Every divorce, like every marriage, is unique. Nevertheless, many share similar motivations and features.
For example, you may think you’re alone in considering divorce at this time of year. The truth is, many people settle on their decision to divorce during the holiday season. Often, they don’t want to ruin the holidays for their children, so they wait until January to file. January is among the most common times of the year for divorce filings.
You may feel that your marriage is unsupportable. You may have fallen out of love. You may have tried everything you can think of to keep it going, all to no avail.
You are not alone. Sometimes, two people can’t find a way to stay together. Here are 10 of the most common reasons, according to Women’sHealth magazine:
- Lack of communication. This may be the most common problem in any relationship. You need to be able to talk through problems effectively, but many people find themselves stuck in an unproductive way of speaking to each other and building up resentment.
- Lack of physical intimacy. More than going through a dry spell, one partner seems fundamentally uninterested in holding hands, giving hugs or enjoying sex. Ultimately, this can be too much for the other partner to tolerate.
- Lack of emotional intimacy. According to one recent study, nearly half of newly divorced people cite a lack of love or intimacy as the reason they ended their marriages. Sometimes, you just grow apart — and a feeling of distance opens up.
- Feeling alone in a partnership. At one point, you thought you would stand together and face the world. Now, you feel like two separate people living separate lives. This can create a disconnect and great loneliness.
- You weren’t ready. There’s a lot of pressure to marry young, and some people find that they didn’t know what they didn’t know. Now that they’ve been together for a while, they realize that they have little in common with their spouse. Or, they didn’t understand what they needed from a partner until it was too late.
- Addiction. A small 2013 study found that about a third of divorces are the product of one spouse’s addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling or something else. People in the throes of addiction may not be emotionally available. They may take risks with money or become dangerous.
- Domestic abuse. Whether the abuse is physical, emotional or financial, one spouse is abusive to the other. About a quarter of those surveyed in 2013 said this was the reason for their split.
- Infidelity. Infidelity can be a cause or a symptom of a loveless marriage. Yes, it is possible to overcome infidelity, but many people can’t get past the breach of trust.
- Financial stress. This could be situational or long-term in nature. You and your spouse disagree about how to spend money, how much to save, retirement or other financial issues. Or, a job loss may have put undue strain on the relationship. In any case, it can be hard to overcome.
- You’re just done. In a long-term marriage, it’s less common for there to be a “straw that broke the camel’s back.” More commonly, it is a combination of problems that you’ve worked hard to overcome. You’ve worked and worked, but your partner doesn’t seem to have tried as hard. Once you’ve tried your best, you may simply be ready to move on.
Most people don’t divorce on a whim. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready for divorce, there is no magic formula that can answer your question. Only you can know when the benefits of staying married are no longer outweighed by the frustration, anger and loneliness. When you’re ready, you’ll know.