Difficulty in discussing the subject is even more heightened for most men, so it is frequently swept under the carpet.
This page will provide some insight into how big that pile under the carpet is and how costly it has and will become: in both human and economic terms. You might also refer to the statistics on divorce sourced from the ABS.
Aspects of the Cost - Who is Affected?
Aspects addressed on this page include: men, suicide, children, new relationship partners, and grandparents.
Major areas of Community and Business are on separate pages selected in the left border.
Broad Overview of Need Addressed
There were 51,370 divorces in 1997/98 in Australia according to ABS, involving roughly the same number of children under eighteen (18) years of age. Accurate statistics on de-facto relationships are harder to come by, but a conservative estimate would be that there would be one third (1/3rd) the number of marriages and with at least as many children. That creates a total of over 70,000 relationship failures impacting a similar number of children.
The 1998 House of Representatives inquiry into strategies to strengthen families and relationships put the direct cost to the Commonwealth Government of marriage and family breakdown at $2,771 million per annum, or approximately $154 per Australian (adults and children) per year. It estimated the when other government costs were included that figure rose to a staggering $3 billion per annum, with indirect costs possibly doubling that figure again. Divide that figure ($6bn) by 18 million Australians, and the cost per capita per annum is $333. (Extract from that report)
Men are identifiably reluctant to engage services that address their emotional life and with latest data showing women are initiating the end of a relationship in two third (2/3rd) of cases, men have more emotional pain to address. The result is a lot of men who are effectively stuck in grief - having lost not just a relationship of time and substance, but frequently daily access to their children.
On the available data men generally do not grieve well, given that grieving is an emotional, rather than logical process. (Results of the FCA Research Report No 14 - The Effects of Martial Separation on Men - 10 Years On by Peter Jordan revealed that 10 years after marital separation, 46% of men were still significantly influenced by feelings of anger towards their former partner).When the emotional impact of separation is not adequately addressed, some men express their unresolved feeling in one of two more extreme ways, or worse, a combination of both. One way for men to mishandle this is to express outward against people or objects - in the case of failed relationships, this can take the form of domestic violence. The other less visible, but very common, means is to suppress the strong feelings and turn them inward - depression, substance abuse and suicide are typical symptoms and behaviours here. Extreme cases involve both, with the acting out taking the form of murder of the former partner and/or children and then the acting in - suicide.
Frequently overlooked statistics on separated males and suicide are alarming. Research conducted in Queensland by Chris H Cantor and Penelope J Slater reported in the Journal of Family Studies Vol 1, No 2, Oct 95, showed separated men at 6.2 times the risk of suicide and separated males under thirty (30) years at nearly 9 times the risk.
The impact in both the short term and over time of this failure to heal is high and takes many forms:
Separated Men are at Risk of:
Risks to Children
Children who have already been traumatised by the parental relationship failure, frequently have the added stress of physically, mentally and financially exhausted parents, who too often remain confrontational in their dealings.
That comes on top of the pattern that the children of broken relationships have frequently been modelled less than ideal adult relationship skills prior to the relationship demise. Together, they combine to produce an adult that carries anxieties and a lack of skills, that together will add to their risk of unsatisfying and unstable adult relationships. Some studies rate the children of broken marriages at nearly a 50% increased risk of adult relationship breakdown over their peers whose parents remained married.
Emotionally distraught children are less likely to effectively engage education resources.
New Relationship Partners
New partners who form relationships with men who have not successfully resolved issues from either their failed relationship or even prior contributory issues, are in for a difficult time. Such men are frequently emotionally withdrawn and/or emotionally hyper-sensitive - a poor basis for a successful new relationship.Some women in relationship with such men have likened their unhealed new partner to having another child in the house.
Frequently the parents and grandparents of those in relationship breakdown are forgotten.
During the golden years, when much of the joy of life comes from observing the energy and curiosity of a new generation - their grandchildren; many grandparents suffer the frequently unvoiced pain of being totally or for lengthy periods, separated from their grandchildren.
Parents of men in failed relationships (where the relationship with the custodial mother is strained) are frequently heavily restricted in their access to grand-children, a strain that impacts on the wellbeing of both grand-parent/s and grand-child/ren. (MENDS promotes the notion of Emotional )