More opt for divorce

2018-06-04 16:00
Marriages and divorces by province.

Marriages and divorces by province. (Graphics24)

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Just under half of marriages in South Africa do not last 10 years — and women are the ones who mainly initiate divorce action.

New research by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said that, in 2016, about 51% of married women had filed for divorce, with married men accounting for 34,2% of divorces.

The average age of men and women seeking divorces was 44 and 40 years old respectively.

According to the research, men and women seeking divorces were mainly employed professionals, and in positions like management, administration or sales. More than 6 000 women who were “not economically active” were divorced in 2016, compared to just over 4 300 for men.

A total of 48 divorces were granted for same-sex couples, of which 38 were female couples and 10 were male couples.

Overall, there were 25 326 divorces in South Africa in 2016.

Stats SA further found KwaZulu-Natal saw the most customary marriages for that year, accounting for 42,2% of the total customary marriages.

Rakhi Beekrum, a Durban marital therapist, said the most common reasons people chose to divorce were infidelity, financial issues, substance abuse issues and not prioritising each other.

“The common factor in most divorces is that couples are not working together to solve their problems and create happier marriages for them both,” she said.

Regarding women mainly initiating divorces, Beekrum said: “Women are becoming more financially independent and no longer feel as pressured to stay in an unhappy marriage for financial reasons or to please others.

“Also, women and men are more understanding of the fact that staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children is actually harmful to the child.”

Beekrum said any marriage can be salvaged so long as both parties were willing to take responsibility and work as a team to resolve problems.

Professor of cultural studies at the Durban University of Technology, Jean-Philippe Wade, said the issue of many marriages not lasting 10 years could be because of a new global culture of people being individualistic and self-gratifying.

“The consequence of this is that a serious relationship needs selfless effort, and one would need to put aside instant desires and work with another person. People are constantly seeking out easy pleasure, and stable, long-term things are not always pleasurable so people want to leave.”

He added that, on the other hand, the divorce rates could indicate people willing to leave stagnant relationships.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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