This past weekend, Milan hosted Italy’s first divorce fair. In a country where divorce is frowned upon because of the Catholic church’s strict rules against it, this is a big deal and a reflection of the changing roles of families in the Italian culture. Unfortunately, divorce rates have been steadily increasing in Italy. In 2007, about 130,000 marriages ended in separation or divorce. This is in sharp contrast to about 12,000 back 30 years ago. One theory for the increased divorce rate stems back to the reason that the couple got married in the first place. The theory states that first marriages are usually to please the family. The bride or groom is chosen because they are from a good family, they are respectable, they have not been married before….Not to say that the marriages are arranged, because this is not the case at all. But nonetheless, the family’s approval is very important in choosing a prospective spouse. As time goes by, the couple realizes that they entered into the marriage for their family, and perhaps not really for themselves. They then begin to question their commitment to each other and, occasionally, decide to split rather than stay together as was done in the past.
This divorce fair was named “Ex? Punto e capo” which roughly translates to “turning over a new leaf.” It featured professionals specialized in helping individuals deal with all aspects of obtaining a divorce to coping with life after divorce. The services included legal advice, life coaching, and even more interesting topics such as hiring a private detective if a cheating spouse is suspected, beauty tips and makeovers to gain more self esteem in attracting a new mate, ridding oneself of a spouse turned stalker, and speed dating exercises to get the divorcee back into the swing of dating. Consultations with Ciao Amore, Italy’s first divorce planning agency, were available.
Interestingly enough, even though divorce rates are increasing at a high rate, second marriage rates are also increasing! Perhaps, if you believe the theory suggested earlier, on the second time around, marriages happen for selfish reasons and perhaps, even for love!