For many people, the answer to that question would be a “Yes! Obviously!” However, it is important to note that for many people, a divorce is a traumatic emotional event. Additionally, couples that have children together still have to interact with one another on a regular basis. In situations such as that, has the unhappiness been truly solved? Lucky for us, there are professionals who actually research questions such as this. Read on to learn if divorce really does solve an unhappy marriage.

All of the data used in this article has been pulled from an article published be Psychology Today, written by Mark Travers Ph.D.

The Emotional Impacts Of Divorce

For both spouses, a divorce is an emotionally turbulent time. Even for the spouse that initiated the divorce, there is a rollercoaster of emotions. In fact, many people who go through divorce actually move through the same emotions as someone who has experienced a personal loss. The process is called DABDA for short.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

The Study

The data for the study was pulled from a long-term study in the Netherlands that took place over the course of a decade. From 2008 to 2018, the Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS), monitored Dutch national opinions and experiences. The researchers isolated people who experienced a marriage and a divorce in those ten years. Ultimately, they had a sample size of a little less than 300 people.

The Trends

The researchers tracked self-esteem in order to measure whether or not divorce was a true solution for marital strife. Overall, spouses experienced a decline in self-esteem leading up to the divorce. After the divorce, the self-esteem seemed to rise again. However, the average self-esteem post-divorce did not meet the average self-esteem before the start of divorce proceedings.

Religion Matters

Religious people experienced a more dramatic decline in self-esteem in the months leading up to divorce than non-religious people. Researchers attribute this to societal pressure more than anything. It is likely that the decline in self-esteem is due to community judgement rather than originating internally.

Personality Plays A Role

People who are more careful, diligent, and deliberate in general experience less of a decline in self-esteem. Their self-esteem resiliency was the highest of any sub-group. The resiliency means that their self-esteem stayed higher and recovered more easily than other peoples’.

So What Is The Answer?

The researchers ultimately arrived at the answer that many people may have expected from the very beginning. Generally, yes, divorce seems to solve marital strife. The decline of self-esteem leading up to the divorce does not seem to derive from concerns about the divorce. Rather, that decline originates in an unhappy marriage. After the divorce, the burden of an unhappy marriage is off the ex-spouse’s shoulders.