To end a marriage is to put an end to an era. Naturally, the effects of divorce don’t spare anyone involved—both spouses and children are affected by such decisions. Some of those consequences are short term, while others tend to linger for months or even years after.
If you’re curious about the changes divorce can introduce into one’s life, keep scrolling down to learn more about them.
Effects of Divorce on Men
Consequences on Mental Health
The aftermath of divorce is typically characterized by plenty of negative emotions and behaviors. For instance, some men may start drinking or smoking, or engage in promiscuity. If a divorced man also has kids and loses touch with them, he’s more likely to turn to some of (or all) these unhealthy activities.
Furthermore, suicide rates are higher among divorced than married people. When it comes to gender differences, some studies suggest that men are about eight times more likely to commit suicide than women after ending a marriage.
Consequences of Divorce on Physical Health
It’s not uncommon for divorced men to feel lonely, isolated, or disheartened, especially after a bad divorce. They simply lose interest and become less cautious. Perhaps the most negative effect of divorce on men is their neglect of physical health.
For example, their nutrition becomes worse, they don’t visit the doctor as regularly as they should, or take their medication regularly. Suffice to say that almost a third of men who live alone didn’t see a physician for a year at least, and almost half of them don’t even have a regular physician. They’re even more likely to engage in risky sex.
Financial Consequences of Divorce
Health isn’t the only thing affected by divorce. Men’s financial situation and overall standard of living can suffer a drop of 40% in such situations. The costs men usually have to cover include child support, finding a separate home, a new car, and other possible divorce-related costs.
If after his divorce a man gets custody of children or shares custody with his ex-wife, he could have additional expenses. When it comes to divorce consequences on personal finances, men who earn less than 80% of total family income suffer more financially than those who earn over 80%. They may even improve their financial situation after the divorce.
Effects of Divorce on Women
Mental and Emotional Effects
Even though divorce isn’t easy for anyone, women have shown that they have better ways to cope with divorce than men. That’s because women usually socialize outside of their home more than men. Since women have more close contacts, they tend to have more friends and family to turn to once the hard times begin.
During and after divorce, depression is one of the main issues people face. Other emotions linked to divorce are anger, jealousy, and anxiety. Jealousy is usually present when there’s an extramarital affair involved. Additionally, women are more likely to experience panic attacks than their ex-husbands. Even after women remarry, they might still struggle with anxiety.
Consequences of Divorce on Physical Health
The most common health issue among divorced women seems to be heart disease. For instance, certain studies indicate that women who have divorced once are 24% more likely to have a heart attack. Women who have been divorced multiple times are at even higher risk. High levels of stress as well as economic hardship are major contributors to heart conditions.
Effects of divorce can also lead to the development of metabolic syndrome, or worsen diabetes issues. Furthermore, women may have trouble with high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol.
Having trouble sleeping is another divorce effect likely to interfere with health. If a woman frequently suffers from insomnia, she could end up with much more serious health issues, both mental and physical.
Consequences of Divorce on Women’s Financial Situation
In most cases, women are the ones to suffer more financially during a divorce. Generally, the extent to which a woman’s post-divorce financial situation will deteriorate depends immensely on the share of the household income she was earning while she was married.
Coming to terms with divorce is hard enough as it is without the money-related burden accompanying it, which can for some be too great to carry. A highly disheartening fact is that about 20% of women fall in the hands of poverty after this transition. Also, one in four women lose health insurance, and even more of them—one in three—lose their homes.
Therefore, it often happens that divorced women need the help of public assistance programs. Otherwise, they can’t cover all the expenses, which tend to get much higher after divorce. This is especially true when the mother becomes the custodial parent, in which case the household income can be reduced by about 50%.
Effects of Divorce on Children
Unsurprisingly, children’s whole life changes when their parents decide to go separate ways and they need time to adjust to the new situation. Fearing the potential psychological effects of divorce, people sometimes think staying married is good for their kids and they decide against it. Other married couples, on the other hand, may see divorce as the only chance to give their kids a happy life.
The truth is that some kids find divorce very stressful, while others don’t. This, of course, depends a lot on whether parents are going through an amicable split or a particularly turbulent one.
Some kids develop separation anxiety if they’re not coping well with the absence of the parent they no longer live with. In most cases, that’s the father, according to the divorce statistics.
There are experts who claim that the worst age for divorce for children is (round) 11, since children that age are at highest risk of suffering emotional trauma. Small children are likely to feel confused. They can’t understand the concept of divorce, and they may often wonder why they don’t live with both parents anymore.
Moreover, behavioral problems in children of divorced parents are not uncommon. Children can feel angry, confused, or disappointed, they can regress and look for refuge in antisocial or even destructive demeanor.
In some cases, child behavior after divorce can unfortunately also exhibit delinquency and aggression. All these potential changes in behavior are exactly why parents who have decided to divorce should try extra hard not to neglect their children throughout this transition. Finally, it’s highly recommended that kids talk to a therapist or a counselor who could help them work through their issues and heal.
The impact of divorce on children is pretty serious—their reality is changing, and they don’t know how to react to it. Unsurprisingly, their psychological and emotional changes are accompanied by physical ones, too.
Toddlers and preschoolers may start crying a lot, bedwetting, and thumb-sucking. Their eating and sleeping patterns also tend to shift. Additionally, some teenagers who don’t know how to cope with the inevitable turn to risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. Parental divorce can also be a factor for early sexual activity and teenage pregnancy.
There is no way to predict exactly what effects of divorce an adult or a child is going to experience. One thing is certain, though. The consequences are less harmful if the adults try to hear each other out, and communicate civilly and honestly. Both for their own sake and for the sake of their children.
Why do people divorce?
Each case is unique, but some reasons are more likely to cause a divorce than others. Among the most common reasons for divorce are lack of intimacy, problems in communication, irreconcilable differences, financial troubles, conflict, infidelity, substance abuse, addiction, etc. People may also divorce due to unrealistic expectations, weight gain, loss of identity, or their overall unwillingness to make things better.
Why is divorce so hard on children?
Children of divorce go through a lot of trouble with their parents when a marriage falls apart. They’re often at the center of their parents’ debates, especially when it comes to the matter of custody.
Infants may have trouble adjusting to the new lifestyle—living in two homes, under different rules. Children 2–7 see the world as a reaction to something they did, which means that they might feel like the divorce is their fault. Older children, on the other hand, might become angry and aggressive, and even immune to discipline.
How does divorce affect children in school?
Children of divorced parents may become distracted, which makes it difficult for them to focus on schoolwork—they may also lower their educational aspirations. Furthermore, these children might even be held back a grade or have a lower GPA than their peers with married parents.
Due to the divorce-related stress, kids can fail to understand what’s being explained to them, attend lectures less frequently than they’re supposed to, or even experience behavioral issues and not complete high school.
Does divorce destroy families?
The effects of divorce can be detrimental to family life, but they don’t have to be. If parents are on the same page custody-wise, they could end their marriage on good terms. If they can also settle everything out of court, they’ll avoid many complications and make the entire process far less painful for both themselves and their children.