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Divorce Stigma: Are You Marrying Material?

Posted Jan 03 2011 10:40am

When I was growing up, we were the only family in school that we knew about whose parents were divorced. It made us feel odd and different from others, stigmatized. Turns out we weren’t alone - many people from divorce felt that way growing up in the nineteen fifites and sixites. Now, being from a divorced family isn’t unusual, but you may find that you are stigmatized in today’s dating world.

Studies tell us that if you grew up in a family of divorce, you’re more likely to be divorced. The reasons for that are not clear. Lack of stability in family of origin may result in feeling like chaos is the norm, so you will be attracted to people who are not stable. Loss of one parent due to divorce creates a vacuum of unmet needs, and that can be a burden to your future spouse. Whatever the reason, you may find that you are labeled by potential dating partners as unsuitable because of your parents’ divorce. What can you do about that?

The obvious answer is nothing - over other people’s thoughts and feelings you have no control. What you have a lot of control over is how you view the divorce of your parents. Consciousness is the key: being fully present and aware of your attraction to unstable people, making a conscious choice to break the family pattern, and making better choices. You can re-wire your own brain so that you are attracted to stable people and stable situations. Therapy helps, visioning a positive life filled with love and connection helps, and getting a good coach along the way to keep you on track also helps.

The greatest power in life is your ability to re-frame whatever happens so that you learn, grow, and move forward in a positive direction. THAT is universally attractive and appealing.


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