What lessons can divorced people teach married people?
Research shows that most divorced people identify the same top five regrets—behaviors they believe contributed to their marriage’s demise and that they resolve to change next time. “Divorced individuals who step back and say, ‘This is what I’ve done wrong and this is what I will change,’ have something powerful to teach others,” says Terri Orbuch, a psychologist, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and author of the new book “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.” “This is marriage advice learned the hard way,” she says.
Some interesting takeaways:
- Of the divorced people, 15% said they would give their spouse more of what Dr. Orbuch calls “affective affirmation,” including compliments, cuddling and kissing, hand-holding, saying “I love you,” and emotional support.
- …when the husband reported that his wife didn’t show love and affection, the couple was almost twice as likely to divorce as when the man said he felt cared for and appreciated. The reverse didn’t hold true, though. Couples where women felt a lack of affection weren’t more likely to divorce.
- Money was the No. 1 point of conflict in the majority of marriages, good or bad, that Dr. Orbuch studied.
- In Dr. Orbuch’s study, divorced individuals who held on to strong emotions for their ex-spouse—whether love or hate—were less healthy than those people who had moved on emotionally.
- The divorced individuals in the study who blamed ex-spouses, or even themselves, had more anxiety, depression and sleep disorders than individuals who blamed the way that they and their partners interacted.
- Communication style is the No. 1 thing the study’s divorced individuals said they would change in the next relationship…
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