Divorce: Whose Fault Was It?

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  • #602941
    Patri
    Member

    When a couple c’v get divorced, is it generally the fault of one of the spouses more than the other or is the blame generally split between the two of them?

    #932130
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Patri – let me give you a bit of advice. First, you use the words blame and fault. blame and fault are generally useless words, unless they are in the context between an individual and HKBH. Responsibility and solutions are more useful. Second, I don’t think, speaking from experience, you can speak “generally” about why marriages break down. Each individual and each couple has their own matziv and their own baggage that they bring in to the marriage, and the things that happen during a marriage can have an effect that doesn’t originate with one or the other of them (illness/death of a child/parent; money troubles; interfering friends/family, etc.), so each situation is different. Bottom line is that people have to take responsibility for their own actions, regardless of whether the other party does the same.

    #932131
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Why do you want to assign blame?

    #932132
    Patri
    Member

    Are they usually blameless?

    #932133
    yichusdik
    Participant

    Patri, what is your fixation with blame? Either the individuals accept responsibility for their individual actions which have damaged the relationship and work to fix it and stay together, or they accept responsibility for their actions and, having tried unsuccessfully to fix the marriage, take what they learned about themselves and apply the lesson to their next relationship, or they refuse to take responsibility for themselves at all.

    Are you rather concerned with the Yentas (both those in pants and those in skirts) trying to figure out who was “to blame” ex post facto? Frankly, it is no one’s business except perhaps someone contemplating marrying one or the other ex-spouse. Does every married person’s shtick and baggage get discussed, analyzed and condemned too, or is it only those who are divorced who are “blessed” with the “concerns” and the “observations”?

    Communication. Trust. Partnership. Respect. Emotional Support. These are some things that are the foundations of a successful marriage. If they begin to weaken, the partners in the marriage need to take responsibility for strengthening them. If they disappear, the foundation of the marriage is unstable, and it will be washed away by the next storm, be it emotional, financial, child-related, bereavement, or something else.

    Remember one more thing, though. A broken marriage is a terrible thing. It sucks the strength, confidence, money, faith, and energy out of both involved just when they – and their kids, if they have them – need these most. But a miserable marriage where both have tried and failed to fix things, or, worse, not tried at all, is simply like swimming in a pool of poison. at that point it is better for everyone involved to move on. And “blame” is the least important consideration.

    #932134
    smartcookie
    Member

    Nice post, yichusdik.

    Well written.

    #932135
    BaalHabooze
    Participant

    yichusdik- +1

    #932136
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    It is always the woman’s fault. Always.

    The passuk says ?????-??? ??? ?? ???? ???. That is, only men–but not women. Women are twisted and crazy. That is why only men learn torah, because ????? ? ?????.

    #932137
    Patri
    Member

    Why, then, so frequently will a person take whatever opportunity to (usually subtly but sometimes even overtly) place blame on their ex-spouse for their failed marriage?

    #932138
    BTGuy
    Participant

    I like all the ideas posted here, but each situation is a case by case basis.

    There are divorces where two people dont get along and they cant put their finger on how they drifted apart after at one point in life they could not get enough of another.

    There are divorces where the two people are nice as individuals, but horrible to each other in the marriage.

    There are other cases where someone IS to blame, and at fault. They did wrong. And the wrong they did, or continued to do, is not easily, or cannot be repaired, and they create sorrow and need to ask for mechila.

    The idea that these tragic situations were 50/50 in responsiblity, is not always correct or a just way to view a given situation.

    #932139
    BaalHabooze
    Participant

    oooooh popa! So you ARE a woman!! I knew it!!!!

    LOL!

    #932140
    yichusdik
    Participant

    For goodness sake, no one is saying that a marriage always collapses with equal responsibility to husband and wife.

    I am saying a couple of things. Almost anything can be repaired, if the person who did it takes responsibility, asks mechila, and changes his or her ways, and takes it upon themselves to do differently every day in the future, and if their partner can rebuild their trust.

    Also, even in cases where one partner’s wrongdoing would seem overtly to have more to do with the marriage breakdown, that wrongdoing itself can have had causes wholly or partly dependent on the actions of the other spouse.

    I am not justifying the actions or the lack of taking responsibility if one partner has done something irreparable and not owned up. I am saying that two mature adults in most situations will likely recognize that they both did things to harm the marriage and they both need to learn from it.

    Patri, people will say or blame their ex, in my view and experience, because they are trying to justify their feelings or actions, and maybe because they are not ready to take their part of the responsibility.

    And, very importantly, sometimes divorced people feel compelled to point the finger at someone else because of the judgmental and critical nature of those observers who are talking about them as if they had the plague. I have B’H avoided that, and will IYH continue to do so.

    #932141

    Not every divorce is due to not getting along or because of “problems” in the relationship. I know a couple who got along very well but who divorced when one of them went off the derech. Both parties admit they still love each other, but no longer have common ground. They are still on good terms and speak highly of each other as people. They just can’t share a life together anymore.

    #932142
    Health
    Participant

    PBA -“It is always the woman’s fault. Always.

    The passuk says ?????-??? ??? ?? ???? ???. That is, only men–but not women. Women are twisted and crazy.”

    So TRUE! But in my case it wasn’t my wife. It was her friends whom are Reshayim besides being twisted & crazy!

    #932143
    BTGuy
    Participant

    Hi yich.

    You are very clear and fair in your assessment of the question being asked by Patri.

    It is clear you fall on the side of neutralizing blame, for the most part, which is a good thing.

    But when something as severe as divorce happens, it is not like two people just took a turn down the wrong street and ended up divorced scratching their heads and shrugging their shoulders in confusion.

    It is also not usual for two people to decide at the same time and to the same degree to start shirking their responsibilities and courtesies to their marriage partner.

    In fact, I would suggest that in divorce at least one person WILL accept blame and say it is their fault, validating Patri’s curiosity as expressed in the question.

    I think you are both in a valid place. Patri is curious, and to me, if someone takes the “blame” it can help to rectify the situation, if possible. You are taking a posture of being gentle and not wanting to add harm to a bad situation.

    I am not sure you two are in conflict conceptually, but possibly compatible parts to a whole.

    #932144
    computer777
    Member

    PBA: “Women are twisted and crazy.”

    HEALTH: “So TRUE!”

    Health, with such an attitude, who will want to marry you?

    #932145
    moi aussi
    Member

    Rabanim who deal in gittin say “beware of a divorced guy”.

    #932146
    Naysberg
    Member

    Rabbanim who deal in gittin say “beware of a divorced girl.”

    #932147
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Rabanim who deal in gittin say “beware of a divorced guy”.

    Big deal. Rabbanim who deal in eruvin say beware of falling trees.

    #932148
    midwesterner
    Participant

    Someone once asked Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l (in the open Q&A at the end of one of his Thursday night shiurim) why there are so many mitzvos in the Torah to protect an almana, but not a grusha. Aren’t they both undergoing the same nisyonos of single parenting?

    Rav Miller responded, “Because 99% of divorces are the woman’s fault!” The grumbling and chairshifting becomes immediately audible on the tape.

    Rav Miller continued, “And in case you think that I am discriminatory, I will tell you that 99% of divorces are the man’s fault!” He then explained that there are 1% extreme cases that are only his fault, and a likewise 1% amount of extreme cases that are exclusively hers. The rest are a bunch of combined factors with enough blame for everyone to share.

    #932149
    sefardi tahor
    Participant

    moi aussi:

    really? more than they would say about a woman?? no

    as mentioned earlier this subject has to be judged on a case-by-case basis There is no one answer!!

    S”T

    #932150
    computer777
    Member

    Naysberg: You made that up. OTOH, what moi aussi said is likely true.

    #932151
    computer777
    Member

    I think some of the time they are both at fault for this reason: One is to blame for the breakup of the actual marriage, and the other one is to blame because s/he married the spouse for wrong reasons and should never have agreed to the engagement in the first place.

    #932152
    Patri
    Member

    midwesterner: Rav Miller zt’l also said 99% of divorces were entirely avoidable and unnecessary.

    Computer777: What Naysberg said is true. moi aussi made that up.

    #932153
    sefardi tahor
    Participant

    too much generalizing………………..

    S”T

    #932154
    screwdriverdelight
    Participant

    @ Health: So TRUE! But in my case it wasn’t my wife. It was her friends whom are Reshayim besides being twisted & crazy!

    It should be who, not whom

    #932155
    apushatayid
    Participant

    If 1% is his fault and 1% is her fault, 99% can not be dual fault, unless he was quoting Yogi Berra who once famously said; “Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical”.

    #932156
    computer777
    Member

    Patri: regardless of whether the statement is true or not, it is obvious Naysberg made it up in response to moiauss’s statement.

    #932157
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    apushatayid: Do the math again, and look at the quote.

    #932158
    squeak
    Participant

    I think all divorces are the fault of people not knowing how to read a passuk in koheles, and also popa’s fault for quoting it as such intentionally.

    #932159
    oomis
    Participant

    The number one cause of divorce is marriage. OK, not such a funny line. But the truth is that so many people who get divorced nowadays (and often after only a short time of being married), should never have married in the first place. And maybe they would have known that, had they taken a little more time to get to know each other, before getting engaged. For every person you know who “dated for a year or more and still got divorced,” there are dozens who dated for five-six weeks, and divorced within the year. Unfortunately I am acquainted with too many of them in my own neighborhood.

    #932160
    writersoul
    Member

    PBA: “Women are twisted and crazy.”

    HEALTH: “So TRUE!”

    I could be deluding myself, but I never thought of myself, my friends, nor many other delightful women of my acquaintance as “twisted” or “crazy” in any sense of the word. Except my junior high principal, but I digress.

    #932161
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Since reading comprehension is apparantly not my strong point, perhaps you can explain what he means and explain how 1+1+99 = 100.

    #932162
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I think all divorces are the fault of people not knowing how to read a passuk in koheles, and also popa’s fault for quoting it as such intentionally.

    Come now, I can’t be at fault for all the divorces!

    I could be deluding myself, but I never thought of myself, my friends, nor many other delightful women of my acquaintance as “twisted” or “crazy” in any sense of the word. Except my junior high principal, but I digress.

    You don’t digress. That is precisely the point. Your junior high principal was twisted and crazy.

    #932163
    computer777
    Member

    popa: since your posts are twisted and crazy (which reflects the kind person you are), does that mean all men are twisted and crazy? (dont answer that ur a woman since clearly u r not)

    #932164
    cheftze
    Member

    apushatayid: In simple English, the Rov was saying that 99% of the time they are both at fault, and only 1% (i.e. rarely) of the time is it only the fault of one of the parties.

    #932165
    squeak
    Participant

    Come now, I can’t be at fault for all the divorces!

    Why the sudden modesty? OK, maybe 99% is your fault, and the other 1% is mine and the other 1% is due to other factors.

    #932166
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    hee hee

    #932167
    writersoul
    Member

    popa: My point was that you made a blanket statement, that women are crazy and twisted, and I responded that the only such lady I know is my junior high principal. She is literally the only person I know of whom I (and many, many others, including my mom) would call crazy and twisted.

    #932168
    pcoz
    Member

    the couple weren’t able to find their own uniqueness together

    #932169
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    My point was that you made a blanket statement, that women are crazy and twisted, and I responded that the only lady I know is my junior high principal.

    If it’s the only lady you know, then of course it is the only crazy one you know.

    #932170
    BTGuy
    Participant

    How can we argue about fault when we have no specific scenario presented?

    lol

    #932171
    PLONIALMONI4
    Member

    popa

    “It is always the woman’s fault. Always.”

    I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were in good humor when you posted that comment.

    Everyone knows situations where either the husband or the wife was the one that bears prime responsibility when a marriage failed.

    Each case is separate and a statement like that is totally without merit

    #932172
    computer777
    Member

    Oomis: 5-6 weeks is pretty long time to date. I highly doubt there are more divorces in that group than those who dated a year. A year is way too long and is ridiculous.

    #932173
    Health
    Participant

    computer777 -“Health, with such an attitude, who will want to marry you?”

    Someone like my wife, whom wasn’t twisted and crazy at the time of our marriage. Read my post on a logical level, not emotional.

    Not every single woman is twisted and/or crazy and/or bad, but there seems to be a lot of them! Men who are like this usually get exposed. Women OTOH seem to be like the turtle and attack and then hide in their shell!

    #932174
    Health
    Participant

    moi aussi -“Rabanim who deal in gittin say “beware of a divorced guy”.”

    Just another excuse of many – of why not to get married!

    Let’s forget about or ignore the Chiyuv for women to get married.

    #932175
    yichusdik
    Participant

    BTguy, I am taking issue with the whole culture of wasted energy put into blame, fault, and the excuses that go along withthe search for them. These are words that have little place in getting things done. Either one takes responsibility for one’s actions, or one doesn’t. And no one else, even a spouse, or an ex spouse, can make that happen, except for the individual him or herself. No amount of judgement, finger pointing, blame, however well meant (though it most often isn’t well meant at all) will change that. So it is all useless prattle, and it accomplishes nothing important in either the salvage of a relationship or the building of strong foundations of a new one. If it isn’t about responsibility or about solutions it won’t be effective. And if it isn’t effective it is a waste of time and energy. That is why I take such issue with the language used, and not really about being neutral or gentle, though compassion is always a good idea.

    #932176
    computer777
    Member

    yichusdik: I agree totally with what you said. And that goes for the “blameless” spouse. Anyone who initates divorce should evaluate why they married that person in the first place and if need be get professional help (or whatever help they can find) to insure it doesn’t happen again. If we don’t learn from our mistakes we are bound to repeat them. And that applies even if the person is completely blameless.

    #932177
    moi aussi
    Member

    Health, I shall define the shidduch crisis for you. There’s an abundance of single girls and a shortage of single males. A man who is half-way decent has choice galore. If a man isn’t married, it’s not because the women are too picky, it’s because the man is bad news. A man who calls his ex-wife’s friends “Reshayim” shouldn’t wonder why he’s not remarried.

    Most divorces are initiated by women, as a result of abusive husbands. Abuse can be physical or/and mental.

    #932178
    writersoul
    Member

    popa: I don’t even know why I’m responding to this (probably just because I’m waiting for dinner to warm up and I’ve got nothing else to do), but in my previous post, I acknowledged that I know numerous women and girls who are NOT crazy or twisted.

    Shalom al Yisrael.

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