Is divorce the key to happiness? 70-year study says yes

People who remarry after divorce can find happiness, according to Harvard researcher

Some people assume that people who divorce are somehow unsuited to happy marriages, but the findings from a Harvard study are questioning those assumptions, according to The Telegraph. The study, which tracked over 240 men over 70 years, found that many of those who divorced were able to remarry and stay happily remarried for decades afterwards. Furthermore, the study found that those people who remarried were more likely to be happily married in later life than were unhappily middle-aged people hoping to turn their marriages around as they got older.

70-year study on relationships

The unique study, commonly referred to as the Grant Study, is the longest-running study of its kind ever conducted. The Grant Study began tracking 19-year-old Harvard students in 1938 and has continued to follow significant milestones in their relationships and family lives since then. As Prof. George Valliant, the study head, admitted, the long-term nature of the research forced him to reevaluate some of his initial assumptions about marriage and divorce.

In 1977, his findings had led him to conclude that divorce would likely be an indicator of future relationship instability. But as the recent findings show, many men can learn from their previous relationship mistakes and use those lessons to form much more fulfilling marriages afterwards. The study found that 23 out of the 62 men who got divorced were able to remarry successfully. Those happy remarriages lasted an average of 33 years. In contrast, just one of the 49 men who said they remained unhappily married to their first spouse was able to turn his marriage into a success in later life.

Divorce and happiness

While the above study only evaluated male participants, another study released last year shows that divorce may lead to greater happiness for women, as well. As the Huffington Post reported, a study of 10,000 people found that women are more likely than men to feel happier than usual for up to five years following a divorce.

That study said the findings may be due to many women feeling trapped in unhappy marriages suddenly feeling liberated after a divorce. Another reason may be because as more and more women tend to work nowadays, they are better able to handle the financial stress of divorce than were women of previous generations.

Legal representation during a divorce

While divorce is bound to be a frightening and stressful experience for most people, the above studies should reassure people coming out of an unsuccessful marriage that future happiness is always possible. However, as the above news suggests, a successful life after marriage depends at least in part on achieving a favorable separation agreement following a divorce. An experienced family law lawyer can help somebody going through a divorce achieve favorable terms, especially when it comes to such important issues as spousal support and child custody. With the right legal advice, divorcing couples will have the help they need to begin rebuilding their lives.