1. Giving Up A Career:
Many women face a choice when they have children: off-ramp your career and become a full-time mom or stay on the career highway. When the marriage works, no one thinks twice about putting a career on hold in order to stay home with children. When the marriage fails, the stay-at-home moms say the same thing: I should have never given up my career. For many women, driving back to the exit ramp to find their old career is proving to be more difficult than it sounds.
2. Not Being Financially Involved:
With a wife working or not, a lot of households still follow a traditional division of labor with the husband serving as the CFO for the family and the wife doing everything else. When the marriage fails, many women realize they do not have a clue about any family financial accounts and do not even know how to begin to find passwords or account records.
3. Putting Up With Poor Treatment, Not Speaking Up:
We asked women about how they felt they were treated in their marriage. We’ve heard stories about missed birthdays or anniversaries, expectations for clean houses, hot meals, and mannered kids, demands for s*x, and requests for daily-ironed shirts. (I know, it’s 2012.) Many women agree that we put ourselves second for the benefit of the family…not as a martyr but with an eye on a greater goal. After a divorce, one common question always comes up: if I would have spoken up or expected more for myself during the marriage, I wonder if things would have turned out differently?
4. Staying For The Kids:
This is a huge unanswered question for many married women and is repeated in younger generations asking about future marriages: when the relationship falls apart, do we stay for the kids? We talked to one woman who decided to stay with a bad marriage until her youngest son left for college. The month after her son left, she left her husband. The son dropped out of college a few months later as he had no clue about marriage problems between his parents. She told us her son isn’t speaking to either parent since he can’t figure out whom to trust or what part of his childhood he can believe in. She said she regrets not leaving earlier as she knew she was not going to continue to put up with her husband’s infidelities forever, however she didn’t anticipate her son would view her attempt to keep the family together as living a lie.
5. Marrying For The Wrong Reasons:
The biggest reason for divorce continues to be…marriage. We need to do a better job about educating our children as to what marriage is and how it works. There are too many Hollywood movies and happily-ever-after fairly tales that make marriage look simple: fall in love, get married, have some kids, live a long and happy life together.
Successfully married women have given us these insights into their marriage: we are partners; we are building a family with common goals and dreams; we are friends; we work hard everyday at our relationship; we have each other’s backs; we have bad days, months, even years, but we are committed to our family more than our own individual needs.
Some divorced women have admitted to us that they married for financial stability, parental expectations, or even because they thought it was what they were supposed to do at the time.
They didn’t marry for love and friendship and understand how they set themselves up for failure.