divorce expoDivorce Expo: A Sign Of The Times?

Recently I read that there was a “Divorce Expo” in New York. It was touted as a kind of “one stop shopping” for those seeking out divorce services (legal, psychological, matchmaking, anti-aging, health and beauty, finances). About 40 exhibitors displayed their wares for two days to a crowd that was about 70% female and 30% male). It was the brainchild of a mother/daughter duo, both divorced.  Is this, sadly, a sign of the times?

Free enterprise is something I completely believe in and everyone is entitled to create income streams where there is a demand. Personally though, as a couples counselor for the last twenty years I have been doing my best to encourage couples in crisis to work proactively to deal with their issues. I’ve pleaded, cajoled, appealed to their greed (counseling is cheaper than divorce for the most part) and yet it seems to be human nature to engage in services designed to clean up the big mess rather than deal with a small mess or better yet, learn to build a healthy nurturing relationship BEFORE the mess is created. We seem to be more driven by the stick than the carrot, more by avoiding pain than seeking out pleasure.

Now I’m not saying divorce isn’t appropriate when it IS appropriate. And, even though I’ve been working with couples for over twenty years, it’s ALWAYS the couple’s decision, not the counselor’s decision to make. However, just as many mental health professionals believe that medication for psychological issues is overprescribed, I would suggest that divorce is overprescribed as well. It IS easier to cut and run than to work out the issues. The downside of ending a relationship prematurely, is that most likely you will still be attracted to the same things in your new partner (see my article, Why We Choose Our Partner) and then it becomes a case of “same thing, different day”.

AND for the record, I do engage in my fair share of divorce counseling as well. However, the research indicates that most couples seek counseling seven years AFTER they first discover they have a problem! The odds are a little stacked against you at that point, don’t you think?

What are YOUR thoughts and experiences on this Divorce Expo idea? Is one-stop divorce shopping more appealing to you than spending three to six months to REALLY become more open, more loving, more communicative? Let me know with your comments!

Thank you so much,
Dr. Adam Sheck


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