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What are the psychological effects of divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2022 | Divorce

There are many concerns that couples think about before and during the divorce process. There are concerns about the children and how to keep them happy and healthy. There are concerns over their ability to afford their new single life. But, what some couples may not think about until it is too late, is how the process may affect them psychologically, especially those divorcing mid-life (40 to 60 years old).

Concerning statistics

As a group, those in mid-life have recently been found to be a more psychologically vulnerable population than previously thought. According to studies, those in this 40-60 age group have a particularly higher rate of suicides in most Western countries. Indeed, other studies have shown that sudden and traumatic life events in those middle years can be particularly damaging to mental health, especially for men.

Married versus unmarried mental health

It would seem that a successful marriage can help with mental health for those in middle age. Indeed, a large-scale study in the United States found that unmarried men were 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than those married of the same age (40-60). This lower rate of suicide for married versus unmarried was also seen in women, just much less pronounced.

Psychological effects of divorce

Research also revealed that divorce can be particularly painful for divorcing male spouses. The separation and divorce process acts as an acute stressor that can have severe consequences. Divorce can be such an acute stressor because, when compared to their female spouses, a divorce can mean the loss of social support structures. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for those fathers that lose custodial rights to their ex-wife. This can mean the combination of isolation and loneliness, combined with guilt, shame, grief and a sense of failure, among many other negative feelings.

Divorce, a second chance

For those in unhappy marriages, divorce can offer a chance at a bright new life, a second chance at happiness. Nonetheless, couples thinking about getting a divorce should understand that there are negative effects that should be anticipated. Of course, beginning therapy as a couple, prior to a Manhattan Beach, California, divorce, can help mitigate some of these negative phycological effects.