Why People Divorce?
You will find hundreds of articles that talk about the general reasons why people divorce. Extramarital affairs, conflict, money issues – you probably know of all of these reasons already. This article will help you get to the deeper end. What makes a person behave the way they do, which results in divorce? What motivates them to end their marriage? What are the factors that come into play behind why people divorce? You’ll get your answers by the time you reach the end of this article, as we dissect how our brains process relationships using something known as the Reptile theory.
The Reptile Theory is a well-known conjecture among lawyers. It is mainly used to influence the juror’s decision. But that’s not the only aspect of it. The reptile theory plays a huge role when it comes to failed marriages. Human beings, by nature, are a victim of their habits. These habits are a result of evolution and socialization. Our decision making is subconsciously influenced by this imaginary reptile, which we don’t have any control over.
What’s the Reptile Theory?
To put it in the context of a court, reptile theory influences the jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the accuser or the victim, depending on the crime. If the lawyer is successful in pushing the narrative, then almost all the jurors will be imagining themselves in the same situation as the plaintiff. This creates a sense of fear and an urge to protect their family and their respective community.
You might be asking, what all of that has to do with divorces? Now, if you change the context from a courtroom to a marriage that is starting to show cracks, you’ll see the bigger picture.
Whether someone has children or not, every individual has a parental instinct. The desire to protect the genes that you got from your ancestors. At times, all the other logic within your brain disappears.
You stay focused only on the essential functions like eating, breathing, and reproducing. Everything else becomes irrelevant when you’re facing your fears. Not so different from a reptile, right? Even Charles Darwin touches the edges of this topic with his theory of biological evolution. The idea of survival is at the forefront of every individual whether we realize it or not.
Why People Divorce influenced by this reptile nature of the brain?
People often have a wrong understanding of the concept of love. Most of the decisions that are related to relationships are influenced by dopamine and serotonin – hormones that are released from your brain. Like any other mammal, humans seek comfort and safety. When someone makes you feel that way, your brain releases the dopamine, and you feel the emotion that is signified as love. Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, describes this in many of her theories.
When you’re in a relationship, if your significant other doesn’t influence your brain to release dopamine anymore, then you start losing interest in that person, which the modern society terms as falling out of love. If you combine that with various other co-factors like trust issues, abuse, decreased sex-drive, then the reptile theory instantly comes in to play.
You feel the need to protect your genes, and, as the evolution theory suggests, you seek someone who can help you to have a stronger genetic legacy. When that becomes your sole purpose, then morality, ethics, and every other trait that humans take pride in disappears. This leads to cheating, adultery, abuse, and many other marital problems.
The subconscious part of the brain plays a greater role than most people would believe. When you’re leading a simple and comfortable life, the reptilian instincts of survival stays at the back of your brain. To simplify your thought process, ask yourself why do you look after yourself? Is there a significant reason behind it? It might seem like you’re doing it to feel better about yourself, but at the very core remains the desire to combine your genes with someone you deem appropriate.
Divorces are often influenced by this reptile nature of the brain. Logic and morality go out the window when the reptile takes over. Then you’re controlled by your sexual drive and the need to have a better genetic legacy.
When there are children involved in the divorce, the mother tends to get even more defensive unknowingly. Whether she’s filing a divorce due to abuse, infidelity, or any other reason, the safety of her offspring remains the main catalyst in all of her decisions.
Spouses that decide to take couples therapy often manage to work past their issues, but more often than not, they spiral back to their reptile instincts and look for a way out from the marriage.
The concept of the Reptile Theory is thought-provoking, to say the least. If you’re trying to figure out the reasons why people divorce, understanding why people function the way they do first is fundamental in untangling the confusing knot of marriage. Only then can people be subjective and sort out their differences.
The reptilian brain is responsible for basic life functions like breathing, hunger, and survival. Usually, the reptile takes over when our personal safety is threatened. The reptile does not have feelings or emotions. It is not moral and does not care about justice, so when it takes over, it controls you firmly. The reptile is so powerful, such that when it assumes control, it runs both your cognitive and emotional brains which means everything you do will be to fulfill her desires.
The reptilian brain is the most instinctive part of the human brain. It is responsible for the production of our unconscious decisions that occur automatically such as fear, flight, and self-defense. And most of the decisions we make that lead to divorce are informed by our reptilian brain. We are always clouded by anger and fear and so we end up making decisions without introspection.
When you search why people divorce, you’ll find countless articles online that answer that question in detail. However, in this article, I will take a revolutionary approach to answer why people divorce.
Conflicts and arguing
One common cause of divorce is constant conflicts and arguing. Spouses argue about many things with a lack of role clarity and power struggles taking center stage. During such arguments, the reptile makes the couples angry. Fight or flight responses are then triggered by the reptilian brain. Chemical messengers are released into the body that evokes emotions. During this time, the thinking parts of the brain get shut down and you cannot make a logical decision. The result of this is endless arguments with no rational thinking and without resolution which eventually leads to most divorce cases among spouses.
Infidelity also ranks top among the reasons why people divorce. When your partner starts cheating, it is usually a turning point for the relationship. First, the lies will come and then you become withdrawn from the other partner and they become lonely. The reptile doesn’t like lies. It hates loneliness with equal measures. Therefore, this will hurt the other spouse and attract retaliation in the form of flight or fight. Some individuals will cheat back while others will move out of the relationship which in both cases will lead to the dissolution of the marriage.
Financial issues can unravel marriages. Studies show that money problems are a major reason why people divorce. In most cases, money issues like financial infidelity and low-income results to lack of trust, and increased tensions in the marriage. When there is anxiety and the reptile feels threatened, instincts take over. Whenever the self-preservation instinct is involved, the thinking part of the brain stops, and the spouses can’t think rationally and they can’t make sound judgments. This leads to a series of problems that eventually end in divorce.
Addiction to drugs, sex, and even gambling is another problem that wrecks marriages. The reptile has a powerful pleasure-giving tool that makes us obey it. It uses this pleasant tool to make people find pleasure in drugs, sex, gambling, or any other substance. Over time, addicts create a stronger relationship with the substances they abuse than with their partners and end up getting hooked to these substances. The marriage starts becoming unstable and the relationship is threatened. When the reptile in the other partner becomes threatened, the reptilian brain kicks in and they start making poor decisions. Fights and arguments become the order of the day and eventually, divorce follows when things get out of hand.
The lizard brain usually takes center stage in most divorce cases. This is usually evident where spouses are willing to spend lots of money to contest in court over small issues that can be settled amicably. In the end, they look back and wonder what they were thinking.
As an attorney and certified mediator, I am committed to getting the best outcome for my clients in a cost-effective efficient manner. I help people to move out of toxic, draining energy marriages fast and start a new chapter of their happy life.