The dissolution of a marriage is almost always an unhappy event, at the very least marked by disappointment and the loss of dreams and expectations. In addition, there are usually many legal, financial, parental, emotional, and practical aspects that require changes in responsibilities and routines, and it can take people years to regain equilibrium. Nevertheless, divorce serves an important function in legally and emotionally freeing people to form a more stable relationship.
One of the most significant events of the 20th century was changing the role and improving the status of women in private and public life, along with instilling greater expectations for happiness. Those same changes brought about a much talked-about rise in divorce rates and liberalization of divorce laws. Infidelity and financial upheavals are verifiable causes of divorce, but the major causes are emotional: Partners grow emotionally distant, experience disappointments because of unmet (and often unrealistic) expectations, or develop separate visions of life.