Nassau County Family Law Blog

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Primary Reasons for Divorce

Why do marriages so frequently result in divorce?

No matter what the statistics report about the high rate of divorce, couples still seem determined to take that walk to the altar, each believing that they will be the pair to defy the daunting odds and bond for life. It is true that the peak rates of divorce have diminished from 50 percent during recent decades to 42 percent in the present. This may indicate that more and more couples, though not always able to achieve ongoing wedded bliss, seem to be taking their vows with their eyes open wider to the possibility that their marriage will require not only commitment, but hard work.

While the tabloids would have us believe that extramarital affairs are at the root of most marriage dissolutions, according to 100 experts at YourTango, a media company focused on romantic love, this is not actually the case. Reviewing the evidence of 100 break-ups, the following causes of divorce have been isolated.

[1] Communication Problems -- According to these pundits, most marriages dissolve because of an inability to communicate. It appears that nearly any problem, even straying from the marriage bed, can be solved if the paths of communication remain open.

[2] Marrying for the Wrong Reasons -- Sometimes one or both partners get roped into marriage for inappropriate reasons.  We have all heard the sad tales of couples "having to get married" because the woman is pregnant, but what about the couples from strict backgrounds who marry in order to have sex?  Other poor reasons for marriage include: because of one's age, because parents or friends encourage the union, for money, because time-consuming, expensive preparations have already taken place, or because you are in love with the idea of being married.

[3] Submerging Oneself in One's Partner -- The poet Theodore Roethke said, "Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other."  Two often, infatuation leads to one partner "drowning" in the other, losing sight of his or her own interests, values, desires, and visions for the future. For many such couples, the person who has become submerged finally reaches a point where divorce is necessary for the individual to survive.

[3] Neglecting the Partnership -- It is not uncommon for married couples to pull away from the friends and activities they most enjoyed before they tied the knot. This can be especially true if they have children and become caught up in their individual roles are parents, neglecting to nourish themselves as a twosome. For many couples who lead lives like these, by the time the children leave the nest, the parents find there is nothing left to hold them together.

[4] Not Having Clarified Issues Beforehand -- Each member of a couple has grown up in a different (sometimes very different) household. Unless issues about household chores, finances, tidiness, discipline of children, sexual intimacy, vacations, etc. have been discussed prior to marriage, there is likely to be discord after the honeymoon.

[5] Lost Intimacy -- The interplay between romance and sexual intimacy is usually fine premaritally, but may be more difficult to balance when there is less time for relaxation and foreplay during the marriage. Couples must learn to accommodate varying libidos if the marriage is to survive.

[6] Expecting Your Partner to Become the Person You Envisioned -- Everyone has seen the sitcoms in which criticizing, blaming, nagging and bribing are presented as part and parcel of marriage. Though it is true that some amount of complaining is inevitable, the person you married will change when he or she feels the need to, not when you expect capitulation. This is where the ability to communicate becomes so essential.

[7] Financial Disagreements -- There is no question that when finances become tight, marriages become strained. Couples also have serious difficulties, however, when they are not in difficult economic straits. Spending and saving habits have to be discussed and agreed upon if a marriage is to have a stable foundation.

[8] Lack of Physical Intimacy -- The sexual underpinnings of most marriages are extremely important, but so are the smaller intimacies expressed by handholding, gentle kisses, warm hugs, easy caresses. If physical intimacy is limited to the bedroom activities, the sense of estrangement can become unbearable for one or both parties.

[9] Absence of Time Together as well as Time Apart --While it is important for couples to maintain a sense of their identities are individuals and spend time independently of one another, there is also a need to do pleasant things together, things that both enjoy.

[10] Inability to Resolve Conflicts -- Many therapists teach couples how to have productive arguments in which each person feels not only heard, but respected for his or her opinion. A third party can be very helpful in setting up ground rules to keep disagreements from becoming name-calling events or escalating to abusive words or behavior. 

If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage and divorce seems to be on the horizon, you would be wise to contact a fine family attorney promptly to guide you through the process.

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