Divorce is not inevitable even if divorce runs in your family. You are in control of your own actions and decisions.
A common assumption is that children of divorced parents are more likely to get divorced than children of those parents who remain together. As absurd as that may sound, an international research study has recently proven that divorce does run in families.
According to the research conducted by Professor Jessica Salvatore with Virginia Commonwealth University in the US and Lund University in Sweden, divorce does run in the family! Professor Jessica Salvatore says, “We found that the reason the children of divorced parents are more likely to experience divorce themselves is because of genes shared between parents and children.” However, some things can be done if one wishes to avoid repeating history.
First, we must understand how divorce can be genetic in itself.
How is that divorce can be genetic?
The research disproved a common misconception that environmental factors are the most responsible factors that influence the tendency to divorce across generations in a family. The researchers proved the genetics, rather than only environmental factors, can determine the likelihood of getting a divorce. To do this, they separated both genetic factors and environmental factors. They concluded that adopted children are more likely to take after their biological parents rather than adopted parents when it comes to divorce.
Although no single, specific gene puts you at risk of getting a divorce, certain personality traits, especially negative ones such as neuroticism, impulsiveness and the inability to maintain self-control during fights, can be passed down from one generation to the next. According to Salvatore, these factors “contribute to divorce,” and, “they may make it more difficult for someone to stay in a relationship, or for someone to want to stay in a relationship with them.”
So, divorce can genetic? What do you do, then?
After proven by such researchers, it is entirely understandable to have certain fears regarding the topic of divorce. Maybe you are a child of divorced parents, or perhaps you are a divorced parent who wishes a happy married life for your children when they grow up. You can let go of your fear that you might be determined to get divorced just like your parents did, or that you may pass on the genetic factors that can expose your children to the risks of divorce. You can breathe easily.
So what if researchers have proven that divorce is genetic? Does it mean that you have to share the same fate as your parents and end up a divorcee? Not necessarily. The research indicates a trend but is not, by any means, an absolute predictor. It does not mean that a child of divorced parents will end up getting divorced or have bad relationships. Rather, it simply means that there is increased exposure to the risks of getting divorced. Moreover, the research is a deliberate attempt to find out why divorce tends to cross over generations in a family. It also aims to help many people in understanding why and which particular factors can put them at risk of getting divorced.
Salvatore adds,”We all bring liabilities into our relationships, whether we come from a happy, harmonious home or a troubled and fractured home. And knowing how those liabilities work may help people reflect on and improve their own behavior in relationships.”
Do you want to avoid that repetitive cycle of falling in love, getting married, and getting divorced? You can! So, buckle up and prepare yourself for your own ride.
How to avoid falling victim to the divorce gene.
Avoid treading down familiar, but harmful, paths.
Most of the time, we tend to make decisions and do certain things because we are used to them. So instead of committing the same mistakes that you are familiar with, you can consciously choose a better path for yourself. For instance, avoiding the wrong kind of partner with who you could only have a toxic relationship. This can benefit you in the long run. Reflect and think about what kind of bad choices can deter your goal of breaking the cycle, and avoid them altogether.
Remember that you are not your parents or your family members.
We are, of course, more prone to react to certain situations as our parents did. Due to the genetic connection that we have with them, our unfiltered responses to stimulants may be eerily alike. However, you are your own self, and though similar to your family members in many ways, you are unique. You have the ability, as a person, to outgrow your inherent tendencies.
Take advantage of the newfound genetic connection.
If you want to fix your troubled relationship, talk to your therapist or counselor about the kinds of personality traits that you have inherited from your family. This kind of in-depth knowledge about the internal workings of your relationship can help your therapist or counselor to give recommendations that will particularly suit you and your partner’s needs. It will also help the therapist or counselor to take new approaches that might be effective for you and your partner.
Maintain a loving relationship with the children.
Parental divorce can be a big, difficult thing for the children involved. Even if you do end up getting a divorce, you can make it easier for your children. You can help them cope with it. Keep on creating a loving atmosphere for your children so that they do not grow up lacking affection. Help them understand what you, as parents, are going through. If you happen to be the child of divorced parents, try to communicate, understand and maintain a healthy, loving bond with your parents.
Although you are aware of the hereditary connection, genes are only one small part of a huge puzzle called divorce. Remember that divorce is not inevitable even if it runs in your family. You are in control of your own actions and decisions.