Is Divorce for Dumb People?

by Britni Danielle

If you talk to a cynic about marriage and divorce, they may wax poetic about “the good old days” when folks stayed married for upwards of 50 years and really lived up to their “till death do you part” vows. But these days, divorces are easier to obtain and some people rush into marriage before they really know about their partner’s life before they became a couple. In some cases seems like when the going gets just a little tough, couples call it quits.

Only, divorce rates are down these days. After hitting astronomical rates in the 1980s, people are waiting longer to get married and, apparently, the divorce rate is going down.

Recently, I was perusing writer and career coach Penelope Trunk’s blog yesterday when I came across a post titled “Divorce is immature and selfish. Don’t do it.”

In the post, Trunk (a remarried divorcee) makes the case against divorce on the basis of five reasons: Divorce is a cliché; divorce is terrible for kids; divorce is for dumb people (uneducated people divorce at higher rates); divorce reflects mental illness; and divorce is often a career issue.

During her post Trunk makes some startling claims like domestic violence—something she and her husband deal with now—shouldn’t be an automatic deal breaker.

Trunk writes:

The person who says they are a victim of violence.

Two-thirds of divorces take place in low-conflict homes, and in those cases, the kids are much better off if the parent just stick it out.

So let’s look at high-conflict homes: It takes two people to fight. And there’s great research to show that if you picked an asshole the first time, you’ll pick the same type of asshole the second time. (Which is why divorce rates for second marriages are so much higher than first marriages.) So instead of getting rid of your kids’ parent, figure out why you picked a person like this, and then get good at drawing boundaries.

Really, good boundaries can save even the worse marriages. Taking care of your own contribution to the mess can single-handedly stop the mess.

This is especially true of violence. At this point in the history, where women have so much earning power, women are equally as responsible for men for the violence in a household. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control reports that most domestic violence today is a 50/50 thing. Both parties are responsible. Which means that even if you have one of the worst marriages, you have the power to fix it.

While I don’t agree with Trunk’s advice to always work through violent relationships, I do feel like some people rush into marriages before they are ready only to end up angry and fighting it out before a judge.

Though some have blamed the rise in the divorce rate on women and our access to equal rights, I am happy that the ability to leave a toxic situation isn’t an option merely reserved for men.

Back in the “good old days” many women were beaten or mistreated by their spouses with no way to leave (or take their children). So while our current system may be imperfect, and people may be rushing into marriage without understanding the gravity of it all, having a way out is much better than being unable to walk away when you really need to.

What do you think of Trunk’s assertion? Is divorce for “dumb people”?  


  • Echi

    Oh, wow, this is definitely a different take on things. Thanks for sharing this perspective. I personally am not married and my parents are anti-divorce. Of my friends who came from divorced homes, yeah, it was tough, but it seemed like they survived it. Can’t wait to see what others responses are.

  • dirtychai

    Divorce is for dumb people? Uneducated does not mean unintelligent. Personally I know a lot of “uneducated” couples who are happily married and doing quite well. I also know some who are still in bad relationships because of the financial co-dependency that comes with having lower incomes. In no way do I agree with staying in a violent relationship. Ask anyone who made that decision and they will likely tell you that it didn’t end well…if they’re still around.

  • Maybea

    I’ve read the article. Take it from someone with experience and who’s also done research. Divorce is never selfish in the case of domestic violence whether you have kids or not. The longer you stay, the worse it gets. If not physically then mentally. It’s bad for you and your kids’ mental health and maybe even physical. And it sets a terrible example for the kids, they need to understand what the healthiest choice is.

    In general, I don’t think divorce is selfish. Why stay in a home where you’re miserable. If two people can work it out then that’s great but if someone who know chooses to get divorced, why judge. You might as well support them in their decision. Whether they stay or go its going to be tough.

  • Maybea

    Also, I can’t speak from experience, but are people really rushing into marriage faster today compared to the “good ol’ days”?

    People today are getting married later in life. Doesn’t this give more room for a person to “discover” their selves and figure out what they want in life and what they want in a partner?

    I think that one of the main reasons that divorce is higher today is because it’s legal and less frowned upon in society. Past relationships weren’t always perfect and a lot of the bad situations were kept private. People are also having less kids, its hard enough being a single parent with 2 kids let alone any more.

    Rushing into marriage is bad but everyone will learn something new about their partners as they go through marriage. This might work out for better or for worse.

  • Natsai

    I can’t believe that woman’s advice on violent relationships. I was in one and let me tell you there are no such thing as setting a boundary because ANYTHING will set off an abusive mate. It really has nothing to do with you personally, sticking in that relationship is only hurting yourself. If I stayed with him, got married, and had kids I would become a shadow of the person I once was and it would be my fault because I had the mindset of this author. My children would have learned the behavior of my relationship with their abusive father and assume abuse is a normal thing, now I’ve just created a cycle. But hey, don’t we make a great family picture? Can’t risk that. Domestic violence is absolutely a valid reason for ending any partnership. Women of all colors need to save ourselves from our mind mindsets. “Til death do us part” should never be a vow to be taken advantage of.

  • Fuchsia

    I believe divorce is for the young and dumb, mainly those who are dumb before they get married. I absolutely agree with the article. I was married at 20 and divorced by 22. My parents were married at 20 and divorced before they turned 30, and both are remarried now and happy. They were young, poor, violent and dumb as well. Their divorce more than their marriage caused me to suffer form anxiety and depression at a young age, which was a factor in my own divorce. My brother suffered more while they were married and thrived after their divorce. All in all people are dumb because of the society they live in always telling them that marriage is the ideal. Therapy and Pre-marital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. That’s the only way to lower divorce rates. Stop telling people that getting married will somehow solve their problems or make them better people.

  • myblackfriendsays

    Too many people decide to get a divorce instead of working things out. Marriage is far from perfect and it takes a lot of work.

    That being said, adults are are free to make the decisions that are best for them.

    And I agree with the pp–uneducated does not equal dumb, and educated does not equal smart. I’m guessing she just sad that for shock value.

  • Echi

    The article states that compared to the 1980s, the divorce rate is LOWER today, which I have heard from a number of other sources as well.

  • __A

    I agree. If she were talking about making things work in a marriage where the spark is gone or your wife is a nag or your husband is lazy, I can see that, but domestic abuse is not something I think women should put up with. That is horrible advice.

    But I do think a lot of people divorce for other dumb reasons. I’m happy to hear that the divorce rate is lower. We need stable marriages and strong families. People need to have romance yea, but they need to be more practical like their grandparents a bit and realize that life is not a Disney princess movie.

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