This recent article http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/stories/why-divorce-is-bad-for-the-economy posits that divorce is bad for the economy because of the resulting depletion of human capital. Inarguable. But after two failed marriages and being under financial pressure ever since, I have come to focus on another kind of capital– relationship capital. Yes divorce costs massive financial capital on a personal and, according to the article, societal level. Some of end up paying for it for decades. But more fundamentally, divorce is the result of a loss of capital in the relationship itself.
For those readers still in a relationship– albeit maybe hanging by a thread– or those contemplating (or fearing) plunging into new ones (that’s right I used that metaphor, deal with it), the punch line of my cautionary tale is the formula: relationship capital = time X (mutual love and respect).
Now, let me backtrack from being formulaic to say- if we marry young, it’s likely we picked
wrong. How likely? 50% likely. Oversimplified? Yeah, so? It makes my head hurt less. If you pick wrong, the above formula doesn’t apply. Instead you’re in a half-life situation. The relationship has a half life since infatuation, great sex, whatever drew you in, will serve as glue for just so long until ultimately, you become rubber, she becomes glue and the relationship lessens in romance at a rate of 50% per year (that’s right, makes my head hurt less) until all that’s left is a teeny tiny thread of connection which eventually is broken by a butterfly or rose petal alighting on it. And then, after two years or ten, after two kids or maybe just a Bassett hound, you bite the bullet, possibly so big you break a tooth or bank or two, get set back like 10 years in every way possible, and chalk it up to youthful inexperience. Actually, forget that, you will probably blame your spouse, because who wants to blame ourselves?
But lets say you picked right. Well, for starters “right” is not absolute here. Nothing is, except the sky, global
warming, the fact that Mitt Romney will say anything and its opposite to get elected, the fact that everyone we know will die someday. That’s right, die. Buzzkill? Read on! Right means you actually thought about it when not having an orgasm.