There are no hard and fast statistics on the reasons people get divorced. This is because divorce statistics are reported by county, and the various jurisdictions list them differently. The reasons for divorce are as diverse as the people who get married.

The ten most frequent reasons for divorce are:

  1. Infidelity – many people argue that is a symptom of a troubled marriage rather than a cause. It is cited in a third of divorces filed in the U.S. Explanations for infidelity range from sexual boredom with a spouse to anger with a spouse about some other issue.
  2. Communication breakdown – this can take the form of failure to communicate at all with the spouse. Communication that always ends in conflict or failure to communicate meaningfully with the spouse about issues that are important or irritating to the other spouse.
  3. Physical, psychological or emotional abuse – frequent abusive conduct toward a spouse or children is a clear cut ground for divorce, it can take violent behavior, bullying, intimidation or humiliation or a constant negative attitude.
  4. Money – financial problems are often described as the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Not having enough money to meet the family’s needs or disagreement on who financial resources should be allocated and shared will exacerbate a marriage that is already under stress.
  5. Sexual incompatibility – biologically men and women’s sex drives peak at different stages in their lives. It has been reported that for optimal sexually compatibility there should be a ten year difference in age between spouses. The age difference in most married couples is less than two to three years—falling out of sync with each other can amplify other troubles in a marriage.
  6. Boredom – science suggest that humans biologically pair off for seven years before seeking another mate. This would mean that couples would need to work harder to have other interests in common. Those that do not maintain common interests are more likely to divorce.
  7. Religious or Cultural differences – persons from different religious and cultural backgrounds are more likely to develop marital discord. Pressure to conform to another’s religious beliefs or expectations as to roles that men and women should take in society and marriage is a major cause of conflict in marriage.
  8. Child rearing – issues related to raising a child can range from the serious, such as neglect or abuse of a child, to differences about what school a child should attend or how a child should be disciplined for inappropriate behavior.
  9. Addiction – most people think of drugs and alcohol when discussing addictions, but any compulsive behavior that has a negative impact on the family and the marriage would qualify. Shopping, gambling, sex, or pornography are all examples of addictions that can wreck a marriage.
  10. Differences in priorities and expectations – this reason for marital discord are not as concrete as the other nine reasons. Sudden life crises such as a death or serious illness or even a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina can trigger it. It can be as simply as an unrealistic expectation of what marriage would be or differences in priority relating to work careers or life styles.

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