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The Internet Has Transformed Modern Divorce

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the you-lead-billy's-wow-raids-on-tuesdays,-i'll-take-fridays dept.

Communications 277

stern writes "The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!) but it's also reducing the pain, especially the bitter fighting associated with joint custody. Calendars are now much easier to coordinate, and if one parent denies a court-ordered phone call to another, there's no way to hide the fact that the call didn't happen. Because of these and other technologies, divorce has changed radically in the last ten years. From the article: 'When [one divorcee] requested court-mandated parent counseling, the judge ordered the two to use an online tool called Our Family Wizard instead. Now, lawyers supervise e-mail exchanges between her and her ex, ensuring that each party responds to the other in a timely manner. All e-mails are time dated and tracked. Parents can create a shared expense log and receive automated notices and reminders about parental obligations.'"

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277 comments

First Penis! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083735)

Not anymore w/ the divorce rates. Virgins!!

increasing divorce or honesty? (4, Funny)

rainmouse (1784278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083745)

The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!)

Or you could instead say that its facilitating the catching of cheating rats.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083849)

On the contrary, I think it is far more likely that Facebook will contribute to divorces in cases where cheating is NOT occurring. People who are insecure about their relationships are going to read into EVERYTHING on Facebook. But, generally speaking, people who are actually cheating aren't going to post about it on Facebook.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083903)

People who are insecure about their relationships are going to read into EVERYTHING on Facebook.

People who are insecure about their relationships are going to read into EVERYTHING.

Crazy or insecure people will act crazy or insecure.
Facebook just gives them another playground for their fears to romp around on.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084035)

Anyone can find a match... even the insecure. Someone that has insecurities needs to find someone that's not going to do things that play into those insecurities. Flirting online, etc... It's all a matter of boundaries. The fact of the matter is, if your mate is unhappy due to any behavior you have, you need to either work it out with them, stop doing it, or end the relationship so they can find someone that wont do those things. Insecurity is relative... could you be married to a pornstar? There are men who are... and they get to know their wives are getting railed by 12 dicks all day long. How about if you're wife is a flirty bar tender? It's between the couple what's cool and what isn't.

I think the problem with facebook is that its a new phenomenon and it's effect on already existing stable relationships was to reveal behaviors that previously had been something the spouse would never see. So suddenly the dynamics of a 20 year marrige are thrown up in the air. That's a difficult situation. Facebooks effects on newer relationships is the same, though less detrimental because the couple has less time invested. Eventually, as relationships grow with tools like facebook existing from the start, it should have less of a sudden shock that it's had on some relationships that it's new to.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084081)

Looks like you need a divorce—from pre-formatted text.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084155)

Way to anti-darwinize the situation. But it doesn't quite work that way. A person who would do anything they can to avoid playing into someone else's insecurities is bound to trip up from time to time... even if it is imagined by the other party. "Why didn't you answer the phone?!" "I was pooping..." "Oh yeah...sure... a likely story..."

Crap like that gets old very very fast. People just need to mature. And people don't mature without cause. No one changes without cause. It's why the "popular kids" in high school end up so weird much of the time -- what they were doing was working for them so they didn't bother to grow or change. Those who struggle continue to grow.

Easy solution to the facebook problem... don't do it. I don't. It's an obvious trap. MySpace was too. I don't get why people are so addicted to it. "Look at me!! I'm social! I have 1000 very close friends!!!" Do these clowns know how ridiculous they look? (Speaking of which, why the hell does it seem like more than half of the men capable of wearing facial hair have to wear it as a goatee? Shit's getting old man... and looks too much like a pubic mound.)

-1 troll... I know... I deserve it. Reality isn't nice. There *isn't* someone out there for everyone. That's a ridiculous dream. Presently there are more women than men and women STILL think they are all special and beautiful. Sorry, but no. Just no.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084285)

A lot of guys sporting a goatee can't grow a full beard. I can, just barely, if I shave it down (I have the "stubble" look), but any longer and the patchy parts are obvious.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084375)

If you need to consciously be careful not to play into your spouse's insecurities, maybe you have married the wrong human being. Being married is not supposed to mean you're in prison bounded to do whatever your spouse tells you to and avoid at all cost everything that isn't tolerated.

If it is your case, you just married someone that wasn't a good match.

The exception is having married someone whose insecurities changed afterwards. That happens. But usually, unless something big happened, this is within reasonable boundaries.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084561)

Yeah - but -

In a marriage, both parties are supposed to work to understand the other, and to build each other up. Some of my conduct changed when I got married. More of it changed when I became a parent. And, the other half has made changes for me.

If you're alive, if you're learning and growing, and if you actually care about the other person, you can expect that you're going to change as life goes on. Those who can't or won't change would do just as well to lie down and die.

That said, you're right. If either one of you is eaten up with jealousy and insecurities, then it was a mistake.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084571)

I do not know where this naivete come from. But, in the US, males are obligated aid and abet females in almost all situations up to somewhere around murder indefinitely.
Spouse is a violent, paranoid, abusive, and self destructive nut job? Well, toughen up buttercup. You're a man: Act like it. She probably has good reason to be pissed off at you. So, we're going with that assumption.

Seriously, the one guy I know that managed to get out of a marriage like that had to wait until she tried gutting him with a busted liqueur bottle. This is after several trips to the emergency room before, with stitches and staples to show for it. Must be a nerdy little pussy, you say? ..more like retired enlisted military.

Call the cops? Sure, they'll enjoy a good laugh. But, they won't be laughing when she calls them claiming you did something.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (5, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084137)

people who are actually cheating aren't going to post about it on Facebook.

I think you are underestimating how stupid people are.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084593)

people who are actually cheating aren't going to post about it on Facebook.

I think you are underestimating how stupid people are.

That mixed with the staggeringly open default privacy settings make such things very easy to detect.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083885)

Or you could instead say that its facilitating the catching of cheating rats.

A large number of people do not 'set out to cheat', but if you put them in an environment that facilitates it they may stray in a moment of weakness, often regretted, but which can't be undone.

If your married and don't want to cheat you should avoid spending a lot of time alone with members of the opposite sex. Period. That includes on facebook.

Facebook is precisely the sort of place you shouldn't go. The constant bombardment of people you used to know, or sort of know coupled with natural human curiosity, and the false sense of security one has from being 'its only online' I'm safely at home.

And suddenly your chatting up an ex, and keeping it secret because your spouse would be pissed, and then they want to meet for coffee and you keep that secret too, and besides its just a friend... and they have feelings for you, and its kind of flattering, and you know its wrong but its kind of exciting... and then you've done something you regret.

And of course the evidence is all over facebook for your spouse to find out about one day when you forgot to logout; if the STD you brought home doesn't give you away first.

Point reiterated -- a lot of people don't intend to cheat, but if they are in a situation where they end up having a secret relationship with a member of the opposite sex... its definitely going to happen sometimes. And facebook is a prime breeding ground for (re)kindling those sorts of relationships.

If you want to avoid it, stay off facebook entirely, or have a joint family account instead of a personal one. If your going to tempt fate by chatting with an ex, having your spouse sit in definitely puts a wet blanket on any sparks...

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084001)

A "moment of weakness" is just an excuse a cheater uses. It's not the reality. The reality is either that person is a whore (it happens) or the relationship the person is escaping is terrible and they were already (consciously or otherwise) looking for a way out of it.

"Not cheating" doesn't take any kind of strength unless you are already tempted to be outside the relationship and using "willpower" to not cheat.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084043)

People are naturally tempted outside the relationship they are in and lets be honest most "moments of weakness" is usually code for when alcohol is affecting willpower.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084431)

This came up during Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. A couple who has been married for ages talked about if having friends of the opposite sex was okay. Their take on it was that yes, it is okay, as long as you are not "running energy" with the other person (i.e. tempted). They also felt, and I agree, that if you have a friend, of course you want to introduce that person to your spouse.

Now, take me. I'm a huge flirt. I go out with a female friend of mine and she laughs at how often I flirt with women (even when she and I are out together - we look like a couple) and how they catch my eye. Sometimes I don't even know I've done it until she points it out. I'm not shy about it in the least. I think I notice and appraise every woman that comes within view. I seem like I'd be a real dog, and when I'm not in a committed relationship, I *am* a real dog.

But... when I'm in a committed relationship, other women might as well be men for all I notice them. The flirting stops, except for with the woman I am dating, etc. It's almost like I'm a different person. This isn't something I chose to do and I wasn't raised in any particular way in this regard.

However, there was one exception. When I was married there was one woman who, for whatever reason, I felt myself immediately attracted to, and it was obvious (to me) that it was mutual. This is so unusual for me (even now) that this shocked me. It still kind of does. I solved the problem by just staying the hell away from this woman.

So what does my experience tell me about being "naturally tempted"? I don't know. Yes, I felt *something*. I don't know if I was ever tempted to cheat though. And it only happened once in seven years of marriage (and never in my previous and subsequent committed relationships).

For me to have a moment of weakness (read: got tipsy) with this woman would have meant I started drinking already knowing that I was tempted.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084263)

The reality is either that person is a whore (it happens)

Yes, everyone who has ever cheated is either with a terrible person or they are a whore. Nothing in life is ever more complicated than that.

Hypothetically... Suppose her husband spent the last 8 months in afghanistan and was still there now, her car broke down, and her neighbor who always had a secret crush on her rescued her, then invited her over for coffee she felt obligated due to the rescue, he was charming, then dinners what reason could she decline without being rude -- they were neighbors and she was eating alone... he created a relationship that started neighborly and then changed course... she was lonely, flattered, and then he seduces her one night after too much wine and provocative conversation, and she immediately regretted it horribly, throws up when she thinks about it or bursts into spontaneous tears of self loathing.

She's not a normal imperfect human who made a mistake; she's just a whore.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084365)

I'm guessing your personal history with this type of thing is affecting your reading comprehension.

I'll put it another way: A good person in a good relationship that meets their needs will never, ever cheat.

Is the soldier's wife a whore? No. Fuck you for trying to put those words in my mouth.

Listen, she and her husband may be the greatest couple in the world when they are together, but if he is gone for 8 months, it is NOT a good marriage in terms of meeting her needs. That's not a criticism of either party. It's just human nature. It doesn't mean she's not a good wife. It doesn't mean he's not a good husband. It means there is CAUSE for her to cheat. Whether you assign moral value to her actions (e.g. "a mistake") is on you.

But that is not "a moment of weakness". It's a weak marriage. Understandably so, but call a spade a spade.

In contrast, whores cheat without cause. Unless you deny the existence of such people, I don't know why you are arguing with me at all...

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084421)

You brought up something I tried to mention earlier.

People choose to cheat. THey do so because their needs are not being met and your above example is one. We have no clue why they got divorced. Perhaps he is still friends with some women but he only flirted. I can see a lawyer having a field day trying to make it much worse than it really is to nail him and get her some more money.

Imperfection is still no excuse. You can't say you are tempted when your wife is mean to you because you neglected her or something. Her needs and his needs should be met and the temptation to cheat goes down. That simple.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084445)

You are right. She is a whore. Self control is not difficult.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084501)

Lets not lose focus here. Whether or not its difficult has no bearing on what is right and what is acceptable.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084459)

Yes, everyone who has ever cheated is either with a terrible person or they are a whore. Nothing in life is ever more complicated than that.

Yes.

She's not a normal imperfect human who made a mistake; she's just a whore.

Yes.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084527)

You've mentioned being "flattered" twice now. That's not a reason to cheat. If you're willing to have sex with someone just because you're getting attention from them, that pretty much is being a whore. Or there must be something wrong with the relationship that is making you want out, like the other guy said.

Being drunk is not a reason to cheat. I still have self control even when drunk. Even when I'm single and have some random hitting on me I still have pretty good self control. There has to be willingness to even put yourself into that sort of situation, and the drink just makes you feel less guilty about indulging.

FFS that sort of weasely attitude is making me want to throw up.. and I'm usually not squeamish. If someone clearly wants to be more than friends when they know you're in a relationship, you make it clear that it's not an option. Doing anything else is cheating. If you want to cheat then fine, but stop trying to make it sound reasonable. It's pathetic.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084069)

Riiiight. 'The beer made me do it.' If you don't stay married when you're around "temptation", you're not married.

It's not a piece of paper, a finger-token, or the expectation of relatives. It's a personal responsibility. If you don't have that when it's inconvenient, then you don't have it. You only find out if you're really married when it's hard to do.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084073)

And suddenly your chatting up an ex, and keeping it secret because your spouse would be pissed, and then they want to meet for coffee and you keep that secret too, and besides its just a friend... and they have feelings for you, and its kind of flattering, and you know its wrong but its kind of exciting... and then you've done something you regret.

Duuuuude... You need to hire an escort.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (3, Insightful)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084237)

If you can not control yourself when faced with temptation, you have issues that divorce alone is not going to fix.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084397)

If you can not control yourself when faced with temptation, you have issues that divorce alone is not going to fix.

I'll bite and assume you are one of those guys that can control themselves when faced with temptation. And I have only one question: How's life when you make no mistake and you are not even afraid of ever making one? I am genuinely interested since you seem to be one representative.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084463)

What, are you some sort of degenerate idiot? Or a sociopath with no impulse control? This isn't an issue for functional human beings.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084563)

Why do you assume he's not afraid of making a mistake? He's possibly terrified and sickened of the idea of giving in to temptation, and therefore just doesn't let any situation develop.

Even when I'm single I tend to get disgusted by women that come onto guys too quickly, because I get the feeling that they are like that with everyone, and therefore any type of relationship with them would be short lived (which isn't what I'm into). When in a relationship I'm even less likely to be open to that type of behaviour. I think the only way I'd remotely be able to get into a compromising situation would be if I'm comforting someone and they get the wrong idea. Then I'd have to apologise and explain that I didn't mean things the way they have taken them. Or if it happened that I'd developed feelings myself, and they were stronger than those for my partner, I'd end the first relationship before "cheating".

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084373)

A lot of comments here saying that lacking will power is no excuse - and it isn't - but to all those who condemn people for such lapses, I have to ask: have you never given in to any other temptation, when you know it's wrong on an intellectual or ethical level, but have felt a deep compulsion to do something? Never eaten or drunk too much? Spent too much time or money on something you didn't really need? Slacked off, procrastinated, or even worked too hard on something to the detriment of your other responsibilities? Giving in to hatred, bitterness and condemnation is just another form of moral weakness that appears to be on ample display; after all, it's a lot easier to condemn than to forgive.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084407)

People choose to cheat. If someone is tempted it means that he or she is not getting their needs met. That is what makes the affair appealing. Not sex, but the feeling of love and intimacy that is lacking. If it were not facebook if someone is miserable they will cheat or leave you anyway. Facebook just means it is easier to get caught.

We all are human and when times are tough we think back about exes and other people. When things are good in a relationship your desire to flirt to fantasize go down.

It is pretty simple.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084425)

"having your spouse sit in definitely puts a wet blanket on any sparks..." or for some people quite the opposite:)

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084475)

"And suddenly your chatting up an ex, and keeping it secret because your spouse would be pissed"

What? "Chatting up" an ex is already cheating. Chatting to an ex is okay. Meeting up for coffee when you know they have feelings - and you apparently are someone with no respect for your partner and/or no self control - is just going full blown retard.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084497)

but if you put them in an environment that facilitates it they may stray in a moment of weakness,

Yea, people just "find themselves" in these situations with no idea how it happened?

Possibly the culprit is not caring enough to avoid the "environment that facilitates it" in the first place.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083983)

The internet contributes to screwing around and has for a couple decades. It's more constantly available temptation right inside the home. It's like having a night club or a bar inside your own home.

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084209)

if one parent denies a court-ordered phone call to another, there's no way to hide the fact that the call didn't happen.

I have only a landline without caller ID, you insensitive clod!

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084229)

Would smarter software to prevent bad matches be helpful, or would the destruction of the Relationship Wreckage market be too great an economic burden on cultural carrion?

Re:increasing divorce or honesty? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084559)

The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!)

Or you could instead say that its facilitating the catching of cheating rats.

The quest giver in the MMORPG says I have to catch 10 rats in order to level up. (Or for the poor saps who work in the industry, the boss says you have to find and ban 10 exploiters before moving off front line support.)

On the plus side, we gamers never had to worry about divorce because we never even leveled up to dating.

Sigh (1)

exabrial (818005) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083749)

Just saying, this was the most depressing thing I've read on Slashdot in awhile. I know it happens to couples, but I guess I was lucky my parents stuck it out.

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083795)

I'm sad my parents didn't divorce sooner. Heck, I wish my mother had had the sense to get away from my abusive father within the first year of her marriage.

It would have been a different world, but probably not a worse one.

But who knows, maybe it did save the world from an invasion by Skrulls or something.

Re:Sigh (1, Interesting)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083845)

I'm sad my parents didn't divorce sooner. Heck, I wish my mother had had the sense to get away from my abusive father within the first year of her marriage.

Does that mean you were born by then, or do you just really, really love your mom?

Re:Sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083965)

I'm sad my parents didn't divorce sooner. Heck, I wish my mother had had the sense to get away from my abusive father within the first year of her marriage.

Does that mean you were born by then, or do you just really, really love your mom?

He might have still been born, he would have just had a different dad.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084023)

Nope, I wasn't born till some time after, but it's not just for my mother's sake, but somewhat because I'd rather have had a different childhood, to the point where I'd take non-existence as somewhat worth the risk.

I really wonder about all those works of fiction where things turn out worse...wouldn't the odds be for things getting better once in a while?

I should blame the authors for their own narcissism.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084545)

I had a fairly shitty childhood. I grew up thinking it was normal, but looking back it was pretty god damn fucked up. Still, I know I had it *way* better than most people. So no, I wouldn't take the chance. I'm thankful for what I did have.

Re:Sigh (1, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083803)

Why depressing? Its just plain old reality looking us in the face. If people were meant to be monogamous they wouldn't have invented marriage in the first place. Theres a HUGE industry built around it, almost every movie or show you watch is all about dating then marriage, but the fact is if people wanted to stay together they wouldn't need a legally binding contract to ossify the situation. Marriage is a bad idea.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083847)

I think it boils down to peoples' beliefs. Period. Clearly, you think marriage isn't for you... More power to ya.

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083987)

Marriage is a bad idea.

Twenty-three years into it, I have to say that I disagree. Though I wasn't a likely candidate, marriage (and later, a daughter) is one of the few life choices that I can say was an unqualified success, thanks to my improbable success in finding such a great mate.

That reminds me, my anniversary is in two weeks, and the old girl wants a tablet computer. I better get to picking out a good one for her.

If people were meant to be monogamous they wouldn't have invented marriage in the first place.

"Meant" by whom? That's the great thing about being human: we get to make choices about how we're going to live.

Re:Sigh (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084163)

So how has the institute of marriage made your life any better? Would not being married have cost you the relationship? I don't mean to pry, in fact don't answer if you don't want to, but for a lot of people, and by a lot I mean the kind of numbers that would have an epidemiologist nuking the city, the result is very different.

Re:Sigh (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084437)

Studies show people who are married are happier. This is true even if the marriage has a few issues.

I was happy when I was married. I am divorced by the way and in the end I had to do what I had to do when it was too late. But overall, even with more freedom I am not as happy as having someone there to share my life with.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084519)

Studies show people who are married are happier.

How can they determine that holding a mere title makes people happier? How can they determine it's because of the useless title?

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084551)

Correlation, causation... you get the message right? Maybe happy people are more likely to stay married. Maybe something makes people happy and stay married (great sex?) Either way, I've known plenty of marriages that caused nothing but sadness, but can't think of any couple that wouldn't be equally happy without a legal contract binding them together.

If I'm with someone it's because I want to be, not because some piece of paper I signed ten years ago makes me.

re: marriage (worthwhile?) (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084467)

I'll be honest. I tried marriage once and it was a pretty miserable failure Lost everything of value I owned and truly had to start over from square one, right in what should have been the "prime of my life". On the flip side, I got a great kid out of it -- but trying to justify the marriage as "all worthwhile" for that reason amounts to little more than an attempt to rationalize things. (Marriage, after all, is no true requirement for getting someone pregnant and having a kid.)

Since that time, I met a great woman (who went through a tough marriage before, like I did) and now we live as a blended family. I insisted from the start that we shouldn't concern ourselves with a goal of legal marriage though. Rather, we held our own commitment ceremony and invited only the people we felt were our true friends and family members who could understand the decision without casting judgements....

We both wear rings and consider ourselves married, but there's something relieving (to me at least ... since I suppose I can't really speak for her) about knowing we didn't get suckered into paying the government for permission to marry by way of a license, It also prevents the Family Court system from stepping in and dictating who must share what with who, who gets to visit who on what terms, etc. -- should the worst happen and we break up on bad terms.

IMO, the idea of a couple making the commitment (in front of those you both care about) to live together as a "family unit" is a great thing. Families are the primary building blocks of our society. But LEGAL marriage is much more of a government construct... a way to determine taxation and exert authority over the populace. The biggest justification I can see, today, for legal marriage is the fear of a partner not having control over such things as making medical decisions for the other person, should they become incapacitated, or an employer's insurance plan refusing to cover a partner who isn't legally their "spouse". But those fighting for gay marriage rights are also indirectly fighting for reform in these areas, since the same complications and legal questions apply to them. I'm pretty confident these problems can be worked through and will be resolved as the years pass.

As I discovered first-hand, legal marriage can be a VERY foolish thing to undertake. No matter how much you love your partner, there's something incredibly stupid about setting yourself up so he/she can wipe you out financially on a whim, with no legal recourse. If your business partner did it, it would be declared theft or fraud and they'd be looking at years of imprisonment and hefty fines. When your marriage partner does it, the police and the courts look the other way, telling you "it was just as much hers as it was yours!", or "It was wrong, but we're not going to lift a finger to touch them because your divorce isn't even final yet and there's no telling what the judge will eventually rule about the property rights."

Too many people act like taking these risks just proves how much they love and trust their partner, and it's "supposed to be like that". But over 50% of these same people find out they were wrong about their promise to everyone that they'd stick with that person until death, too.

Re:Sigh (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084197)

I am 16 years into my marriage, and can say without question that it is good. But I am not so sure about the leap from "my marriage is good," to "marriage is good." After all, I've been at the same company for 12 years and in the same home for 10. Maybe I'm just an inherently stable, some would say boring type of guy. How can any of us know what it's like inside somebody else's mind?

Re:Sigh (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084485)

I have to say that I disagree [...] thanks to my improbable success in finding such a great mate.

If your success is so improbable then a good advice to everyone would be to not marry. Too few would be lucky to meet their ideal match.

Re:Sigh (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084045)

My parents have been married for over 50yrs, I was married for 20yrs. Staying together, or not, has fuck all to do with a "legally binding contract" or the "marriage industry". Those things arose because people were doing them long before they were cast as laws, the marriage contract is about property and kids, staying together is about having a partner in life/crime.

Re:Sigh (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084175)

Great! If you weren't married, would you have stuck together? If so, why get married, minor tax advantages aside? Sure it served a purpose once as far as child support goes, but the law has pretty much caught up in most developed countries.

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083837)

I wish mine divorced as soon as they hit their first problems.

Then again, the problem isn't with divorce, it's with too hasty marriages. I'm starting to think that because life is so much easier for people than, let's say 100 years ago, they mature a lot slower.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083891)

I have to say that isn't lucky. That just sucks.

However I can't really relate. My parents didn't divorce and there relationship wasn't that horrible even if it was fucked up for other reasons (and worse now.. but they are finally getting a divorce so... that makes me happy... well, to the extend my dad isn't being fucked over any more by a control freak... OK ok I still love my mom but she has her issues). Please don't tell her I said this!

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083911)

I'm glad my parents divorced. It was the best thing for them and the best thing for me and my siblings. If people lack the capacity to create a healthy environment together and an unwillingness to try, they simply should not be together. "Sticking it out" is about the worst thing you can do.

Think about it... If your wife is miserable in your marriage, do you want her "sticking it out"? She's basically saying she's only with YOU for the sake of SOMEONE ELSE, be that your kids, your family, society, whatever. How is that fair to you? She's almost certainly not sleeping with you and if she is, it can't possibly be good. But you're not allowed to get any on the side. If you're lucky, she'll continue to work, or cook, or clean, or whatever her "job" is in the relationship. But she's still going to be two-faced with you, keep secrets, and generally resent you. So neither of you is happy.

Meanwhile your children are watching and learning how to treat their spouses and how they can expect to be treated. Do you want your daughters to "stick it out" no matter how miserable their marriage? Some people think "Oh, they'd leave if they were being physically abused" but the reality is, no, sometimes they won't. And where does that come from? "Sticking it out." (And even if they are not being hit or cheated on... pain is pain, whether physical or emotional.)

No, unless the love *and respect* is there, there really is no marriage, and divorce is probably the best option.

Re:Sigh (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084041)

Very well thought and well said. I am divorced too and now that I think, I guess I am much happier even if I do not get sex or whatever a lady has to offer.

At least I do not spend 2 times to feed a nagging unappreciative cheating wife which did not bother to work even 1 day during the 10 years of our marriage.

Re:Sigh (1)

OldSport (2677879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083993)

Although it has sucked to be the son of a divorced couple, it's far better for me that they divorced when they did and find happiness separately than stay together, be miserable, and create a dysfunctional situation.

The parents of a friend of mine divorced as soon as he (the youngest sibling) graduated high school and left home. So in addition to the usual complicated feelings when your parents divorce, he was saddled with the extra guilt of feeling like he had forced his parents to stay together in misery all those years. Fucked him up pretty bad, even though he was an adult when it happened.

Re:Sigh (2)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084011)

My ex. wife of 10 years used to find friends on social network websites, talk to them for a while as a friend and go out with them. She cheated a few times and finally left with one of them.

When she came to my home, she did not have even a high school diploma (and no intention to study). She was the typical Penny (of Big bang theory), and I guess I was the Leonard, except when she left she was a PhD candidate.

She left and married with a guy much older than me (10.5 years older than her) which had a high school diploma but a lot of money.

Even after 4 years she still sends me emails (3 times this year) that she regrets what she did and wants to come back. But rebuilding broken trust and long and painful memories is sometimes impossible.

Re:Sigh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084161)

She cheated a few times

Why'd you let her get away with it? I could probably forgive one transgression depending on the conditions and factors, but a second would be an automatic divorce, no possibility of reconciliation.

"Fool me once", and all.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084599)

Fraking things you do for love :( I loved her much more than myself. Stupid but true.

Re:Sigh (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084457)

I am sorry to hear that.

My wife cheated too with her friends from World of Warcraft. It is funny as she is mad because I only had a highschool diploma at the time but was working on a degree when I met her. I got my degree and she is all envious on the phone saying if it was not for her bla bla bla. I just ignore it as i would have gotten the degree anyway.

You know what I learned? You don't realize what you had until it is gone. She got greedy and wanted more and threw something precise away. I would want my ex back but she has moved on and I would be a sucker. I hope you found someone better. ... and really hope she is not still married to that other man when she emails you those things. She would then be cheating on him. Good lord

What a great way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083765)

...to pay more for lawyers and crap software.

This is the ONLY situation where.. (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083785)

...you really have to think of the children.

Anything else suggested in order to curb free speech to "protect" the children is stupid and whoever came up with those ideas should be hung by sunset.

Re:This is the ONLY situation where.. (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083889)

No, if you have chosen to reproduce, "think of the kids" should be your first consideration. But only for people who are parents.

As a reason to abridge the rights of the public, many of whom have not chosen the responsibility of having kids, you're right, fuck that in the ear with a rusty railroad spike. And I say that as a parent: if my kid accesses images of bestiality or whatever you're into and is scarred by it, that's my fault. You can watch all the depraved videos you want, and put them on whatever websites you want. You can take whatever privacy measures you want even if it means that law enforcement would be unable to make sure you're not transmitting illegal material. If law enforcement has no good reason to think you're doing something illegal, then you should be free to be as secretive as you want. Anyone who says otherwise is an asshole. "Think of the children" has no place in such discussions, except to mark very stupid people who should not be allowed to vote in a country that claims to be the land of liberty.

It's just that assholes who want to increase the government's powers find it useful to use that line the wrong way. Using it to remind parents that they have greater responsibilities is not as useful. That's why typically when you hear it, it's with a bad idea, it's not an inherently evil idea in and of itself. In divorce cases, it can be quite the opposite. If you're upset at your ex-spouse, you really need to put that aside for the children and act like an adult.

Re:This is the ONLY situation where.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083929)

Protecting the children is NEVER a good idea if it requires giving up your freedom of speech (or other freedoms).

Now, if only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083809)

There was some way for the internet to raise the child. Oh, I know! YouTube!

not only divorce (1)

ultimajji (1485655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083817)

The internet may be contributing to reckless, dishonest relationships (thanks, Facebook)!

Divorce will never happen to me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083829)

Divorce will never happen to me - I'm a nerd who posts on slashdot!

Re:Divorce will never happen to me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084169)

Unless your point was that you don't have a wife like everyone else here, I'm not sure what this is about?

The Internet... (1)

sirlatrom (1162081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083841)

... has transformed many aspects of modern life, not just divorce. Surprised?

Also, there's WordPerfect (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083869)

Yes! At the same time that lawyers and courts have discovered on-line calendars, many offices have adopted word processors instead of using IBM Selectrics!

Seriously, this is hardly news. What has changed in divorce is that most jurisdictions have abandoned most of the moralistic old garbage surrounding it, and now make it (reasonably) painless for intelligent adults to dissolve a marriage. Even when there are kids.

Not that there aren't still enough idiots out there to keep the lawyers busy.....

Re:Also, there's WordPerfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084141)

A marriage is never "dissolved". In fact the divorce contract just says that you are no longer obligated and bound by the original marriage contract. The original marriage contract is technically still there and it always will be.

I thought that was weird when I was doing my divorce paperwork. You're actually still sort of married but have a new contact that says you don't have to follow many of the terms in the old one.

Patent pending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083873)

Divorce... with a computer AND on the internet. Quick, someone get a patent!

Re:Patent pending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083941)

I call dibs on doing it on a phone and doing it on a phone with rounded corners.. Fair warning Apple, patent will be pending.

Unfortunately .... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42083883)

I'm a divorced parent myself, and I found myself at least partially agreeing with one of the people who commented on the original article on the NYT web site. He said he doesn't understand America's insistence on joint custody and co-parenting with these toxic relationships that end in messy divorces.

I can't speak for the accuracy of his claim that in "other cultures", it's usually a winner take all scenario where one parent walks away and disappears, and the other steps up to raise the kid. But I definitely think there are times when this really is the best outcome for the kid.

It seems like we've made an automatic assumption that it's universally best for the kid(s) to spend as much time as possible with both parents, and on the surface such a suggestion sounds plausible. But not all marriages end simply because both people were immature and foolishly got married too quickly. Many times, one parent has a drug or alcohol addiction and becomes unbearable to live with. Other times, like in my own situation, the other parent suffers from mental illness (and contrary to what you may hear - medications for such things as bipolar disorder don't ever fully bring some people back into reality).

Our court systems essentially force these unfit parents to pretend they're able and willing to parent anyway, and the kid(s) pay the price.

I'm not against the idea of using tools like texting or email, or even some sort of moderated message system, if it helps parents work through the details of sharing custody in cases where it's the situation they're both striving for anyway. But I literally had my ex-wife tell the attorneys she was perfectly happy to sign all of her parental rights away. Yet the Family Court judge declared such a thing unacceptable, and made us come up with a shared custody arrangement instead. Something really is wrong with a legal system that believes they made a "better choice" by doing this. My ex moved to the other side of the country with some younger guy and only came to visit our daughter a total of 2 times in 10 years since then. She has a very small child support obligation she practically never pays, which has built up over time to total up to close to $20,000 so far. Reality is, my current g/f and I are raising my daughter -- not my ex-wife. And it would be foolish to ask her to make any kind of important legal decision on my kid's behalf since she practically has no idea about who she is and her needs anyway.

I suppose I could fork out the money to go back to court and fight to get full custody, and at this point, they'd probably grant it based on a decade of evidence of how things went.... but it's VERY irritating on principle that this could have been settled from the beginning when SHE said she wanted no part of being a mom during the divorce proceedings.

Re:Unfortunately .... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083945)

Very self centered too I may add. Sorry bro.

At least you are responsible enough to care and do what is right. You could probably nail her on child support costs too. I know the idea is not be mean or get back at your exwife but kids are certainly not cheap and I do not know what you do when kids have early release every Tuesday or spring break and you have to work. She should contribute something and a full custody can get you some more child support payments so you can get a bigger house for them, food, and college savings and so on.

Re:Unfortunately .... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084231)

Speaking from personal experience, if she doesn't work, $5 a week is just not worth the effort.

Re:Unfortunately .... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084387)

Personal experience?!

You know what happens if you do not work and chid support is due? A judge throws your ass in jail! Sounds like you had a judge who favored her (probably another woman) or you had a bad lawyer.

The court will give a 1 month 30 day extension to find a job and throw her ass in prison otherwise. Child abandament is a serious crime as the kid has to eat regardless. If the situation were reverse your ass would be in the slammer fast because you are a man and are supposed to be a provider. I do not mean that last sentence as a troll or to start a flamewar here but I sense bias as I doubt you would get such a break. The only good thing out of divorce procedeeings is to make sure the child or children are taken care of. If the judge orders it you must do and that 30 day extension when shit happens is the only exception.

Re:Unfortunately .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084487)

How can that possibly work? At that point wouldn't you just kill the wife/ kid/ judge and be done with it? And wtf sort of civilized country has what amounts to a fucking debtor's prison anymore.

Re:Unfortunately .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084107)

My marriage nearly ended in divorce. One of us has a mental illness and the other was tired of actively and then passively ignoring the problems it caused. Fantasy and then escape was discovered by both of us. One reaction was revenge, the other was divorce.

Counseling and a lot of soul searching has left us together but I am not sure it's scalable long-term even as the previously uncontrolled mental illness is treated both through counseling and medication. A repeat of the same old, same old has returned from both sides.

However, we're doing it for the kids. The one side realizes that even with mental illness the other will likely be involved, many times alone--if not a majority of the time--with the children unsupervised. It's a potentially dangerous and certainly unhealthy way to be raised but hopefully it will work out if we stay together.

I am positive one of the two would prefer to sacrifice themselves and their lives for the kids.

Re:Unfortunately .... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084199)

You list some reasons why my ex-wife and I avoided court, it was a very bitter split but at least we both had the good sense to sort it out privately via a family lawyer we both trusted. If you choose to go to court then you're asking the authorities to impose a solution that quite possibly neither of you will like. As an example of what that does to a person, a friend of mine who went the court route came into work one day, his eyes were dead, he sat down and dialed the family court, "Ah, hello. Can you put me through to the person who is in charge of fucking up my life....."

And (1, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year and a half ago | (#42083915)

I know alot of wow addicts who got divorced solely because when life got hard they played 12 hours a day rather than looking for a job or spending time iwth the disgruntled spouse. Internet addiction can be serious and a cause of divorce as well if you have a spouse who hates computer games (70%) and does not understand that the raid until 2am has to be done because people rely on you. This also just happens to co-inside the time set for sex by the S.O.

Sadly, I see it happening to men who feel abandonded as well. Myself included in that category.

Re:And (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084255)

If you are a gamer, 12 hours a day or 1 hour a month, marrying someone that hates games is just idiotic.

I mean seriously........ (1, Flamebait)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084013)

This is the 21st Century. What's the point of getting married?

Re:I mean seriously........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084111)

You might as well ask what good is loyalty? faithfulness? honesty? If you don't know the answer, then you won't get the point of marriage. More's the pity.

Re:I mean seriously........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084211)

None of those things are magically produced by marriage. They are merely a prerequisite.

If you have no integrity, then none. (3, Insightful)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084293)

The point is that you are proclaiming publicly a promise, and if you break your promise (your vows in this case) you and everyone -should- feel, and rightly so, that you do not have personal integrity, and your word should not be trusted. Complex societies are built on a web of trusts, and when we can no long trust each other, public order will crumble and we will abandon our complex civilization. This happens one person at a time. Children need good examples to follow, especially example of trusting relationships. So now, do you still wonder why children are ill-behaved, and we feel that society becomes more corrupt each day, with a sky-high divorce rate such as we have? And so it falls.

Re:If you have no integrity, then none. (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084513)

Or you can skip the marriage part and live happily ever after. Nobody today will have an issue with an unmarried person.

Re:I mean seriously........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084381)

What's the point of getting married?

Marriage is a side issue. The question should rather be phrased as follows: "What's the point of the nuclear family?"

I can attest to the fact that the nuclear family can be an excellent environment for children to have a happy childhood and to prepare for the challenges of adulthood. It is not an excellent environment for the parents to fulfill their dreams and achieve happiness.

Most of us have children, which comes with the obligation of placing the children's welfare above our own. Many times, children's welfare is best guaranteed by an intact family. There are situations where divorce is best for the children. Either way, we must choose whatever is best for the children even if it is a struggle for us.

I believe most divorces are caused not by a concern for the well-being of the children but by the selfishness of the parents. Most children are resilient and survive it unscathed, but a sizeable minority experiences psychological strain and damage. Parents should not take that risk lightly.

Re:I mean seriously........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084443)

to spend the woman's divorce settlement from her ex

Either way you look at it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084033)

Divorce still stinks, and ruins people's lives, and their children's lives.

People ought to spend more time caring for their marriages and their spouses and less time finding an easier way to divorce, or how to coordinate their "who gets the kids" schedules with Google calendar.

Re:Either way you look at it (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084143)

l'm an A.C..O.D. (Adult Child of Divorce), and the marriages that I see that workare the ones where the husband and wife are really best friends. Love is a chemical reaction in the brain that wears off in about 4 years. There better be a real friendship there after the love feeling wears off, or it just isn't going to last.

Re:Either way you look at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084411)

Love is a chemical reaction in the brain that wears off in about 4 years.

What you are referring to is infatuation. Love can last a lifetime. Many of us love our parents and children for decades. The spouse is also a loved one.

However, love does not automatically make a relationship happy. The question is, should you stay married if you are not happy? I have chosen to stay married (faithfully, I might add) even though I am miserable because I'm seeing that our children are thriving and I want to keep it that way.

easier to track people for sure (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#42084225)

easier to ignore their lies and find the actual truth.

misandry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42084361)

so when is divource going to rapidly change to not be an inherently misandrist situation?

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