Myth No. 1: Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.
The facts: The divorce rate for remarriages is actually higher than that of first marriages. Myth No. 2: Living together before marriage is a good way to reduce the chances of eventually divorcing.
The facts: Numerous studies have shown that couples who cohabit before they marry have a far higher chance of divorcing. Why? It’s a puzzle even to the sociologists, but they theorize that living together before taking those vows creates attitudes that are more conducive to divorce, such as thinking that relationships are temporary and can be easily ended. Myth No. 3: Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.
The facts: Children of divorce have a higher risk of interpersonal problems. Evidence from several studies shows that many of these problems are long lasting and may become worse when they grow into adulthood. Myth No. 4: Having a child together will help a couple improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.
The facts: It is true that couples who have a child together have a slightly lowered risk of divorce than childless couples, but that decreased risk is far less than it used to be when society dictated that couples stay together “for the sake of the children.”
Myth No. 5: Following divorce, the woman’s standard of living plummets by 73 percent while that of the man’s improves by 42 percent.
The facts: This widely publicized statistic was based on a faulty calculation, insists Popenoe. Instead, women lose about 27 percent, while men gain 10 percent. Yes, there is an inequity, but it’s not as dramatic as everyone thinks. Myth No. 6: When parents don’t get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.
The facts: The literature is mixed on this, but a recent, long-term study suggests otherwise. Parents’ unhappiness does have a negative effect on children, but so does divorce. Only children in homes with high conflict benefit when their parents separate. Myth No. 7: Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes.
The facts: Children of divorce have a far higher rate of divorce for their own marriages than do their friends who came from intact families. Why? As with so much, parents are role models. They learn from observing Mom and Dad. Myth No. 8: Following divorce, the children involved are better off in stepfamilies than in single-parent families.
The facts: Stepfamilies are no better than single-parent families, even though the income level is typically higher and there is a father figure in the home. Stepfamilies have their own set of unique problems and conflicts. Myth No. 9: Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce.
The facts: Every marriage has its ups and downs. In one recent survey, 86 percent of people who admitted they were unhappy with their marriage but stayed with it, indicated five years later they were happier. Myth No. 10: It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings.
The facts: Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women.