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PSY 115 San Diego State University Effects of Divorce Reflective Paper

PSY 115 San Diego State University Effects of Divorce Reflective Paper

Question Description

I’m working on a psychology writing question and need an explanation to help me learn.

Like many aspects of society, divorce has become much more accepted and much more common in modern times. Although it can happen at any age, divorce is generally associated with middle adulthood and the idea of having a mid-life crisis. Erikson addresses this as Stagnation vs. Generativity. This is certainly one contributor to divorce as people look to make changes in their lives.

Why do people get divorced? There are two obvious reasons. One is constant bickering, some people just really don’t get along. The same passions that may have lead to love and marriage initially now lead to arguments about almost everything (most commonly people argue about money). The other is infidelity, extramarital affairs. This is often viewed as a betrayal on a number of different levels and for many it is a deal breaker with no going back.

There are also a few less obvious reasons. One concerns the expectations people have regarding marriage. The nature of the relationship is going to change and some people have trouble with that. Certainly things can be done to spice things up occasionally, such as romantic getaways. But expecting the same degree of passion and romance as when first married on an ongoing basis is unrealistic. Yet some people have difficulty adapting to such changes.

Another factor that I often mention, though few other people do, is that people are living longer. Marriage is often described in terms of ’till death do you part.’ And in times past people had the decency to die. They died from disease, injury, childbirth and a plethora of other reasons. So marriage was a 15-20 year commitment before one or the other died. And then one was free to start over with someone else if they wished. Now people are far less likely to die, and marriages can span 45-50 years or more. Over that time frame both individual’s may change a great deal. You often hear of people lamenting that their spouse is not the same person they married. And so they divorce since that is now the only way out. Divorce rates are actually high among the elderly as they retire and suddenly are spending lots of time getting to know who their spouses have become over all those years when they spent most of their time at work.

Another thing you’ll often hear people talking about is the idea of ‘staying together for the sake of the children.’ I’ve never been an advocate of this. If a couple really isn’t getting along, and there’s very little chance of things improving, divorce may actually be a benefit. Children sense tension in the home. And that can make them uncomfortable, insecure and lead to maladaptive behaviors in order to cope (drugs, sex and other risky behaviors). How is this helping? An amicable divorce may actually provide a more stable and nurturing environment for all concerned than a couple staying in a seriously troubled marriage.

For this discussion I want you to think about a divorce from different perspectives. How are the principle parties affected? How are the children affected? The child’s age often plays a large role in how much a divorce affects them. Very young children may adapt well and see it as another change much like starting school. Older teens may be so absorbed in their own lives and relationships that they don’t pay that much attention. It’s often children in late childhood and early adolescence that have the biggest problems when parents divorce, often thinking something they did contributed to the stress and breakup of the marriage. And what about other family members, such as grandparents and in-laws? Their opportunities to visit, interact with the children and so forth may be altered a great deal.

We all know people who have gotten divorced. Odds are that a number of you went through the divorce of your parents. Some of you may also have been divorced yourselves. Consider any such case and discuss the effects as mentioned. What was the worst consequence? What was the best? What advice might you offer someone going through a divorce or the divorce of close friends or family members? And, of course, respond to classmates and share your experiences.

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