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Why Jon and Kate Didn't Last

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One psychologist's analysis of the Jon and Kate split.

Dr. Michelle Golland: It's official: Jon and Kate have filed for divorce.

Jon and Kate Gosselin
As I watched the show where Jon and Kate reveal they are separating and court papers are being filed, I couldn't help but be disappointed in them as parents and as husband and wife. I truly believe we are not just parents to our children, but we model for them what it means to be a "husband" and what it means to be a "wife." It seems they have officially failed with what seems to be very little effort at actually working out their issues with a professional.

I hope that they, at the very least, go through the divorce process with a psychologist that can help them navigate the minefield of dividing up a marriage and a family. For me, working with couples who are divorcing is challenging, but can be truly rewarding. It helps give the divorcing couple a sense of closure to the marriage and helps redefine the relationship moving forward.

My concern for Jon and Kate is that they will mirror their dysfunctional style in how they deal with the divorce. This will only increase the anger, resentment, and disappointment for both of them. As Jon pointed out, they just can't communicate anymore ... but I think they are being naive to think a divorce is going to help them communicate better! I always tell my couples who are in distress that even if you divorce, you are still going to have to deal with your individual issues that were damaging to your marriage. I believe if Jon and Kate don't seek therapy and change their ways, they will wind up walking down the divorce aisle again with a new spouse.

Jon and Kate's issues within their relationship will only continue to be acted out during the dissolution of their marriage unless they seek out professional help to understand how their behavior has contributed to this sad ending.

Divorce counseling can help couples sort out the emotional from the practical issues of the divorce. Anger over custody, money, and property is usually a product of continued resentment from their marriage. If the couple can clarify or resolve the cause of the anger and resentment, it is more likely that reasonable negotiations can occur during the dissolution of the marriage.

As a psychologist who works with divorcing couples, my goal is to help them gain a sense of closure while helping them grieve the loss of the marriage. This may not make them "friends," but they can at least not be enemies. I also can become a safe and trusted mediator for the divorced couple in dealing with future issues around the children. Our generation of parents is psychologically savvy enough to recognize that divorce is simply not something any family can get through without some emotional support on some level.

I truly hope Jon and Kate will seek out psychological services for themselves and their children during this sad and difficult time.

next: Jon and Kate + Celebrity = No Happy Ending
16 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pamala June 23, 2009, 11:43 AM

I would love if this type of thing was available in my area. It’s insane how many therapists flat out turn you down. I’ve given up after calling nearly 20 just to be ignored or told no.

Kristin - June 23, 2009, 12:01 PM

As sad as it is that they’re becoming another statistic, I actually think Jon and Kate’s separation and divorce playing out on TV can help so many people going through it right now. Just to see the similarities and know they’re not alone can provide a sense of relief.

calimommy June 23, 2009, 12:55 PM

Kristin - I completely disagree! For once, they need to put their children first! Their loyalty needs to be with their children and not the random public who may also be going through a divorce. It cannot be beneficial to the children for their parent’s dysfunctional marriage and separation and divorce to be televised.

Chris June 23, 2009, 12:56 PM

When will they face this fact in therapy: a divorce was much less likely if they had said no to a reality TV series.

MarMar June 23, 2009, 12:59 PM

First off, some people just never change who they are, and divorce can be inevitable. We don’t know, perhaps (off-camera? in actions “edited out”?) Jon and/or Kate did try to work things out, did try to communicate with the other, and it just didn’t work? Perhaps one of them was willing to work on things and seek therapy and the other just was not?

And secondly, in response to Pamala’s comment - where would a therapist TURN YOU DOWN?! I would think any therapist worth their certification would say yes to anyone who says they need help, no matter what it was for - marriage, divorce, whatever. I hope you do find the help you need. Perhaps your 20 calls were just weeding out the ones that, frankly, don’t seem to “get it.”

Laura Smith June 23, 2009, 2:08 PM

I totally agree with Chris (above)

When the marital problems started-they both should have said “Lets quit the show”

They both are liars-assuring their children they will never divorce-and then showing them by remarring each other. What was that all about?

Anna June 23, 2009, 2:17 PM

I couldn’t agree more—I did not watch every episode, but did watch last night’s. It is so heartbreaking—especially for their 8 kids—8 little hearts that will be broken over this split. I wonder if they would be in this position had they not done the reality show? They both stressed the fact that they are doing to show to provide for their kids and give them a good life, but look what’s happened? Their kids may have the material blessings (like their million dollar home), but without 2 loving parents—what good is that?

Anna June 23, 2009, 2:25 PM

Correction—they are 2 loving parents—just no longer married to each other is what I meant! I hope they do seek counseling or some form of guidance that will help the entire family.

Fran June 23, 2009, 2:39 PM

Why does everyone say they should stay together for the children? That’s the WORST reason to stay in a bad marriage. Do you really think kids benefit from two parents who hate each other and constantly fight? And what does it teach their five daughters if Kate stayed with Jon after he was repeatedly caught drinking and sleeping around with random skanks? I love how everyone says Jon and Kate are so selfish for being on the show. Nobody gave two fraks until Jon got caught cheating, but now suddenly everyone is concerned the kids are being exploited? This show has been around for like, four seasons, people. If you had a problem with it, where were you at the beginning? My guess? You only started having a problem with the show when it was the ‘in’ thing to do. Way to be sickeningly transparent.

Sarah-Jane June 23, 2009, 2:44 PM

Doubt Jon and Kate could afford one household, let alone two now, if it weren’t for the kids footing the bills by starring in a television series through no choice of their own. And now the kids will also be footing all the expenses the divorce will entail, like they would ever choose that. NOT!

Anonymous June 23, 2009, 3:10 PM

i am truly sad for jon and kate and i really hope they work things out

ally June 23, 2009, 3:14 PM

i really feel for that family,i truly hope they work things out if it ends in divorce or not

Ramblin Rose June 24, 2009, 10:25 PM


Kim September 11, 2009, 10:53 PM

This article didn’t analyze squat about Jon and Kate, and was basically an advertisement for divorce counseling.

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Immigration solicitors  November 3, 2010, 1:51 AM

I agree with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I luv reading posts that will make people rattle their head. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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