When I heard about Robin Williams’ suicide recently, I felt shocked. So shocked that it was hard for me to think for several minutes. I kept wondering, “What? Huh? Is this real?” I could not imagine this extremely talented man being dead. Not only that, but anytime I hear of somebody’s suicide it reminds me of my own father’s death. He also committed suicide, back in 1991.
In the next 24 hours after Williams’ death, my Facebook stream was filled with posts about him. One of these made a reference to an interview Williams did in September 2013, with Parade. In that interview he mentioned his two divorces and the amount of money he lost because of them:
“Well, not all. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet. Are things good with my exes? Yes. But do I need that lifestyle? No.”
Both Williams and my dad had been divorced. Williams twice, my dad three times. For men who get divorced, their risk for suicide is twice that of married men, according to a study titled, “Marital status and suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study,” by Augustine J. Kposowa. Located here.
I am quite sure three divorces shattered my dad’s heart. I can’t speculate as to the psychological factors that drove Williams to commit suicide. It is accurate to say that his divorces increased his risks for it.
There is a lot of outrage and public grief about suicides for other demographics. Where’s the outrage and public grief for the demographic of divorced men who commit suicide?
Tip #19 from 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage
Picture yourself living to a ripe old age. For men, divorce is about as dangerous as picking up a pack a day cigarette habit. Being unmarried shortens a woman’s life span by more years than having cancer or living in poverty.
The bottom line here is clear: Your marriage matters–not just to your children and friends who need your good example, but also to yourself. If you’re not trying to make it work for others’ sake, can you at least do it for yourself? If your marriage is on the rocks, seek help and don’t give up.
Find more marriage, and potentially, life-saving tips here.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.