In this day and age, it can very easy to trick yourself into thinking everyone else’s marriages are running perfectly.
And when you’re in the middle of a divorce or a rough patch, it’s really easy to think no one would understand what you’re going through. It’s a new kind of loneliness.
But rest assured that all couples face hard times. And a better understanding of why people get a divorce may help you learn from their mistakes so you can turn this thing around!
Most Common Reasons for Divorce:
- Lack of intimacy
- Lack of compatibility
- Physical appearance
- Getting married at an early age
- Getting married for the wrong reasons
- Lack of communication
- Lack of equality and loss of identity
Most couples can agree that they’ve had a fight or two about money.
It’s such a sticky subject because not all of us were raised with the same view of money.
Some of us have totally different relationships with money and how they view it; combining two people who view and use it differently is sure to cause friction.
We each probably grew up with different ideas of what we wanted our long-term financial goals to be.
Sometimes one spouse wants to “live in the now” and let their money go towards experiences they’ll be able to remember forever.
And perhaps they’re married to someone that’s more of a saver (you know, people who almost obsessively check their savings account.)
Neither of these people is wrong, but finding the perfect way to mesh these views of money can be difficult… And lead to tension.
And when money is tight, this can put an added strain on the relationship.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out the way we expect. Serious health conditions can cause a financial strain or even a loss in a job. This can seriously impact your relationship, which is expected.
But with stress often comes a lack of communication. Sometimes it feels easier to try and avoid the problem in hopes that it’ll go away.
But without communication (another common reason for divorce) only comes more issues, like lack of trust and loneliness.
Money issues are difficult to navigate, but it’s something most couples go through.
Budgets, open communication, and simply coming to an understanding of one another are the best things any couple can do to lessen the stress on their relationship regarding money. Facing money issues as a team instead of viewing it as you against one another can make all the difference.
2. Lack of Intimacy
I think we can all agree that being an adult is hard.
We’re always being pulled in 7 different directions and it seems like sex just keeps dropping further and further down our list of priorities.
In fact, Newsweek magazine estimates that 15-20% of couples are in a sexless relationship.
And although sex is probably the first thing you think of when someone says intimacy, it’s not the only thing.
Intimacy also includes simply paying attention to your spouse.
Asking about their day, thanking them for their help around the house, or simply holding a hug a few seconds longer than normal.
Small acts of intimacy go a long way and can often make your spouse feel more inclined to have sex.
It’s when these small acts of intimacy fade do problems appear in their place. It can lead to feelings of rejection, infidelity, or simply unhappiness in the relationship.
This one is kinda obvious.
When affairs occur, it’s very common that a divorce follows shortly after.
This is because infidelity changes your relationship. Oftentimes it forces a couple to rebuild from ground zero.
Trust has to be re-earned. The cheating spouse will probably harbor guilt. And the non-cheating spouse will have to learn how to forgive and forget rather than keep this as leverage of some kind in future disagreements.
The reality is that your relationship is forever changed, but that doesn’t mean it’s irreparable.
There are several reasons for infidelity, such as:
- Sometimes passions fade over time.
- Or maybe a lack of self-esteem.
- Perhaps intimacy, in general, is fleeting in the relationship as stated above.
- Sometimes an emotional affair transforms into a physical one.
There are so many reasons why people cheat and finding the underlying reason can possibly help the healing of your relationship.
It’s not impossible to work through this.
Abuse, of any kind, is definitely a valid reason to seek a divorce.
But sometimes people don’t even realize they’re a victim because their abuser isn’t physically harming them.
Emotional and financial abuse are also common. This can look like:
- Keeping family away
- Withholding money
And abuse doesn’t have to only be directed at you. Oftentimes children, other family members, or roommates can also be targets.
Staying in an abusive relationship, physical or not, is not healthy or safe. Seeking help if you feel threatened in any way is the best thing you can do.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
5. Lack of Compatibility
I’m sure when you got married, you and your spouse were convinced you two were perfect for one another! Best friends in every single way. And anything that may have bothered you was so minor it wasn’t even worth mentioning.
But time has a funny way of changing things sometimes.
We’re constantly evolving, learning, and growing.
New challenges shape us and our opinions, interests evolve, and sometimes becoming parents turns us into totally different people.
Maybe a job change has brought a new perspective or new friends.
All of a sudden, you find that you and your spouse aren’t on the same wavelength as before.
This can lead to more “me time” and seclusion rather than doing things together. All of a sudden you find yourselves spending entire weekends in your respective “man caves” or “she-sheds” without a second thought.
This can bring a huge strain on the marriage because the distance between you two seems to grow more and more each day. And at the end of a year, you might be looking at your spouse across the dinner table and think “do I even know you anymore?”
And in instances like this, it’s inevitable that this leads to less intimacy, communication, or even infidelity.
6. Physical Appearance
This might sound shallow and many of you probably think you’re above this sort of thing… but it is a very real and common reason marriages end.
We all want attractive spouses and want to be attractive to our spouse.
But in America, where fast food and obesity reigns, this can sometimes be difficult.
Sometimes when one spouse gains a significant amount of weight, the other might find themself uninterested.
And on the other spectrum, if one spouse loses a lot of weight, this might attract strangers into the relationship.
Changes in physical appearance tend to have a direct impact on intimacy and self-esteem… no matter how badly we don’t want to admit it.
When you first think of addiction, you might think of alcohol or drugs.
But addiction can take many shapes, such as gambling, shopping, pornography, or several other things.
Addictions have the power to take control of your life in a way never thought possible. It can put them in danger of losing their sanity, job, friends, and marriage.
It might cause you to lie, cheat, or simply betray your spouse’s trust– the very thing your marriage is built on.
Addictions aren’t the end of the world, though, and seeking help is even easier than before.
There are professionals in your area ready and capable of helping you overcome your addiction and regaining control of your life.
8. Getting Married at an Early Age
When you’re young, it’s very easy to underestimate what it takes to have a long-lasting marriage.
Couples who get married at an early age are more likely to face financial stress because it’s likely they aren’t established in their careers quite yet. Or perhaps they aren’t even done with schooling for said career.
Their financial stress can be further aggravated if they also bring children into marriage at an early age.
No one ever knows what they’re doing when it comes to kids, but this can be especially difficult for a young adult who is just now learning how to take care of themselves outside of their parent’s household.
Younger couples can also lack maturity; perhaps they have no idea how to effectively communicate or fight fairly.
Maturity oftentimes comes with life experiences and perhaps you haven’t lived long enough to really “know yourself.”
Marrying too young can sometimes lead to a harder life down the road.
9. Married for the Wrong Reasons
Marriage is hard, but I don’t have to tell you that.
And getting married to someone for the wrong reasons only makes marriage even harder.
If you enter into a marriage with certain expectations of how it should be – like you’re getting married because you think that means your spouse will be waiting with dinner ready every evening – you might be in for a rude awakening.
Or perhaps, deep down, you were only getting married because your family kept telling you how good he/she was for you. But did you ask yourself if that was true?
And sometimes people get married because they think it’ll fix whatever relationship issues they’re having.
But unfortunately, it’s not a cure for a rocky relationship.
You don’t want to wake up a few years down the road and realize this whole marriage was entered into for the wrong reasons… But if you have, considering a divorce isn’t some kind of “cop-out.”
Mistakes are made and sometimes things just can’t be worked out.
Forcing a marriage to be something it’s not will never be the answer– at least not if you’re also looking to be happy.
10. Lack of Communication
This common reason for a divorce intersects with a lot of the others.
Some say it tends to be the root of a lot of tension within marriages.
But trust me when I say I understand that it’s really difficult to communicate sometimes.
Life is crazy. Jobs are demanding, kids need a lot of your attention, and sometimes you just put your marriage on autopilot because it’s the one relationship you can trick yourself into thinking can sustain on the back burner just a little bit longer.
And when you and your spouse inevitably get out of sync due to the lack of communication, it’s really easy to just make assumptions or bottle it up. Cause we’re all too tired to fight.
But making conscious efforts to have tough conversations, loving conversations, and silly conversations is so important in marriage.
So if this relationship is something still worth fighting for, making very intentional efforts to have meaningful conversations is so important. I can’t stress that enough.
It’s so important to be able to communicate that I often suggest getting a marriage counselor involved. They can help you fight in a healthy way, remind you how close you two once were, and open your eyes as to how much more intimate your relationship could be by simply talking more effectively.
11. Lack of Equality and Identity
This can be a common issue in couples where one partner earns significantly more than the other.
Sometimes the less-lucrative spouse doesn’t feel like their opinion on how money is spent is taken seriously.
Or sometimes a spouse simply becomes almost a mirror image of the other – taking up all of their hobbies and spending all of their time together.
Quality time can turn into unhealthy codependency, which can make it difficult for one spouse to have their own thoughts, opinions, or interests.
Spending time together is great but there should be room for each person to find things they like on their own. We don’t have to like the exact same music, foods, or activities as our spouse.
Not all of our friends have to be their friends.
It’s ok to have your own identity, in fact, it’s encouraged! Be your own person!
Losing your sense of identity can become an even bigger issue when children are thrown into the mix. You’ll find yourself being called “Lindsey’s mom” or “Blake’s dad” more and more often.
So being sure to keep your autonomy is very important in still feeling like an individual within a relationship.
So, Are There “Good” Reasons to Get a Divorce?
Well, I guess that depends.
If you’re asking if there are good (aka valid) reasons to get a divorce, then yes, of course!
But there are two ways to look at this:
Is there a valid legal reason to get a divorce?
Is there a valid personal reason to get a divorce?
In every single state, there is some version of “no-fault” divorce. That means you don’t have to have some specific reason for why you want a divorce.
Your spouse doesn’t HAVE to cheat on you, abandon you, or abuse you.
But there are other specific legal reasons that cover those reasons for divorce in most states. But filing for divorce with these “fault-based” reasons comes with a higher standard of proof. And usually, a lot more time and money involved.
But there are very real reasons to use one of those if it applies to your circumstances. Perhaps it will help with child custody, spousal support, or the division of assets.
However, picking your legal grounds for divorce is something to discuss with your divorce attorney.