One of the first things many people do after a divorce is to buy something expensive, adventurous and impulsive, like a motorcycle, says psychologist and reborn rider Sharon Ledger.
“A surge of adrenalin can make you feel very alive. It is often seen as an antidote for boredom or unhappiness.” She said that “taking risks or seemingly ‘reckless behaviour’ force you out of your comfort zone.”
“I was a classic example,” she says. “When I divorced about 25 years ago, the first thing I did was get my motorbike license and buy a motorcycle as a sense of freedom from a restrictive relationship.”
Long-time motorcycle industry guru Dale Schmidtchen says it’s common for divorced men and women to shell out for a motorcycle when their divorce settlement is final.
“I have seen it as a statement about their newly regained freedom,” he says.
Sharon says it swings both ways with women also seeking two-wheeled freedom in the wake of a divorce. She says that everyone strives for happiness, they want to be happy and remain so. “Happiness is two fold, it requires eliminating ‘pain’ and increasing pleasure”.
However, she says divorced men and women take to motorcycling for slightly different reasons.
WOMEN ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
“Many women divorce because their husbands are too controlling, bullying and belittling,” Sharon says.
“In many divorce cases, they have experienced both physical and psychological abuse from their partner.” “They have been told for years that they are not big enough, strong enough or smart enough to do various things.” Sharon says that often women’s self esteem has taken a massive ‘hit’. “Buying a motorcycle challenges you to pursue things that reinforce a sense of purpose, meaning and accomplishment.” She says “ Being able to say ‘I did it!’ produces an enormous rush of pleasure.
“Riding a motorcycle is empowering for women. They have been told they can’t do it because motorcycles are too fast and heavy, sometimes it’s like a red rag to a bull!”
Sharon says people often regard buying a motorcycle as selfish.
“Bad marriages tend to have one partner who is selfish. When the marriage dissolves, the giver often feels the need to take some time and money for themselves. So they spoil themselves with a big, expensive bike.”
IT’S A MAN’S WORLD
“It might be a man’s world, but many women rule the roost at home,” Sharon says.
“Some divorced men claim they feel emasculated by their wives and their family. They report feeling constrained and obligated to give up their hobbies and dreams to concentrate on building a home.”
“Like any young newly weds, money is tight and many men have had to sell their bikes to pay for home decorations, which makes them feel resentful.”
She says buying a motorcycles after a divorce represents freedom from such constraints and a big injection of testosterone.
“Men feel more like men when they are astride a big, thumping V-twin,” she says.
“Buying a motorcycle for them is a bit like buying back their youth. It’s buying back the bike they felt they were forced to sell, or the dream of a bike they were forced to shelve.”