Why people get divorced, why may separation damage the relationships, and how can counseling help? Amanda Cornell is a mental health professional that has been working with divorced, remarried couples, and blended families for the past fifteen years. This paper answers popular questions about first and second marriages and presents the findings of the interview with Cornell. The report is supported by evidence from the field and features reliable information on the topic.
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Summary of Findings
Main Reasons for Divorce
The interview with Cornell shows that the main reasons for divorce are infidelity, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of emotional intimacy. In addition, poor communication can be considered “one of the major triggers of problems in marriage,” but this problem alone does not usually lead to divorce (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). The counselor admits that some reasons for divorce can be eliminated easily while others require significant dedication from both partners and sometimes their families.
Implications of Divorce
The primary challenges of divorce are that it may cause severe depression in one or both partners and affect their relationships with friends and family members (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). In addition, divorce may have an adverse effect on children. The study by Weaver and Schofield (2015) supports this point of view and shows that children of couples undergoing divorce or separation may result in behavioral problems and poor academic performance. The interview reveals that these issues affect all people differently but are generally hurtful to both partners and their families.
The Role of Counseling
Appropriate counseling is highly beneficial for couples because it can help them to process the outcomes of divorce or separation, allow for positive changes, and offer closure. For some individuals, it may be challenging to forgive their partners or accept the fact that their relationships are ended. In addition, working with a medical professional can help to minimize the effects of divorce on children (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). It is possible to say that counseling can be a starting point for couples wanting to end the relationships appropriately or prevent a divorce.
Results of Counseling
The results of counseling depend primarily on the couple’s goals and the dedication towards achieving them. Some individuals enter counseling at a stage when some issues cannot be resolved due to miscommunication and the inability to accept differences in views (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). At the same time, for some divorced couples that are ready to work on their relationships, counseling can result in successful remarriage.
The Role of Separation
In Cornell’s opinion, separation can be used as a preventive measure, but it is not always effective, as it may also result in divorce (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). In addition, separation can have an adverse effect on both partners and their children’s mental state. For instance, Schaan and Vögele (2016) note that separation can lead to childhood trauma and rejection sensitivity in young adults. It means that it may be more feasible to use more effective approaches to save a marriage.
Results of Separation
In Cornell’s practice, separation most often leads to divorce (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). The counselor believes that the reason for it is that individuals do not spend their time managing the problem and changing their perspectives towards their marriage and partners. In addition, Cornell notes that separation can lead to more significant communication issues and misunderstandings. However, there are many couples remarrying after separation, and “people should not be discouraged by statistics” (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019).
Common Mistakes During Remarrying
The interview showed that one of the biggest mistakes couples make when they marry again is replicating their past mistakes. For example, Betchen (2018) notes that many individuals are prone to continue a problematic pattern due to their unconscious needs. Cornell states that many people do not realize that they start having arguments about the same topics or have the same communication issues (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). The counselor adds that these facts do not mean that people should not remarry; couples should be more careful while managing difficulties and try the strategies that they did not use during their first marriage.
Techniques for Managing Remarriage
Cornell suggests several techniques for couples that decide to reunite. They include developing realistic expectations, building the culture of tolerance and appreciation, being ready to resolve conflicts, establishing an open dialogue, and communicating about all challenging or questionable issues (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). The interview shows that it is possible to manage remarriage effectively, but couples should be dedicated to overcoming past problems.
Emotions Blended Families Experience
Blended families may encounter various problems, including different parenting styles. The emotions individuals may experience include grief following a divorce and conflicting emotions. Gold (2015) reports that more than 60% of second marriages end in divorce. Cornell notes that counseling of blended families requires a high level of expertise as it is vital to evaluate the impact of negative experiences from partners’ previous relationships on their new marriage (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). She adds that blended couples can establish successful relationships and eliminate negative emotions, too, but it requires significant effort from both partners and, sometimes, their children.
Personal Conflict Management Strategies
Cornell notes that the primary measure she uses to prevent conflicts in her marriage is establishing productive communication and listening to her partner attentively. Such strategies allow the counselor to become aware of her husband’s concerns and address them timely (A. Cornell, personal communication, May 6, 2019). In addition, communication helps Cornell to discuss her own perspectives on relationships, too and ensure that her needs are met.
Marriage, remarriage, separation, and divorce may be associated with challenges that should be addressed and discussed timely. Divorce and separation can have adverse effects on both partners, their children, and their families; these processes are associated with an increased risk of depression. The interview with Cornell shows that it is vital for couples to establish effective communication, have realistic expectations about each other, and be dedicated to working towards improving their relationships. This way, individuals can ensure that their marriage is successful.
- From your counseling experience, what are the main reasons for couples’ divorces?
- What, from your perspective, are the implications of divorce?
- What is the role of counseling during a divorce, and why is it beneficial for couples to undergo divorce counseling?
- Does counseling always result in remarriage, and can it be helpful for all couples?
- What is your attitude towards separation as a measure married couples can use to prevent divorce?
- What are the processes couples usually wish to undergo after separation? Does separation typically lead to remarriage or divorce?
- What mistakes should couples avoid when remarrying, and is it common for couples to repeat past mistakes?
- What techniques do you teach couples that decide to reunite?
- From your professional knowledge, what are the emotions partners from blended families usually experience?
- What are the strategies you personally use to prevent conflicts in your marriage?
Betchen, S. J. (2018). The biggest mistake people make when they remarry. Web.
Gold, J. M. (2015). Stepping in, stepping out: Creating stepfamily rhythm. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
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Schaan, V. K., & Vögele, C. (2016). Resilience and rejection sensitivity mediate long-term outcomes of parental divorce. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(11), 1267-1269.
Weaver, J. M., & Schofield, T. J. (2015). Mediation and moderation of divorce effects on children’s behavior problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(1), 39-48.