As this tweeter “kindly” pointed out::
Belgium’s divorce rate is indeed one the highest in the world, on the surface, ranging somewhere in the 70th percentile overall on any given day. But that is not a wholly accurate number, because there’s a whole science aka a set of mathematical equations to it that most of us aren’t aware of. The divorce rate is that high, simply because way less people in Belgium are getting married every year (around 2%) versus people getting divorced (around 6%), in relation to the population as a whole.
So if you happen to live in a country where weddings outnumber divorces (let’s say in the U.S. or Canada or the U.K. or hey, Libya!), well, the divorce rate will seem to be lower simply because everybody is going marriage-crazy compared to the steadier number of divorces in any given year. And if you live in a country like Belgium where the wedding industry is lagging (let’s say in France or Portugal? Yes, Portugal.), compared to the number of divorces taking place, then the divorce rate will be higher. That’s how the numbers are calculated. And I’m glad it’s not my job to calculate this stuff.
In reality, Belgium’s divorce rate is more in the 60th percentile as of 2015, which is still high.
- Why are less people in Belgium getting married? Well, like most countries in the EU, being married or living a “common-law marriage” aka co-habitating aren’t that much different as far as laws are concerned. So many people don’t bother to go through the paperwork and pay this or that governmental body a chunk of money to get a piece of paper that says you’re married. I could have moved here without getting married to my now-estranged husband Davy, and simply signed a “samenlevingscontract” but we chose not to do that. We got married.
- Why are more people in Belgium getting divorced? Well, the divorces happening now can be from marriages that took place 3 years ago or 35 years ago. But one thing is for sure, it is now much easier to divorce in Belgium, so more divorces are finally happening. And when I say “easier” and “finally” I mean the Catholic Church has less power and the ridiculous and archaic laws have changed in recent years, making it possible to file for divorce without the religious and social stigmas attached. You used to have to show proof of infidelity or abuse, and drag witnesses in and create your own circus.
Whether or not it has to do with Belgium’s worst-kept secret of alcoholism or addictions and the concurrent rise in independence of women, or just a mere disregard for marriage vows, I do not know. Usually, it’s easier to just state “unreconcilable differences” and be done with it rather than airing your dirty laundry out for everyone to point at. I’m still new to all this myself.
But what I do know is that I’m heading towards divorce now. And I do appreciate everyone who shares with me their experiences and vulnerabilities, as I do here. As for those who cannot be empathetic or kind, well, I welcome the opportunity to share and enlighten them along the way.