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AUGUST ISSUE

Are Breakups 'In'?

Looking at our 'role models' in Hollywood, we'd certainly think breakups have been in for ages! Even within our immediate surroundings we can call ourselves lucky if few people are splitting up or divorced. More and more people come from divorced families, and it seems the silver and golden anniversaries are dramatically decreasing because people simply do not reach that far anymore.

So are breakups in? Do you feel pressure to move on to something better when the current relationship is not quite what it should be?

Perhaps we can look at some of the reasons divorce is a far less complex thing now than it was a few decades ago;

People are more financially independent

Whereas couples needed each other financially a few decades ago, we not make enough on average to support our families on our own. We have a general culture built on not needing someone else in our lives. Imagine it would make us vulnerable!

I cannot say this is a bad thing though; being independent does give you the freedom to step away from a relationship that is just plain bad, and where no improvement has proven possible. I met a young woman who was, or felt, financially dependent on her common law husband. She wasn't happy, and she had tried to bring the relationship back to life for over a year. It was a funny situation, because she still loved her partner, was attracted to him and when they were on their own she could be happy. However, he did not at all get along with her parents, and they could not give her their blessing. Family being very important to her, she felt trapped in a relationship she could not sustain in the future. Financial independence was her first step towards breaking up.

Less social pressures

Let's face it, years ago it was a shame to get a divorce. People were predominantly married and divorce was something socially disapproved and looked down upon. I believe people who had to still got divorced, but those with not fantastic reasons to break up would be more motivated to work things out instead of breaking up. Today, there is no, or little, social stigma against divorce. It is a common concept, and it is sad that we have to be surprised when we hear a couple is celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Peer pressure plays a huge role in breakups. This is why divorce is usually less predominant in religious communities, or among people who do not have any divorced friends. Peer pressure does not have to be active; your coupled up friends will probably not look down on you if you get a divorce, but see it as a "positive influence". If you see your friends go through rough patches and work it through, you are more likely to follow their example than you are if at the first sign of trouble your best friends are signing divorce papers.

So I don't believe breakups are necessarily "in" or fashionable, they are however far easier than they have ever been! Combined with bad examples all around us, and a society secular towards solid relationships and staying together divorce is not given enough thought. Everyone wants to be loved, and have a good relationship, but fewer people are looking for that within the relationship they are already in!

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