When Mothers Leave – A Survey for Some of You

After completing a workshop on Father Hunger, which explains the long-term impact of the father’s absence after a divorce, I was asked, “What about when mothers leave?” I couldn’t answer. All the research I’d seen dealt with the impact on the kids after the fathers left. But I assured them I’d return with a wealth of helpful information.

That’s when I learned how little data was available on this topic. Even though authors like Jen Abbas (Generation EX: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain) and Stephanie Staal (The Love They Lost) experienced their mother’s departure, neither addressed it directly–and the issue has gone largely unnoticed in the world of research. So, my Masters thesis explores the impact of a mother’s departure on the children at the time, and after they grow up.

This is where you come in. The survey link below is for those whose mother left after the divorce—she was the non-custodial parent. If this is you, please complete this survey. If it is someone you know (sibling, friend, relative, coworker), please share this and encourage them to complete it.

I will summarize the findings of my thesis and the survey here when it’s complete.

Thanks for your help.

Survey – ACOD Whose Mother Left After Divorce


Father Hunger, Premarital Sex, and Divorce Pt. 1

To set the stage for this important topic please answer the following questions:

Question #1: Based on the number of sexual partners before marriage, which woman is least likely to divorce.

  • 0 sex partners before marriageselena-places-rhte-ring-on-gregs-finger-by-greg-robleto
  • 1 sex partner
  • 2 sex partners
  • 3-8 sex partners
  • 9+ sex partners

If you picked zero, you’re correct.1 The divorce rate for female virgins is about 6%1 Having one partner was close because the woman tends to marry him—even though premarital sex with even one partner significantly increases the odds of divorce.1 Also a female virgin or one who marries her one partner is likely to attend church regularly—which greatly reduces her chance of divorce.

Question #2: Based on the number of sexual partners before marriage, which woman is most likely to experience divorce.*

  • 0 sex partners before marriagedivorce-by-gerard-van-der-leun
  • 1 sex partner
  • 2 sex partners
  • 3-8 sex partners
  • 9+ sex partners

9+ is incorrect. 3-8 is wrong too. The answer is two. Why?

Nicholas Wolfinger, author of Understanding the Divorce Cycle, and coauthor of Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos, writes, “my best guess rests on the notion of over-emphasized comparisons.1 Basically the woman mentally compares her current husband to her previous lover which opens the door to doubts and temptations.

So where does Father Hunger fit in?

Parental divorce, Father Hunger behaviors which often include multiple sexual partners are commonly linked in research. Writing about the loss of fathers, Dr. Edward Kruk states, “girls manifest an object hunger for males, and in experiencing the emotional loss of their fathers egocentrically as a rejection of them, become susceptible to exploitation by adult men.2 Dr. Beverly Rodgers writes, “Many of these girls lose their virginity at a younger age and have higher rates of promiscuity.”3

What can I do  about father hunger?

If your parents are divorced,

  1. Learn about Father Hunger. Adult Children of Divorced Parents by Beverly and Tom Rodgers, Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard, and Longing for Daddy by Monique Robinson are strong books on this topic.Woman and Bible - Prayer a Powerful Weapon abcdz2000 FCC [A, $, @]
  2. Learn what the Bible says about God as our father. For example:
  • Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.4
  • A father to the fatherless,a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.5
  • How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them.6
  1. Regardless of what your past may look like, commit to honoring God with your life today.

What can proactively help to head off father hunger?

We’ll look at 19 things that can be done next time.


*figures are for divorces prior to the year 2000. After the year 2000 2 partners ranked slightly below 9+.
1 http://family-studies.org/counterintuitive-trends-in-the-link-between-premarital-sex-and-marital-stability/
2 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/father-absence-father-deficit-father-hunger
3 Beverly and Tom Rodgers, Adult Children of Divorced Parents; Making Your Marriage Work.(San Jose, CA: Resource Publications, Inc, 2002) 11.
4Psalm 27:10, NLT
5Psalm 68:5, NIV
6Psalm 139:17, NLT, 1996

Selena places the ring on Greg’s finger by Greg Robleto
Divorce by Gerard Van der Leun
Woman and Bible – Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000

Fighting the Fear of Getting Married

A recent Huffington Post article brought to mind a troubling conversation I had with a teenager with divorced parents. Our otherwise mundane dialog transformed when the topic of marriage arose.

I’m never going to get married.” 
Surprised by the finality of the statement I asked, “Why?”
After a thoughtful pause, “Well, maybe I’ll get married, but I’ll never have kids.”
Again, probing gently, “Why not?”
Because if the marriage didn’t work out, I’d never want my kids to suffer what I went through.”

Does this conversation speak from your heart? Better not to marry than to fail at it! Or is the fear subtle like the example in Brittany Wong’s article about an adult child of divorce named Maegan?

Maegan’s story of parents divorcing and remarrying is pretty common. However, it seems her folks made great efforts to minimize the impact of the divorce. Except for one paragraph, Maegan could be the poster child for kids that survived parental divorce well. But in that rogue paragraph, this beautiful, intelligent, and vibrant individual describes her view on marriage.

19th Sept 5 years of mariage by scribbletaylorI’ve realized that some of my views on relationships were definitely influenced by my parents’ divorce. I don’t value marriage at all. I have no desire to marry and do not see it as something to aspire to. I don’t think I ever dreamed of my wedding day like they say little girls do. This is not to say I don’t think you can be in a committed relationship but I don’t find marriage any more special than a committed relationship. It could all be because of the divorce or it could just be me.”1

Unfortunately (in my view), Maegan speaks for millions of her peers. I know. I’ve spoken with many of them. But, truth be told, the “I’ll never get married and I’m good with that” bravado often masks the unvoiced regret that wants to say, “but I wish I could marry. I’m just too afraid.

So how can we overcome this fear?adult children of divorced parents cropped

  • First, admit it. Stop denying that you really want to get married, but are afraid of it collapsing. And this is true for guys too. The Bible says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”2 But that is not the view of many guys.
  • Second, learn more about your fears. The fear of marriage is often embedded in the fears of inadequacy and abandonment.
    The Rodger’s book is a good resource on these issues.
  • Third, study what makes marriages work. Talk to couples who have weathered the marriage storms for 30 or more years. Take them out to lunch and ask them. Go to a marriage seminar like “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” with Dr. Gary Chapman.The Marriage You've Always Wanted
  • Lastly, don’t believe the lie that all or most marriages fail. They don’t!  But marriages that last require a commitment to learning, loving, respecting, sacrificing, and submission to God’s design for marriage.


1 Brittany Wong, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-it-looks-like-when-you-really-put-your-kids-first-after-divorce_5612a61fe4b0af3706e16e1c. Posted: 10/05/2015 03:43 PM EDT
2 Proverbs 18:22, NLT

Engagement Rings by Valshak Suresh cropped
19th Sept 5 years of marriage by scribbletaylor

Upcoming Workshop-Series for Adults with Divorced Parents

Starting October 21st I’ll be teaching a six-week workshopKent Darcie 30% cropped on the impact of parental divorce. The topics include, anger, grieving, father hunger, boundaries and more. Learn how you can have relationships that are free from fears and break the cycle of divorce. The cost is free. For details click here.

I’m afraid so… Why Don’t We Live Together… instead?

Adult children of divorce rarely vocalize “I’m afraid,” but fears creep along the corners of our minds like bugs in the shadows. Amidst those things we dread are inadequacy, conflict, and abandonment, but the fear of marriage lurks closest to the surface. When we see our parent’s marriage collapse… and our neighbors’, half of our friends’, and their parents, and even people at church, it’s no wonder we approach the nuptials with foreboding.toothbrushes his and hers cropped png

Those brave enough to push through their trepidation, find weak or missing templates for achieving a successful marriage. Consequently, a trial-run makes sense on the surface. An old Barry Manilow tune, “Why Don’t We Live Together” sums up the sentiment;  “Why don’t’ we live together. Only the two of us, we’ll learn to trust. Don’t have to say forever, ‘Cause we know the rain could start and break our hearts….And still have our wings to fly, if love should die.”1

These lyrics came to mind after reading a recent survey of cohabiting couples from PostiveSingles.com.  To my surprise, 45% of their respondents didn’t think living together was a good idea. Additionally most of their members believe marriage is the best solution for a stable relationship.2 The Bible agrees stating, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.”3 But is this realistic in the 21st century?

This series will look at some commonly held “advantages” to cohabitation:

  • Economic benefits – we’ll save money living together
  • We need to confirm our compatibility before we tie the knot
  • Without the marriage certificate, it will be easier for us to part ways if the relationship doesn’t work out
  • Though he isn’t enthusiastic about marriage now, he’ll come around after he sees how great living with me is.

God lamented that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”4 Let’s allow His truth to allay our fears and illuminate our path to the relational happiness we desire.


1Barry Manilow, Trying to Get the Feeling, 1975, Written by Phillip Galdston & Peter Thom
31 Corinthians 7:2, English Standard Version
4Hosea 4:6, English Standard Version.

Marry or Move in Together? Brain Knows the Difference

The fear of marriage is common among adult children of divorce. Living together can seem to be a far safer alternative.  This article discusses research that shows another benefit of traditional marriage. Very interesting read.

Click here to read, “Marry or Move in Together? The Brain Knows the Difference.”