A new review by the University of Arizona of more than 30 published studies found divorced adults have a significantly higher risk of early death compared with married adults.
The risk of dying early was 23% greater among divorced adults than married couples tracked by researchers for an average of 11 years. Researchers found the risks associated with divorce are similar to other well-established public-health risks, such as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, getting limited exercise, being overweight and drinking heavily, said the study’s lead author, UA psychology professor David Sbarra. —Arizona Republic
So Freedom’s just another word for dying younger, is that it? You’re miserable with her (or him), but you’re a walking corpse without. Living hell vs. happy death. Inspirational, isn’t it?
For a little while, I was the only person in the crowd I was hanging with who’d only had one marriage. People were shedding spouses like molting snakes — and to hear them tell their tales, that’s slandering the snakes. Interestingly enough, most of this crowd remarried, and some were on their third. (I don’t think the study addresses remarried people.)
But everybody I knew who had parted ways with their spouses agreed that they were happier for doing so. I’m confident that had they been aware of this study’s findings it wouldn’t have made a dime’s worth of difference. Cue, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber and the old Buddy Hackett line: “You know why Jewish divorces cost so much? They’re worth it!”
I know of one guy who returned home on night from the office and discovered that his wife, with whom he’d been feuding for months, finally made good on her threat to leave him. She took everything with her — completely cleaned out their house from cellar to attic. She took her clothes, every stick of furniture in the house except his battered up easy chair and one old black and white teevee set. She cleaned out the refrigerator, the pantry, the linen closet, the medicine chest, and the bar. (“The bar!” he told me later. “That bitch! That bleeding suppurating bitch!!”) She took the pillows off the bed, the light fixtures and telephones off the walls, and the air conditioners out of the windows. She took the whole sound system, including the CDs and DVDs. She took the microwave, the toaster oven, and every appliance that wasn’t attached. She even took the leftover Chinese food and the tuna fish salad.
And of course, she took all the money, the check book, and the financial records.
“I was totally numb,” he related, years later. “I remember turning around and driving to the liquor store where I bought a case of Jack Daniels. And I sat on that beat-up chair in front of the television in an echoing room drinking and smoking one cigarette after the other for something like 3 weeks — didn’t move unless I had to take a piss — at least she left the toilet (but no paper). People came looking for me after a day or two but I never answered the door. Finally two guys from work broke down the door and got me.
“But you know what? I don’t remember much — I was plastered 24/7 — but I’m sure of one thing: for the first time in years, I was happy. I was fucking happy. I think I’d forgotten what that felt like.”
I wish I could tell you this ended okay but he died about 5 years later, age 53.
She remarried. Last I heard, she was doing fine.