Think Divorce’ll Make You Happy? Think Again

In a USAToday article from more than a year ago, the “common sense” notion in our throw away society is proven empirically false:

Divorce doesn’t necessarily make adults happy. But toughing it out in an unhappy marriage until it turns around just might, a new study says.

The research identified happy and unhappy spouses, culled from a national database. Of the unhappy partners who divorced, about half were happy five years later. But unhappy spouses who stuck it out often did better. About two-thirds were happy five years later. . . .

”In popular discussion, in scholarly literature, the assumption has always been that if a marriage is unhappy, if you get a divorce, it is likely you will be happier than if you stayed married,” Blankenhorn says. ”This is the first time this has been tested empirically, and there is no evidence to support this assumption.”

About 19% of the divorced had happily remarried within five years.

The most troubled marriages reported the biggest turn-arounds. Of the most discontented, about 80% were happy five years later, says Linda Waite, a University of Chicago sociologist who headed the research team.

The study can be found here.