From popular films and TV shows to songs and cultural references, there can be certain stereotypes when it comes to why marriages fail.
Men tend to get most of the flack, with clichés like ‘he ran off with his secretary’ or ‘he went for someone younger’ littering films including The Other Woman and He’s Just Not That Into You.
But new data from Co-op Legal Services has investigated the most common reasons for divorce and come up with some stats that might just surprise you. After carrying out a survey amongst divorced adults from all over the UK, they uncovered the biggest causes of divorce and who’s doing the divorcing!
According to their research, 58% of women have initiated divorce proceedings as opposed to only 33% of men. And the reasons for divorce take stark contrasts between the sexes, with both sides favouring very different reasons.
Ringing true to those earlier mentioned films, the biggest reason for divorce according to women is in fact that their other half had ‘an inappropriate relationship with someone else’. In the survey a huge 44% of women relayed an affair or cheating to be what caused their marriage break down.
Men seemed to be a little more vague when describing reasons for divorce however, with almost half admitting finding it difficult to come up with reasons for the split, while 42% of men described ‘growing apart’ as the biggest reason for a failed marriage.
Overall, the top 10 reasons for divorce throughout the country across both men and women included reasons such as ‘I don’t fancy them any more’, ‘they wanted to relocate’ and ‘we had nothing in common’.
Top 10 causes for divorce
1. An inappropriate relationship with someone else
2. We grew apart
3. We fell out of love
4. I stopped fancying them
5. One party wanted children, the other did not
6. Work commitments put a strain on the relationship
7. Abuse of drugs or alcohol
8. They wanted to relocate
9. We had nothing left in common
The survey also looked into the most stressful parts of filing for divorce and noted that 20% of divorced UK adults felt the time the proceedings took to be most difficult. Seventeen percent said it was the confrontational nature and a further 16% were most affected by the stress of family members reactions
Tracey Moloney, Head of Family Law for Co-op Legal Services said: ‘It’s interesting that whilst a fifth of divorcees bring up the divorce conversation together, two fifths find it difficult to agree reasons for their divorce.
‘Divorce is such a personal and unique decision between two parties and it’s important that both parties come to the table and talk openly and honestly about their reasons for wanting to divorce. In my experience, this makes for a more amicable divorce and avoids the situation turning hostile later down the line’.
We spoke to self help expert, life coach and regular tweeter Dr. Pam Spurr who cited ‘infidelity, money issues and problems with each other’s families’ as key reasons for divorce.
Dr Pam said, ‘Never underestimate how cash causes problems! Your relationship to money can cause issues in your relationship. A frugal person may hate the way their partner spends money – as if it grows on trees – and vice versa’.
She also warns of involving the whole family if you want a happy marriage: ‘I also hear many complaints about interfering family members or classic problems like the mummy’s boy who always rings his mother for advice. Rightly, many partners want to feel they’re a twosome, forging their own way and making their own decisions’.
So what can couples that have chosen to separate do if they want to keep their divorce as easy as possible? Dr Pam gives us some of her top tips:
1. It’s crucial to try and keep things calm, especially if you have children. Plan discussions at times when neither of you are rushed. And certainly don’t try to have them on a Friday night after a very long week, for example. When you’re both tired and stressed you won’t get far.
2. Keep focused on the fact you once shared something really good. Divorcing couples who keep this in mind tend to be kinder to each other during the breakup.
3. Stop the ‘blame game’ where you blame everything on your partner. Both of you played a part in the relationship falling apart.
4. Bring some solutions to issues to any ‘breakup meetings’. Having ideas for how to move forward (like sharing custody, dividing property, etc.) will keep your discussions constructive.
5. Prepare to set your boundaries if your partner uses meetings to simply have a go at you. Tell them that you’ll happily arrange another time when they’re calm – then leave. The more you set boundaries, the less they’ll take advantage when they see you if they have an axe to grind.
6. Use a mediation service if you’re not moving forward in your divorce or breakup.