Holiday Season - Celebration Time or Separation Time for Couples?

Health In Focus   - G J E 4
  • Divorce is inevitable when a couple is unable to iron out differences and stay together in the interest of the family and kids.
  • Research has shown that divorce filings actually show a seasonal spike increasing significantly in March and again in August, the periods following winter and summer holidays.
  • Holiday season and its heightened expectations lays bare the fissures and tensions in the relationship.
  • Starting to watch videos showing sexually explicit content has been shown to be associated with an increased probability of divorce.
Holiday Season  - Celebration Time or Separation Time for Couples?
Holiday Season - Celebration Time or Separation Time for Couples?

Holidays and the Aftermath

‘Research has shown that divorce shows a biannual peak in the months of March and August respectively.’
Generally, most relationships breakdown because of deterioration over a prolonged period of time. So, why does the holiday season set the stage for divorce filings to peak immediately after.

It is argued that couples avoid filing for divorce during the holidays. Traditionally, it is a
time to make a fresh beginning and mend broken relationships. It is a time for joy and celebration, not break unhappy tidings to family, especially children and friends.

However, the holidays with their heightened expectations, can prove to be stressful and demanding for many spouses.† Failure to live up to each other's expectations and the ensuing disappointments and disillusionments may actually be a major trigger factor in the increased rates of filing after the holidays. These are the findings of a study conducted by the†University of Washington.

Why March and August†

For couples deciding to divorce during the summer vacation, especially those with children, the start of the school term may hasten the divorce filings during August.

What is more surprising is the spike in filings nearly three months after the Christmas holidays.

It is argued that in the absence of the school-term factor, couples may need time to
organize finances, find a lawyer or to simply summon the courage to take this major step.

Some suggest that springtime is traditionally seen as the time for a new beginning, and may
be a reason for the spike seen in March.

Yet others suggest that the longer days and consequently periods of increased activity seen during March may prompt people to take a major and decisive step.

Other factors strengthening the Holiday Season theory for More Divorces

It is argued that if the holidays did indeed trigger the divorce filings, other actions related to family structure too would show a similar spike at the same time.

It has indeed been found that guardianship filings too show a similar pattern strengthening their argument.† However, property claims however did not display a similar pattern.

Filing in court versus filing by mail

Researchers compared the spike rates between counties in the USA that permitted applications by mail and the usual court filing to see if there was any statistically significant difference in the mail filings for divorce.

Surprisingly, the counties offering mail filings showed the same pattern as counties that did not, only slightly more pronounced.† This seems to suggest that across regions or counties, people needed time to think and ponder before deciding on this rather huge step.

Influence of Economic and demographic factors

For example Florida and Arizona were among the states affected most by the real estate collapse, while Ohio had higher than average employment rates during the recession.

These studies, conducted across different states such as above, showed the same pattern in divorce filings irrespective of economic and demographic factors

Pornography and Divorce

A study conducted by Samuel Perry , an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma has shown that watching pornography, under certain social conditions, may have a negative influence on marriage stability and may lead to divorce.

In addition, the study also examined how age, religiousness, and marital happiness influenced the link between changing pornography viewership habits and marital stability.

While starting to watch porn showed an increased probability of divorce, it was more in younger men, more in persons who were not religious, suggesting that religion indirectly played a protective influence on marriage stability.

Also the divorce rates in couples who reported marital happiness before starting to watch porn was more than couples who were unhappy to start with.† In other words, watching porn did not increase the chances of divorce in an already unhappy marriage.

Perry and Schleifer also found that women who discontinued watching porn had a lesser chance for divorcing.† However there was no statistically significant difference amongst men.

Why people divorce

There may be a myriad reasons for divorce. Some of the common reasons put forth include -
  • Early marriage
  • Poor education background and insufficient income†
  • Premarital pregnancy,†
  • Lack of† religious affiliation
  • Family history of divorce
  • Abuse
  • Low self-esteem and insecurity
  • Lack of commitment†
  • Too many differences and arguments†
  • Infidelity†
  • Unrealistic expectations from spouse
  • Lack of equality in the relationship
  • Lack of preparation for marriage†
Coping with Divorce

Divorce is a stressful event and is associated with intense feelings such as fear and uncertainty, anxiety, guilt and anger to name a few. All these are natural responses associated with loss.

Some of the methods given below may help to come to terms with divorce and make a fresh start.† The list, by no means complete may nevertheless help in coping.
  • Taking time to grieve and allowing the pain to lessen over time
  • Sharing grief with family and friends - Talking about the event helps. Joining a support group of people in similar circumstances
  • Eating well and staying healthy
  • Learning to prioritize to avoid crumbling under the pressure
  • Writing a diary or journal
  • Psychotherapy or counseling
  • Indulging in some hobby or interest to remove the focus from the event
  • Spiritual or religious activities to calm the mind
  • Avoidance of drugs and alcohol and other impulsive behaviour.
  • Refrain from taking important decisions when upset
Divorce, though painful should be treated as a learning experience and the same mistakes should be avoided in future. It signifies the end of one chapter and the dawn of a new era in the person's life. It must be faced with courage and grace.† One must learn to forgive and forget and get on with their life with utmost dignity.

Source: Medindia

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