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People aged 30-39 most likely to say "no" to marriage: survey
( 2004-01-26 17:24) (Xinhua)

Chinese people aged above 30, especially 30-39, instead of people younger than them, are most likely to say 'no' to their marriage, though many are financially stable and have children to care for, a survey by a local court showed.

According to the survey made by Beijing's Haidian district people's court in the past two years, the public's ideas about marriage have changed a lot over the past two decades as older couples are ready to separate if their marriage fails their expectations of a happy marital life, while young people become more cautious about tying the knot.

Among the more than 600 divorce cases surveyed, divorcees between 30 to 40 years of age account for 46.5 per cent in 2003, up9.5 per cent in 1981.

On the contrary, people aged under 30 tend to stay inside the family circle, with only 6.6 per cent getting divorced in 2003, a big drop from 37 per cent 22 years ago.

"People used to divorce for no reason other than trouble brought about by family chores in the 1980s. But nowadays, incompatible temperaments or even discrepancies on certain issues might trigger a family crisis," Li Mei, a judge of the court, said.

Extra-marital affairs or living in different locations after marriage also contribute to high divorce rates among people 30-40 years of age, who are traditionally regarded as middle-aged in China though it might not be true with the improvement in the people's life expectancy.

In another survey by China Daily in Shanghai, only 5 per cent of 1,000 respondents said they could "accept or forgive" the other side's disloyalty.

The Beijing court's survey also reveals that the changes in the government socioeconomic policies affect people's attitude toward "remaining a devoted couple to the end of their lives" as some cannot endure poor life results from his or her spouse's being laid off from state-owned enterprises during the country's economic restructuring in recent years.

"Middle-aged people have greatly changed their notions about divorce during the present social restructuring. Although the majority of them have children, they give first priority to seeking a happy life," said Xiao Fei, a judge who is in charge of writing a report based on the survey.

"Once the emotional gap emerging between a couple cannot be bridged, they'll give themselves one more chance to choose. They will never put up with an unhappy marriage like older generations," Xiao said.

But many are worried about the social implications behind the high divorce rate among middle-aged.

"They are the backbone of all walks of life," said Mr. Li, a sociology master in Lanzhou University. Marital crisis among more and more people of middle age will bring various problems like children's education and division of family assets, such as real estate or cars bought by installments.

Divorcees, especially female, are more likely to suffer from psychological diseases left by the divorce. Besides, remarriage does not stand for a satisfactory new life.

Li suggested middle-aged to be more tolerant with each other. "Most of the time people can avoid divorce if they remain calm and patient."

"Marriage has to be carefully nurtured. It needs accommodation from both sides," he said.

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