7 Surprising Habits That Lead To Divorce, According To Science
If you want your marriage to last, it's important to pay attention to the habits you've developed in your relationship. Sometimes it isn't always the major things like cheating that cause a relationship to end. According to research, small everyday habits also have a way of contributing to divorce.
"It's easy for the small habits to start leading a relationship off track," Allison Zamani, associate marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "A relationship requires that both parties feel connected to one another. Connection is really powerful if you can maintain it but also requires a lot of effort."
According to Zamani, many couples end up going to therapy not because of any one specific conflict. They go to therapy because they don't feel connected to each other anymore. "This all starts with something small," she says. For instance, it might start with one person being stressed about work. Instead of going to their partner for support, they pull away and choose to work it out alone. This, of course, can leave their partner feeling confused and disconnected.
The key here is to create good habits that increase connection and eliminate any bad habits that create distance. So here are some surprising habits that can lead to divorce, according to studies.
1. Being Overly Affectionate During The Newlywed Phase Of Your Marriage
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples who were overly affectionate in the first few years of marriage were more likely to divorce after seven years. According to researchers, the passion you feel in the beginning isn't very sustainable. Once the honeymoon phase ends and reality sets in, some people realize they aren't very compatible with the person they married. Because of that, some couples tend to see a decrease in affection an an increase in ambivalence.
It's important to note, however, that this doesn't necessarily apply to all couples who are affectionate. Research suggests this only applies to couples who decided to get married because of intense chemistry. If you've built a solid foundation for a healthy relationship, being affectionate in the early days shouldn't be a problem.
2. Avoiding Confrontation
A 2018 study published by the American Psychological Association found that a habit of withdrawing or shutting down when being confronted by your partner can negatively affect your relationship. Although some do it to avoid confrontation, this habit can make your partner feel like their needs are being ignored. According to researchers, a "demand-withdrawal" dynamic tends to hurt higher income couples more because they have access to resources that can help fix marital problems. When you have the resources to work it out, but one partner isn't interested, it can cause tension in the relationship.
3. Letting Debt Pile Up
Money can be a huge problem for couples, especially if they're not on the same page. In fact, according to research by the Federal Reserve Board, couples who have a greater difference in credit scores are more likely to separate within five years. People with the highest credit scores were more likely to have long-lasting committed relationships. Most recently, a survey conducted by Student Loan Hero found that one in eight couples blame student loans for ruining their relationship.
4. Arguing Over Chores
A 2018 study from the Harvard Business School found that 25 percent of couples listed "disagreements about housework" as their reason for getting divorced. Couples who had the luxury of outsourcing basic household tasks were happier in their relationship overall. When you're tired from a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is wash the dishes. Unfortunately, these small tasks need to be done. If your partner isn't doing their fair share, it can cause arguments. If this happens constantly, it can lead to greater dissatisfaction with your relationship.
5. Playing "Fortnite"
A study by U.K.-based service, Divorce Online, recently found that in 2018, at least 200 divorce petitions cited the video game, Fortnite: Battle Royale, as the reason for wanting a divorce. Although it may seem odd, the reasoning behind it makes a lot of sense. Statistics have found that addiction and divorce tend to go hand-in-hand. According to the site, it's the addiction to the game that causes problems within the relationship. In fact, a 2014 Pew Research report found that one in five people say that technology use has negatively affected their relationship. A quarter of people say their partners get distracted by their smartphones when they're supposed to be having couples time.
6. Venting About Your Relationship
A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology by John Gottman and colleagues found that what you say about your relationship can predict whether or not you get divorced. Participants were asked to give an oral history on their relationship to researchers. Those who spoke about their relationship in negative ways or indicated any signs of disappointment were more likely to separate.
7. Being Jealous Of Your Partner's Success
A 2018 study by Swedish researchers found that women who earned less than their husbands when they first got married were two times more likely to get divorced once they started seeing more success at work. Women who made their way up to leadership roles were less likely to stay married to their husbands than women who went for a higher position but didn't get it. According to researchers, they believe this happens because women are more likely to leave relationships that are inflexible and offer less support. Socialized gender roles could have possibly played a factor in this as well. These findings only applied to marriages where wives started off earning less than their husbands.
Keep in mind, some of these things like fighting over chores or video game addiction don't directly cause divorce. It can, however, contribute to distance in the relationship in some cases. When there's distance and negativity present in your relationship, you'll have to work together to overcome it if you want your relationship to last.