There are five legal reasons for divorce, but what are the real causes of divorce?

The five reasons for divorce are laid out in legislation for all to see.  But what are the underlying causes for couples getting divorced or for Long Term Relationships breaking down?

Cloud of divorce wordsWhilst the number of divorces is declining slightly this is more a result of fewer marriages rather than a reflection of more harmonious ones.  Unfortunately the breakdown of live in relationships more than compensates for this decline.  This trend of relationship breakdown is, unfortunately, inexorably upwards.

It's global
It would appear that this is becoming a global phenomenon as the major players in the developing world begin to show an increasing rate of relationship breakdown in line with the traditional developed nations.  This would suggest that there is an inevitable consequence of economic development and the transformation to an increasingly urban society which is to put additional strains upon couple relationships.

Economic development also leads to an increase in the quality and availability of education and in the number of women joining the workforce.  It also leads to greater progress in the liberation of women and for the esteem in which they hold themselves and are held by society as a whole.  All these advances affect the social norms of the country and often have a considerable impact on the state of marital relations.

The actual causes of irretrievable breakdown are these:

Infidelity
Infidelity or adultery is often assumed to be the overwhelming cause for divorce, it's the big one but there are many others as well.  Adultery is having sex (apparently oral sex does not count, legally) with someone other than your spouse or partner.  However, infidelity might well be committed through an active, persistent and clandestine non sexual relationships conducted by telephone, text, dating sites or social media.

It is believed to be rising as the opportunity for infidelity and adultery through changing patterns of work (and life itself) and the ability to communicate over multiple channels (email, text, social media etc) increases.  Adultery is a highly visible and deeply hurtful form of betrayal which cuts deep into the flesh of the relationship.

The very first thing for both of you to do is to be honest about what has happened and get some serious counselling.  It need not be an insurmountable disaster which can only lead to a break up.  Adultery is survivable for both of you if trust can be restored and there is a will to mend the relationship.  However, if it's happened in the context of an already doomed relationship then, unfortunately, this could well lead to divorce.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is never acceptable (and is a crime) and persistent abuse is an abomination.  If this is happening to you then seek help straight away.  For anyone to consistently physically abuse their partner then the reasons for this irrational outburst must lie deep within the relationship.  Professional help is absolutely vital in stopping it and having any chance of putting the relationship back together.

Emotional Abuse
This is the other and equally damaging half of abusive behavior.  They often but not always go together but exactly what constitutes emotional abuse is more difficult to define.  Much will tend to depend upon the nature of the relationship.  However, professional help is the only way to eradicate this most destructive problem.  These are just some of the signs.

Deliberate isolation of the abused from family and friends

Constant intimidation

Keeping track of every activity and taking decisions on the victim's behalf, thus exhibiting controlling behavior

Constant criticism

Calling embarrassing names and constant shouting

Threats of domestic violence or legal action

Indulging in frequent emotional blackmailing

Not respecting the abused partner's privacy or personal space

Openly humiliating the other partner in front of others

If you are suffering from any of these behaviours then you should seek help.

Financial Problems
Material wellbeing and the financial problem that can arise in pursuing that well being are probably one of the most potent causes of marital disharmony.  This in itself is just part of the daily difficulty of life.  However, as economic problems begin to pile up upon families in this (and most other) countries family finances are more and more stretched which ramps up the pressure on the relationship.  Vulnerable marriages can buckle under the strain.

Again, seek help and remember most couples are worse off after divorce and if you are in financial difficulty right now divorce is unlikely to improve things.

Just plain had enough
This is the 21st century blockbuster cause for divorce.  The kids are off out in the big wide world and the nest feels just a little bit empty.  You have been together for over 20 years, the mortgage is paid off and you have had enough of it.  This is an increasingly common occurrence and has given rise to a new socio-economic group known as 'Silver Separators'.

This can work but ask yourself why destroy a long term relationship which has grown a bit stale and predictable when it could be revitalised and adapted to your to your new lifestyle together.  It's not going to be easy but it could be a whole lot better than a divorce even a gentle cooperative one.    

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