A Beginners Guide to Selling Divorce.

If you’re reading this, I assume you are or want to be in the difficult business of marketing divorce.  This is a beginners guide, but some of you veterans out there obviously need a refresher in the basics.  For those new to the topic, I’ll point out that this is specifically about selling divorce to women.  No one sells divorce to men;  that would be in poor taste.

Many of you are no doubt aware of the troubling trend line above.  As divorce sellers we have our work cut out for us.  We are being squeezed between two negative trends.  Not only is the rate of divorce declining, but our target market is shrinking as well.  Try as hard as we might, we can’t sell divorce to women who aren’t married:

Step 1 for all of us needs to be to invest in creating the future crop of divorcées.  I know this isn’t as glamourous as selling divorce itself, but if we fail to keep up the pressure here eventually there will be no married women left to sell divorce to.  This is generally outside the scope of this guide, but you can find some excellent examples here, here, and here.

As I said above, many of you need a refresher on the basics.  Too often those selling divorce get caught up thinking only about the selling points:

  1. The feeling of power which divorcées initially experience.
  2. The near universal assurance of child custody.  (Summary, Full Analysis).
  3. Divorce Fantasy.
  4. Feeding choice addiction.
  5. Financial gain.
  6. Her friends egging her on.

The above is a pretty compelling package.  When it comes to divorce, all of the legal and social incentives line up in favor of the wife.  So why then is the rate of divorce per 1,000 married women declining?  If anything, the incentives over the last 20 years have been increasing.  We have no one to blame but ourselves.  Our message has been slowly losing its effectiveness.  This is proven by the fact that the percentage of divorces initiated by women has been slowly declining over time, as the chart below from the NCHS Monthly Vital Statistics Report shows:

As you can see, while we are still overall quite successful at selling divorce to women, over time we have been slipping.  Why is this?  The answer is that over time more and more women have become aware of the full effects of divorce and the harm this causes themselves and their children.  Like many other marketers, we find ourselves trying to sell something which the target audience all too often already knows is the wrong thing to do.  Fortunately for us, our target market is one of the most gullible in existence.  The key to success is to understand the valid objections married women have to divorcing, and assisting them in rationalizing these objections away.  Here is a list of the most common concerns women have about divorce, in no particular order:

  1. They will likely lose the best friend they ever had.
  2. They will cause great harm to their kids.
  3. Morality (they made a promise in front of friends, family and God).
  4. Loss of financial security, especially in retirement.
  5. The bleak dating/remarriage market for divorcées and older women in general.
  6. The risk that they will experience health problems and not have a partner to assist them.
  7. The physical vulnerability experienced by single women.
  8. The likelihood that she will be happier if she remains married.

This has been part 1 of a 2 part course on selling divorce.  See also:

Intermediate guide to selling divorce;  overcoming women’s better judgment.

This entry was posted in Church Apathy About Divorce, Feminists, Grey Divorce, Marriage, Post Marital Spinsterhood, Satire, selling divorce. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to A Beginners Guide to Selling Divorce.

  1. krakonos says:

    I have another explanation for falling divorce rates. As you know, less and less people get married. So only people who are really interested in marriage marry now. This mean people with religious background, with certain character or from high class. Those people are simply less likely to divorce.
    BTW in our country, there is record low for new marriages, the number is lowest from the WWI (really tough times).

  2. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    Divorce is an easy sell since women seem to be in a perpetual state of denial. I know several women on Facebook who have kids from several different husbands, yet are constantly regaling everyone with religious platitudes and proof of their mega-Christianity.

    It boggles my mind they don’t see the cognitive dissonance there. Everyone ELSE is a sinner for trivial things, yet their own life is apparently above reproach just because they “believe.”

  3. PT Barnum says:

    Honestly, the divorce rate is probably dropping because the average women is marrying later. Also, diet is worse than back then. Tanning and tattoos. So you have the market value of the average woman available for divorce is, well lower, than before.

    And I’m serious about the diet. Did you know some TEENAGERS have gall-bladder stone problems these days? I know it’s not common, but you run into people and it’s like WHAT-THE-BLEEP! BLEEP BLEEP.

    And the American looks on, and giggles to himself. That’s normal, he thinks.

    Is anything not normal?

  4. Workshy Joe says:

    Look to the UK if you want to predict future US marriage trends:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/12/marriage-wedding-rates-fall?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

    [D: Wow. Good link.]

  5. Lovekraft says:

    There was a day where a whiny, nagging, entitled woman-child could be called out on her behavior with community and internal checks. Those days are long gone, with SATC and The View etc etc not only encouraging the ‘you-go-girl’ mentality, but actually shaming and beating down anyone who dare speak up against the Cult of Feminism/Progressivism.

    The emotional overreaction to simply calling out childish, selfish behavior speaks to me of serious emotional problems that Western society must address.

  6. Dalrock says:

    @PT Barnum
    Honestly, the divorce rate is probably dropping because the average women is marrying later.

    I think there is some truth to this. Women who marry later either have to divorce very quickly, or divorce when they are older than women did in the past. This has to be part of the reason for the remarriage strike. To some degree men may be getting wise to the risk of marrying a woman who already proved she won’t stay married. But some of the change must be due to the fact that the average newly minted divorcée is older than in previous generations.

    The funny thing is that non traditional women want to delay marriage and then to use it as a wealth transference mechanism once they have kids and then go back to a fabulous life of dating. At the very least because they are older they won’t enjoy the dating like they once did. There is also a good chance that they won’t be able to have kids. I’ve seen quite a number of women my own age who put off kids until it was too late. The older a woman gets, the longer it tends to take to conceive. Also, the argument that the woman gave up the opportunity to establish a career would seem to get weaker the longer she delayed marriage, so traditional spousal support would seem to have less of a basis.

  7. Lavazza says:

    On a related note there seems to be a big disparity between when men think women should not think of becoming mothers anymore and when women think it is time to throw in the towel. As a divorced father in his forties not wanting any more children, I expect the cut off age to be early thirties, but I have had a BIG difficulty finding women in their early thirties who agree with me. Bit I do not see them as having a big chance of proving me wrong. One kind of did, though. I met her when she was going through a rough spot with her BF, but they had a child a year or two later. But if a woman in her early thirties is truly single, I rate her chances of having a child later below 20 %.

    [D: Someone should make them a gantt chart.]

  8. Badger says:

    Lovekraft,

    I said almost the exact same thing in my Kay Hymowitz response:

    “If there ever was a halcyon “back in the day” for marital relations, a woman of Hymowitz’s age and stature would have told these entitled princesses “girl, you better chill out and show some respect for yourself or no man worth his salt is going to want to marry you.” Fast-forward to today, and instead they define what the women want as “right” (of course reserving the right to change their minds) and pen books about how bad men are when they can’t get what they want.”

    Women have really abandoned their posts in terms of giving good advice to the next generation.

    http://badgerhut.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/obligation-masculinity-kay-hymowitz-and-her-clueless-brethren

  9. It’s stunning for me to read how many childless and over 40 women indicate on their online dating profiles that they want kids. I have seen that on a few profiles where the woman is 44 or even older. From reading the profiles, I sense that these women are usually educated and career-oriented.

    Now, perhaps they are signaling to the single dads “pick me!”. Fair enough, that would be a good signal, indeed and rather encouraging for the single dads (I’m not one, by the way).

    However, I suspect that the real deal is that they want their own kids. Ah, the fantasy lives on.

  10. Lavazza says:

    privateman: Yeah, it would be VERY interesting to see the stats on how many single women in their early thirties who are mothers 5 or 10 years later. For single women in their forties I would guess zero. Even for women who are in a LTR in their early thirties the figure must be below 60-70 %. More than 95 % of the parents I know were in their child rearing LTR already in their twenties, even if many or most did not have their first child until the mother was in her early thirties.

    Of course the turkey baster option or equivalent single mom or almost single mom solutions does not count.

  11. “It would be VERY interesting to see the stats on how many single women in their early thirties who are mothers 5 or 10 years later.”

    Those would be some excellent statistics to gather and present! Dalrock, something to dig into? I am an essayist, not a good statistical researcher.

    When a childless woman over 40 indicates that she wants children on her online dating profile, I give her a wide berth. Some of these women are quite attractive, oh well.

    Of course, I could pitch some woo to them under the guise that I want kids as well but my ethics don’t allow that. My vasectomy has something to do with it, as well.

    I wonder if these women will eventually attempt a turkey baster pregnancy, an “oops” pregnancy, or adoption.

  12. Eric says:

    As long as there’s profit in alimony and child support; very little salesmanship is needed. However, marriages between American men and foreign-born women has been the only US marriage demographic that has been steadily increasing, now for the third straight census decade. That’s probably got a lot to do with declining divorce rates as well. Avoid the Amerobitch and you avoid divorce (along with a host of other problems).

  13. Hmmmm. How to increase the divorce business? Not to sound too snarky, but it’s quite easy. Boost marriage rates.

    [D: Agreed.]

    OTOH, who needs the marriage-divorce pump-n-dump when a woman can get her hot little hands on 50% of his stuff and an 18-year chilimony award simply by cohabiting with the chump, bearing a kid or two, and then splitting?

    [D: That lacks the feel good experience of busting up a marriage. I’m not even sure how the sellers would keep score.]

  14. zed says:

    Do you have any statistics less than 20+ years old? Much has happened in the world since 1988 and it would be interesting to see what trends are like now.

    [D: I wish I did. That is really frustrating about this topic. So much of the data being quoted is 20 years old.]

  15. Chris says:

    Hi Dalrock.

    I thought Screwtape had quietly been retired to the lower ranks of the infernal kingdom for gross incompetence. I was wrong. He has been marketing divorce…. Lewis, Swift and Stross would be proud to own the prose you have written. The spiritual, economic, physical and emotional damage caused by frivolous divorces is uncountable.

    I have never, ever understood the attraction of dating. It seemed so American. This may be a generational thing: in the New Zealand I grew up in, a group of boys and girls “hung out” together during early adolescence … then paired up later. When I was 15, 16, 17… I would have not gone out with the girls from that group because they were the sisters of my mates… and it was considered creepy.

    I’ve never liked the meat market aspects of the night life (from my adolescence, and much much more crass today). I don’t like the damage that children’s welfare (and their zero tolerance policies) and the family courts have done to marriages.

    As a believer, I have to take the word seriously. Matt and Mad (Matt married Mad, who was a divorcee with two kids) have a long (quite Christian) discussion on the theology of divorce at http://mandm.org.nz/2011/02/contra-mundum-%e2%80%9ctill-death-do-us-part%e2%80%9d-christ%e2%80%99s-teachings-on-abuse-divorce-and-remarriage.html.

    The current Western rules are designed for destruction. It is the role of the true Church, for all the men in the Church, to make another way, to model this, and to subvert the marketers of pain you have so ably satirized.

  16. Dan in Philly says:

    So much to share, so little time. My 1st wife left me when I turned 30, with a child. I totally did not want the divorce, and waited a year and a half for her to change her mind, and followed her 900 miles so that 1) she could have the chance to change her mind, and 2) our child would have both parents involved in her life. It didn’t help, she still wanted whatever made her choose to leave me (she never really gave me a single good reason other than she “wasn’t happy”).

    Fast forward 10 years, and now I’ve a much more successful career (as anyone might have guessed, as I grew older and matured, I became financially more secure and successful), I have a pretty wife (who had no previous marriages or children) and have had 3 kids with her (she stays at home and is happy to do so, treating me like a king). I’m also much thinner and in better shape than I was (thanks to wifey who makes all our meals from scratch).

    In the meantime, my ex had to start a relationship with a man from Europe to get married (thanks for the green card!), the guy is 10 years older than her and depends on her to drive to his job (he works for her father). She is the breadwinner in the family and the child they have together is being raised by day care and baby sitters. She’s gained about 50 pounds and outweighs me at this point. If she leaves this one (or he leaves her) her prospects are dim.

    So, in conclusion, Ha Ha!! And those women reading this, thinking about leaving a man devoted to you? Yeah, you may want to rethink that one….

  17. zed says:

    Going right along with marketing divorce, it seems that they are now marketing having women dump their kids.
    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/the-opposite-of-a-tiger-mother-leaving-your-children-behind-2460982/

    Rahna Reiko Rizzuto says that she never wanted to be a mother.

    There you go, Dalrock, a nice slow one right over the middle of the plate. Tear it up.

  18. Pingback: Intermediate guide to selling divorce; overcoming women’s better judgment. | Dalrock

  19. dream puppy says:

    “There was a day where a whiny, nagging, entitled woman-child could be called out on her behavior with community and internal checks. Those days are long gone, with SATC and The View etc etc not only encouraging the ‘you-go-girl’ mentality, but actually shaming and beating down anyone who dare speak up against the Cult of Feminism/Progressivism.”

    Feminism is mean to women. It encourages them to make choices that will lead them to unhappy and lonely existences. Then, it chastises them for not being happy in their lonely, materialistic, self entitled existence. I know we are each responsible for our own actions, but the elites that run academia, media and government are doing our women a great disservice by enabling and encouraging women to act against their own self interest. It is especially mean to the poor, as they do not tend to have the intellectual (and other) resources to make informed decisions. People who lack future time orientation and an ability to think in an abstract manner are the ones most harmed by this free sex, men are disposable society.

    Our culture is mean to everyone, but it is especially mean to those that need guidance.

  20. Eric says:

    Zed:
    Thank you for the link. It isn’t surprising, though, since the abortion, day-care, and social work industry has been selling child-dumping for years.

    It’s often discussed in MRA circles about the impact our feminised culture has on men, but often overlooked how it affects children. There’s plenty of mounting evidence that women in our culture are no better at being mothers than they are at being wives. They consider children as expendable and disposable as they consider men.

  21. bresner23 says:

    For men looking to keep bitches in check: http://manhood101.com

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  38. Micha Elyi says:

    I know several women on Facebook who have kids from several different husbands, yet are constantly regaling everyone with religious platitudes and proof of their mega-Christianity.

    It boggles my mind they don’t see the cognitive dissonance there. …their own life is apparently above reproach just because they “believe.”
    Days of Broken Arrows

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

    The upright man is a light to others, “platitudes and… mega-Christianity” not so much. The upright man can be the strong, silent type and those cognitively dissident females will begin to see he’s walking with Jesus and they’re not. Then they have a choice, repent as the Magdalene did or keep walking with a different father than His. The females who choose the latter will resent the upright man and even try to bring him down but Jesus told us that some would hate those who follow HIm.

  39. Micha Elyi says:

    …SATC and The View etc etc not only encouraging the ‘you-go-girl’ mentality, but actually shaming and beating down anyone who dare speak up against the Cult of Feminism/Progressivism.
    Lovekraft

    Men, speak up then stare down any loose women who try to shame you. They can’t shame you unless you give ’em permission. So don’t. Be solid and they can’t beat you down either. Plus it frustrates ’em into conniptions when the harpies can’t lure you into their female shame-game of snotty remarks and nasty looks.

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