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Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

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Compiling accurate statistics on the most commonly cited causes of the breakdown of a marriage is virtually impossible, since different counties within the same state can place different requirements on couples, and use different reporting methodology. With such differences even within a single state, pulling accurate data from a group across several countries is next to impossible. However, many different research articles on reasons for divorce come up with the same main causes again and again. So, while we cannot provide accurate numerical data, it is possible to produce an unranked list of ten of the most common reasons for divorce:

* Infidelity

It could be argued that infidelity within marriages is a reaction by a spouse to the real breakdown of the marriage, and is not itself the cause. Either way, it is cited as the cause for nearly a third of US divorces and is therefore the most common reason for divorce. Some surveys have shown that adultery occurs in over half of failed marriages. Spouses may be unfaithful consistently during an affair, intermittently, or just once in a one night stand. Common explanations for unfaithfulness include resentment or anger (with the other spouse), sexual boredom, and many of the other causes of marital failure.

* Communication Breakdown

After having lived with a spouse for a number of years, it may become apparent that the couple becomes unable to communicate in a normal, meaningful fashion. Either spouse’s inability to avoid exchanges which invariably result in conflict is representative of a communication breakdown in the marriage. In extreme cases, especially if accompanied by abusive tendencies or other symptoms of dysfunction, a growing inability to deal with any verbal exchanges without conflict could be indicative of a much more serious problem that requires the attention of a mental health professional. More often, however, growing differences between the spouses which may have their roots in other mentioned causes are to blame for communication breakdowns.

* Physical, Psychological, or Emotional Abuse

Where either spouse is frequently abusive towards children or each other, the other spouse has clear grounds for divorce. Physical abuse includes violence, fighting, manhandling, and physical bullying of an individual. Psychological and emotional abuse can be as seemingly innocuous as verbal insults, and can range to taunting, humiliation, intimidation, and consistent negative reinforcement.

* Financial Issues

One of the most common reasons for divorce is economic strain or collapse of the family. Every couple has to deal with money at some stage, and when there is not enough to go around, differences in temperament and priorities are brought to a head. Even if there is no debt incurred, disagreements over the allocation of money and resources within the marriage and the home can often be enough to end an already irritated relationship.

* Sexual Incompatibility

Biological research has shown that the average strength of the sex drive in men and women is most similar throughout life for couples aged about ten years apart. However, the majority of couples marry only a few years apart, and as such, once the couple approaches their 30s, the trend is for the strength of their respective sex drives to fall out of synchronization. If there are already marked differences of sexual taste and preferences, or any other problems in the bedroom, this incompatibility is further exacerbated.

* Boredom

Biologically speaking, humans’ preference is to pair for about seven years before changing mates. While well matched couples will, naturally, stay together for much longer than this, and possibly for life, most do not. Some couples will eventually grow distant, disinterested, and eventually bored with each other. Such divorces are often the least bitter of all, and often end amiably enough.

* Religious and Cultural Strains

Couples of mixed ethnicity, religion, or from significantly different cultures may find themselves being pressured by the expectations of their spouse, or their spouse’s culture to conform to the ideals of the other. This may include resentment at having to observe the dietary taboos of a culture, or more seriously, disputes over the spiritual development of any children. Most parents prefer that their children be the same religion as themselves, which immediately creates tension even in relatively happy multicultural marriages.

*Child Rearing

Serious disputes over the appropriate upbringing of a child are often enough to provoke an application for a petition of divorce by a parent. Cases of neglect and abuse are especially pertinent here, however, simple disagreements over which choice of school to send the child, or incompetence in dealing with inappropriate behavior from children is also a common reason for divorce.


An addiction is an acquired compulsion to repeatedly engage in an activity, to the point that it negatively affects other priorities. Addiction is therefore not a phenomenon limited to drugs alone. Anything you do compulsively that begins to encroach on your ability to function can probably be called an addiction. It is therefore possible to be addicted to food, gambling, drugs and alcohol, the Internet, games, and any of a host of other things. An addiction that can be shown to be causing harm is an acceptable reason for the granting of an at-fault divorce.

*Differences in Priorities and Expectations

This is a fairly nebulous idea that describes situations where married couples have found marriage or their spouse to be so drastically different to how they expected at marriage that they wish the marriage to end. It can also describe marriages where one spouse undergoes a sudden change in life priorities. Deaths in the family, other marital strains, severe medical trauma, or mid-life crises are often the cause of such divorces.

Now that you have found out the reasons for divorce, are you considering?

Divorce Guide


Author: Michelle

Just a woman finally finding herself!

One thought on “Top 10 Reasons for Divorce

  1. I don’t know what to say. This web site is amazing. Family disputes such as divorce or separation can be an emotional time of your life – especially when there are children involved. In divorce process couple as well as all the family suffered most. So I usually guide people to think twice before taking divorce.

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