Divorced Adults In Their 40s And Up Revealed The "Marriage Myths" That No One Talks About

Divorced Adults In Their 40s And Up Revealed The "Marriage Myths" That No One Talks About

We recently asked older divorced adults of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the "marriage myths" more people should know. Here are the eye-opening results:

1."If you think your children don't know that you and/or your spouse aren't happy, you are dead wrong. Choosing to stay with your partner for the 'sake of the kids' will ultimately do them more harm than good."

"Co-parenting is hard even in an amicable divorce. And yeah, sometimes, it flat-out sucks. But it's so much better than forcing your kids to live in a household under siege."


A woman looks stressed, covering part of her face with her hand. In the background, two children are playing in an outdoor setting. Names not available
Jelena Stanojkovic / Getty Images / iStockphoto

2."There is no magic length of marriage where it becomes smooth sailing. I got divorced after 24 years. It's for life — that's how long you have to make it work."


3."Don't believe marriage therapy can save a marriage. Don't believe marriage can change a person. If their behavior is troubling you before you get married, walk away. It will only get worse. Pay attention to the red flags and your gut instincts. Do not believe the Hollywood myths about 'the one' and that marriage is happily ever after. Even my remaining married friends have said it is bloody hard work!!!"

—50, United Kingdom

"People only change if THEY want to. All the flaws you see before marriage will still exist, and no matter how much you try to change someone, it won't work. You either grow together or grow apart."


A man and woman are arguing indoors, with the man pointing at the woman. Silhouetted against a window, their emotions appear tense and confrontational
Janiecbros / Getty Images

4."That passion is something you can compromise on; you think so many other things make up for it. The problem is when things get bad, you realize there's not enough to make up for a lack of passion."


5."That you both have to be willing to fight. If one person is willing, and the other isn’t, there really is no hope. You can’t make a person change their mind if they’ve already decided to give up."


A close-up of hands with a wedding ring on the table, signing a divorce decree
M-production / Getty Images / iStockphoto

6."Your world should not be solely focused on them. Have your own interests and do things separately in addition to having interests you share. It helps with having a multitude of things to talk about. Make sure you both know how to handle household tasks and understand the full financial picture. Bad things do happen unexpectedly, and you need to be prepared."

—53, West Virginia

7."Marriage is a sign of maturity and should be the goal we are all working for. False! The more mature choice may be to be brave enough to be alone and get to know who you are. Marriage is not admirable or enviable; it's not an accomplishment. It's a choice, but not the 'best' or only choice."


Outdoor wedding ceremony setup with white chairs arranged on either side of an aisle leading to an altar adorned with greenery and white flowers
Serhii Mazur / Getty Images

8."Opposites attracting is a recipe for heartache, no matter how much chemistry there is. There is much to be said for two people who come into a marriage with shared values, education levels, and life goals. Love does not overcome all. You will make each other miserable if you can't walk on common ground most of the time. Hold out for someone who truly 'gets you.' It matters in the long run, and isn't that what marriage is all about? You'll know when it's truly right."

"Don't settle just because they make your pulse race. That heat doesn't last unless you truly feel emotionally and psychologically connected the majority of the time. And if your children are witnessing a constant battle, set up separate camps and stay there. Otherwise, they will carry emotional scars with them — and into their own relationships someday. Model peace to them, however you have to do it."


9."That there's no shame in leaving somebody, especially if they're treating you badly. Particularly a message for men, who often find it harder to talk about experiencing domestic abuse or find themselves isolated." You're not a loser for ending a marriage and you're definitely not a loser for being recognising you deserve better.

"You're not a loser for ending a marriage and you're definitely not a loser for being recognising you deserve better."


A person sits on the floor against a wall, head in hand, appearing distressed
Urbazon / Getty Images

10."Marriage is work — that should not surprise anyone, BUT if you are constantly miserable and everything is a battle, it may be time to reevaluate. I stayed far too long in a toxic and abusive marriage because I thought I needed to work harder."


11."'Never go to bed angry.' Trust me, fights at 3 a.m. with a sleep-deprived brain aren't healthy. Feel free to go to bed angry, intending to solve things in the morning."


A cozy, unmade bed with beige sheets and pillows. There's a side table with a glass of water, a plant, and some personal items
Miniseries / Getty Images

12."'Happy wife, happy life.' The truth is you must secure your own happiness before you can begin assisting anyone with their own happiness. Instead of trying to make your partner happy, seek to understand where their unhappiness stems from."

"However, attempting to help someone who has unhealed childhood trauma, is maybe unmotivated to be happy, and refuses to seek professional help is a fruitless endeavor that could harm you in the process."

—Anonymous, Colorado

13."That your late 20s or early 30s is the time or your only chance to get married. I wanted to get married because people were pairing off around me, but the truth is that I didn’t know myself at all, and neither did he. As a people pleaser, I got into a marriage and made myself miserable because I thought taking care of him would make me 'lovable,' and he would magically know exactly what I needed to be happy."

"In my 40s, I know now that understanding yourself and being able to ask for what you need is essential when binding yourself to another person."

—46, Washington

A person lights birthday candles shaped like the number 30 on a heart-shaped cake topped with small candies
Fotostorm / Getty Images

14."Decision-making is much more complicated than you think. My mom always supported my dad's career, and I expected it to be like that when I got married. I had a job lined up, and I got on the plane to come home knowing I was getting divorced because she wouldn't leave the state despite me constantly saying, 'I have opportunities elsewhere, and it will benefit us down the road.' Talk about that before you tie the knot."

"Get into the weeds on those decisions beforehand. Because divorces can be complicated, too. And those are also joint decisions, whether you think they are or not."

—40s, USA

15."You never REALLY know someone. After 27 years with my husband, he left me for my son's friend's mother. He lied to me for two years before he left, and when his therapist asked me to talk to her, she had no idea that he was having an affair — he even lied to the therapist! If you had asked me before if he would ever cheat or lie, I would've said absolutely not! I later found out that his girlfriend before me caught him in bed with another woman, and I'm pretty sure he had at least one other affair while we were married. He gaslighted me over and over, causing me to question my sanity and reality."

"To paraphrase Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. If you think you are being lied to, don’t doubt your own senses. And don’t expect them to ever tell the truth. Once a liar, always a liar."

—65, Massachusetts

A person adjusts their tie with one hand, showcasing a silver ring on their ring finger. The individual is wearing a suit. Names unknown
J.r. Ball / Getty Images

16."You MUST have an open and honest conversation before marrying someone. You will share everything with this person for the rest of your life. If you do not discuss everything, including money, morals, political beliefs, how to raise children, or even if you both do or don't want children and what is a priority, you can easily end up with a failed marriage. Do not kid yourself, and do not kid your partner."

"Do not let the optimism of youth make you think, 'It's all good; we will work that out later.'"


And finally...

17."People say communication is the key to a successful marriage, but that's not true — the key is effective communication. Talking at your spouse instead of talking to them, or yelling, screaming, or expecting them to listen to you without reciprocating is, in fact, communication, but it's not effective at all."

"Eventually, the other spouse mimics the behavior or completely shuts down, which will inevitably lead to divorce."

—55, Nevada

A person sits on the floor in a dimly lit room with their face in their hands, appearing distressed
Kieferpix / Getty Images

Older adults, if you've also been divorced, what are some other marriage myths and misconceptions more people should know? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.