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AIBU to think it's very hard to LTB if you're Irish?

(222 Posts)
TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:40:40

I’m not disputing that it’s often right - and necessary- to LTB. I usually agree with the advice given on the Relationships board. But I think that it’s often overlooked that cultural context may make this very difficult to do, even in cultures ostensibly quite similar.

I’m thinking specifically of Ireland, where I have returned after many years in London. From what I see, there is a world of difference between how ‘broken’ marriages are viewed in the UK and in Ireland. Among my Irish circle of friends, I don’t know anybody who is divorced. Not one couple. The same applies to my husband’s friends. And those of my three sisters. I live in the country so I accept there is probably a Dublin/rural divide going on, but I think divorce and separation are also rare in Dublin.

This train of thought was prompted by recently attending a school reunion where only one out of forty women (late thirties) was divorced. And by considering my parents-in-law wretched marriage – my MIL will soon be celebrating forty years of being tethered to a violent, manic drunk. It is accepted here that women of her generation really had no way of exiting horrific relationships. But despite greater financial freedom and legal rights, I'm not sure the situation has changed that much. Would love to know other mumsnetters' views?

MaisieDotes Fri 04-Dec-15 22:42:06

I'm Irish living in Ireland and I'm divorced. Well, I'm re-married now but I was divorced before I was 30.

I'm 39 now.

MaisieDotes Fri 04-Dec-15 22:42:53

My parents are also divorced.

WorraLiberty Fri 04-Dec-15 22:47:27

My family are Irish and there's a fair few divorces in the younger generations.

IoraRua Fri 04-Dec-15 22:51:57

Definitely doesn't reflect people I know. I live in Dublin though.
I think it's applicable to the older generations but certainly not the younger ones.

abbieanders Fri 04-Dec-15 22:52:07

Have you a number of couples who should be divorced in mind? What percentage of couples should divorce, do you think?

Evabeaversprotege Fri 04-Dec-15 22:54:06

I'm in the north.

Brother separated from his wife, parents separated, sister welded to a violent, abusive bully.

I guess there's not a 'one size fits all' is there.

GreyTS Fri 04-Dec-15 22:55:21

Nah, Irish living in Ireland and loads of my parents siblings and friends are divorced, some of the kids friends have divorced parents, children are still young so I'm sure there will be more to come. May just be your particular community. Most of my family are based in south co D, I'm in a fairly rural town in the south east

CastaDiva Fri 04-Dec-15 22:56:13

But divorce was legalised about five minutes ago, legally-speaking, in Ireland, and attitudes to it are strongly generational still. My mother, who is 70, despite anything I say, genuinely believes still that a woman who divorces her husband has to leave the marital home for a tragic B and B, and is entitled to nothing in the way of child support or joint assets, therefore all women are better off staying married. (Female financial independence does not compute for her.) And the dead hand of Catholicism is still having an effect.

On the other hand, I used to teach at an Irush university and I saw a lot of students who were upset their parents were separating. In quite a few cases, they appeared to have waited till the children left home, and I would find that my student was the youngest and last to fly the nest.

StackladysMorphicResonator Fri 04-Dec-15 22:56:24

On a tangent, it's much harder to LTB if you're, e.g., Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Ethiopian, Egyptian...

TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:56:57

abbieanders: no, I don't think there is an optimal divorce rate. But I think that fewer than 10% of Irish marriages split, which would seem to indicate that there is social pressure for couples to stay together. Do you think?

shins Fri 04-Dec-15 22:56:58

We have one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe but also one of the oldest average ages for marriage. Everyone I know was over thirty when they got married. Also, lots of people don't get married at all ( one third of births outside marriage). Lots of factors going on there.

I'm in my 40s, live in Dublin and I only have one divorced friend but I know lots of people whose families are not quite conventional-shaped- it's common to have kids with different mums or dads in the sane family or step-siblings. In these cases there wasn't a divorce because the parties involved were never married but they would have gone through similar things re custody, access, living arrangements etc with an ex- it just doesn't get recorded in the official stats.

CastaDiva Fri 04-Dec-15 22:58:18

Irish university. Not Irush.

TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:59:55

Stacklady: Yes, for sure that's true. But I was trying to make the point that there might be social pressure to 'stick out' in Western European cultures too.

shins Fri 04-Dec-15 23:01:14

Castadiva it was 20 years, hardly five minutes legally speaking. Divorce was very rare in the UK before the 60s so we're only a generation or so behind.

TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 23:05:06

Shins: yes, most of my (Irish) friends would have married quite late as well. And I know plenty of people with kids who are not married (and I had my first child before I was married). I'm not suggesting that Irish society is stuck in the sixties, but just saying that marriage break-down is relatively uncommon.

CastaDiva Fri 04-Dec-15 23:06:52

I think that if the statistics were broken down, there would be a strong age-related profile. Eventually it will become normalised (and hopefully faster). Agree, too that while I have only one divorced Irish friend who lives in Ireland, lots of my friends are unmarried couples. Noticeably, Irish friends who, like us, live out of Ireland seem to be more likely to divorce.

omri Fri 04-Dec-15 23:11:11

I'm living in Ireland. Mid thirties. Don't know anyone of my peers or colleagues or my (older) sisters friends who have separated or divorced. So I do understand what you're talking about OP. Know of lots of couples in "very difficult" relationships - but have to agree that of my own peers I don't know of anyone who has broken up. Yet!
I read an article a few wks ago - 20 yr anniversary of bringing divorce in in Ireland - and there has been no increase in relationship break ups since then...
Don't know what it means though!
Is the uk better set up for / more supportive toward divorced parents... Single moms?

ChippyOik Fri 04-Dec-15 23:11:24

Well, I'm Irish and I left a bastard and everybody was happy for me. The only slight sniff of disapproval was from much older women. Everybody else was patting me on the back. My parents didn't care about broken vows or anything like that. They cared about me not throwing my life away.

So I think you are being unreasonable.

TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 23:13:21

CastaDica: I agree that Irish friends outside of Ireland are more likely to divorce. I would imagine that the social freedom in the UK was an attraction (or at least a comfort) for previous generations of Irish immigrants. And maybe for more recent immigrants too?

Twasthecatthatdidit Fri 04-Dec-15 23:13:39

There was an article in the Irish Times last week in this. Ireland does have the lowest divorce rate in the EU, but if you add the separation rates, the number doubles to close to the average if I recall (although still below the uk I think). Remember divorce takes 4 years in Ireland so a lot of people get a judicial separation and don't bother to divorce unless one party wants to remarry. There are different cultural attitudes - responses to marital strife would be very different on mumsnet to the Irish parenting boards. There is probably more of an emphasis on the effect on children - I do think there is a glossing over of the effect on children on the relationships board here. I strongly suspect my marriage may turn into a sexless one - but I don't think I'll prioritise getting sex over the happiness of my child.

shins Fri 04-Dec-15 23:14:28

Yes me too (first child before I was married and it wasn't a huge deal in 1996). I think you're right about cultural forces, it's interesting. My peer group are either atheists or only vaguely Catholic in that they do the big feasts and sacraments while not bothering about mass or doctrine. But divorce is rare. Maybe our late marriages mean we're still mired in young children and there'll be a flurry of them down the line when it's easier, who knows..

nocabbageinmyeye Fri 04-Dec-15 23:14:40

Irish living in Ireland here and I too know loads of separated/divorced couples, my granny was 70 odd years ago, friends parents separated over 20 years ago, I'm mid thirties and I have two friends separated and know more from school etc. So not sure I agree either

LadyMaryofDownt0n Fri 04-Dec-15 23:14:48

What about looking at it the other way, maybe they are happily married & don't need to divorce.

I live in Ireland & know only one couple who have divorced (wife beater) that was 18 years ago kind since.

From my experience, so personal to me I know many couples old & young who are very happily married & are wonderful examples of true love & commitment.

TirNaNog100 Fri 04-Dec-15 23:15:47

ChippyOik: are you from Dublin or the country (if you don't mind me asking)?

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