List of Reasons for Divorce (9 practical reasons)

This blog article enumerates the list of reasons for divorce and associated suggestions to prevent these from happening. The post also explores risk factors for divorce and the importance of commitment.

Divorce has become increasingly common these days, and the conversation around separation has risen, partially owing to celebrities and famous individuals being more open about their marriage and divorce lives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 220% of couples undergo marital discord or conflicts one way or another. Such disruptions include divorce, separation, and even death. Additionally, after two decades of marriage, it is likely for more than half of the unions to get disrupted. 

A decrease in divorce and marriage rates was observed in the U.S. before the coronavirus pandemic. However, during the viral outbreak, there has been a rise in divorce filings.  

List of Reasons for Divorce and Suggestions

Shelby Scott and colleagues conducted a study in 2013 to investigate the reasons for divorce. Based on their findings, the following is a list of reasons for divorce. Appropriate suggestions are also outlined, along with the causes.

  • A Lack of Commitment
  • Infidelity or Adulteration
  • Excessive Conflicts
  • Married at a Young Age
  • Financial Problems
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Other Reasons 

A Lack of Commitment

The study found that the chief reason for divorce is a lack of commitment. Three-fourth of the participants in the study reported this as the cause of their divorce. Among the couples that involved at least one partner quoting commitment as the basis for their separation, more than 70% of them included both partners agreeing to this explanation. 

Several participants mentioned a gradual decline in dedication to the point of inadequacy that prevented their relationship from continuing. Some of them reported a sudden and significant drop in faith after a significant, unpleasant life event, such as an extramarital affair. 

There are several things you can practice to ensure commitment in your relationship, including:

  • Open and honest communication by both partners;
  • Willingness to give your relationship your best shot;
  • Discussing positive experiences and the desire to undergo more such events;
  • Avoid major and minor distractions, vices, and dangerous temptations. Often, the little distractions are more challenging to identify and affect the relationship more significantly than the major ones;
  • The ability to be empathetic and open to listening to your partner’s standpoint; and
  • Your willingness to prioritize your relationship and its goals.

Infidelity or Adulteration

The second most common determinant for divorce is infidelity, with almost 60% of the participants and at least one partner in nearly 90% of the couples quoting this as the reason for divorce. Among the relationships that had one partner state this cause, most of their partners disagreed. In general, infidelity was quoted as a vital point of change in their already downward spiraling relationship.

Commonly, people cheat on their partners for various reasons, including but not restricted to boredom, a lack of passion for their partner, low self-esteem, anger or resentment, a lack of intimacy, differences in sexual desire.  

To avoid cheating on your partner, you can try the following suggestions:

  • Do not encourage thoughts or visualizations of cheating on your partner;
  • Be honest with your partner;
  • Instead of being impulsive, carefully note down what good will come out of your affair – you will notice that there is nothing beneficial about an extramarital affair;
  • Work on your self-control to resist temptations;
  • Resist even trying it a “little bit” because it can be addictive, and you will pardon yourself each time you want to take it further;
  • Practice self-love and self-care;
  • Keep a reminder of your relationship and your partner at all times, such as a wedding ring, a piece of jewelry, or a picture of both of you;
  • Talk to somebody who has been in a similar place as you;
  • Reach out to a mental health professional; and
  • Consider alternatives as cheating is not the solution – think about opening up to them if they are making you feel unvalued.

Excessive Conflicts

More than 57% of the participants reported excessive arguments and conflicts, and more than 70% of the couples involved at least one partner who cited this as the leading cause of divorce. More than 50% of these couples had both partners agreeing to conflict as the major contributing factor. 

There was a consensus among all couples regarding an unpleasant manner of handling conflicts. They also maintained that these conflicts increased in their regularity and severity over time. Toward the time of deciding to divorce, they reported that their communication ability was insufficient.  

You can follow the list of suggestions given below to avoid conflicts in a marriage:

  • Try to achieve a common ground;
  • Ensure that there are compromises and not sacrifices in your relationship. The critical difference between the two is that the former is about giving and taking by both partners, while the latter involves one partner always giving and the other one merely taking;
  • Address the issues in a way that you reach the roots of it rather than superficially solving them; and
  • Engage in open communication and allow each other to agree to disagree.

Married at a Young Age

Around 45% of the participants quote that they got married at an incredibly young age, while more than 61% had at least one partner stating this reason. However, only 27% of these couples entailed mutual agreement from both partners. Those individuals who cited this as a cause for divorce were about 23 years old on average, while those who did not were around 29 years of age. 

While expanding on this reason, many reported that they had known their partner for a short duration or wished they had known them for a more significant period. This statement stemmed from a desire to better understand their relationship or make decisions grounded on logical thinking and rationality. Some individuals justified by saying that they were too young to know better.

Before you choose to marry somebody when you are young, consider the following pointers:

  • Ensure you are self-sufficient in terms of psychological well-being, financial health, decision-making, and even the ability to manage household chores on your own;
  • Decide where you want to or should live;
  • Decide whether you want to continue with your education or quit and start earning;
  • Ensure you have an awareness of sexual health; and
  • Either you or your partner or both should be earning or have a steady influx of money.

Financial Concerns 

More than a third of all participants and 25% of all couples stated that financial concerns significantly contributed to their divorce. Most of the participants mentioned that although economic issues were not the only prominent concern, it added to the stress the partners faced in the relationship. Some of them stated that monetary problems contributed to other issues like health conditions and alcohol and drug abuse.  

To overcome financial issues in a relationship, consider performing the following practices:

  • Have a joint bank account allows both of you to monitor your income and expenses, and you can make decisions together;
  • Commonly, one partner earns more than the other. Respect these differences without letting them come between the two of you; and
  • Set budgetary goals and expectations together.

Substance Use Disorders

More than one-third of the participants also noted that substance use disorders played a substantial role in their divorce. A majority of individuals disagreed with their partners, who reported this issue as the primary reason for divorce.

Several treatment options are available for overcoming substance abuse. Many facilities offer help to families as well. You can locate a marriage and family therapist (MFT) provided by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) here

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse was the chief determinant of divorce in the marriages of more than 23% of the participants. Such abuse entailed both physical and psychological harm. Most of the individuals who took part in the study stated that the violence intensified gradually and alternated between abuse and remorse. It eventually became severe to the point of unbearable pain and suffering.  

A majority of the participants stated that this issue was trivialized over a period, or the partner refused to seek treatment. Those partners who agreed to take professional help did not show signs of progress. All these scenarios led the partners to file for divorce. 

Sometimes, abuse manifests in subtle ways. If you think that your partner is abusing you or your children, contact the national hotline immediately. 

Other Reasons

Other reasons included:

  • Health concerns
  • A lack of familial support
  • Religious conflicts
  • Inadequate education    

Risk Factors for Divorce

Now that we have understood the reasons for divorce, let us enumerate the risk factors for divorce, accounting for personal and relationship attributes. 

Personal Attributes and Risk of Divorce

Several personal characteristics are associated with an increased risk of divorce. These features include:

  • A history of divorce in their parents;
  • Inadequate income or poverty;
  • Inadequate education;
  • Premarital sex or cohabitation with somebody else;
  • Parents who did not marry; and
  • Marrying at a very young age

Relationship Attributes and Risk of Divorce

Several relationship characteristics are associated with an increased risk of divorce. These features include:

  • Differences in religion, race, or caste;
  • Premarital or pre-engagement cohabitation;
  • Ineffective communication and problem-solving skills; and
  • Premarital pregnancy or bearing of a child 

Importance of Commitment

Commitment refers to the kind of vision you hold for your marriage, enabling you not to get overwhelmed by daily issues. When you are genuinely dedicated to your relationship, you have a strong urge to remain in the marriage and identify yourself as a partner to your spouse. 

A strong sense of commitment promotes safety, comfort, and the desire to contribute to the relationship effectively. You need to allow yourself some time to develop adequate levels of responsibility. If you feel your dedication dwindle, remember the highlights of your marriage to reinforce your desire to stay with your partner. 

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This blog post conveyed the list of reasons for divorce, including commitment issues, substance abuse, young age of marriage, conflicts, and the like. The article also listed the individual and relationship attributes associated with an increased risk for divorce while stating the importance of commitment. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): List of Reasons for Divorce

What is the primary reason for divorce? 

Most individuals get divorced primarily because of a lack of commitment. Many of them state that the tipping point is typically infidelity, alcoholism or drug addiction, and domestic abuse. Additionally, people tend to blame their partners than take responsibility for their separation. 

When is divorce likely to occur in a marriage?

Divorce is likely to occur between the first and second year or the fifth and eighth year of marriage. Around half of the first marriages are likely to end in divorce. This tendency is also seen in more than 60% and 70% of second and third marriages, respectively. 

What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues

Relationship counselling

  • If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.

LGBTQ issues

If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.


Crowley, J. (2020, November 03). What Are Common Reasons for Divorce? Survive Divorce. Retrieved from

Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(2), 131–145.

Stanley, S. (2015, February 11). How to Lower Your Risk of Divorce: Advice to Singles. Institute for Family Studies. Retrieved from

Today. (n.d.). Why do couples divorce? These 6 reasons are often to blame. Retrieved from (n.d.). How Common is Divorce and What are the Reasons? Retrieved from

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.