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The cult of personality: why there are so many divorces in Russia now
The cult of personality: why there are so many divorces in Russia now

In 2021, Russians broke the record for divorces: 251 thousand couples broke up in the first five months of this year. Our columnist Yekaterina Popova tells why people so often prefer "solo swimming", whether it can be fixed and whether there is a need for it.

The cult of personality: why there are so many divorces in Russia now

“Loners only think about finding a soul mate, but at the same time pretend to enjoy their solo life. Difficulties with guys became the main topic of conversations with girlfriends. Men immerse themselves in work or video games. Few people realize the importance of union for balance and speak directly about their desire to enter into it, as if belief in love became proof of naivety, "writes French psychoanalyst Fabienne Kremer in his book" The Future for a Couple ".

She's right: we often lament that it's impossible to meet someone normal on Tinder. Sometimes it's just a small talk that starts between friends over a glass of wine. More often it is really a conversation about something sad and disturbing. You can blame girls for “lack of self-sufficiency,” but let's face it: in Russia, seven out of 10 people believe that a woman's destiny is to be a good housewife and mother. So is it necessary to judge others or feel ashamed, noticing the "nesting instinct" in oneself?

Despite the “all get married” attitude, in 2021 the number of divorces was almost equal to the number of marriages: the difference was only 6%. Women become the initiators of the gap more often than the “strong half of humanity”. Something seems to have gone wrong. From childhood, we are taught that the main mission of a girl is to start a family, but we still often go into solo mode - sometimes temporary, sometimes permanent. But why is this happening?

Kremer is sure: the reason is the cult of personal development and a change of priorities. People consider individual success and careers more important than family. Russians cite money problems, betrayal and "lack of understanding" as the main reasons for divorce. But all this has existed for centuries, not to mention last year. So what has changed? Why do women refuse marriage, despite the fact that it is still considered their main goal and purpose?

Marriage is no longer necessary for survival

Literally 100 years ago, a single woman aroused only sympathy: nothing good awaited her ahead. It will be good if the brothers allow them to remain century-old with their family, but if not? The work was really divided into women and men. And the point is not even that the woman could not plow or fell wood. The girls knew how - and how. Another thing is that it was physically impossible to take on both one and the other - the burden was too great. The spouse really acted as a defender - he may not save him from the master, but at least the other men in the village will not climb.

And now a century has passed, and the boundaries have been erased. We no longer build houses ourselves, but take out a mortgage. We do not sow bread, but go to the store. Huge humanoid robots still do not protect us from the Polovtsy and Pechenegs, but everyone has long forgotten about forced military service for 20 years. Men who refuse to change diapers are increasingly condemned: what kind of father is this armless? Women who don't want to work are ridiculed by writers, comedians and screenwriters. Money becomes a much more reliable friend of older people than children with glasses of water. And the question turns out to be relevant: why do we need a family now?


Why is the number of marriages almost equal to the number of divorces?

How is love?

An amazing thing: love was sung a thousand years before our birth, and at the same time, most people had no idea what it was. Marriages were made for convenience: spouses were looking for hard-working and healthy ones. Feelings did not bother anyone - unlike a dowry.Do they give a ten for the girl in the village? Oblique, but seems to be sewing, and weaving, and in the field is not lazy? You can get married! No one asked girls or guys about love. It is good if the young people had time to talk more than once before the wedding: for example, merchant daughters were not even allowed to do this until the beginning of the 20th century.

As a result, we all live with the feeling that there should be love in a relationship, but no one really knows what it looks like. Eric Erickson believed that this is the ability to trust yourself to someone. Erich Fromm called her the ability to act in the interests of another person. Abraham Maslow argued that love is a feeling of tenderness and affection that brings satisfaction, joy and happiness. We are surrounded by dozens of definitions, and almost all of them are about the fact that people should be better together than alone.

However, when they get married, women and men are surprised to find that it used to be more fun. No unnecessary obligations, you don't need to coordinate your plans with anyone, your money is only yours, not "household", "vacation" and "children's" ones. Even in the most prosperous families, reaching agreements and maintaining them is not an easy task. What can we say about newlyweds, whose values ​​are too different? And all this must be opposed by mythical love, which no one really saw in the eye.

Peace, friendship, gum

“Good friends, first of all,” is how the modern psychologist John Gottman, who specializes in the study of stable marriages, characterizes spouses. They say he spent so much time working with couples that now at the first consultation he can tell whether people will disperse or be able to keep the family together. His theory sounds great, but there is one problem: they keep repeating to us that there can be no friendship between a man and a woman.

And it's not about the notorious friend zone: they say, a guy will communicate with a girl only as long as he believes that sooner or later he will be in bed with her. We are really brought up in different ways. Girls are taught to recognize their own and others' emotions, boys are forbidden everything except anger. Girls hear that you have to be modest and sweet, guys are told to be confident, persistent and striving for their own. We are accustomed to talking about feelings and secrets, men consider it a "woman's trunk".

“It has always been easier for me to communicate with boys than with girls. They are simpler and not prone to envy and gossip, "says Anna on Rambler in an article about the" unique "friendship between representatives of different sexes. “She was my friend who crowded out all my boyfriend friends. You could go to football with her and discuss the girls,”Peter echoes her. One gets the impression that women themselves are not good until they turn into PickMeGirls, who adore Spartak matches and talk about blondes' asses. So is it any wonder that friendship in marriage does not work out?

What about partnership?

Seven out of 10 survey participants say that a woman is a mother and a housewife, six out of ten are sure that the husband should be the breadwinner in the family. Can a homemaker for clean floors and delicious dinners pursue a career? Of course, but after boiling borscht. Should a mammoth hunter wash baby bottles? Only if he wants and does not get too tired at work.

Antiquated but resilient gender roles prevent us from building partnerships. People continue to believe that they have different areas of responsibility, which leads to inevitable conflicts. The belief of men that only they are the earners of "paprirode" leads to the very lack of money, which becomes the reason for divorce: one person only in rare cases can support a family. The unwillingness of women to follow the "traditions of their ancestors" and to be the keepers of the hearth in one person turns into a "lack of mutual understanding."

As a result, modern marriages are woven of contradictions. No one has seen love, the way of great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers causes only irritation in girls, partnerships cannot be built.In 2021, these problems were aggravated by a pandemic - and now we have almost twice as many divorces as in 2020. The cult of personal development has nothing to do with it, unless, of course, you call that the very opportunity to exist and raise children alone. However, some advice from Fabien Kremer can still come in handy. For example, her recommendation to build a marriage on three pillars: respect, complicity and loyalty to the union. And not so much is needed: to be committed to these less traditional values ​​together.

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