It’s interesting that the word “surprise” conjures up ideas of something especially exciting and pleasing. Yet, that’s not always the case as we know well. I remember interviewing a retail executive when I was working for Women’s Wear Daily and on his desk was a sign that read, “No Surprises” which was surprising to me at the time.
My latest surprise was last night on the evening news. In a reportage on divorce in France, the statistics were far more disturbing than I realized. The report cited the percentage of divorces in 2013 as 46.2 or 334 per year, 14 per hour.
With a little more exploration on my own I discovered that according to the United Nations Demographics and Social Statistics Division, the divorce rate was in fact 55 percent in 2014, whereas in the same report, the divorce rate in the United States was 53 percent. You can see why I was surprised.
The list of the top 10 divorce rates from that study, goes like this:
United States: 53%
Czech Republic: 66%
Belgium: 71% (Now, that is surprising don’t you think? I wonder why.)
In France, according to the TV report, the average age of children involved in the dissolution of a marriage is nine years old. My French friend in the midst of a terrible divorce has three children whose ages average out to exactly that statistic.
She and her almost ex will soon fall into another statistical category, that of alternative living — the children spending one week with mere and alternately one week with pere. This arrangement comprises 15 percent of divorces. In this case she moved out of the conjugal home, which is rare. Normally 76 percent of the women remain in the house.
She has full-time custody of the children’s dog.
I would say that at least 80 percent of my friends have been divorced and almost the same number happily remarried.