Reasons for Divorce
What Are Common Reasons For Divorce?
I have been coming to your website for several years and love all of your advice. You really know your stuff. One thing I have noticed is that you don’t have any articles about why people leave marriages or get divorced in the first place. I would think that a divorce coach would have miles of information about all the reasons marriages end in divorce in the first place. Why don’t you give more information about the reasons?
Thanks for all that you do.
Dear Maria –
Great question. You are correct, I could give “miles of information” about the reasons people get divorced. Aside from the abundance of written research that is out there, I have heard hundreds of personal divorce stories during my career. My focus, as a Divorce Coach is not to dwell on what happened in someone’s marriage. My goal is to help my client journey through their divorce on the best possible path. It does not serve them to rehash the ills of what happened in their marriage. That is something they should address with their therapist, if they even want to.
There are many reasons for divorce and the tolerance of those reasons vary from couple to couple and person to person. Let’s take a look at sexual infidelity as one example. Many people would suggest that if their spouse had sexual relations with another person, they would try to look at all possibilities before deciding on a divorce. Whatever consensus of opinion, I have encountered a range of responses infidelity which is why I don’t get stuck in the why? Rather, I leave that up to my client. Let me give you some examples of what I mean.
A Few Examples
Janice’s husband had numerous affairs over their fifteen-year marriage citing twelve that she was aware of. Although she was not happy that he often strayed from their marriage, Janice was confident that her husband fundamentally loved her, their home and family life which was not something she was willing to disrupt. For Janice, family life was more important to her than her husband’s prowess with other women. You could argue that her husband was disrespectful of their marriage vows of which one was fidelity. While this may be true based solely on the language of the marriage contract, Janice ’s risk-benefit equation led her to choose to turn a deaf ear to her husband’s extramarital antics versus breaking up the family.
On the other hand, there is Cathy whose husband had one affair. Even though she was a stay at home mom with four children, the infidelity was a deal breaker for her. Cathy’s college boyfriend cheated on her. Accepting his what appeared to be a sincere apology, she gave him another chance which resulted in another betrayal. After that experience, Cathy vowed a zero tolerance to infidelity, even if it was a “slip up,” as her husband defined his one-night stand with a co-worker. Cathy’s decision to leave her marriage was not an easy one. Getting a job, after not working outside of the home for ten years with four children to raise was a huge undertaking. Cathy told me that it would have been much easier to “suck it up” and move on. However, she knew that her husband’s affair would always be a sore spot for her. It was unforgivable to her.
Jancie and Cathy’s stories may appear to be on the extremes on the response to marital sexual infidelity but, they were their decisions based on their life experiences, current situations, and ability to live with their choice whatever that was. There are hundreds of stories with varying degrees of tolerance to marital sexual infidelity. My job as a divorce coach is not to determine if someone should be divorced nor do I make any judgements. I rely on my clients to know what is at the core of their values, tolerances, needs and wants just as Janice and Cathy did. I want to support my clients so that they are their best self at the end of the divorce journey and to take that path with confidence. That may sound Pollyanna but it is not. The path has bumps and cracks along that way but, together, we walk over them together rather than be sidelined by them.