This Thursday, the Israeli Association for Marital and Family Therapy and Family Life Education will hold a seminar dedicated to this new life cycle phenomenon. Amongst the speakers at the conference are Ben Gurion Universtity Professor Solly Dreman and his student Ravit Steinmann who conducted the research on the subject and Dr. Rachel Rokach a senior clinical psychologist.
According to Professor Dreman, reasons for this phenomenon include the rise in longevity and the fact that couples should expect three decades together after children leave home; insufficient role models for this elongated middle age period and the economic independence of many women.
Another doctoral thesis will present a unique view of the impact gender differences have on the ability of partners to perceive infidelity in the marriage and their attitude towards repercussions. The study, conducted by Dr. Rokach, studied the dissimilarities evident in how each partner related to the divorce.
One of the most remarkable findings verified in the study shows that women are aware if their husbands cheat while men remained clueless about their wives' infidelity. A possible explanation is that women are more sensitive to the changes in interpersonal nuances while men tend to be relatively oblivious to these changes.
Interestingly not a single one of the divorcing couples labeled betrayal as the main reason for their divorce but rather a long, draining and unhappy marriage, i.e., the infidelity simply set off the already existing fuse of marital frustration and discontent.
Another interesting finding was that out of 7 couples studied (14 people) 12 of the individuals asserted that they had been the ones to initiate the divorce. While this obviously cannot be the case, it would seem that in Israeli culture a person likes to think they are in control of their fate and this extends to various difficult life crises.
The good news is that adult offsprings of divorced parents tend to appreciate and seek stable marriages and build better families than their parents did. This contradicts findings in other Western countries which show that children of divorced parents often have trouble in couple relations and view marriage negatively. One possible reason is that family values are still very strong in Israel; a function of the daily pressures Israelis face, including the security situation and the influence of religious considerations.