It is virtually impossible to find accurate numerical data that reports the reasons for divorce, due to the fact that different states and even counties within a state have different requirements and reporting methodology for couples filing for divorce. However, there is a common set of reasons that come up again and again in different research studies, and we are publishing that unranked list here for you. So, in no specific order the top 10 reasons for divorce are:
- Infidelity. Infidelity is cited as a cause for divorce in about one third of U.S. divorces, and some studies even show that infidelity occurs in nearly half of failed marriages. Some may argue that infidelity is not the reason for the divorce, but it is a reaction of one or both of the partners in the marriage, due to things like resentment, anger, and boredom in the marriage, which would be the real causes for divorce.
- Communication breakdown. People sometimes grow apart during a relationship, after being together for a number of years. This is often cited as a reason for communication breakdown in a marriage. When one or both of the partners avoids conflict, or a couple can't discuss issues in the marriage anymore, it's referred to as a communication breakdown.
- Abuse. Whether physical, emotional, or psychological, abuse is unfortunately one of the top reasons cited by couples for divorce. Abuse can range from blatant violence, to seemingly benign verbal insults, intimidation, and humiliation.
- Financial issues. Many studies cite financial issues as the top reason for divorce. This is probably due to our current economy, the high rate of unemployment, and the depressed real estate market across the U.S. Many families are dealing with financial issues, and different priorities and high emotions caused by money issues can strain a marriage to the breaking point.
- Sexual Incompatibility. Interestingly enough, research shows that sexual compatibility is greatest when couples ages are 10 years apart. However, most couples who marry end up being only a few years apart, and the result is that sex drives for men and women tend to get out of synch and cause unhappiness in one or both of the partners with their sexual relationship.
- Boredom. Research shows that biologically humans tendency to stay together 7 years before we change mates. This is where the phrase "7 year itch" comes from. With the passage of time, couples tend to grow distant or disinterested with each other, though this of course is not always the case. And, if couples recognize this tendency, they can easily work on this issue and avoid divorce altogether.
- Religious and Cultural Strains. Couples from different religions, ethnicities, or cultural backgrounds face additional pressures in their marriage. There are a lot of happy, multicultural marriages out there, but for some the pressure to conform, the taboos, and disagreements on how to raise their children can be too much for a relationship to last.
- Child rearing. Speaking of raising children, disputes over the upbringing of children is often cited as a common reason for divorce. Disputes can range from big issues like neglect and abuse, to differences in parenting styles.
- Addiction. Unfortunately, the issue of addiction is an all too common reason for divorce, and we see that a lot in our practice. Addiction affects not only the person engaged in the addiction activity, but has a great impact on the addict's family as well. Drugs, alcohol, and gambling are probably the three most common addictions that cause divorce.
- Differences in priorities and expectations. This seems like a bit of a "catch-all" reason for divorce, meaning that in can involve a wide variety of situations. But the net of the issue is that for some reason, one or both of the partners have found the marriage or their spouse to be so drastically different than expected, they choose to end the marriage.
(Source: Top 10 Reasons for Divorce, divorceguide.com)