Divorce Can Wreak Havoc on Your Health, Says Oregon Relationship Counselor

January 21, 2013 by

When couples come in to my Oregon relationship counselor practice for the first time and they’re already talking to me about the possibility of divorce, my first reaction is to try to get them to slow down. Divorce is a huge, life-changing step that shouldn’t be taken lightly—even for people suffering from serious marriage problems.

Far too often, we hit a rough patch in our relationship signaled by fighting or drifting apart and we want to pull the emergency brake so that we can jump out and get away. It’s not working, we think, but if we could just start over everything will be better

Well, not so fast. Most of us understand intuitively that there are a lot of emotional repercussions involved in getting a divorce, but a number of recent studies show that divorce can actually harm your physical health as well.

Oregon Relationship Counselor: How Divorce Affects Your Health

Marriage problems like constant arguing can leave you feeling emotionally exhausted and physically drained, but that’s nothing compared to the health issues many people face after getting divorced. A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior lists some alarming statistics for divorced people.

  • 20 percent higher chance of suffering from a chronic illness, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • 23 percent more likely to experience trouble walking or climbing stairs than married people.
  • 37 percent of divorced women are more likely to get sick even a decade after their divorce.
  • Even after remarriage, 12 percent still suffer more chronic illnesses and 19 percent have more mobility problems.

Others have complained of issues like weight gain (which obviously comes with its own health issues), insomnia (which become a long-term problem if you don’t address it), a weakened immune system, and more.

Work on Your Marriage with an Oregon Relationship Counselor

Knowing that all of these potential issues are out there, I do my best to really encourage my clients to take a long, hard look at how bad their marriage problems really are and ask them what they’ve already done to try to work through them. Clearly they haven’t quite given up hope if they’re coming to an Oregon relationship counselor, so our first goal should be to find the positive parts of the relationship and build from there.