Psychological Self-Help

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Medved (1990) and Weiner-Davis (1992) oppose divorce,
questioning the common notions supporting divorce, such as "we don't
love each other any more," "we are incompatible," "he/she had an
affair," etc. I don't agree with them that divorce is "almost never
worth it," but I'd urge everyone to consider several factors before
giving up on marriage counseling and seeking a divorce. (1) Are you
sure the awfulness of your marriage is not a product of your own
thinking and attitudes? or a justification for your anger and urge to
leave? If so, the same process is likely to reoccur in 4-7 years with
another spouse. (2) Are you pretty sure you can and will select a
better partner for you next time? Might you be attracted to a person
with the same traits? Might you need new communication skills (with
your old partner or a new one)? (3) What are the consequences to
others, especially the children? See the next section. (4) Are you
staying in the marriage because you are dependent (Horn, 1976) and
afraid to change? Vedral (1993) contends that women usually wait far
too long to "get rid of him." It is so hard to know ourselves, especially
when we are in an emotional turmoil. 
If divorce is being considered, I have five more recommendations: 
Most of us by ourselves can not rationally handle the complex
and emotional questions involved in divorce. Even friends are
often supportive of whatever they think we want to hear. We
need to be told things we don't want to hear. As I emphasized
above, most people considering or going through divorce
should get counseling
There are many helpful books about divorce. A very rare (it
is one of the first) study compared the effectiveness of four
self-help books about coping with divorce or breaking up
(Ogles, Lambert, and Craig, 1991). All four (Fisher, 1981;
Kingma, 1987; Wanderer & Cabot, 1978; Stearns, 1984)
appeared to be about equally helpful in reducing the misery of
losing love, although no matched control group was available.
Your expectations seem to determine how much help you get
from the books, i.e. if you think "it won't do any good," it won't.
However, the books were second only to "friends" as a good
source of help. The better recent books encourage you to try
for a healthy divorce which reduces the harm to the children
(Ahrons, 1994; Benedek, 1995; Everett & Everett, 1994).
Although dealing with the pain and anger is important, there are many
other issues to confront, e.g. how to understand and cope with the
divorce process (Lubetkin & Oumano, 1991; Kingma, 1987;
Wallerstein & Kelly, 1980; Wallerstein & Blakeslee, 1989; Vaughan,
1986; Rice & Rice, 1986; Kaslow & Schwartz, 1987; Gettleman &
Markowitz, 1972; Weiss, 1975), how to survive divorce ("Surviving
Divorce" tapes by John Bradshaw [1-800-733-2232]; Kranitz, 1987;
Triere, 1993; Bloomfield, Colgrove & McWilliams, 1977; Friedman,
1982; Krantzler, 1973; McKay, Rogers, Blades, & Gosse, 1984;
Women in Transition, 1975), and how to rebuild a life after divorce
(Hayes, Anderson & Blau, 1993; Napolitane, 1978, 1993--see for
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