More NI marriages breaking down…

MORE and more married couples in Northern Ireland are getting divorced. Women are twice as likely to file for divorce as men, with unfaithfulness and unreasonable behaviour the main causes. If there’s any consolation from all this, maybe it’s the implication from the statistics that women are less likely now than in the past to endure years of physical or mental abuse.

  • dont tell councillor tosh he may claim its the catholics fault.

    if it wasn’t for those damn pesky taigs i would have got away with it

  • Miss Fitz

    Funny, when I went to live in Miami, so many years ago, I remember meeting the first divorced person I had ever come across. It was amazingly exotic, and I expected her to be a little wicked if nothing else! The idea of divorce or separation in Ireland was unheard of entirely.

    What a difference a generation makes, and its all so commonplace now. Indeed, one now finds oneself among the divorced, and it isnt even slightly exotic! Just a tough old life, but sometimes it can indeed be better all by yourself

  • Brenda

    Gonzo, you say women now won’t endure physical or mental abuse in marriage, but (I could be wrong,) isn’t the abuse more likely to happen in marriage-LESS unions, where the couple are co-habbiting. These statistics are for marriage dissolutions,not abuse. I would have thought domestic violence statistics would cover all households, and that it is definitely higher with co-habitting couples rather than married couples. Doesn’t co-habbitation go hand in hand in a lot of cases with child poverty, child and spousal abuse and lack of security in the relationship.

    According to these statistics marriages are breaking down because of higher expectations, not because of higher levels of abuse in marriage. I think you’ll find the statistics bear me out on this.

  • Garibaldy

    Miss Fitz,

    Maybe divorce was unheard of in the 26, but not in Ireland

  • bertie

    I know that sometimes peole say that we should make divorce harder. I think that maybe we should be making marriage harder. Or rather make getting married harder.

  • Miss Fitz

    You know, I’m just back from London, so I’m not quite up to the usual persnickety minding of my language.

    The nice thing about being away is that you can just relax and call a spade a frigging spade. London is just London, and the Queen is the Queen, and you dont have to worry about offending or potentially offending people who need/want/crave to be offended.

    Garibaldy, you know bloody well what I meant, relax son, and get some sunshine out there where you are

  • Pete Baker

    Welcome back, Miss Fitz :o)

  • Brenda

    Did you see any good shows miss fitz?

  • Miss Fitz

    Cheers Pete, took the folks over from Miami to visit long lost cousins in London. Hadnt seen each other in 40 years, so very satisfying. Good to be back though. I was all warm and fuzzy about NI coming home, and hearing the gorgeous lilt of the accent. Was also very struck at how friendly every one was at the airport, car rental etc.

    Maybe all the cross people congregate here and everyone else is happy?

  • Miss Fitz

    Hey Brenda!
    Nah, did the dopey things though, and went on an open air bus around London, which was tacky but very cool. Unfortunately, I am still posing to the ‘Everyday Orange’ pool on Flickr, so I was inclined to be wandering around looking for orange things to the complete mystification of my elderly parents.

    Best show was Belfast Pride, afore I left. Was good craic as usual, and great atmosphere.

  • Pete Baker

    “Maybe all the cross people congregate here and everyone else is happy?”

    Maybe, Miss Fitz… maybe indeed. :O)

  • Garibaldy

    Pete, how can you, of all people, not appreciate the beauty of my pedantic behaviour?

  • Miss Fitz

    Who Pete?

  • Pete Baker

    Now Garibaldy… I didn’t say I don’t fully appreciate the pedantic nature of your comments on this.. I’d be a hypocrite to claim otherwise.

    But Miss Fitz’s point on that pedantistic behaviour, in this example at least, is worth bearing in mind. ;o)

  • Pete Baker


  • Donnacha

    I’d be interested to see if there is a similar rise in numbers in the Republic over the same periods. Like Miss Fitz, I never met a divorced person until late in life and yet on a recent trip home I found at least half of my contemporaries had been either divorced or separated, myself included. I am glad to see that the NI rise has been put down to an unwillingness to stand for abuse. I remeber far too many couples staying together in the divorce-less south despite regular beatings being delivered. I don’t care how many holy joes say that marriage is the bedrock of society, a bad one is a bad one and should be dropped as soon as possible.

  • heck

    Just a thought

    could more women be filing for divorce because women can now be financially independent, or because the ex husband will be made to support his children?

    Like you I never met a divorced person before I left Nor Iron (and dear Garibaldy, I grew up in north Belfast), but I remember when women who worked in the bank, in Belfast, had to quit when they got married.

    Even we NI folk are a little more enlightened now a days

  • Rory

    It might do well also to consider that reasons of ‘abuse’, ‘mental and physical cruelty’ etc. are often cited on divorce petitions were the real reason is that the petitioning partner has found a new squeeze.

    I remeber drinking some whiskey once after a funeral with a worldy wise old priest at a wake were half the mourners were divorced and the other half all busily flirting with anyone but their own spouse (all good Irish Catholics of course). “They had it all arse backwards”, he said, after a sup,” believing that sex before marriage was the big problem. It’s bloody sex after marriage that’s causing all the heartbreak. But even with that – if they just didn’t make such a big bloody deal of it and practised a bit of forgiveness, a lot of grief could be avoided”. He went on later to utter a few choice words aginst John Paul II, still then living, as “the bugger who set back all the advances of Vatican II”. An interesting man and not at all stereotypical of what first appearances might have advertised.

  • Harry Flashman

    I blame IKEA meself.

    I mean has any married couple gone there and NOT felt like killing their respective spouses after fifteen minutes?

  • Aidan

    I don’t think there’s any one thing that’s caused the increase in divorce rates, but several contributing factors are:

    – More choice and freedom for the individual
    – Less social stigma associated with becoming divorced
    – Women are becoming more independent
    – People are getting married and having children later, so the possibility of ‘starting again’ exists well into one’s 30s.

    Personally I think it’s a progression and a good thing. Hopefully, eventually people will stop getting married to the wrong person/too early.

  • aquifer

    The state subsidises divorce, taxing working couples while maintaining a generous system of judicial patrician compensation, housing, and social security support for divorcees and their families.

    Divorce is bad for children, but adults have the votes, and while judges get to play ‘super sugar daddy’ with awards to female divorcees, a temporary disaffection can easily develop into permanent separation.

    The market for small apartments, and demand for social housing will continue to boom.

  • Miss Fitz

    Can we have a few sources there on the ‘divorce is bad for children’ you are quoting?

    I recall several recent studies that demonstrate very clearly that divorce is a preferential option in cases where there is a breakdown of normal family patterns, resulting in the abuse of the woman, sexual or physical abuse of the children, addictive and abusive behaviour, or psychological abuse within the partnership.

    My ex reads Slugger, and I want to be sure he knows he would never be classed in any of those categories, sometimes a relationship sadly breaks down for other reasons. We probably married a wee bit young. I found it interesting what Rory said (by the way, big welcome back, you were missed). Sex before marriage was such a taboo in my teens, you really had to get married to benefit from it.

    Such a change from today where all of that has changed. I’m not completely sure where I stand now on marriage. I met one of my cousins last week who has been in a stable relationship for 27 years and never married. They have provided a good loving home for their children, and have committed to each other for life.

    Marriage suited the organs of the state, and perhaps was a means of keeping people under control and organised, but does anyone ever really benefit?

    One thing is for certain, you aint ever going to see Miss Fitz become a ‘Mrs’ Fitz, one walk on the beach with the Registrar was enough.

  • Aislingeach

    I have to agree with those who say there are several reasons for the increase in divorce rates. There is a decrease in the benefits that marriage provides in a modern world–smaller families and more employment opportunities for women mean more independence is possible, the urban community is less judgemental of lifestyles and life-long commitment has fallen from the top-rated virtues (we don’t stay with a single company all our worklives, either, although that used to be more common). Change is not only accepted, it’s expected.

    Children are better off with stability, that much is true. But as Miss Fitz notes, stability does not require marriage.

    And there was only one “broken home” in my very extended family when I was growing up here in the States, too. Now, my brother has been married 5 times, while my husband and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary. To each their own.

  • Animus

    How many of us who remember few divorces can remember families where the parents patently hated one another? I would say that’s far more damaging than divorce. Divorce can and often does get ugly, but staying together for the children is a recipe for disaster too.

    I would venture to guess that financial independence is the reason more women are leaving. And while forgiveness is important, so is fidelity. Women didn’t leave a serial adulterer in the past because they mightn’t have had the money or didn’t want to make waves. Grin and bear it and pass the Valium.

    On the other side, many people marry expecting it to be unfettered bliss, just like when they fell in love. People spend more time planning a wedding than they do getting to know their spouse-to-be. You can’t grow a garden without giving it care and attention, so you can’t keep a relationship going without weathering a few storms and giving it care and attention. You can throw back a husband or wife as easily as you take back a jumper with a pull in it. But then that’s a problem with relationships, not the institution of marriage generally.

  • Rory

    Your brother, Aislingeach, sounds like a great example of “the triumph of hope over experience”. I do admire his stamina.

    But I must say that Harry Flashman argued very persusively for a widespread adoption of the IKEA test. A relationship that survives that can weather anything.

  • Aislingeach

    Animus, you are right–there are websites devoted to dealing with “after wedding blues” for the bridezillas who only considered the day and not the “ever after”.

    Rory, my brother is an example of making the same mistake too many times; he marries someone he falls in love with, while I married someone I love (and who loved me back, thanks be!)

    And I agree with you and Harry as well–my test is usually telling couples to try doing some do-it-yourself work together before marriage. If you don’t find yourself wanting to take the hammer to your partner, you’re on the right track.

  • Aidan

    LOL @ ‘bridezillas’ Aislingeach!

  • bertie

    In the past people didn’t live as long so if you were in an unhaapy marriage, you probably didn’t have to endure it for too long.