Perks to getting divorced? You bet — and they're backed up by science.
We're not going to cut corners here: Finalizing your divorce sucks, plain and simple. You struggled to make it work with your (now ex) spouse for years. You uncovered the half-truths and the deceptions, and at times even made excuses for them; you doggedly tried to brush off concerned questions from your family and friends. And while you didn't want to do it, you knew it had to be done. You filed for divorce.
And now that you've received those final divorce papers, it's natural to want to curl up into a ball of despair, mourning the loss of your relationship and fretting about what life's next chapter has in store for you. But now that you're free from an unhappy marriage, it's the time to give yourself some TLC! To get you motivated, here are some study-backed facts that'll make you feel better about being newly single again.
1. You Can Be Happier
So you're divorced and feeling doomed to the single life, right? Don't worry. Despite how you may feel now, odds are your depression won't last forever. Maybe this bit of news will lift your spirits: Researchers at London's Kingston University found that women feel much happier for up to five years following the end of their marriages. And no, it wasn't just because they had finally broken free of their unhappy marriages. They felt more content than they had in their entire lifetimes. So what were you saying about "marital bliss," again?
2. You Will Be Healthier Than If You Stayed Unhappily Married
Researchers love to praise marriage as a health-boost. (But they clearly were never stuck in a miserable marriage.) And the rest of us tend to think that a marriage is better than no marriage at all. And while all the stats and studies love to tout the benefits of being hitched, we often forget that it's not about the marriage as much as it is the quality of the marriage. There's been plenty of science to prove that an unhappy, conflict-riddled marriage can be worse for you health-wise than if you were single. And if you hadn't broken up, you would still be at an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and depression.
3. You Can Avoid Financial Frustrations Of Married Couples
It's the common belief that getting married can be one of the smartest financial decisions you can make: a surplus tax breaks, not to mention cutting expenses in half. And yes, your divorce was costly, but there are some instances in which that divorce could be financially advantageous. Enter the Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT. The AMT was originally designed to prevent the wealthy from taking so many deductions that they end up paying little or no taxes, but it's unintentionally hurting more middle-income married couples. And that's just the start. From tax breaks to health insurance, it proves that being hitched doesn't always pay off. And while we definitely aren't suggesting that you sacrifice a happy union for a little extra cash (you could also say that's abusing the system), if you're already divorced, isn't it nice to know that your one step ahead in avoiding these insane (yet legal) loopholes?
4. Your Kids (If You Have Them) Will Be Better Off
Don't think that just because you try to "stick it out" for the kids that they will be happier. Kids will appreciate two homes where Mommy and Daddy are separately happy over one home where Mommy and Daddy are hurling insults at each other and using them as pawns in their mind games. Once you and your ex split, the tension is gone and the kids can breathe again. By divorcing from an unhappy marriage, you're showing that you deserve to be in a supportive relationship and that's the best thing you can model for your little ones.
5. You'll Be Happier In Your Next Marriage
If you fall in love again, don't be intimidated by the idea that you don't have what it takes to make a marriage work. You actually have better odds at making your marriage last having been married once before. In fact, a study found that people who remarry are less likely to get divorced. According to the Marriage Foundation, 45 percent of first-time marriages are destined for the divorce courts. Compare that to 31 percent of second-time newly weds ... how do you like your odds, now?
6. You'll Have An Easier Retirement
As we've already mentioned, we rarely escape from an unhappy marriage expense free. However, a study proves that divorced women are often better off in late age. Researchers at the University of Connecticut, Social Security Administration, and National Institute of Aging dug back through 40 years of Census Bureau and Social Security data to see how divorce affected women's earnings over their lifetimes. It turns out that the earnings growth was greatest for divorced women who never remarried. They were more likely to delay drawing Social Security benefits, resulting in higher lifetime benefits than married women. Financial independence is worth it!