Let’s not get into the “ugly” side of divorce but look at the social dynamics of it. Not only have 45 per cent of us lost half or more of our assets, which has changed our lifestyles somewhat dramatically (it’s been great for the property market, and furniture and homewares industries, though!), but it has also changed the roles of males and females in relation to our children (if you have them). It has also affected our needs and desires for the prospective and potential new partners whom we seek in our lives. What has also changed is the situation of being able to be financially independent outside the marital union. In some countries, the government will now financially assist the parent who has custodial rights of the children— which was never the case in the past—with the non-custodial parent legally required to contribute financially to the upbringing of the child (or children).

The process of divorce also has undergone a dramatic change: no longer do you have to prove that the reason is something like the infidelity of your spouse, nor do you have to wait for up to seven years. Now only one partner needs to feel dissatisfied enough to leave the relationship, and finalisation of the divorce takes just 12 months.

Nowadays if you decide to get married, there is another piece of paper you can be expected to sign before you marry; it’s called a pre-nuptial. This is a document that says you won’t take anything out of the marriage that you didn’t bring into the marriage (as you close the door behind you when you are leaving)—in other words, anything that belongs to your “true love” if you separate.

So what do all these things mean when it comes to relationships, knowing that all of this is expected and available? Has it made us wary and cynical towards marriage? ...

Men, for example, have become secondary, joint or even primary carers of their children. Now, there's a new one for you! Where has that happened before in history? So I pose a question to you: does that ...

This is only an extract from this chapter.

Topics covered in this chapter: Men as carers, The "dream" lifestyle, Maintenance (alimony) and attitudes, The dynamics of dealing with your ex-partner and how this affects you and the prospective partner you seek, Women's attitudes, Men's attitudes, Suggestions to make an unpleasant situation easier.


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