Reasons for Divorce (and How to Avoid Them)
There are many reasons for divorce, but there are so many reasons to stay together as well. Are you in a spot where you think divorce is inevitable, but it’s the last thing you want? Keep reading for solutions to common problems that lead to divorce.
The Top 5 Reasons for Divorce
Infidelity is one of the most common reasons for divorce. For you, it might be the ultimate betrayal of trust. After all, you probably committed to be with your partner and only your partner for the rest of your life. And since that was big part of your marriage vows it becomes a massive breach of trust. That is what hurts more than the actually act of cheating.
But why do people cheat? There are a few possibilities. Your partner could just not be fit for monogamy, or be a narcissist. These are unlikely. What’s actually happens in the vast majority of cases involving infidelity, is that needs are not being met for the unfaithful partner.
The easy thing to say would be to make sure your partner’s needs are being met throughout your relationship. But were not all that lucky. If your partner has cheated , there are some things you can do to learn how to forgive them.
The first thing you should do is ask yourself “Do I really want this marriage to end? Is my life going to be better without them?” If the answer is ‘no,’ you have the power to decide to forgive your partner.
Yes, they made a HUGE mistake, do not get me wrong. But they are human, and they had a human reaction when their needs were not being met. When this happens, it’s time for the both of you to examine your relationship. Each of you need to take a deep dive into what you can improve.
Communication is the back bone of any healthy relationship. So if you’re not communicating with your spouse, neither of your needs are likely being met. Poor communication means that you are not understanding each other.
If you’re not understanding each other, then neither of your needs are being met. Communication is the key to understanding, which is the key to making sure both partner’s needs are met. When this goes out the window, too often couples’ will end up living as roommates that hardly speak with one another. One of the most common reasons for divorce.
This will sound obvious: learn how to communicate effectively. That is a simple solution right? Conceptually, yes. In practice, not as much. Effective communication is a life-long pursuit. You can always be better at it. But there are some key principles that you need to be aware of before you can get started. Here are some concepts to get started. Listen actively, understand yourself, understand your partner, and say something.
I have good news and bad news for you. If you are arguing a lot, you’re still communicating. That’s the good news. The bad news is, you are not communicating as productively as you could be, which is why discussions tend to get heated.
Ineffective arguing leads to several problems. Fear (of getting in an argument for opening your mouth), resentment ( derived from that fear), and emotional shutdown. The problem rears itself in its most destructive form during the emotional shutdown. When one or both of you have given up on trying to solve your problems, your relationship is certainly on the line.
Reducing the amount you argue in your marriage has a lot to do with mindset. Remember the good news: you are still communicating when you fight. But why call it fighting? One simple thing you can do is to get in the mindset that you are discussing, rather than fighting. If you and your spouse start to view “fighting” in this way,( and use language that promotes discussion rather than fighting), it will eventually become a discussion.
The other thing you can do is to learn how to ‘fight’ effectively Follow, and practice rules that promote effective communication during an argument. To name a few: Don’t name call, don’t interrupt your partner , listen to understand (not to respond), and learn how to apologize properly.
Lack of commitment
Here’s a common misconception: commitment doesn’t end at tying the knot. According to insider, a lack of commitment is a significant reason in 75% of divorce. That is an astounding rate.
Many of us look at marriage as the ultimate commitment, and it is. But marriage is the beginning of a commitment, not the end. The act of getting married is simply the tip of the iceberg. The rest of your life is what you committed. To be present, and to support and understand your spouse.
So when you are withdrawn, or looking after your wants vs. the needs of the relationship, that is a lack of commitment. Taking time for yourself is important, but there is a fine line between self-care and selfishness. Selfishness is a lack of commitment.
Make sure to check in with your spouse regularly about what you can do to help them. Make sure that you are taking care of their needs. If you feel they are not doing that for you, take care of their needs anyway. If they love you, they will eventually catch on, and begin to return the service. Being the first one to make positive change is not always easy, but it is certainly worth it.
Everyone disagrees on finances at some point. Most of us have different spending habits when we get married and it can be difficult to adjust those habits for your partner’s needs. There are also a number of financial decisions you have to make together throughout the course of your marriage that can be a challenge.
The problem with finances is that so many of us spend without telling our partners. That’s where you can get into trouble. Spending without your talking to your partner first (especially large purchases) can alienate your partner, or even worse begin to dissolve trust.
Learning how to communicate and how to compromise is essential in solving financial matters. If this is a big issue for you, you both need to take a look at your habits, and give yourselves a reality check.
I tend to be the spender in my relationship, but the partner who does the budget should take a slight precedence. They are generally doing what’s best for both. The spender usually just wants stuff for gratification. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it tends to take in less consideration for the needs of the relationship(there are exceptions).
The bottom-line: talk about your finances often, come to agreements, and compromise your wants for the needs of your partnership. Practice running purchases by your partner before you make them (even small purchases). And if you can’t and make the purchase anyway, be willing to return the item you bought. Make sure to let them know you are willing to do so.
What about larger purchases and long-term finances? If you practice communicating effectively and often on the small stuff, compromise and understanding will come much easier on the big stuff. Long-term finances are certainly trickier, but with steadfast communication, you will figure out how to make both partners happy.
Other Common Reasons for Divorce
Getting married too young
Getting married too young is another one of the most common reasons for divorce. It is a factor in 45% of divorces. The problem with getting married young is that you aren’t able to experience life on only the your terms.
Maybe you didn’t get to build a network of friends, maybe you didn’t get to be as promiscuous as you wanted, or perhaps you even didn’t get to pursue you dream career, because it didn’t work out for the betterment of you marriage.
There are other factors as well. Maybe you didn’t know yourself or your partner well enough when you got married, and there are compatibility issues. Sometimes you feel like the person has changed drastically.
There are really a number of reasons why it is a challenge to have gotten married young. But there are certainly ways that you can make sure you are not a part of the 45%.
The first is to learn the soft skills required for a healthy marriage. We have discussed many of them above. Learn how to fight fair, learn how to talk with each other, and most importantly, learn how to empathize with each other.
Understanding and empathy for each other’s ‘sacrifices’ will go a long way. When you get married young, you both sacrifice. Understand that, and show your partner empathy for what they might have missed out on.
In some cases (like career, friend making) , if your spouse wants to pursue, be as supportive as you possibly can. It will go a long way in ensuring a happy life-long marriage.
It’s also important to realize that no matter what age you get married, you are both going to change over the course of your marriage. You will not be the same person as you were when you got married. Be diligent in continuing to get to know your spouse.
I was shocked to see weight repeatedly show up as one of the common reasons for divorce. At first, I couldn’t see any other reason than, “the spouse is abusive and shallow.” But then I did some thinking.
While your spouse could certainly be a jerk about your weight, many of us are super jerks to ourselves about our weight as well. People are so self-conscious about weight, that it can really damage self-esteem. When self-esteem becomes low, issues start arising in relationships.
The most common aspect of marriage that this affects is intimacy. We’ve all been there. “I don’t want to have sex because I look and feel disgusting.” And when your spouse supports and tells you they are attracted to you, they still get rejected. It happens.
But if this continually happens, it shows your spouse that you are rejected them intimately, even if you say its not you its me 1000 times. You are still rejecting their intimacy needs. This tends to be detrimental to a marriage.
You weigh what you weight at any given moment. You can always be working on improvement, but you have to accept it for what it is in that moment. If your spouse finds you attractive, believe that they truly think your beautiful no matter your weight.
If you realize that your self-esteem is the issue that is getting in the way of your sex life, try to think through, and get to a place where you trust your spouse’s eyes rather than your owns. Don’t deprive you marriage of intimacy because you feel ugly. You don’t win, and your partner doesn’t win either.
If your partner is constantly picking on your for your weight, you need to stand up for yourself, and tell them you don’t like it. Repeatedly. If they are not ill intentioned, continue to work on how you talk about weight. Maybe they are try to support you to be healthy, and are communicating it poorly, or you are very sensitive when it get brought up (I have been over-sensitive before).
But do not let them bully you into losing weight. If there is absolutest behavior, be very aware and make sure to protect yourself. Do not lose weight for anyone else but yourself.
This one is also among the most common reasons for divorce. So many of us put unrealistic expectations on our marriage. We expect that after we tie the knot, it should be smooth sailing from there, but it’s really where the challenge begins.
You are spending the rest of your life with another autonomous individual. They were raised differently than you, have different opinions, and until you were together, made choices based on their only their needs. Your spouse will have different cleaning habits, work ethic, hobbies etc… and that’s okay.
There is no prince charming, or perfect man/woman. Fairy tale marriages don’t really exist. But real-life marriages are so much better anyway.
There is a set of expectations that you should absolutely abide by. You deserve to be respected by your spouse, you deserve to be loved by your spouse, and you deserve your needs to be met by your spouse.
This will aspect will not be perfect and be constantly tweaked throughout your marriage. But if your spouses intentions are to do these things the best they know how, you have a keeper.
But remember that the best they know how, might not always hit your expectations. Sometimes they won’t understand what you need and why your need it. Continue to work on explaining your needs and understanding theirs as well.
This was not of one of the most common reasons for divorce. Religious differences were only a factor in 13.3% of divorces. But religious differences are can be incredibly devastating and challenging for those you have to deal with them (myself included).
Religion is tricky, because there are a lot of rules that you are supposed to abide by. In some religions, that includes marrying someone of the same faith. So what happens when you fall in love with someone with a different faith, or no faith at all. What do you do when you’re breaking the rules of your faith?
For us, it ended up working itself out. My wife realized that I brought her happiness and her religion did not, so she chose me. We developed a mutual respect for each others’s beliefs and I married her expecting we would be doing different things on Sundays. We have since began to have similar beliefs which was a nice bonus.
If you are married to someone with different religious beliefs, respect is key. You must absolutely retain respect for them, even if you disagree. It’s really the only way.
If you’re looking for valid reasons for divorce, abuse is at the top of the list. Abuse comes in many forms. Physical violence, emotional abuse, and mental abuse. If you are in an abusive marriage, you need to protect yourself. Here is a link to a domestic violence hotline. If you suspect you are being abused here is a quiz to help you.