TIME Magazine’s Healthland blog reported yesterday on a British study which proved happy teens are more likely to be divorced in adulthood than unhappy ones. TIME’s Meredith Melnick writes, “Though it seems counterintuitive, the researchers suggest that it may actually be a positive sign: happy individuals with good social support and high self-esteem (not to mention stable jobs) may be in a better position to leave an unhappy marriage.”
Sure, that makes sense. But then Melnick says, “How they ended up in an unhappy marriage to begin with, however, will have to be fodder for another study.” That’s a question I’d like to tackle.
As Charlie Sheen’s goddess/porn star girlfriend Bree Olson (Rachel Oberlin) recently tweeted: “A woman needs love, a man needs respect. It’s that easy.”
Now, precisely why a “woman needs love” and why we’re often looking for it in all the wrong places is not so easy to explain, and, as Melnick suggests, should probably be the subject of another study – or at least another post. I have some theories about that related to my own life, but they’re not necessarily based on universal experiences. I didn’t know my real father, I had a lot of issues with my mom as a kid, I come from a family of crazy people… pretty common themes in girls with “Daddy Issues.” But I also suffered the suicide of my grandparents as an 18-year-old, and that was clearly a defining moment in my youth. Everyone who enters into an unhappy relationship meets general criteria on a “checklist for needy people” that I’m sure exists somewhere, but also has very specific and personal circumstances that make them feel like bad is a good idea for now because it’s better than nothing.
I think everyone who takes the time to read parenting blogs knows that providing stability for your children when they’re young is one way to try to help them avoid having a crazy life when they’re older, but there are no guarantees. My best offensive tactic in hoping to keep my daughter away from future drama is to tell her I love her over and over and over again, and then to practice what I preach. That way, her need for love will hopefully have been satiated to the point that she won’t end up in an unhappy relationship. I’d like her to be a happy enough teen that she has the confidence to get divorced, but a smart enough adult that she chooses to marry someone she can stay with forever.
Photo: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr