Reasons People Divorce: The Top 6 Reasons Couples Break Up

Does divorce result in happiness? If so, how long does it take to feel better after getting a divorce? The answer is that it will vary for everyone; but the pain of living in an unfulfilling, difficult or stale marriage can take the very joy out of our lives and leave us wanting.  Or wondering, is divorce the answer?  Or is there something else that can be done? In today’s blog, we discuss the most common 5 reasons people divorce.

The Making of Separation: 6 Common Reasons People Divorce

Relationship happiness.  It’s something that can add to your joys in life, or leave the joys a small pittance in comparison to where you spend most of your time, communicating, not communicating, or communicating with hatred, boredom or vengeance.

Relationship happiness.  It’s something that can come and go, or come, go, and stay gone for quite some time.

Divorce should not be stigmatised – it’s sometimes the only answer for a couple who hasn’t worked enough on their relationship, in a timely enough manner, to have it sustain through time and challenges.

Relationships need work. Like all good things in life, they are an investment of time, energy, emotion, love — and sometimes — difficult emotions and early wounds that need healing.

But in a relationship, often the hurts, disappointments and betrayals go unadjusted.

  • They cause a wound that never heals.
  • They cause a conflict that never resolves.

Difficulties in a relationship often create turmoil, that — with the right marriage counsellor or Couples Coach — could help.

But the couple typically tries to go on their own. And one, or both partners, can’t adapt or adjust to the trauma, and they get into a distance-building viewpoint about the trauma or stressful event (or loss), and the distance grows.

Example of a relationship problem that can lead to a divorce: not talking about one partner’s affair in detail, but in a productive manner, after the affair has been exposed).

Then they end up in marriage counselling, just a bit too late…because the rift is the size of the grand canyon or the bass strait.

Marriage counselling is best when it’s timely….and all relationships need work. To think a couple can go through difficult times, infidelity, health issue and other serious life problems without professional help is to underestimate the impact of these traumas on a marriage.

Marriage counselling does help; but sometimes – sadly – divorce is the answer, if the damage is so severe — and prolonged (e.g. without facilitation to heal/mend or accommodate the traumas and difference) — then one or more has checked out, well and truly, and the relationship is doomed. In my experience, this is less than 5% of marriages in trouble — possibly up to 10%… but if timely help is attained, or the couple is still willing to give it the time and energy it needs for relationship crisis repair — many can be saved.

Divorce and Stigma: Why is pursuing relationship happiness so judged?

Even with a 50 percent or higher divorce rate in modern society, you’d be surprised at the level of stigma — and partner judgment — that occurs when couples divorce.  However, the reality of a divorce is that there’s nothing at all shameful about a person (either one partner or both partners of the couple) being courageous enough to make a change when the status quo is simply unacceptable.  Or worse yet, when the relationship is severely damaging to their mental health, physical well-being, children’s well-being and/or joyful pursuits.

It’s like a feeling of entrapment and relationship despair. It’s simply NOT the way people can go about their lives without it having detrimental impact on everything else in their worlds.

The fact is, we’re wired to connect, and humans need to bond.

Not all humans want a 24/7 relationship, but in general, a happy marriage gives a higher longevity and quality of life health rating than a tumultuous, volatile or vengeful filled relationship.

That’s why working on your relationship with marriage counselling is so important (although focussed Couples Coaching is another effective alternative and approach to relationship counselling).

The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy published a recent study on the very fact that the biggest component of a divorce is a lack of emotional fulfillment.

Top 6 Reasons for divorce – And How Marriage Therapy Can Help

Divorce Reason 1: We don’t talk anymore, or when we do, it’s either strained, accusatory or uncomfortable

  • Disrupted communication, poor relationship dynamics
  • Loss of Closeness
  • Lack of emotional intimacy and sharing

Divorce Reason 2 – Loss of trust and faith in your partner’s honesty and integrity

We’ve lost faith in the other’s intentions – e.g. does your partner really have your back, or do you feel they’re untrustworthy due to deception about infidelity or money or an addiction?

  • Infidelity
  • Blame or Condescending Put Downs
  • Lack of reliability
  • Addiction problems (gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.)

Divorce Reason 3 – Nothing to talk about – not tumultuous, just boring

  • Couple has grown apart over the years
  • One is more focused on children or parents or a hobby than the other – diverging interests
  • One might be an avid scuba diver or skier, the other wants a quiet night on the sofa
  • Varying energy levels


  • Divorce Reason 4 – Lack of sexual intimacy (Lack of sex in the marriage)

  • Might be from age, illness or loss of interest in sex due to hormonal changes
  • Might relate to one or both partners having an affair
  • Even if a sexual dysfunction (painful sex or impotence), intimacy is possible, so the full loss of intimacy makes couples more like ‘roommates’ than lovers and romantic partners

Divorce Reason 5 – Lifestyle issues

  • One partner is always on the road or too busy caring for children/parents to give their spouse the love and attention they require
  • Job requirements mean couple is living in different states or countries and distance is too far to overcome

Divorce Reason 6 – Lack of resolution on long-term differences and/or boredom with the status quo

  • Lack of respect when a couple has very different, yet strong, opinions on topics
  • Very different political views or religious views / doctrine experiences
  • For example, one person may be into self-development, the other wants to watch football and will never attend a workshop or course – the differences in self-awareness and self-development mean one partner’s growing and expanding, the other is staying status quo

There are other reasons, of course.  But some of the above can be healed and repaired with marriage counselling (relationship therapy sessions) if both partners really want to save their relationship, rather than deal with the messy, tumultuous experience of divorce. And 1 in 3 to 1 in 2 have very acrimonious splits, with long battles in court over finances, child custody and real estate.


Or call me if you need urgent couples crisis assistance.

There are times a marriage has run its course (although often it’s a breakdown that could be remedied by the right type of couples coaching and/or marriage counselling). connect with me FAST

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  • Sometimes discussing what’s not working in a relationship feels too hard, or too painful, but it’s exactly what will bring back the happiness in your marriage or relationship.
  •  That’s because when a partner ‘checks out’ emotionally in their marriage, they may still stay in the relationship, but be seeking partnership or emotional intimacy elsewhere, which could lead to affairs and relationship crisis situations.
  • The best course of action in this scenario, and in the other scenario’s above, is to invest in professional counselling rather than a divorce lawyer (‘dead money’).
  • That’s because most marriages came together from a state of love, attraction, great sex and emotional intimacy. If a couple had it once, no matter how far they’ve strayed from having that, it can be healed if both partners are willing to give it a try and make the effort(s) required.

My programs help couple’s avoid those expensive, nasty divorces and difficult family separations that can wreak havoc on businesses, careers, family structures, social networks and everyone’s emotional well-being.  So don’t call that divorce lawyer… try counselling.  Try six months, and if it doesn’t work (94% of the time it WILL work if you’re both willing to put the effort in and share your insights), then at least you’ll have a more amicable parting. But as a couple’s coach, I’ve seen so many people throw away a marriage, or have an affair, instead of repairing and healing what’s gone wrong between them.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Book a free call today to see how I can help

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Suggested reading: Does an affair or cheating mean the end of the relationship? Does cheating lead to divorce?

In an urgent marital crisis? On the brink of a separation or divorce?

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Can’t get to the Bayside suburbs of Melbourne for marriage counselling?

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