It may surprise you to learn that 22 percent of Americans think divorce is morally unacceptable. I'm not sure who these people are, but since 22 percent of Americans translates to about 53 million adults, there certainly seem to be a lot of them, and apparently they are unaware of unholy unions of the Britney Spears and Kevin Federline/Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries variety.
Unsurprisingly, this makes the United States something of an anomaly in the developed world. Canada, France, Australia, and Japan are all far less likely to see divorce as morally unacceptable, as are several Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Lebanon. Egypt may be rated the worst country for Arab women, but it turns out their attitudes towards divorce are still more progressive than those of Americans. All of which is rather strange, given that the U.S. has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. So what going on, guys?
Well, also unsurprisingly, those Americans who disapprove of divorce also tend to be Republican, suggesting that divorce is seen as contrary to conservative values.
It's also worth noting that America's largest single denomination, Catholicism, formally prohibits divorce. In fact, the Catholic Church's official policy is that, although married Catholics can separate and can even theoretically go through with a civil divorce for legal purposes, they will always remain married in the eyes of the Church, no matter what. However, that still doesn't fully explain why American disapproval of divorce remains so high since Catholics are also prohibited from using birth control, but most Catholics still approve of it — and use it. Also, other countries surveyed who have even larger Catholic populations, such as Spain, were far more approving of divorce.
Plus, you know, most Americans belong to a Protestant denomination of some sort, the vast majority of which are totally cool with divorce.
So how to explain the fact that almost one in four American adults thinks divorce is immoral even though our high divorce rate probably means they know at least one divorcé? Well, paradoxically, it might actually be because of our high divorce rate. In a country where roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, divorce rates can be alarming to people who value traditional family structures and think that society is built on those structures. People who might otherwise not have a problem with divorce could easily take a more negative view simply because it is so common.
And then it's also possible that some people who, in practice, don't actually think badly of the divorced people they know see the issue differently when taking a survey, thinking about things more theoretically and answering accordingly.
Of course, no matter how we might explain the data, the vast majority of Americans don't have a problem with divorce, with about 70 percent saying that divorce either is morally acceptable or isn't a moral issue at all. And as of yet, not even the most conservative representatives are trying to force people to stay married, thank goodness.
Still, if you are thinking of getting a divorce, you should know that 22 percent of Americans are judging you. We recommend numbing the pain by remembering that you're defintiely not alone, and by getting really into Speculoos.