What your life will be like after divorce is ultimately an open question. You have chapters yet to be written, with all the hopes and fears associated with that.
One of those fears may be of ending up isolated and alone. Recent research suggests, however, that being single isn’t synonymous with being solitary – and that single people actually outperform their married counterparts in many measures of social engagement and wellbeing.
In this post, we will explore that phenomenon
The Nueroscience of Romantic Connection
Marital therapists increasingly make bold claims for their work. One such therapist, John Gottman, claims he is able to predict with a remarkably high rate of certainty which couples will divorce and which will stay together.
Another therapist, Sue Johnson, makes similarly sweeping assertions about the importance of a long-term connection with a partner for overall health and happiness. In her latest book, “Love Sense,” she makes the case for the health benefits – such as reduced risk of heart attacks — that a stable love relationship can bring over time.
But what about bad marriages, where the relationship between the partners has fragmented, fractured or simply withered away over time? Does someone in an overly combative or lonely marriage still get the health and happiness benefits that contented couples do?
The answer, in a nutshell, is probably not.
Out of isolation
In practice, many single people are much more socially connected than many of their married counterparts. Research shows, for example, that singles are much more apt to be in touch with parents and siblings than married people.
The same is true of interactions with friends and neighbors. Being married can tend limit your ability to reach out to others, regardless of whether you have children.
In short, married people are not necessarily better off than single people in terms of emotional connection and the benefits that can flow from it. It depends a lot, after all, on the quality of the marriage and how involved a single person is with others.
In other words, being single doesn’t have to mean solitary. In fact, it can mean quite the reverse: a rich social life that is not dependent on just one other person.
Positioning yourself for a new life
This positive side of single life is good to know about as you face life after divorce. This is especially true if you feeling uncertain about being single again.
To be sure, maybe you are already in another relationship and have plans to remarry eventually. But whether you have found someone new or not, there can still be a socially rich, deeply connected future awaiting you.
In the meantime, it’s important to handle your divorce in ways that best position you for your new life. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you do that.