rates among working class White men.

      They feel that single men (in particular single WORKING CLASS men) are uncivilized – and they need women to marry them and “civilize” them!

      Of course, this view of the world encompasses several different types of reactionary garbage (classism, sexism, racism, heteronormivity, homophobia ect) and I would HOPE nobody here agrees with it!

      With that said, why exactly should those who support human sexual freedom be defending marriage in the first place?

      It’s a reactionary patriarchal institution that emerged at the dawn of private property as a way to restrict female sexuality so rich guys could guarantee the paternity of their children.

      If marriage were to completely disappear as a social institution, would we really be that bad off?

      Gregory A. Butler

  6. Desi Yoni permalink
    March 2, 2010 5:52 pm

    “Beyond that, on the legal side, every day, people quit their jobs, break leases, dissolve businesses – so why should marriage be treated as any different than those contractual relationships?”

    Because often the psychological health of children is at stake.

    If there are no children, then no problem.

    • March 3, 2010 8:59 am

      Oh God – the “think of the Children!” argument!

      Look, if a couple are at the point where they aggressively dislike each other the whole “happy family” option is Officially Off The Table!

      At that point, the choices basically are – amicable breakup or staying together and hating each other.

      Which do you REALLY think is better for the “psychological health of the children”?

      Also, you seem to have this quaint early 20th century view that you can only have children in the context of a marriage.

      The real world of 21st century America is very different.

      About 70% of African American mothers are not married to the fathers of their children – and White America is fast catching up with us.

      But to get back to my first point, do you REALLY think that a couple who hate each other should stay together “for the sake of the children”?

      Having seen that old school 20th century type marriage close up from a child’s eye view while I was growing up, I have to disagree – strongly.

      Gregory A. Butler

      • March 3, 2010 6:18 pm

        I’d have to agree with you, Gregory. My parents stayed together “for the children” and gave no sign that anything was wrong… until the day when all the kids were out of the house and off at university, whereupon they decided to slam us all with the wonderful message of “Your father never loved your mother and is leaving now.” I guarantee you, there was plenty of psychological trauma there, despite the fact that we were all over 20.

        …Although I am kinda glad they decided to split up when they did ’cause my mom’s attempts to win us over to her “side” would probably have succeeded when we were all more naive.

  7. Desi Yoni permalink
    March 3, 2010 3:04 pm

    ”About 70% of African American mothers are not married to the fathers of their children”

    What to speak of being “married”, most African American fathers are ABSENT from the lives of their children and this is one of the major, if not THE major, issue of that community. It’s very unfortunate.

    If white America is “catching” up, they have my condolences.

    I am neither white nor black nor does my community approach marriage and family like either one of those.

    Do I think “for the sake of the kids” is a valid reason for a couple to stay together? Most definitely.

    As far as people who have never been married but have children together, I think “for the sake of the kids” is a valid reason for them to continue to stay together as well.

    Unless your spouse/partner is
    1. crazy
    2. an addict of some sort, or
    3. abusive

    …I say there are ways and means to work things out for the sake of the family unit, married or not.

    It’s just that family values are not highly valued in post-modern American society. Is it any wonder that half the population is on PROZAC or some other such anti-depressant?

    • March 4, 2010 12:02 pm

      Desi,

      With all due respect, I am one of “them” – that is, one of this country’s 44 million African Americans.

      We’ve been legally permitted to read and write since 1865, and we’ve had full American citizenship rights [at least on paper] since 1965.

      They even let one of us be the President.

      So we really DO NOT NEED OTHERS TO SPEAK FOR US!!!!!!!

      I know from having seen it up close and personal, that just because a Black man is not legally married to the mother of his kids does NOT mean that he’s “absent from the lives of his children”.

      It means he’s not legally married to their mom.

      Some guys live with their children’s mother – others live separately but are still dating their child’s mother, others are no longer in a relationship, but they still come by every payday with money and groceries and they spend lots of time with the child (some guys have their kids on the weekends, others watch the kid while their mom is at work ect).

      Just because you are not legally married to your child’s mom does not mean that you are not part of the child’s life.

      Now, I know that if all you know of my race is what you seen on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News you might get the wrong idea.

      But, if you ACTUALLY ASKED A BLACK PERSON – or preferably MANY Black people [yes, we have different opinions - just like you guys do!] then you might actually sound like you know what the hell you are talking about!

      If I had to guess by your name, you’re South Asian – I could be wrong, and feel free to correct me if I am.

      In any case, I wouldn’t dare to speak for your race, because I’m not a member of it.

      And, in any race, staying in an emotionally dead relationship “for the sake of the kids” is profoundly fucked up – and I say that speaking as a person who’s parents did just that.

      From what I’ve heard from other folks – White, Black and Latino – that is a widely held opinion in the USA

      Maybe your society is different – or maybe in your society, the individual is sacrificed for the good of ‘the family’ [particularly if that individual is a woman]

      I have absolutely no use for those kind of profoundly fucked up “family values”, and you can keep them.

      I also would assume that, much as I am not an ambassador for Black America, you are not an ambassador for your race, and that others of your race would have a different (and healthier) opinion.

      Gregory A. Butler

      • March 8, 2010 9:00 pm

        Gregory — Just to make specific the general assumption — I’m with you, though of course I’m not an ambassador for my race either :)

        I’m afraid Desi Yoni’s belief system isn’t unusual. It’s one I get to argue with… far too often. I think it’s sort of cultural nationalism, partly rooted in a reaction to the cultural dominance of “the West” — and of course “our way” = that of the most privileged subcultures of South Asia, without consideration of said privilege & who is being silenced in the process of asserting it. Not to mention the effect extreme cultural normativity has on individual expression or happiness.

        And yeah, I think in these cases “the West” has more to do with media narratives than real people.

    • March 4, 2010 12:09 pm

      Desi,

      Also, a medical note.

      Depression is a disease, and there are many mental health practitioners who proscribe various types of medication for the treatment of that disease. Prozac is one of those medications.

      There are many depression sufferers who will very passionately testify that antidepressant medication has made their life livable – and there are many practitioners who would back up those testimonials with actual medical evidence.

      The disease of depression did not emerge because of the “breakdown of family values” – the disease has always been there.

      Only now, medical science has ways to treat it.

      There are other ways to treat depression – the classic freudian talk therapy being one of the more popular ways – but all of these treatments are predicated on the idea that depression is a disease.

      I’m not a doctor or a psychologist or a social worker, so this is about as much as I can say intelligently on the topic as an educated layperson.

      But I can say with certainty that “family values” is NOT A CURE FOR DEPRESSION.

      It CAN be a CAUSE of depression – but not the cure.

      Just thought you might want to know that.

      Gregory A. Butler

    • March 4, 2010 12:46 pm

      Dig that hole all by yourself, did you? My, that’s a big hole.

      • March 4, 2010 1:14 pm

        It’s amazing what a motivated person can do with a shovel and a bit of persistence.

        Gregory A. Butler

    • MitchyChick permalink
      April 2, 2010 1:21 pm

      Define abusive. A man who throws a recliner into his wife’s head, abusive, right? What about a wife who insults her husband, demands he waits on her hand and foot, refusees to get him medicine when he’s sick because she wants to go shopping, interfers with his work, and resorts to screaming in public places to win arguments, is that abusive too?
      Psychological abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. I was raised in a home where the abuse was only psychological. I am now a survivor of physical abuse. Society focuses on physical abuse and that is wrong. I don’t see anything in your post that allows for an understanding that children shouldn’t be raised by people who are misserable. If you aren’t psychologically sound your children will not be psychologically sound. If ending your marriage will allow you to heal yourself, then you should do so.
      Also, I don’t know ANYONE who’s parents stayed together for the sake of the kids, that isn’t angry that their parents raised them in a big lie or a big dysfunctional mess. They hear Mom crying at night, they see Dad storm out of the room, at best they see Mom and Dad co-exist and think that is what life is and seek that same glum, ho-hum, but stable future for themselves. That is not a good thing. Humans like to be happy, we like to feel love, and if feeling those things is bad for us, they why do we like them so much?

  8. DESI YONI permalink
    March 4, 2010 7:02 pm

    Regarding “depression as a disease” – don’t even get my started on the psuedo science that passes for “psychiatry” or “mental health” these days, and it’s Sugar Dadday – the pharmaceutical industry, BIG PHARMA.

    Regarding Black people, I have Black people in my family. Anything I’ve said about Black people here is nothing new, there have been discussions and books and spoken words about it now for decades – from Black people themselves. It IS an issue that they are dealing with and talking about CONSTANTLY.

    Regarding “loveless marriages”… nowhere am I suggesting them.

    I am of the opinion that love is a learned and practiced BEHAVIOUR, not an abstract airy fairy new age emotion.

    As long as one’s spouse or partner is not crazy, or addicted or abusive, one can learn to love them (again) and have a functional, healthy, successful relationship, just like we do with our kids – they drive us CRAZY sometimes and we want to ring their necks, but do we ever “divorce” them? Never.

    Love for spouse/partner can take the same route.

    • March 4, 2010 7:40 pm

      Desi,

      Maybe you know this, maybe you don’t, but “some of my best friends are Black” or “I have Black people in my family” is the last refuge of a person who has made an otherwise indefensible racist statement against African Americans.

      It’s not a valid defense though, since there are plenty of self haters in our community who hate our race so much that they will associate with racists from other races.

      And please please please don’t lecture me on “the problems of the Black community” like you even know what you’re talking about or even have a valid opinion or, most relevantly, as if you don’t look down upon us and our race.

      As for depression as a disease – that’s a MEDICAL FACT that is accepted by medical and psychological professionals around the world.

      Saying that depression is not a disease is kind of like saying that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS – that is a lunatic fringe claim that nobody who understands the issue takes at all seriously.

      Depression is a real disease that harms millions of people and it personally offends me that you’d come out with some crackpot Scientology-type conspiracy theory to deny their pain and suffering.

      You really do no know what the hell you are talking about here.

      Also, I like your rigidity that the only reason that relationships should break up is if the person is “crazy, addicted or abusive” – I guess in your community, you have a very high toleration for human misery and unhappiness.

      Fortunately, most Americans don’t have as low a standard for human happiness as you do.

      Gregory A. Butler

      • March 8, 2010 9:04 pm

        I guess in your community, you have a very high toleration for human misery and unhappiness.

        And, I’m afraid, often a painfully low tolerance for mental illness.

  9. DESI YONI permalink
    March 4, 2010 9:08 pm

    You are wrong about depression. It is not accepted as a “medical fact”. It is accepted as a “psychiatric fact”. You can do the research yourself on the history of psychiatry and how and why psychiatrists pursued MD degrees as well. The history ain’t purty, but if you want a basic primer, you can google “Psychiatry The Industry of Death Documentary” and watch the videos.

    Regarding “defense”. I’m not on the defense because I have not said anything I feel I need to “defend” as such. As far as “racism”, I got no idea how you came to that conclusion. None of my statements were racist in the least, unless you consider noticing the obvious to be racist.

    Black Americans are not the only ones, as you’ve pointed out yourself several comments ago, who are suffering due to broken families and a breakdown of family values. Both mainstream whites and blacks (and some brown people too) are grappling with this issue, writing THOUSANDS of blogs about it, and devoting alot of airtime to it. So I guess I’m not supposed to notice any of that just because I’m neither white nor black and I don’t come from a broken home and I actually know who my Daddy is???

    Sheeet!

    I don’t know if you’ve ever travelled outside of the United States, but the ENTIRE WORLD comments about this.

    Americans sit and twittle their thumbs trying to figure out what the hell “went wrong” while to the rest of us, it’s painfully obvious.

    • March 4, 2010 9:13 pm

      Desi,

      I’m not going to talk to you about the racial stuff, because it’s obvious you’ve got a closed mind and you cannot see your own bias.

      I’m not going to talk to you about the family stuff – because you appear to be an inveterate defender of a certain rigidly defined family structure and you seem to think that all other family structures are less than.

      And I won’t address the cheap lame anti Americanism – it’s tired and old and annoying, and it comes from a place of jealousy, so it’s not worth even responding to.

      As for the depression stuff, it’s a SCIENTIFIC FACT and only conspiracy theorists, crackpots and the Scientologists dispute that fact.

      I’m done here, because you have a closed mind and I wouldn’t want to confuse you with the facts.

      Have a good evening.

      Gregory A. Butler

  10. DESI YONI permalink
    March 4, 2010 9:16 pm

    Happiness? Happiness is not some universal human right.

    No other living being on this planet can make us “happy”. Happiness is also something that is cultivated, like love.

    Divorcing someone because they don’t “make me happy” is missing the forest for the trees.

    Our kids don’t “make us happy” much of the time, but we stick with them and care for them, even in the midst of them driving us crazy, because we have CHOSEN to bring them into this world and we have a duty to raise and care for them. Nevertheless, in the midst of that duty and responsibility we find accomplishment, HAPPINESS, love, affection, compassion and genuine appreciation for them as the individuals that they are in their own right. But the basis of all of that is the responsibility that we have toward them as parents.

    A marriage is similar.

    That’s all I’m sayin’.

  11. DESI YONI permalink
    March 4, 2010 9:24 pm

    One more thing Gregory, there are various types of depression. Do you think that otherwise happy kids don’t become depressed when they learn there parents are going to divorce? It is a common phenomena and only natural. Human emotions are wide and varied and sadness, despondency, and depression are amongst them. Our environment can and does put stress on us. There is “depression with cause” such as “my parents are going through a divorce and this makes me very upset” and there is also “depression without (apparent) cause”, such as a person who’s environment is healthy and happy, but nonetheless they exhibit symptoms of depression, which MAY be genetic, and they may or may not know it.

    Children are under a lot of stress today, family dynamics are amongst the biggest stressors on kids. Oftentimes children are placed on anti-depressants due to this particular stressor.

    To think that kids do not undergo emotional turmoil due to divorce is just wishful thinking, and parents who opt for divorce often try to convince themselves of the same thing.

    Again, it’s better to get divorced than to get beat up, or to live with alcoholic or a completely psychotic spouse, but if your spouse is “normal” and non-abusive, there are so many ways that a couple can work things out and begin to “love again” – for the sake of the kids and for their own sakes as well.

    • March 4, 2010 10:04 pm

      Desi,

      Living in a home where the parents hate each other and are making each other miserable is stressful – it can actually be a RELIEF when that ends and the parents are finally happily separated!

      And I’m speaking from personal experience here (my parents should have split up YEARS before they actually did)!

      As for depression, I’m not a doctor, I suspect you aren’t either so how about neither one of us tries to practice medicine without a license.

      But i suspect that one of the leading causes of depression among women is suffocating their individual happiness for the good of their husbands and children.

      Again, I’m no doctor here, but I suspect the doctors would back me up on this one (as would a whole lot of women – both unhappily married and happily divorced).

      Also, I find you vision of people who don’t like each other suffering together rather than being separate and happy is really suffocating – I’d hate to live like that, and I wouldn’t inflict that on my worst enemy.

      Why are you so committed to the patriarchal family that you seem willing to tolerate untold personal misery to further it’s continuance?

      I really don’t get that!

      Gregory A. Butler

  12. DESI permalink
    March 5, 2010 12:17 am

    Where did I say “patriarchal” anywhere in what I wrote?

    The fact that at one time a comment felt they were “in love” with each other (meaning there was sufficient oxytocin and other chemicals exploding in their brains which made them feel “giddy” around each other, being that “love” is a vague concept and sexual/romantic attraction is based on hormones)… anyway, being that at one time the couple felt that, they can feel that again, by getting rid of all the “stuff” that came in between them to make them stop feeling that. Afterall, that feeling is just a hormonal and brain-chemical release that can be CONSCIOUSLY INVOKED again, through techniques.

    I agree that growing up in a house where parents “hate each other” is miserable. However, I believe that people who think they hate each other, often for no good reason (lack of abuse or other some such dire issue), can RE-LEARN how to “love” each other, and become happy, and their kids can become happy as well.

    As far as psychiatry, as an insider, I have, well, insight and practical experience – as I do with Black men as well ;)

    Again, your accusations of “racism”, “sexism” and “anti-Americanism” have no foundation and come off as some sort of shrill wingnut propaganda.

    • March 5, 2010 10:50 am

      Desi,

      You didn’t have to say the magic word patriarchal – because you did a good job of accurately describing a patriarchal family.

      Also, you seem really invested in preserving one particular type of family structure in all cases, no matter what the cost.

      I really don’t understand that attitude at all.

      As far as the racism goes – based on your posts, you seem to have absorbed a lot of negative stereotypes about African Americans – not surprising considering how dominant those ideas are in American society.

      As to the sexism – considering the reality that most divorce actions are filed by women (close to 70% I believe) opposing divorce is objectively sexist.

      As for the anti Americanism you did make some cheap shot comments about America.

      I was just reacting to you, Desi.

      Gregory A. Butler

  13. March 5, 2010 10:21 am

    Desi Yoni, I’m aghast at some of the things you have said, including but not limited to the quotes listed below. If you don’t know that “some of my friends are …” isn’t an argument, and if you don’t realize that you can’t tell the people in a group you are not in that you understand their experiences better than them, then you need some heavy duty 101 classes.

    I give you a rather humorous warning once. Perhaps without the humor, you’ll take it seriously. Another racist remark out of you and you’ll be banned.

    “most African American fathers are ABSENT from the lives of their children and this is one of the major, if not THE major, issue of that community. It’s very unfortunate.”

    “Regarding Black people, I have Black people in my family. Anything I’ve said about Black people here is nothing new, there have been discussions and books and spoken words about it now for decades – from Black people themselves. It IS an issue that they are dealing with and talking about CONSTANTLY. ”

    “… I actually know who my Daddy is???”

    “As far as psychiatry, as an insider, I have, well, insight and practical experience – as I do with Black men as well”

  14. DESI YONI permalink
    March 5, 2010 12:19 pm

    “If you don’t know that “some of my friends are …” isn’t an argument”

    Where did I mention my friends????

    • March 5, 2010 1:00 pm

      You mentioned your Black relatives.

      Basically, you claimed to be an expert on Black people because you have Black people in your family.

      Here’s the exact quote

      “Regarding Black people, I have Black people in my family. Anything I’ve said about Black people here is nothing new, there have been discussions and books and spoken words about it now for decades – from Black people themselves. It IS an issue that they are dealing with and talking about CONSTANTLY. ”

      Thomas is trying to tell you that when you say things like that, you are being racially offensive.

      And you are.

      Gregory A. Butler

  15. DESI YONI permalink
    March 5, 2010 6:32 pm

    Nope. It’s not racially offensive at all. Due to my very intimate relationships with Black people, I am privy to their issues, as they are privy to mine.

    Anyway, the breakdown of the family unit and the causes behind it, and how the whole thing seems to replicate itself over generations are not exactly secrets anymore.

    • March 5, 2010 6:35 pm

      Desi,

      You TOTALLY missed the point.

      You are a non Black person, talking to a Black person.

      I’M THE PERSON WHO GETS TO DECIDE IF YOUR COMMENTS ARE ANTI BLACK, NOT YOU!!!

      And I don’t care if you are Oprah Winfrey’s cousin or Barack Obama’s niece, if YOU are not yourself personally Black, then YOU do NOT get to make that call.

      I decide if I’m offended, NOT YOU.

      Are you capable of understanding that, or are you so blinded by racial privilege that you can’t even see it?

      Gregory A. Butler

  16. March 6, 2010 9:38 pm

    Two warnings is enough. Desi Yoni will not be joining us again. I’ve deleted the last comment.

  17. MitchyChick permalink
    April 2, 2010 12:30 pm

    I’ve been close to a lot of divorces so who cares what the percentage is, the reality is they tend to hurt, especially children. If kids didn’t care, I doubt any of this debate would happen. When you divorce after you have kids, the kids are hurt and there is no way to avoid that. Now, it’s likely that they are hurt less by the divorce than by being raised by parents who should be divorced, but that’s why we have the debate.
    Two important things I have learned. #1 If you don’t communicate you will not be happily married. #2 Passive Agressive and Active Agressive people tend to get married to each other and tend to get divorced. I think those personnality types should avoid getting married to each other. If you fall into either catigory go to counseling BEFORE you get married, maybe before you date too.

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