With CBS’s Survivor ending in just a few days, we thought we’d take one of our favorite survivor hashtags and apply it to the world we deal with on a daily basis. Not sure which one we’re talking about? Oh, come on – it’s the one everyone loves! #blindside! Except when you’re talking about divorce. Then it’s the one no one loves. Which is exactly what we wanted to talk about today.
If you are a survivor fan (and we’re sure some of you are!) then you know about ‘outwit, outlast, outplay.’ These three goals make up the trifecta of goals that all survivor players aim for in the game. In order to make it to the end and win a million dollars, they must last longer and play a more effective game than their opponents. Which is where #blindside comes in. Making big, unexpected moves that your opponents are completely unprepared for, is what earns you bonus points at the end.
So how does this relate to divorce, you may wonder? Well, believe it or not, while lots of couples can see the breakdown of their marriage coming from a long way off, there are quite a few people that are completely blindsided when their spouse tells them they’re calling it quits. Not possible, you say. After all, how many people live out their days in what they think is a blissful marriage, only to wake up one morning and discover that their spouse wants out? None? Think again.
According to Donna Ferber, a practicing psychotherapist and the author of From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce, being blindsided by divorce is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more frequent with each passing year. Current statistics show that over two thirds of divorces are filed by women. In addition, a recent poll conducted by the AARP shows that a full quarter of the men whose wives left them claim that they never saw it coming. #Blindside!
Research shows that more and more divorces are filed by women.
How is that possible, you wonder? How could a person have absolutely no idea that their spouse is unhappy, and that their marriage is a one-sided love affair? In her blog post “Sudden Divorce Syndrome: Reality or Myth?” Ferber explains that this is not because more women are wanting divorces these days, but rather the fact that they no longer believe that they have a choice in the matter.
A man may be shocked by the news that his wife wants “out,” but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t given plenty of warning. It usually means he wasn’t listening. “Sudden Divorce Syndrome” assumes impulsive behavior on the part of the woman. Nothing is further from the truth. Perhaps a better term would be “Shocked Divorce Syndrome.” That’s certainly an accurate description of these men who find themselves blindsided.”
Most of the men in these cases are ordinary average guys. Not child abusers, not perpetrators of domestic violence, not guilty of having affairs. In fact, on a scale of one to “most terrible husband ever” most of them would probably rank themselves somewhere in the three or four range. So what happened? What caused their wives to be so unhappy that they couldn’t take it anymore and had to leave?
It’s a rather unsettling concept to consider – that your spouse may be so unfulfilled and unhappy in the relationship as to want a divorce, while you are blissfully ignorant that anything is amiss. So how does that happen? How does a couple reach that point where their marriage consists of two different people looking at the same relationship and seeing two completely different things? The answer, you’ll be surprised to find, is simpler than you would have thought.
Join us next time, as we look at why men and women often see such different perspectives when viewing their relationship, and how that can be avoided. After all, no one wants a blindside. Unless of course, you’re watching Survivor!