Whether we’re talking about lack of commitment, financial challenges, or infidelity, some of the leading causes of divorce seem to make increasingly more “victims”.
Moreover, it seems that age and culture might change everything. Relationship survival generally requires a different blend of open communication, intimacy, and empathy.
If any of these characteristics are missing or slowly fading, the romantic bond between two people will slowly weaken. Couples might decide to divorce for different reasons.
It can vary from incompatibility to dishonest actions and behavior. However, it seems that researchers managed to find a couple of reasons why divorce is more common across certain cultures and generations.
Some of the most important reasons for divorce generally fluctuate over the course of years and also vary by country. They are often heavily influenced by cultural beliefs and practices. For instance, in Denmark, some of the top reasons why divorces occur include:
- lack of love and intimacy
- communication issues
- lack of sympathy, trust, and respect
- growing apart because of different interests and activities
Moreover, couples who are forced to face all kinds of challenges in having children seem to be more likely to divorce, especially if having a bigger family is a priority for one or both partners.
Divorce percentages in the United States and the world
According to the latest data available, between 1970 and 2008, the average rate of divorce in 84 countries around the world was 4.08 for every 1,000 marriages.
In the United States, for instance, the numbers are much higher. In 2008, the divorce rate for women was around 20.5 out of every 1,000 marriages and 19.4 for men. Also, in 2020, rates were 14 and 13.3 for every 1,000 marriages.
Divorce in the United States
According to a national survey conducted in 2005, here are the top 12 reasons for divorce, from most to least common:
- lack of commitment
- constant arguing and conflict.
- Marrying too young
- unrealistic expectations about marriage
- inequality between partners
- inadequate preparation for marriage
- domestic violence
- financial problems
- conflict about domestic work
- lack of family support
- religious differences
Now, let’s look into these reasons, shall we? In the same survey, participants mentioned that their reasons for divorce are rather complex, and here are some of the causes they mentioned:
Lack of commitment (73.2%)
According to the recipients, there’s a diminished desire to put effort into making the relationship work, which might look like poor communication, a lack of compromise, or even the absence of everyday kindness.
Too much conflict (55%)
The constant fighting could mean that you’re not really that compatible or might struggle with irreconcilable differences. If you’re dealing with endless arguments and poor conflict resolution, it might take a toll on the relationship, and ultimately lead to divorce.
Another study from 2014 would suggest that 20% to 40% of U.S. marriages went through at least one incident of infidelity. Infidelity could lead to feelings of betrayal, anger, and resentment, which could ultimately destroy a relationship.
The effects of infidelity could also include anxiety, trauma, trust challenges, shame, guilt, and even social withdrawal.
Marrying too young (45.7%)
While growth and change are inevitable, if you’re not growing together, it will only put a strain on your relationship. When you marry at a very young age, you still need to develop some important aspects of your relationship.
Some of the signs that you’re growing apart from your spouse could also include an absence of shared interests, having completely different life goals, and feeling isolated and lonely.
Unrealistic expectations (45.3%)
Unrealistic expectations on how the household might run, where you will live, and how you will be treated as a spouse are some of the main reasons why so many divorces occur in the United States.
Assuming that “things might get better after you’re married” will only strain you further; these unrealistic expectations are destroying what’s left between you two.
Lack of equality (43.7%)
Some of the earliest signs of inequality in a marriage could include double standards or having one partner make all the decisions. If you ever feel pigeonholed into a particular gender stereotype in marriage, that might be an important sign of inequality.
Inadequate preparation (41.1%)
When you don’t prepare for anything that marriage involves, you might find cohabitation a bit overwhelming. Having a hard time living with your spouse is one of the leading causes of divorce.
Also, signs of inadequate preparation could include underdeveloped skills, especially around home maintenance, household routines, or even finance management.
Domestic violence (29.1%)
Domestic violence can consist of any pattern of abusive behavior in a close relationship that is used to maintain power and control. Domestic violence isn’t just about physical assault.
Some of the most common signs of an abusive relationship could also include persistent blaming, intimidation, manipulation, and social isolation.
Financial problems (28.4%)
If you’re having a hard time making ends meet or are married to someone who overextends spending, this might cause a lot of stress in your marriage.
If you’re constantly being asked for money, then it might be a telltale sign that your partner finds financial responsibility a real challenge. Unresolved financial challenges are one of the reasons why so many people divorce.
Conflict about domestic work (21.6%)
Unequal distribution of household chores and childcare responsibilities could also translate into conflict and resentment. In most cases, this kind of resentment is felt by both partners.
If you feel that your spouse takes you for granted or that you simply can’t rely on them for support, this is one of the many reasons why so many people divorce.
Lack of family support (18.7%)
If your family strongly disagrees with your marriage or your partner, the rift you might feel could ultimately contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as a certain sense of grief for the connections you lost.
Your family might try to exclude your partner, belittle them, or even put them down. Both you and your partner might be affected by this type of pressure, which could also cause you to consider divorce as an option.
Religious differences (13.2%)
If you and your partner have different values, then it might be tough to find common ground. If your partner ridicules or even demeans your religion in the early stages of a relationship, or even tries to convert you away despite your expressed disinterest, then this might be a good indicator that you will have a future conflict.
Do reasons change depending on age?
Reasons for divorce generally don’t change depending on age, but the challenges can be slightly different. According to research conducted back in 2019, the wide majority of divorce rates vary depending on age groups.
The causes don’t generally change between age groups, but they could look different. As it turns out, older couples might have learned how to avoid conflict, whereas younger couples might experience more fighting in relationships. Still, unresolved conflict is one of the major leading causes of divorce for both young and older couples.
If you’re interested in reading more, we highly recommend you try “Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples“! It might change your perspective on love and marriage!
If you enjoyed reading this piece, we also recommend reading: 4 Divorce Facts That Everybody Should Know