Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's Better: Getting Cancer or Getting Divorced?

According to Times Online's Jenni Russell, getting divorced and getting cancer are inextricably linked. In her article "Romance is the last thing a healthy marriage needs", she argues that getting divorced or widowed (which for her, are somehow similar) will inevitably cause a host of diseases, even if you remarry and live happily ever after with a new partner: "The divorced or widowed not only suffer a higher level of depression, but 20% more of them develop chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. They also have 23% more problems with mobility — such as climbing stairs. Those who remarry see a slight improvement in their health, but they are still far more likely to become ill than those who stay with their original companions. The researchers believe that the shock and disruption caused by the ending of a marriage can cause such anxiety that it damages the immune system, making it easier for chronic diseases to develop." According to this logic, staying with someone you don't love any more is still more beneficial to your health than starting a new relationship with a person you love.

Russell supports this ridiculous argument with a story about a friend of hers who suffered a breakdown as a result of a divorce. It's curious how every journalist always has "a friend" close by to support whatever idiocy they are promoting in their new article. The journalist doesn't care, of course, that her readers might have friends of their own who have had completely different experiences. Her friend was miserable after getting divorced, ergo everybody is miserable as well.

The main problem with relationships, Russell argues, is that people believe in and long for romantic love. When this kind of emotion fades (which in Russell's worldview is inevitable), many people decide that a relationship bereft of romantic love isn't worth maintaining. The journalist strives to convince us that the absence of love isn't reason enough for a divorce. Of course, she has a right to that point of view. She has an absolute right to live in a loveless, sexless, romanceless relationship because she has convinced herself that this will eventually save her from cancer. The only question I have is why she is desperate to see everybody around her in this kind of unfulfilling relationships? Are we honestly expected to believe that her only agenda here is to save us from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and limited mobility that, as she believes, awaits all of us who have been divorced? Or is this nothing but a fantasy on the part of a person who wants to see all of us who chose love, freedom, and romance punished for daring to do what she doesn't allow herself to do?

1 comment:

Tom Carter said...

Sounds like the Catholic approach--stay married, even if you're miserable, or The Big Guy will visit plagues upon you!