An interesting report came out recently: Parents of children with cancer are actually not any more likely to seek a divorce.
This flies in the face of what people have tended to believe about cancer and divorce. We see movies where a father can’t deal with a child’s illness and leaves, or parents simply stop loving one another because of all the attention that the child demands. But, as it turns out, the truth is a lot less melodramatic.
A Danish study detailed by HealthDay this month suggests that families characterize cancer as an outside threat to the family and not a fundamental flaw in the marriage itself. Couples use their bond as a means to get through a difficult time in their lives.
This should work to prove that couples who seek divorce are not typically bailing in fear or giving up when the going gets rough. Rather, they have likely determined that they are simply not a good match and that there are fundamental differences that they cannot get past. Furthermore, that love for one’s children has nothing to do with a divorce.
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it can be helpful to have the parents together through the process, but the fiction we see on television, in movies and in books is just that, a fiction. The truth is that people tend to get married when they have a certain connection, and they tend to get divorced when they find that they don’t.
The stereotypes about families, divorce and marriage persist, but it is studies like this one that debunk myths and highlight the realities regarding why relationships stop working. The real myth to debunk is that divorce is a failure and that a family stops being admirable without the connection of marriage.
Source: HealthDay, “Parents of Kids With Cancer No More Likely to Break Up,” April 12, 2012