Addiction and divorce always go hand in hand. According to recent statistics, 14% of marriages in the United States break up due to addictions of one or both spouses, and this figure is growing steadily, especially in the post-crisis years. There is a clear but disappointing explanation for this fact from the psychological point of view. A modern person experiences daily pressure, feeling financial and political instability, fear, and confusion. The world is changing extremely fast, entire professional sectors and jobs disappear entirely, leaving thousands of people on the street. Not every person has the strength to adapt to change quickly.
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Although sometimes addiction appears as a result of personal problems, more often the opposite happens. Having chosen the path of escapism and speedy kind of pleasure, the addict may become aggressive or distance themselves from family liabilities. Such conduct inevitably entails a lot of problems in marriage besides the destructive habit itself – whether it is alcoholism, drug addiction, or gambling.
Even a more common and habitual nicotine addiction has its impact on divorce rates, and correlations are pretty disappointing. For instance, couples are 75-90% more likely to break up if only one of the spouses smokes. Along with it, the marriages where both spouses smoke are still 50% more likely to end in divorce than the unions of non-smokers.
At the same time, couples in which one of the spouses is addicted to alcohol, while the other is not (or at least if their attitude towards alcohol differs significantly) have 65% more chances to get divorced compared to those couples who have similar drinking habits.
Also, according to recent studies carried out but a divorce company in Tenessee, about 15% of divorced Americans called video game addiction as a cause of their split. Gambling addiction, which especially hurts the family’s safety and financial condition, increases the chances of divorce by a record 65%.
Finally, nearly 8% of all divorces occur due to substance addiction. Given the total divorce rate in the USA, this figure is striking. However, even this significant number does not take into account that not all the divorcing spouses whose case could involve addiction demand drug or alcohol testing to be included in their divorce agreement. A no-fault and uncontested divorce is a really great deal until it comes to the health and safety of the parties involved.
Maybe sometimes, divorcing spouses, all the same, should disclose such causes for divorce for the sake of their children. It’s worth to keep in mind, that abusive behavior is a contraindication to custody in many states, and may also affect the division of property.
Unfortunately, this is far from all the harmful addictions that threaten American families. There are still no appropriate statistics conclusions concerning food addiction, porn addiction, sex addiction, and others. Most of the things a person can become addicted to are too complicated. It is not always possible to say with certainty what exactly caused the divorce – the very fact of addiction or the changes that occurred in a person individually, albeit with some influence of his or her habit. These are too individual, psychological issues. So, sometimes it is too hard to compose a general picture in which cases the abuse led to a divorce, and when the personal problems of the spouses pushed one of them to some kind of addiction.
Indeed, at times, even the healthiest things can cause unhealthy interest – for instance, food and sex.
In this case, the object of addiction is not wrong and harmful. Yet, if a person develops his passion for it up to the unhealthy, unsafe stage, he probably will not be able to maintain a balance between his passion and other areas of life. The balanced state of mind demands relatively equal attention, time, and emotions paid for various life resources.
No wonder, that most often, the addict’s spouse – his or her closest person – is the first who recognizes the signs of addiction and the first who shows dissatisfaction or disappointment.
- At an early stage, addiction is perceived by the addict as something easy to control, something you can get rid of if it suddenly starts to cause concern. It is not surprising that the addict is angry at the comments of the spouse, who accused him of weakness.
- At a later stage, addicts perceive their addiction as a circumstance that does not depend on them.
- At an advanced stage, addicts are often very aggressive. They seek understanding and empathy from others. They want to be considered ill, or unique people, who just are not capable cope with the addiction, whose problem is of nature or it is a result of circumstances.
It is necessary to try to get rid of addiction without unnecessary ambitions, understanding the complexity of the task, but also without undue humility, without giving up. Most addicts and their spouses do the opposite – take on a lot, and then quickly retreat. In fact, they should understand that they will have to fight not with some external force, but with the power that has become part of the person. Addiction is something that captured him, partially turned into him, changed him. This struggle does not imply destruction but restructuring. Given the plasticity and variability of any living system, psychology confirms that this is possible.
Thus, for those who faced the addiction of a spouse, divorce can be not cowardice or cynicism but a bold step caused by love. We cannot change someone against his or her will, but it is precisely in cases of addiction (which has not yet destroyed the couple’s love and a chance for happiness) that divorce or even merely the fact of filing for divorce often becomes a positive turning point for an addict.
Hard times require radical solutions. Be strong, and let love will prevail!