Love’s labor lost

Nevadans and divorce

Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Love. Not sex. If you want steady post-nuptial nookie, you’ll likely be left to pull your own cart around.

Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. Love. Not sex. If you want steady post-nuptial nookie, you’ll likely be left to pull your own cart around.

“The Leave ’em State,” is how one character in Arthur Miller’s film, The Misfits, referred to Nevada.

At the time, she was referring to the state’s preeminence in the field of divorce. For a large portion of the 20th century, the state’s easygoing legal attitude made it far and away the national capital of divorce, accounting for 49 out of every 1,000 divorces in the United States in 1940.

Although a general relaxation of divorce laws nationwide stripped Nevada of its status as a divorce destination, the state continues the tradition in its own way. In 2004, Nevada still boasted the highest divorce rate in the country, making up a whopping 6.4 divorces of 1,000 in the country.

Now, we all have different things that turn our heads and get our engines running. It could be the way a chin points, or a nose bends or the way a pair of legs fill a pair of jeans. But what about later, after all that, what is it that drives us apart?

If you want to know about watches, you ask a watchmaker in Switzerland. If you want to know what drives people apart, ask a Nevada divorce attorney.

From a sexual standpoint, the biggest marriage-killer is when one party looks for love outside the marriage, says Reno-based divorce attorney Kevin Szotkowski. And though the story of the hounddog husband or alley-cat wife is as old as time, the good-old 21st century has added a new wrinkle to it.

Szotkowski has seen the internet play an increased role in the drama of marital betrayal. Often, the adulterer gives him or herself away with an incriminating email to a significant other or just a one-night stand, which the cuckold later discovers on the family computer.

People who seek extramarital action are now doing it while their spouses sleep in the other room, he says.

So remember, you cheating hearts out there: Clean those browser caches and don’t let Hotmail remember your password. It may seem like a convenience, but it’s really electronic lipstick on your collar.

Another Reno-based lawyer, however, isn’t so quick to blame the internet or even the purported genetic imperative that makes marriage seem to many evolutionary psychologists like a tightrope walk across the back of a snake.

“You take the clouds away, and it’s money that’s the problem,” says Herb Santos Sr., Esq. “People start arguing about money and stop having sex.”

A study by the Creighton University Center for Marriage and Family found that clashes over money and a lack of personal time were leading causes of divorce. Creighton University, like most institutions studying divorce in this country, is a pro-marriage Christian institution. It seems we heathens are glad to leave the exit ajar and not think any more about it.

But the Creighton study claimed that sex was a strong third when it came to reasons for divorce.

“You may think that you will get loads of it [sex] once you become married, but reality sets in and you will find out that there are a lot of things to think about that lead you to have no time for it,” the group says.

And they were trying to get people to marry. Go figure.