China’s divorce rates continue to climb and recent statistics show that women are increasingly initiating the proceedings – according to an article in The China Daily, 70 percent of divorce cases filed in a Shunyi court last year were by women – a phenomenon that is believed to reflect a nationwide trend. The Ministry of Civil Affairs has also stated that in 2010 “1.96 million people nationwide applied for divorce while only 1.2 million tied the knot” across the nation.
Life in Beijing offers many perks for expats , of course (check out HSBC’s assessment of China, ranked 11th, in its “Expat Explorer Survey”), but the temptations of living abroad can also take its toll on marriages.
Author Erica Hanfred (He’s History, You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty) has written a piece for The Huffington Post about the psychological and physiological effects of romantic rejection, ranging from increased levels of dopamine and cortisol immediately after a breakup (which is why "rejected lovers get frantic and tend to relentlessly pursue their beloved … [and]take humiliating measures to reconnect …" and oscillate between fits of rage and passion) to feelings of “excess energy” and bouts of intense depression that could even result in life-threatening heart attacks and strokes.
“The expression, dying of a broken heart, is not just hyperbole. People do actually die of a broken heart. They expire from heart attacks or strokes caused by their depression. These statistics probably come from a study of rejection in college students where most psychologists do their studies. If clinical depression is that common after rejection when you’re just dating, imagine how severe it is after twenty years of marriage. Fisher compares the process to the infant mammal when separated from its mother. When you isolate a puppy in the kitchen at first it protests. Eventually, however, it curls up in a corner in a despondent heap.”
Gloom and doom aside, Hanfred, who went through a nasty divorce herself, offers this advice to the lovelorn: “Those of us (like me I’m sad to say) who are glass-half-empty types suffer for longer and may creep, rather than bounce, back. However, eventually I recovered and so will you.”
More on China’s divorce laws here.