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The Top Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Although the divorce rate has gone down in recent years, nearly 45% of all marriages still end in divorce, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Numerous studies have been done over the years on what causes divorce, and there are certain factors that many divorces have in common.

Infidelity or Affairs

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons for a divorce. It transcends across age and gender differences and is often the last straw for a marriage. There are many reasons people commit adultery, from lack of passion to loss of self-esteem, fear of abandonment, or a difference in sexual appetite, among other things.

If sexual infidelity is the reason for a divorce, the injured party will need to provide evidence to the court. Direct evidence, like pictures or video, is preferred, but it's also quite difficult to get. Circumstantial evidence, which consists of showing interest and opportunity, is more commonly accepted.

Financial Issues

Money is the cause of many marital arguments, and it often leads to divorce. For example, one of you may be a spender who runs up debts on credit cards or likes to get a new car fairly often. This can be problematic if your spouse is a saver who prefers to put their savings towards retirement. It's even worse if you don't inform your spouse of your debts. One of you may make more money than your spouse, which often leads to control issues. You might be stressed from the loss of a job or another serious setback.

Stress leads to a breakdown in communication, which leads to arguments, fights and divorce. Some of these differences can be reconciled by making habits complement each other. Savers, for example, can manage retirement while spenders manage short-term expenses. Others can't make it work, however.

Too Much Conflict and Too Little Communication

Communication is often the first casualty in a failing marriage simply because life gets in the way. Work, kids, mental health, or other obligations take a toll on proper communication. After a while, you just start assuming things are fine between the two of you, which foments a lot of resentment and anger.

All of this means that your subsequent communication attempts will result in fights and arguments. As the fights worsen, feelings of mutual support and positive connectivity start to break down. If you want to avoid this mess, take some time to assess your relationship and figure out a timeframe for a proper discussion. A marriage counselor can help if you can't do it yourselves.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse takes a variety of forms, and not all of them are obvious from outside. This is a major cause of divorce among older people. Physical abuse is the most common form, but emotional abuse is also rampant. This can take the form of yelling at your partner, humiliating them, or constantly displaying anger or neglect. Abuse against children, friends, siblings, or roommates of a spouse can also be grounds for domestic abuse.

Financial abuse is also common. This involves withholding money from your spouse, demanding favors in exchange for funds, or intentionally racking up debts and forcing them on your spouse.

Non-physical, unusual bouts of emotional abuse can be addressed and fixed over time. This is especially true if the abuser is suffering from stress, mental health issues, substance abuse, or the death of a close friend or family member. However, chronic, physical abuse is a dangerous situation, and a divorce in such circumstances is strongly advised.

Just Falling Out of Love

Irreconcilable differences is a broad term, and this falls into it more often than you might expect. This is primarily seen among older couples. Many got married before they realized how much of a commitment it would be. Others have simply drifted apart after 30 years of raising children and handling busy schedules. Many such couples can part on good terms if resentment is not left to fester into something negative over time.

There are many other reasons for divorces, and it's best to try fixing any problems before considering a divorce. If, sadly, your marriage has reached the breaking point, then our experts at Harmon Caldwell can help you get through this turbulent period. Call us today at to schedule your initial consultation.