About one-third of all marriages are destined to end in divorce, but did you know that there are some common divorce predictors that can signal trouble in paradise? Apart from the most obvious reasons for divorce, such as infidelity and addiction, If you’d like to avoid ending up in divorce, here are some signs to watch out for.
Common Divorce Predictors
A virtual relationship. Many believe that online dating doesn’t count as an affair, as long as there are no physical meetings. The grim reality is that a cyber-relationship leads to divorce, as the emotional impact of such a relationship is identical to that of physical cheating. An emotional affair doesn’t just happen online – it can happen in real life, too.
Spending too much on your wedding. Money is one of the major causes of fights and divorce in couples, so spending irresponsibly on your wedding day may lead to tension right from the start of your marriage. Add in the cost of going to university, the battle to buy a first home, and having a family, and suddenly having an expensive wedding day seems like a waste. Work out what your priorities are as a couple – and whether you can do that well may be one of the first divorce predictors you discover.
Your level of education. Couples with high school education are more likely to get a divorce, compared to their university-educated peers. The logic behind this is that college education comes with better money management skills and higher paid jobs, which reduce the amount of fights over money in the relationship.
A long commute. A study found that divorce rates were higher among couples who had long commutes. Spending more than 45 minutes on the way home from work seems to add a lot of stress on a relationship. It may also simply mean you don’t have as much time to spend with your spouse, which is about as common as divorce predictors can be.
Not splitting housework evenly. If your partner is waiting for you to do all the cleaning, all the laundry and cooking, you’re going to get sick of it one day. Depending where you live, you might want to talk about sharing household duties with your partner, so you don’t end up resenting them before eventually calling it quits.
Show contempt for each other. Contempt, a virulent mix of anger and disgust, is far more toxic than simple frustration or negativity. It involves seeing your partner as beneath you, rather than as an equal. The reason contempt is so powerful is because it means you’ve closed yourself off to your partner’s needs and emotions.
If you constantly feel smarter than, better than, or more sensitive than your significant other, you’re not only less likely see his or her opinions as valid, but, more important, you’re far less willing to try to put yourself in his or her shoes to try to see a situation from his or her perspective. Contempt has been described as the number one predictor of divorce.
Criticism of each other. Criticism involves turning a behaviour (something your partner did) into a statement about his or her personal character (the type of person he or she is). As far as divorce predictors go, marrying a critical person will escalate your risk considerably.
Getting defensive. If you find yourself regularly playing the victim in tough situations with your partner, you might be guilty of being defensive. Taking responsibility for your role in a tough situation can be uncomfortable, but it’s often what keeps a bad situation from escalating.
Shutting down. The moment things start to get heated, do you pull out your phone, walk away, or simply ignore your partner? Blocking off conversation can be just as toxic for a relationship as contempt because it keeps you from addressing an underlying issue. These temporarily uncomfortable situations are oftentimes the place where you can start to come to big realisations about your own behaviour and solve potentially damaging problems.
Waiting too long to get married. Recent data shows that those who tie the knot after their early 30s are now more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late 20s. So what is the perfect age to get married if you want a lasting union? According to the study, it’s between the ages of 25 and 32. And that takes into account social and demographic factors like sex, race, family structure, religion, sexual history, and size of metropolitan area.
Divorce runs in the family. If your parents divorced, you’re at least 40% more likely to do the same. But if they got remarried, you have a staggering 91% likelihood of getting divorced.
Your job. Certain occupations have higher divorce rates, including police and military personnel. Dancers and choreographers have a 43% divorce rate, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology. Bartenders split from a spouse 38% of the time, while nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides face an almost 29% divorce rate.
The wife is older or earns more money than the husband. Marriages where spouses earn roughly the same amount are more prone to divorce than those where the wife earns less, according to a Swiss study of U.S. couples. And if the wife makes 60% or more of the family income, the risk of divorce is double that of couples where she doesn’t work at all.
Unfortunately, women who are one to three years older than their husbands are 53% more likely to end their marriage. According to the Australian paper, age disparities either way are associated with higher risk, especially if the man is younger. The study suggests it may be “due to differences in values associated with birth control, or marital strain caused by power imbalances within the union.”
Keeping score. Playing tit-for-tat and keeping score can indicate potential for divorce, as it makes the couple focus on tallying, games and winning instead of love, communication and forgiveness.
Your marriage isn’t your priority. According to Sam Margulies, PhD, on Psychology Today, couples who invest more of their time in work, other relationships and friendships, and hobbies that don’t involve their spouses are often trying to detach and remove themselves from an unhappy situation. If you are spending much time apart, and perhaps by choice, re-evaluate your partnership.
These less common divorce predictors may cause you to re-think your plans, but before you make any decisions, it is always worthwhile to seek the help of good relationship counsellor or psychologist.