The Atlantic’s Steven Petrow hit the nail on the head when, speaking about his own divorce from his husband, he stated that “Divorce—just as much as marriage—is part of the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage equality.” While it is true that same-sex marriages report a high level of happiness and egalitarianism, they also result in more separations. In particular, lesbian couples are 2.5 times more likely to get divorced than male same-sex couples. Of course, a divorce, like all challenging life-events, can also be a chance to move on and grow. What steps can you take to ensure this moment in your life brings about positive change?
It isn’t always easy to embark on a quick uncontested online divorce or one requiring very few legalities, but if you can part amicably and affordably, you can save money on expensive legal fees and leave the marriage with your finances intact. The average divorce in the U.S. can amount to almost $15,000 in attorney and related fees and this can potentially interfere with any post-divorce plans you have. Amicable divorces are not always possible but if you can set tensions aside and focus on a fair outcome for both, chances are, your respective finances will thank you for it.
Couples therapist, Dr. Dorsey Green believes that one of the reasons for the high divorce rate among lesbians is that “Many move quickly into permanent or cohabitating relationships. As a result, they have not had time to find out what the relationship is like after the first rush in the romantic stage.” Lesbians need ‘more breakups’, adds Dr. Green, if they wish to avoid having ‘more divorces’ in the long run. Essentially, before marriage, both parties need to know whether or not they ‘work’ together. This means going beyond the ‘velcro’ stage of attachment and seeing whether values, conflict relationship skills, and idea of a good and happy life, are compatible.
Divorce at a younger age hurts people’s health more than divorce later in life, as found in a study by researchers at Michigan State University. More social and family support are required for younger divorced individuals, said scientists, so make sure you turn to those you love in this time of need. In many ways, it can be considered a fortune to be part of a newer, more accepting generation. A survey by the Pew Centre has found that a vast majority of millennials are in favor of same-sex marriage and that in general, a large percentage of Americans have changed their minds in favor of gay marriage over the past couple of decades.
Hopefully, your family will be there to give you the support you need but if you find yourself isolated, then taking solace in the company of friends is key during this difficult time. If you find that your grief is prolonged or you think you may need professional help, seeking the help of a therapist specializing in CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) can do plenty to highlight more productive ways of thinking and behaving.
The divorce rate for lesbians is high on a global basis. Some experts believe this is because many same-sex marriages take place too quickly; before a realistic idea of whether or not couples ‘work’ can be formed. If you have been through a divorce, it is important to secure your financial position, take time before embarking upon another relationship, and finding support (either socially or professionally) to preserve your mental health during what can be a stressful time in your life.