If you are married and find yourself wishing to be single and ready to mingle again, you are not alone. Marriage is a commitment that almost half of people wind up opting out of.
Whether you married too young and regret getting married or have come to a crossroads of differences in your marriage, you may find yourself thinking it’s time to get divorced.
Did you know research shows that approximately 40-50% of couples decide to end their marriages at some point?
Let’s look at the common reasons for divorce among married couples and see if your reasons have made the list.
Why Do Couples Choose To Divorce?
Couples choose to divorce for many reasons, the least of which is losing that loving feeling. Divorce is not a one-size-fits-all formula and any combination of disagreements can lead to ended relationships.
Research shows that the majority of people divorce for one of three key factors: infidelity, arguing, and lack of commitment. Infidelity, domestic violence, and substance abuse are reported most often as deal-breakers and the top reasons for marital strife.
Some Facts About the Causes of Divorce
Average Time Frame for Divorce
There is no scientific formula that predicts divorce; marriages are matters of the heart and not matters of science. Notwithstanding nonexistent formulas, many studies conducted do guess the risk of divorces occurring in any given year.
Divorces are most common between 1-2 or 5-8 years of marriage. In the early years, combining lives can be difficult and the changes can become overwhelming.
Some couples find that they are incompatible and don’t want to force making it work. This is especially true if their lives (financial, social, etc.) are not too entangled due to the newness of the marriage.
As for divorce in years 5-8, the “seven-year itch” is not just a rumor. Relationship satisfaction declines most during this period especially when they’ve been trying to make things work and situations haven’t improved.
Marriages are different phases of adjustments and some find after time that they want different things or don’t have enough in common.
How Many Marriages End In Divorce?
A staggering 40-50% of married couples end in divorce. With each subsequent marriage, divorce rates are even higher.
Data suggests that 60% of people who got married a second time got divorced and 73% of third marriages do too. It appears to get harder to have a successful marriage!
Top 10 Common Reasons For Divorce
1. Financial Problems
Money does make the world go round, but oftentimes the fights about money just make your marriage flip upside down!
Money problems are marriage problems rather than dating problems. Your incompatibility of financial goals is not discovered until marriage and the commingling of finances.
2. Lack Of Intimacy
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear lack of intimacy is lack of sex, but that’s not the whole picture. Intimacy is more than just physical- it is emotional, intellectual, and even spiritual at times. Couples naturally transition from the carnal aspects to deeper intimacies as the relationship progresses.
It’s important to find ways to be intimate with your spouse besides having a naked wrestling session. There are sneaking kisses, compliments, back rubs, taking an interest in your partner’s hobbies, or just listening. As relationship intimacy disappears in different ways, people begin to feel rejected and have relationship insecurities.
3. Infidelity or Extramarital Affairs
Extramarital affairs are considered to be one of the major deal-breaker issues in a marriage. Infidelity can come across as a lack of commitment to your spouse and send your marriage spiraling.
When a partner looks to someone else for physical or emotional intimacy, it can be hard or almost impossible to come back from. Marriage counseling is often a way to reintroduce a commitment between partners, but the conflict stemming from infidelity might not be resolved. Infidelity destroys trust and that is a major obstacle to overcome once it is done.
4. Communication Issues
Communication problems can look very different to couples. They could be fiery explosions, but not always. You might be yelling about everything from whose turn it is to take the trash out to money problems. But you may be using the silent treatment or no longer taking the time to talk at all.
Communication problems can even stem from forgetting to communicate with your partner because you are distracted by the busyness of your life. You may be glossing over how your decisions will affect them because you didn’t talk things through together.
5. Abusive Situations
Domestic violence does not indicate a healthy marriage and is often the final straw for partners. Physical violence is not the only type of abuse that takes place in relationships. Some marriages are rife with financial, emotional, or mental abuse, and it takes time to look at what your circumstances are.
Do you know what emotional abuse looks like? Comments or suggestions made by your spouse may hurt your feelings but seem like constructive criticism. But you may miss how it turns into your partner exerting more control over your choices and the words become more degrading. One spouse may even refuse to acknowledge your concerns and turn it into accusations of what you’ve done wrong instead.
Situations of abuse are considered deal breakers for many couples and you must think about what you’re going through to determine how you feel and if the situation will break your marriage. Think about your health and know there is support out there for you!
6. Physical Appearance (Changes)
Partners gaining or losing weight is not something people want to broadcast as a cause to divorce, but it certainly is a factor. Physical attractiveness is one of the reasons we start dating and it can continue to influence us in our marital lives.
This isn’t exactly a ‘lose the weight or get divorced’ situation; physical appearance isn’t the biggest factor here! It’s not always about looks; it’s about the loss of security with one’s partner that may cause divorce.
Drastic physical changes can affect self-esteem, health, and comfort with intimacy. Confidence troubles can take a toll on how you act with your partner. It’s hard to do the horizontal tango when you can’t stop thinking about your weight and how you look.
7. Severe Personality Clashes (Growing Apart, Not Together)
We are always evolving as people; sometimes couples grow together and sometimes they don’t. Change is a necessary part of adapting to our environment, but some couples find that the developments they have as individuals are no longer compatible with one another.
If you don’t have much in common anymore, like doing the same activities, what do you do together? If you enjoy time apart to do what you want or to avoid clashing of wills, it means a lack of couples time and intimacy.
8. Addictions and Abuses
Substance abuse as well as any other addictions are a prominent reason for divorce among couples. It is one of the top three causes of divorce, next to infidelity and domestic violence.
Substance abuse, pornography addiction, spending addictions, technology addictions, gambling addictions, video game addictions, etc., are all threats to a marriage.
Addiction erodes trust and oftentimes leads to the addict’s partner feeling insecure about themselves and worried about their future.
9. Wrong Age or Wrong Reason For Marriage In The First Place
Couples who marry at a young age face more challenges establishing their lives together than people who wait until they are established on their own first. Marrying too young may lead to maturity issues that prevent either partner from fully investing in a loving, committed marriage.
Marriage for the wrong reasons can also lead to divorce as the fairy-tale erodes and real-life comes into focus. You may have dreams of what life will be like or of what your partner will be like, but you need to marry what IS not what you think will BE.
10. Unexpected Situations
In life, we must expect the unexpected and work together to overcome any obstacles. But some situations are too hard for us to face, such as the death of a child, significant life changes, job loss, etc.
In some instances, couples do better processing these hardships alone rather than working towards a new future. It’s hard to be involved in a relationship when other situations are taking up so much of your energy. Emotional and mentally, you may need to focus on yourself and that is okay.
Are There Any “Good” Reasons For Divorce?
Abuse and inappropriate behavior are complicated situations. If your spouse is getting locked up for drunk driving or beating up anyone who makes eye contact with them, then you need to consider dissolving your ties with this person. The final straw could be because of violence of any kind, but assault is a strong reason for divorce.
Maybe the marriage issue is that you and your partner haven’t had sex in 6 months and you are feeling lonely without that intimacy. These types of issues can sometimes be fixed, but it is also okay if they cannot be overcome between the two of you. You and your spouse are the only two people who need to validate whether or not you want to be divorced for this reason or any reason.
How Can I Avoid a Reason For Divorce?
Even if your relationship checks every block on acceptable reasons for divorce, that does not mean you have to lawyer up if you really do not want to be divorced. Your differences may change so much that your marital bliss is lacking- but that doesn’t mean your conflict can’t be resolved.
There are lots of things that can be done to prevent divorce and help couples to reestablish a healthy relationship. Communication with your spouse is the best way to avoid reasons for divorce. You have to talk about doing what you can to make it work.
You can’t create solutions for problems you don’t know about and vice versa for your partner. Couples who communicate regularly about issues are less likely to allow feelings to fester and the situation to inflate into something worse.
If you and your spouse are struggling and arguing is your major communication problem, couples therapy could be an amazing solution. Marriage counseling is designed to allow each partner to address their issues to one another with a mediating neutral third party. It can help prevent further arguing and focus on constructively resolving the conflict between one another.
Therapists assign homework and suggest ways for couples to work on the topics discussed together. Sometimes it’s keeping a journal about the good efforts or the bad conflicts you face each week. Sometimes it’s planning what to do about your financial problems or scheduling dates to reconnect on an emotional level.
It is hard work, but therapy can be life-changing if you put in the effort.
Couples therapy is not the only type of therapy that can be beneficial to a marriage. Sometimes the problem with a relationship can stem from traumas in an individual’s life that need to be worked through. You may need to work on yourself as a person before improving your relationship with somebody else.
Therapy can also help people overcome expectation vs. reality disconnects and help individuals communicate their needs to their partners. It also gives people a chance to work on communication problems in a very open setting.
Try To Work On Your Marriage
There are things that couples can do every day to help them grow closer together.
The first thing to do, which is sometimes the hardest, is to talk with each other. You can’t expect your partner to read your mind and they can’t expect you to read theirs either.
Couples who learn to forgive and do not keep score will also be more likely to succeed in the long run. Furthermore, learning to forgive and meaning it helps your partner to know that you trust them.
If you’re heading toward divorce, spending time with your spouse may be the last thing that you want to do, but do try to spend some time alone. Dates or just intentional time together help couples to remember why they fell in love in the first place – it only takes a spark to start a fire.
Finally, know that disagreeing is part of any relationship and it does not always spell disaster. Not every conflict in your relationship has to be hashed out and resolved. It’s okay to still disagree on some things.
After all, if we were all the same, life would be boring!
Final Thoughts On Reasons For Divorce
Marriage is difficult. The experiences that you and your spouse have in your marriage are deeply personal and only the two of you can decide what is best for you.
If you are in the early stages of contemplating divorce, it does not have to end that way. You have options to work on your relationship with or without your spouse if you want to try to make it work.
Remember: there is no shame in proceeding with a divorce if your health and well-being are in danger or if you just feel that a divorce would be your happily ever after.