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Common Causes and Reasons for Divorce

Sonal Panse
As they say, all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family has its own unique reason for being unhappy. The same stands true for a couple who decides to end a marriage and opt for a divorce. They have their unique reasons for discord. In this article, we provide a general overview of the most common reasons for why people get divorced.
Society has always had varied views on divorce. They exist in different parts of the world, and are influenced by the culture that one belongs to, among other things.
It has been observed that the divorce rates are higher in certain places like Europe and America, where individual freedom is given more importance, than in Asian or African nations, where familial and social opinions are highly stressed upon.
With the onset of globalization though, opinions, practices, and mindsets have changed. Women, especially, with access to higher education and higher salaries, are less willing to put up with traditional roles and expectations.
While many opine that emancipation of women is one of these reasons, there are myriad other reasons as well that have led to an increase of divorce in society. Divorce is not joy-inducing, but then, neither is a corrosive marriage. In such a case, splitting up is probably preferable than staying together 'for the children' or to keep up social appearances.
In the end, it all really depends upon the kind of relationship you have -- some relationships are worth working on, some aren't.There are many different and complex causes and reasons for divorce, each of them specific to that particular couple's marital relationship, their individual experiences, and personal problems.
None of them may seem 'common' to the people going through a divorce, of course, but many of the reasons recur enough to warrant the term.

Reasons that Influence the Act of Getting a Divorced

  • Abuse in all forms (physical, sexual, emotional)
  • Infidelity
  • Alcohol addiction and/or substance abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Personality differences or 'irreconcilable differences'
  • Differences in personal and career goals
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Lack of communication between spouses
  • Intellectual incompatibility
  • Sexual incompatibility
  • Falling out of love
  • Religious conversion or religious beliefs
  • Cultural and lifestyle differences
  • Mental instability or mental illness
  • Criminal behavior and incarceration for crime
  • Lack of commitment to the marriage
  • Inability to manage or resolve conflict
  • Different expectations about household tasks
  • Different expectations about having or rearing children
  • Interference from parents or in-laws
  • Lack of maturity
  • Insistence of sticking to traditional roles
  • Inability to deal with each other's petty idiosyncrasies
  • The lack of trust and/or feeling

Recurring Trends Affecting Divorce

There are several agencies that undertake surveys in the United States on varied societal issues.
The trends associated with marriage, divorce, separation, cohabitation have been studied by varied agencies like the US National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports (NVSR), US Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the independent Americans for Divorce Reform.
It was studied that several factors contribute to the longevity of a marriage and cohabitation. The following are some of the trends that have been recorded in these surveys undertaken by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Age as a Factor

Percentage of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Marriages Ending in Divorce
It has been studied that 41%-50% of first marriages end in divorce, while 60-67% of second marriages and 73%-74% of third marriages end in divorce. It has also been found that couples with no children are slightly more likely to go in for a divorce than those who have children. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)
It was found that marriages between interracial couples have higher chances of ending in divorce. Interestingly, this was true of couples who married in the late 1980s.
Trends in Interracial Divorce
Another trend that was noticed was that gender played a very important role in interracial divorces. White women and non-white males seemed to have the maximum number of divorces -- especially white wives-black husbands and white wives-Asian husbands. (Education Resources Information Center, 2008)

The Change in Divorce Trends with Time

The success rate of marriages in the 21st century is known to be higher than marriages that took place in the 1990s. Experts say that divorce rates are bound to go down further because more and more couples are going in for live-in relationships rather than opting for marriage. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)
People who have been raised by both parents, rather than those who have been raised by a single parent, or have seen either parent with changing partners, are less likely to go in for a divorce.
Parents who are Divorced Vs. Parents who are Together.
Those who have seen their parents getting divorced, are more accepting of the idea of divorce, and are more likely to get one. The children of divorced parents are 4 times more likely to go in for a divorce than those children whose parents are together. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009)
In many cases, quite a few problems that cause divorce have existed in the couple's relationship long before they have gotten married. The problems were either not acknowledged or were ignored in the hope that marriage might offer a miraculous panacea. But that is not what happens. Nobody can make you feel better about yourself and you can't change and save anybody. As someone wise once said, it takes two wholes to make a marriage, not two halves.