When you get married, you certainly don't intend to get divorced
We pledge "Until Death Do Us Part", after all. But then things, or people, change and the next thing you know, you are sitting in a lawyer's office or a courtroom. Why do people get divorced? Recognizing the reasons may help you avoid a divorce.
There are many different reasons for divorce just as there are many different people. Generalities don't always work or fit. But, in my experience, most divorces fit into several groups or fall under some umbrellas as the reasons for a divorce.
In terms of general groups of people getting divorce, here is what I have found in my experience:
1. People who have been married 5 years or less
I have seen marriages as short as a few days (yes, it is true!). Couples that fall into this group generally should not have gotten married in the first place. They either married for the wrong reasons or were pressured into getting married. Oftentimes people that fall into this group married too quickly without really getting to know each other or they were too young or immature to handle the stresses of married life.
On the other hand, some people in this group had been dating or together for years before they finally tied the knot. Once they did, something (or someone) changed and the relationship was over. The lesson to be learned here is to make sure that you are committed and really know the other person before you marry them. You also need to make sure that you are truly ready for marriage and that you can handle the change in your life.
2. Marriages between 10 and 12 years
Many people refer to the "7 year itch". I actually have found it to be around 12 years. This group generally includes people who have had children and are unable to adjust their married lives to accommodate such a big change. A marriage takes work and these people have just been unable to juggle that with children and busy lives. The marriage gets lost and they drift apart.
Money issues are also usually involved in this group as one partner may stay home with the children or a couple is just struggling financially with the financial burdens of children, mortgages, new cars, credit cards, etc. If you are in this group, you need to recognize where you are at and take care of your marriage before it disintegrates. Your kids are important, of course, but they eventually will become adults and move away. Your partner will still be there so you need to take care of that important part of your life as well.
3. 17 to 20 years of marriage
This is by far the largest group of couples divorcing. There are many reasons for divorce in this group. Often, it is the children growing up and leaving the house. Or, one of the spouses undergoes a life change such as going back to work or school. Spouses who survived group 2 now find themselves floundering with fewer demands on their time but nothing in common with their spouse anymore. Mid-life crises are common to this group.
People think that age 40 is the time for a mid-life crisis but it is actually closer to 50. Affairs are common as a way to recapture youth or to make people feel good about themselves when they feel that their spouse can't, or won't, do that for them anymore. The best way to avoid becoming part of this group is to recognize it before you get there. Life does not just happen and people need to be happy. You need to be actively engaged with both your life and your marriage. If you fail to do that or if you fail to recognize that your spouse has those needs, you risk losing your marriage.
4. 25 years of marriage
Give or take a few. This is the most uncommon group of divorces. It does happen but usually if there is trouble between spouses, it becomes apparent before 25 years have passed. The main cause for divorce in this group is one person drastically changes. As people age, their personalities sometimes do negatively change for whatever reason. Or, previous negative personality traits become worse and out of control.
Sometimes, it even gets to the point of mental illness. These can also be the people who have made it through all of the trouble and strife in their life to finally emerge on the other side. They look around and decide that they are better off by themselves for the time they have left rather than living in a marriage which makes them unhappy or where there is nothing left anymore. Marriage or individual counseling can work for some of these people but often, there is no fixing many years of unhappiness or out-of-control behavior.
Of course there are people who fall outside of these groups. And, there are people who are in these groups but are there for reasons other than I have stated. The reasons why people get divorced are many and varied. However, the benefit of knowing why people get divorced is to see if you are headed down that road. If that is the case, do what you can to save your marriage now. No one wants to be divorced - it is a painful and expensive experience. If you recognize yourself in the groups above, take steps to fix your marriage now before you end up in that lawyer's chair or in that courtroom!
About the Author
I am a divorce attorney with 18+ years of experience. I feel that I am very qualified to give advice as to how to save relationships. I also can tell you how to deal with broken relationships from my many years of experience. I pretty much know all there is to know about what causes break-ups and the do’s and don’ts of relationships in general. Even though I deal in divorces, I feel that this should always be a last resort and I often wish that I could see people earlier so I can help them avoid a divorce.