The divorce rate is still high in the United States, and even though millions of people have divorced, for those who are single or happily married, the reasons people get divorced can be hard to grasp. The top ten reasons people divorce are listed below, along with some warning signs and red flags that couples need to recognize early if they want to remain happily married. If it’s too late for that in your own situation, and divorce is inevitable or the only choice, speak at once with an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney.
A humor website recently posted the “twelve craziest reasons why people get divorced.” An elderly man in Italy divorced his equally elderly wife after he discovered she had been in an affair – seventy years ago when they were first married. Another Italian man told the court that his wife was possessed by the Devil. A California woman reportedly divorced her husband because he voted for Donald Trump.
A thoughtful reader of these “humorous” news stories will conclude that these marriages had deeper, longer-term problems, and that the Devil and Donald Trump were merely “final straws” after years of unhappy marriage. Understanding the real reasons why people divorce may be the first step in saving a marriage if the spouses are willing to learn from the mistakes that other couples have made. What are the real reasons why people divorce? Here are the top ten:
#1. The Extra-Marital Affair
The leading reason for divorce is still the oldest and most obvious reason – the extra-marital affair. Anger, resentment, and a lack of emotional intimacy can all play a role when one spouse cheats on the other. Affairs often start innocently as casual friendships, according to marital expert Ruth Houston, who says, “It starts as an emotional affair which later becomes a physical affair.”
#2. Love – And the Love of Money
Money can bring people together, but it can also split them apart. Differences in spending habits and different financial goals can turn a marriage into a power struggle over who controls the money.
According to a survey conducted by Money magazine, couples fight about money twice as much as they fight about sex. And if one partner has more debt, discussions about income and spending can quickly become heated.
#3. A Failure to Communicate
Obviously, communication in marriage is imperative, and a failure to communicate effectively can create a marriage where both partners are frustrated and resentful.
Ignoring a spouse or giving a partner the “silent treatment” never builds up a marriage, and good communication is essential to any marriage that’s long and strong.
Practicing clear communication and changing old habits isn’t easy, but that’s sometimes what it takes for a marriage to flourish.
#4. The Non-Stop Argument
While some couples fail to communicate, others seem to never stop communicating – loudly and negatively. From bickering over the chores to disputes over the kids, arguments that seem like a shouting match that never ends are sure to kill a marriage. If you’re in a partnership that’s more like an argument than a marriage, you need to seek marriage counseling before the argument is brought to a permanent conclusion – in a divorce court.
#5. Weight and Appearance
Yes, it’s unfair. And yes, it’s shallow, but the truth is that gaining weight really is a frequent reason why people divorce. We all want our partners to look good for us, so if you’re picking up six or eight pounds a year, consider your spouse, reconsider your diet, and start working out. Exercising regularly and adhering to a healthy diet is something that we all need to be doing anyway.
#6. Reality Sets In
Young people in particular – although not exclusively young people – often start a marriage with genuinely unreasonable, unrealistic expectations. Your partner is someone who’s flawed and makes mistakes, someone who can sometimes be thoughtless. So are you.
Expecting perfection from someone can generate real stress, and it sets up your spouse for inevitable failures. It’s better in the long run if you can flip your perspective and lower your expectations for your spouse. He or she is only human.
#7. The Need for – and Lack of – Intimacy
Married couples need to “feel’ something like a psychic or spiritual connection. They need intimacy, and they need to feel that intimacy. Without a feeling or sense of connection, you can feel like you’re married to a stranger – or to a mystery.
Intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean sex, and sometimes it’s hard to define, but we know what a lack of intimacy is – it’s thoughtlessness and the “cold shoulder.” If you are constantly getting that cold shoulder, it may be time to consider a divorce.
#8. Partnership and Equality
A marriage isn’t a master-slave relationship and it isn’t a parent-child relationship either. If one partner feels forced to take on more responsibility, it can reduce that person’s view of the other partner and lead to resentment. Every couple must learn to live as equals, sharing the challenges and responsibilities of the marriage. An unequal marriage – where one partner dominates in almost every aspect of the relationship – probably will not stand the test of time.
#9. Immaturity – At All Ages
Surveys consistently find that divorced persons feel that they were unprepared for marriage, their partner was unprepared for marriage, or they were both unprepared.
The divorce rate is highest for people who are still in their 20s, and nearly half of all divorces take place in the first ten years of a marriage. That tells us that a lot of people really are not ready for marriage or understand what it requires.
#10. Physical or Emotional Abuse
When someone is being abused in a marriage, whether physically or emotionally, it may be time to seek a divorce. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the abuser is a “bad” person. Most abusers have deep emotional issues that may date back to their childhoods. Nevertheless, there is no reason to tolerate abuse, and the victim of abuse must do whatever it takes to remain safe and healthy – including, in many cases, getting a divorce.
Marriage is work, but even the best couples will face difficult challenges, and when they cannot resolve those challenges, they may choose divorce. Address these matters early in your marriage – when they first emerge. And if you need to obtain a divorce in Southern California, consult an experienced Cerritos divorce attorney who will make certain that your divorce is resolved justly and that you are treated fairly throughout the divorce process.