The Divorce Rate In Belgium

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.

So:

  • 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.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

 

43 Comments

  1. Brian

    Great blog as always Jun. I’ve been a fan since I first “met” you on BB4.
    I know you will always do what you think is best for Noah. I hope your excellent writing leads you to success in your (third?) career.

    Reply
    1. I came across this site whilst looking at Belgium architectures. I can’t believe Belgium has the highest rate of divorce, or that EU countries have high divorce rates. So many reasons given why people are not getting married and reasons for divorce. I am sorry to read this. On the other hand it’s admirable to read that women are trying to be positive, move forward and make their lives happier and enjoyable despite the set backs they have experienced. I want to read what the men think about their own divorce experiences.

      More power to all the women here who experienced divorces. And all the best and wishing the blogger Jun, the most successful career and living. All the best for your son, Jun.

      Reply
  2. At first I felt bad for you that you’re doing this on your own, in a foreign (well, to me) country, all the while being the best Mama you can be. Then I realized you’re Jun, the Wonder Woman, and I know you got this. But I’m still sending you hugs and good vibes because we can never get enough of those!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Awwww. Some days I feel bad for me too haha. And some days I do feel like Wonder Woman. Today I am Laundry Woman. The laundry never ends. Thank you for your support. Hugs are lovely!

      Reply
  3. Melissa

    Today would have been my 29th wedding anniversary with my son’s father/ex-husband. Divorce is never easy, but sometimes very necessary. The only thing that kept me going was the love for our son. My love for him outweighed the hatred I had for his dad. Fast forward 23 years……my ex and I are much better friends than we were husband and wife, but more importantly we were able to set aside our differences and raise a smart, caring, and well-rounded son. My ex is still making horrible choices in life, but has always stood by me where our son was concerned. I hope one day you’ll have the same support from Davy, but if not you and Noah will be just fine, because YOU are Noah’s constant and an awesome mother! Thank you for sharing your life with us. ❤️

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Yes, some days are filled with anger and some with sadness, but overall I have learned to put me and Noah first. Thank you for sharing Melissa. I’m glad I can be open here, and I appreciate your honesty too.

      Reply
  4. Becky

    My divorce was extremely amicable but it’s not something I wanted. We still run a business together and he is remarried to the woman he cheated on me with, but somehow we make it work. I have had to learn to stop loving him and start viewing him simply as a close friend since we co-parent our daughter who is now a senior in high school (not to mention running the business). Am I always happy? The answer is no. Is my life and the life of my daughter good? The answer is yes. Maybe even better in some way. I wish you and Noah the very best Jun!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Oh wow, talk about complicated! I admire your openness and ability to adapt. I’m happy to hear your daughter had two devoted parents to raise her together, but apart. Thanks for sharing dear Becky.

      Reply
  5. Dom

    Love a Sunday morning dishing with Jun! Sometimes I wish I could marry my partner, but more often than not I feel like our relationship is ending, so I’m grateful for us not taking that leap and marrying. This morning I saw Facebook pictures of a wedding of some acquaintances from last night. I was happy for them, but envious and a little sad to see what appears to be a loving, strong, happy gay couple surrounded by their loved ones at a fancy museum, and wished I had that with my partner, or with someone. Then I imagined it in my head and said “f#@& no!”

    Reply
  6. Jenn

    Hi Jun, I’ve always enjoyed your blogs and posts and have been a cheerleader to you the entire way through your journey. That being said I dont think anyone gets married to plan on getting divorced. Well at least I didnt and would probably still be married if my ex husband hadn’t cheated and also been an addict. I think we will always love one another but he has moved on and is in a much better place now. I am not. I went from him to another guy that loved me but I never gave him my whole self for 6 years he hung around but finally he gave up. I never thought my ex husband would come back but for some reason I’ve never progressed in my own life. Please Jun make yourself number 2 of course your son number one. Learn from those around you. I hope the best for you and your son. I dont see you sitting around rotting away. Love all you do and I’m proud of you. You will always be a friend in my head. Jennifer

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Indeed, I would hope nobody would get married intending on getting divorced. The sanctity of marriage would be in much worse shape then. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had such a rough time moving on Jenn. But I thank you for your honesty here in sharing your story. I don’t intend to rot away, no. I look forward to more cheerleading from you.

      Reply
  7. CDS

    The official divorce rate in Belgium = 51,6% This percentage (and data) has been provided by the National Institute of Statistics in Belgium, keeping into account a longitudinal study of 50 years. Apparently Wikipedia, online magazines and divorce agencies keep on spreading higher numbers.

    Official press release: http://statbel.fgov.be/nl/binaries/PBmardiv2015_nl_tcm325-280202.pdf
    More specifically: “Met 516 echtscheidingen per 1.000 huwelijken geeft het cijfer aan dat na 50 jaar huwelijk iets meer dan één huwelijk op twee eindigt in een echtscheiding”.

    Anyway. Good luck to you.

    Reply
  8. Mari

    My sisters and I are huge BB fans and you are my favorite. I’ve always admired how strong you are and I hope to start making some decisions that are better for me in regards to my “marriage.”

    Reply
  9. stacey

    hi jun…1st thank you for sharing something so personal. funny thing is that my parents have stayed married but should have divorced years ago. its worse for children to grow up in an unhealthy environment. not only are you doing whats best for you but most importantly noah. my mom @ 70 says ” I should have divorced years ago”, and i totally agree. everyone would have been much happier and healthier. growing up in this type of environment has actually soured me on marriage..so go figure..lol. what my bigger challenge would be whether to stay there or go back to the US where u have family support. hmmm on 2nd thought you might want to wait until Trump is out of office (waits patiently)…haha. seriously though, you’ve always been an open book and sharing this only confirms how strong and brave you are. sending good vibes to you and noah as you embark on your next journey in life.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I’ve hear this before from grown children who believe happiness trumps staying together for the sake of staying together. I am staying put for now. But I will continue to share and connect with so many good people who get it, even with those who don’t. Thank you for sharing a bit of your life.

      Reply
  10. Peg Rejent

    Jun, you have many supporting you, especially me. My dear sister went through all you are dealing with and if I may be so bold as to guide you (and others) to her website perhaps she can direct or help you in some small way. Her book, “My Resurrected Heart – A Codependent’s Journey to Healing” serves well. I am proud of my sister’s insight and strength. As for you, Jun, my heart loves the brokenhearted – you can count on me for prayers. http://www.dianejellen.com/

    Reply
  11. Ruthiehib

    Jun, I also admire you since BB4 and send all other kind, supportive thoughts to you. At 68, divorced three times, sometimes I wonder why nobody wanted to stay with me. Then I remember the hurt and pain and relish in the happiness I have with friendships all around me. My daughter is so outstanding and my son is just amazing! You got it all plus you are so insanely together. Enjoy your life Momma, daughter, friend, mentor, leader Jun. I sometimes cannot believe how fortunate I am. Best wishes and xo xo xo

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I do indeed cherish my friendships and also people just like you who can be open and honest with me. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your kinds words on this rainy day.

      Reply
  12. We have been married for 38 years and I can say, it is a full time job, where we both have to continuously work at it, if not, things just accumulate and get messy. That being said, I married my best friend, who I knew through Jr and Sr. High as well as Univ- but we were just that, friends. We fell in love and married a year or so later. My heart breaks for anyone struggling in a marriage or partnership- but the hardest thing to do is- make things right for the both of you and child or children, try and fix it first and if that does not work, ending it is the last solution. Sending <3 from Canada! I sure know this- your feet are firmly planted and you know what you are doing Jun!!!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you for the love Lin. Marriage is indeed a full time job. People who say it isn’t I don’t really trust haha. I don’t think anybody gets married intending on divorcing, but alas, we are all human. I just want peace in my life and for Noah to grow up happy and healthy. Everything else is a perk.

      Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I love your honesty. Divorce is never easy, but in the long run, for me-it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I realized I hadn’t been happy with #1 for a long time…Now with #2 and happier than ever.v (well, most of the time..lol). Starting over, alone at 40 was a challenge . I planned on getting out of this small country town. Except #2 had always been a friend, and things changed.
    I know and hope you will make it through all this. I think you will.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you for your honesty, and for you good wishes. Now that I’m in my forties, I feel stronger and more confident in choices I continue to make. Cheers to your continued happiness,

      Reply
  14. Interesting! I think an important thing is not to take statistics at face value because there may be another story. While I’m happily married (and hope to always be HAPPILY married) I don’t judge those who do get divorced. Life is too short to spend it with the wrong person. Glad we all get to make our own decisions and live our own lives!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Yes there always seems to be more to the story. Kinda makes sense. There’s little left in the world that we should ever take for face value. It gives me strength to know you’re still happily married, Meg. Thank you for stopping by and sharing. And if you ever want to guest blog again just let me know!

      Reply
  15. bshivelyx

    I just went through the whole divorce and/or separation thing in March 2016, you feel confused at times but for me after that initial shock I guess you call it, I bteathed and exhaled a weight comes off your shoulders, hard to explain and I still dont fully understand that part of it. How can you feel better after losing a significant part of yourself? I think actually as what happened to me, is I rediscovered myself again, as I had lost my identity years prior. You go through the full range of emotions, but all in all eventually it’s what used to be and you look forward to what could be

    I enjoy your writing so much, I always have, it flows it makes sense and most important IMO it is real. Thanks for that.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Yes. I’ve done so much reading and research on all the kinds of phases one goes through and it feels good to be able to keep it real, especially here. I’ve always been a realist, so I’m pretty pragmatic in my thinking about big life stuff. Thank you for your honesty and sharing a bit of your life. I’m sending you good energy your way!

      Reply

Feel Free to Dish!