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“Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. It’s really that simple. That’s never happened – THAT would be sad. If two people were married and they were really happy and they just had a great thing, and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times. Literally zero.”

Louis CK




Bullshit. I personally know of at least two marriages that ended in divorce for reasons entirely unrelated to the quality of the relationship - one or both parties had a mid-life crisis, tried to reinvent themselves to assuage their existential angst, divorced, utterly alienated their partner in the process and ended up bitterly regretting it. Deciding to divorce doesn't mean that your marriage is bad, it just means that you've decided to divorce.

It's an idea that betrays a profoundly defective concept of marriage - that a lifelong relationship should seem easy and natural and that if it's not so perfect that you're absolutely certain that it's the best possible relationship you could ever have, the solution is to end it and start from scratch with someone else. It's a rejection of the idea that living with anyone is inherently difficult and requires a great deal of hard work, that people get cold feet and seven year itches, that people take things for granted, that the grass always seems greener. If divorce were genuinely a good thing, we'd expect post baby-boom generations with high divorce rates to be much happier and more satisfied with their relationships than their parents and grandparents; Instead, the opposite is true.

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> we'd expect post baby-boom generations with high divorce rates to be much happier and more satisfied with their relationships than their parents and grandparents; Instead, the opposite is true.

Sorry, but this is just a delusion. The "rate of happiness" in relationships was simply not measured until the sexual revolution of the '60s/'70s: because of asymmetry in roles, married women were just not allowed to have an opinion on the matter.

Also, there was very little acceptance for the possibility of unhappiness: if you were correctly following all social and religious mores, "of course" you were happy. Being unhappy was a weakness which could not be displayed nor tolerated.

Things change for a reason. Idyllic Arcadian scenarios are always, invariably, delusions concocted by incomplete information.

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> ...divorced, utterly alienated their partner in the process...

You mean this had nothing to do with the quality of their relationship? Otherwise, I agree with you.

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one or both parties had a mid-life crisis, tried to reinvent themselves to assuage their existential angst, divorced, utterly alienated their partner in the process and ended up bitterly regretting it.

I seem to recall a study that showed many partners were much happier with each other after the pressures of marriage were removed from their relationship. I think there is a strong argument to be made that the actions and later regret of those people you refer to is a direct result of having no "escape hatch" in marriage. Destroying everything you have is often the only way out, even if it would have been prudent for the couple to just end the marriage and keep the relationship. But that brings us back to the parent's point: Who ends a marriage to increase the happiness of the relationship? Nobody. Divorce implies an end.

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Your first paragraph might have changed my life.

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That first paragraph is my life. :*(

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f divorce were genuinely a good thing, we'd expect post baby-boom generations with high divorce rates to be much happier and more satisfied with their relationships than their parents and grandparents

Only if nothing except divorce had changed. For example, it could be that people nowadays have greater expectations for their marriages.

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Yeah, sounds great, but not exactly true.

There are therapists out there who push their clients to blame everything on their marriage and get divorce. Some marriages that were working perfectly well until the poor therapy ended in divorce, to the later regret (at different times) of both members.

So at the moment of divorce there was unhappiness. But what marriage does not have periods of stress? But the marriage itself had been working, and would have likely continued to work were it not for the crappy therapy.

That said, this is an edge case.

Back to the point. CK is wrong in a second surprise. What comes as news in many divorces is that there were problems. People tend not to share what is happening inside of marriages. So the existence of problems is itself news.

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I sought council from a professional years ago for something I was going through. Their advice was to leave my wife and two kids. I got out of there office. Fast.

I got through that valley in my life, and I've been happily married over 12 years.

There are some people in this world you simply must avoid. There is also advice out there that's pure poison. I don't think taking marriage advice from a cynical, divorced comedian is a great idea.

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I'm not sure I buy this. First off, why are people going to therapy unless something is wrong? Secondly, once this person goes to therapy and ends up asking for a divorce, what makes the other person such a reliable source on whether things were going well?

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> First off, why are people going to therapy unless something is wrong?

I think btilly meant to answer this with "So at the moment of divorce there was unhappiness. But what marriage does not have periods of stress?" It isn't very clear, but the point is that something might be wrong, but it might be temporary.

> Secondly, once this person goes to therapy and ends up asking for a divorce, what makes the other person such a reliable source on whether things were going well?

A lot of decisions to get divorced aren't mutual. Many of them seem mutual because the other person decides to cooperate, but that's different from arriving at the same decision independently.

Finally, btilly said that it's an edge case. My reaction was to think that Louis CK is a comedian and that he's saying something that is the case much of the time is the case all of the time for effect. I take philosophical statements by comedians with a grain of salt.

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You made an incorrect assumption about who I have heard these stories from.

When the person who asked for the divorce concludes that the marriage actually was fine until they screwed it up on the bad advice of the crappy therapist, that's pretty good evidence that the marriage fundamentally had nothing wrong with it.

As for going into therapy, people do that all of the time for all sorts of reasons. I can personally name people who went into therapy because of poor childhoods, work stress, seasonal affect disorder, losing a child, work problems, and so on - there is a long list of reasons that have nothing to do with the marriage that might lead someone to ask for help. Of course if the person who is supposed to be helping hurts instead, there is no limit to how much collateral damage might happen.

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When it's the person who asked for a divorce--yes, you're right there. There are certainly enough shitty therapists out there. But probably even more ex-spouses who are oblivious to problems.

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Agreed, as I said it is an edge case.

The common trend is that married couples start off with some reassurance rituals to let the other know that you're still madly in love. Over time the rituals get abbreviated, but remain as a sign of reassurance. However they've become habit, even if there are problems they will be kept up.

Then when the problems get to be too much for one person, the other is blindsided because, "(S)he gave me a kiss and told me (s)he loved me every morning!" OK, (s)he did. But did (s)he do that because (s)he thought you expected her to, or because (s)he meant it?

(Disclaimer. I've been married for 22 years. My perspective is that if you don't know what can go wrong, you are left with just hoping that it will go right.)

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> First off, why are people going to therapy unless something is wrong?

Maybe the person going to therapy was just going through one of life's blips that everyone experiences, but even assuming there is something more serious then why does it have to be marriage-related? Maybe they are suffering from depression, or PTSD, or... etc. etc. There's many valid reasons for therapy and not all of them are related to your love life.

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This, if meant to be serious, reveals a very (wrong) fatalistic concept of marriage.

The state of a marriage is not set in stone. It is absolutely possible (and happens all the time) that a great marriage falls apart because one or both partners gradually stop giving attention to each other. The opposite may also be the case. A marriage that started off badly or took a big hit still can be amended.

It just doesn't happen automatically.

Marriage is mainly what both partners[1] make of it, und requires constant work and care. Of all the divorces I have seen in my environment, there was always at least one partner who wasn't willing to give his share of commitment.

Quote I heard somewhere:

After 65 years of marriage, an old couple was asked how they managed to stay together for so long. The woman thought for a few seconds, and then replied: "You know, we were born in a time where people used to repair things instead of throwing them away."

[1] This admittedly does mean that the fate of the marriage doesn't lie completely in the hands of one individual. You can't single-handedly make your marriage a good one. So maybe thats even the singlemost important trait to look for in a potential partner: Check for the ability to cooperate.

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As a non-American who has not seen Louis CK's show, I cannot see why he is so often quoted around here. If this is an example of his jokes, then they do not reveal any great philosophical thinking.

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A lot of humor is very regional and cultural. While he does have a few bits i really enjoy, on the whole I don't really get why Louis CK is considered so great. But I simply put it down to not living in the US. I'm sure there are French or Polish or Japanese comedians whom are incredibly popular at home, but would completely fail to find an audience in the US for much the same reason.

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He's not that great. Just very bitter and angry, so we love him.

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Can you name any comedians who do express great philosophical thinking?

Besides, it's a performance art--just reading the jokes written down is never going to be as funny.

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George Carlin

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"Ray Charles has killed more Jews than happy marriages have ended in divorce"

Louis CK

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Doesn't that mean that, according to Louis CK, Ray Charles must have at least killed one Jew?

(If no happy marriages have ever ended in divorce, and Ray Charles has never killed a Jew, then Ray hasn't killed more Jews than happy marriages have ended in divorce, but equally is as many.)

And that wasn't the only time Louis CK made the connection:

"There are so many dead people. Ray Charles is dead... Hitler. A bunch of other ones, but mostly those two guys. Ray Charles and Hitler are both dead. And really, it’s the only thing they have in common, because otherwise, they’re very different dudes. Many contrasts between Hitler and Ray Charles. I’m gonna tell you a few of them. Ray Charles was black, Hitler was NOT. Hitler killed several Jews... Too many, I’ll say too many. He killed an excessive amount of Jews. He really beat that thing to the ground. He killed way - just no moderation. Ray Charles, meanwhile, hardly any Jews! He killed so few Jews!"

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He might be thinking of Ray Charles's probability of killing a Jew over any number of lifetimes. If the Ray Charles life simulation is run enough times it will eventually contain an event where he kills a Jew if the chance is non-zero. So statistically he has killed more Jews than happy marriages have ended in divorce.

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If I remember correctly the marriage bit comes after the hitler bit in the same show, so Louis is just referring to the earlier joke.

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