From the 1960′s to the 1980′s, the divorce rate in the United States doubled and has remained consistently high since then. Every year, there are about two million marriages in the U.S, and about a million divorces, leading to the much-cited statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce.
You might be shocked to learn the number one reason why people get divorced. To the question: What is the most common reason for divorce?, there is a rather surprising answer…
No one knows!
Oh, there’s plenty of speculation, to be sure. You don’t have to be much of a social scientist to guess that marital infidelity – aka cheating – is right up there as a top reason, along with financial problems in a relationship.
But there’s very little in the way of formal research or big-time surveys to back up our common-sense notions of why marriages break up.
An article at MSN Money claims Money Isn’t The Culprit in Most Divorces, but then goes on to say that there’s no real information one way or the other as to how large a role money plays.
The BBC say affairs are the number one reason for divorces (or adulterous behavior, as they so refinedly put it), based on a small survey of divorce lawyers:
Primary Reason for Couples to Divorce
Mid-life crisis 13%
Family Strains 18%
Addiction (including workaholics) 12%
Grant Thornton, the firm conducting the survey, also found an 11-year itch to be more prevalent than the classic 7-year itch. 70% of divorces happen after at least 11 years of marriage.
Where does sex fit into all this? Oddly, sexual compatibility, or lack thereof, isn’t often mentioned in the limited information on why divorces happen. But a national survey from Pew Research Center identified a “happy sexual relationship” as the second most popular answer to the question “What makes a marriage work?”. The number one reason was Faithfulness.
Ethnicity plays a role. Asians are much less likely than other groups to get a divorce or to separate. Finances are a factor as well, with economically stressed couples more likely to divorce than marriages in upper-income families.
So, back to our original query:
Question: What is the most common reason for people to get divorced?
Anything else you’d care to know?
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