The divorce rate across the United States has decreased by 18% over the last 10 years. In Colorado, the trend is similar; the state divorce rate is the lowest it has been in a decade. Despite lower numbers, however, the divorce rate in Colorado is still over 20,000 couples per year. While every couple has unique reasons for splitting up, studies show marked similarities in the top causes of divorce.
1) Extramarital Affairs
Infidelity is a major cause of divorce in the U.S. Extramarital affairs often lead to breakdowns of marriages, increasing discord between spouses — resulting in anger and resentment. Having an affair could stem from issues already within the marriage, such as lack of emotional or physical intimacy. However, the actual act of infidelity is more likely to drive a couple apart and lead to divorce or separation.
Instead of resolving issues or differences, an affair exacerbates existing issues and adds new, bigger ones. The strain of a physical or emotional affair can be too much for most relationships to withstand. Many individuals agree the affair of one spouse is something they find difficult to forgive or forget in a marriage.
2) Money Matters
If two spouses’ stances on money matters are at odds with one another, it increases the odds of fights and tension in the marriage. Disputes over spending, budgeting, and earning money can drive a wedge between a couple. Different financial goals or spending habits within a marriage could be enough to lead to a major power struggle and marriage breaking point. The stress of trying to juggle finances together may be too much for some couples, especially those with lower incomes. Statistics show a higher divorce rate among low-income couples.
3) Lack of Proper Communication
Thousands of couples name lack of communication as the cause of their divorces. Communication is key to a healthy and happy relationship. Open and honest communication with a spouse can show trust, respect, and deference to what the other spouse thinks and believes. Great communication can see a relationship through difficulties, while lack thereof could cause a simple argument to escalate into grounds for a divorce. Being able to talk about a sore subject and come to an agreement together could save a marriage.
Sometimes, love alone is not enough to save a marriage. A couple must learn how to sit down, express their feelings, and communicate effectively with one another. Communication problems are why many struggling couples turn to therapy as a last step before divorce. A therapist may be able to facilitate conversations that the couple cannot have unaided, probably from a history of poor communication.
4) Unrealistic Expectations
Some couples are destined for divorce from the very beginning. Too many people marry with unrealistic or lofty expectations of what marriage will be like. They do not anticipate the challenges or struggles they may encounter along the way. When problems do happen, these couples may not have the tools to effectively deal with them. Instead, they end up in front of a judge, asking for divorce. Unrealistic expectations of money, residence, careers, or a spouse could doom a marriage before it starts.
5) Lost Intimacy
Almost every relationship undergoes intimacy changes over time, but a total depletion of physical or emotional intimacy could result in a permanent split. Healthy relationships maintain intimacy as best they can, with both partners communicating their needs. While intimacy may change shape as a couple goes through life’s challenges, if it comes to a point where one or both people feel unappreciated or unloved, it may be time for divorce. Communication during a relationship about each spouse’s intimacy needs can help prevent this common cause of divorce.