Unhappy Couple Standing Back To Back

Unhappy couple (© Andrey Popov - stock.adobe.com)

NEW YORK — Even with the best online divorce services, separating from a spouse can be a complicated process. That’s why the researchers of a new poll say it’s important to understand the signs and common causes of divorce.

Understanding why marriages fail can help you to make your own union stronger if you are married. It can guide you in making choices about entering into a marriage, and help you support the married couples in your life.

Forbes Advisor surveyed 1,000 Americans who are divorced or in the process of divorcing to discover why marriages fail. Based on this data, the team unraveled some of the most likely reasons why even the longest marriages eventually come to an end.

The state of divorce in 2023

A total of 689,308 divorces occurred in 2021. Approximately half of all first marriages end in divorce, with subsequent marriages failing at even higher rates. When a couple divorces, they must state grounds for divorce in court. This is the reason for ending the marriage and dictates the type of divorce being filed.

Most people choose a no-fault divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. With that in mind, irreconcilable differences are indeed a common divorce cause, with 31 percent of couples who ended their marriages reporting that incompatibility was the reason.

However, while simply not getting along is a common reason for divorce, infidelity remains a bigger issue. In total, 34 percent of marriages among survey respondents ended due to an affair. Adultery is one of the grounds for a fault divorce in court. However, even when an extramarital affair occurs, sometimes the couple pursues a no-fault divorce instead because it’s simpler.

Other common causes of divorce include:

While these issues cause marriages to end, couples who divorce don’t always recognize these problems as signs a marriage is in trouble. In fact, 21 percent of survey respondents said disapproval of a spouse by family or friends was a sign a marriage was at risk, despite the fact that lack of family support was a leading factor in 43 percent of divorces.

(© Richard Villalon – stock.adobe.com)

It’s all about feeling supported

This lack of support from family members is the most common reason for divorce. However, there were many other reasons for unions to end, with causes varying based on how long the couple was together.

Those who divorced quickly were more likely to end their marriages because they discovered they couldn’t get along. Fifty-nine percent of people who dissolved their unions within the first year of marriage cited a lack of compatibility.

Key Takeaways And Percentages From Divorce Study

General Statistics

  • A total of 689,308 divorces occurred in 2021.
  • Approximately 50% of all first marriages end in divorce; subsequent marriages have higher failure rates.

Grounds for Divorce

  • Couples must state grounds for divorce in court.
  • Most people opt for a no-fault divorce, often citing irreconcilable differences.

Common Causes for Divorce

  • 31% of couples cited irreconcilable differences.
  • 34% of divorces were due to infidelity.
  • Other common reasons: lack of family support, lack of intimacy, too much conflict, and financial stress.
  • 43% of divorces had lack of family support as a leading factor, but only 21% recognized it as a sign of a risky marriage.

Reasons for Getting Married

  • 42% of divorced respondents married for financial security.
  • 44% of women married for financial reasons.
  • 39% of women and men married for love and companionship, respectively.
  • Other reasons: commitment, convenience, medical insurance, legal reasons, societal and family pressures.

Gender Pay Gap

  • In 2022, women were paid 22.2% less than men on average.

Duration and Cause of Divorce

  • 59% who divorced within the first year cited lack of compatibility.
  • Lack of family support was the leading cause for divorces between years two through eight.
  • Long-term couples usually divorced due to infidelity and lack of intimacy.

Correlation Between Marriage and Divorce Reasons

  • Those who married for companionship, financial security, etc., blamed lack of compatibility for divorce.
  • Couples pressured by society or family were more likely to divorce due to extramarital affairs.
  • Those who married as a commitment were more likely to divorce due to lack of intimacy.

Signs of a Marriage at Risk

  • Lack of interest in each other, poor conflict resolution, and avoiding each other were top signs.
  • Financial stress, marrying too soon, and marrying too young were least likely to be considered signs.

Types of Conflict in Divorced Couples

  • 46% listed career choices as the most common type of conflict.
  • Parenting differences, division of household labor, and relationships with family were also common causes of conflict, each cited by more than 40% of respondents.

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About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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  1. Francisco Manzo2q says:


  2. paul says:

    it’s simple. In America and the West the female is same as a man. man same as female. in the name of equality. most cultures know this except western. The Bible says women need to submit to their husbands as the husband is the head….

    The AI will probably flag this comment and mark it as hate speech. then I will be labeled a domestic terrorist and get treated like sh**. and harrassed by the cyborgs who don’t even know they are cyborgs. smh

  3. Robert says:

    The failure to acknowledge human beings as animals with pheromone-level attractions, combined with human histocompatability marker (or HLA-) masking medications (oral contraceptives) that change the ability to perceive the scent of your mate while dating is the umentioned elephant in the room.

    Come off the pill (about a year in, on average) and attraction and intimacy dry up in at least 50% of marriages (wrong pheromones), cheating starts, and wham-o! It’s divorce time!

  4. andyandersonusa says:

    Left out is who filed the divorce, was it split 50/50 men and women, or was it 80% female filed again? Inquiring minds want to know. men are refusing to marry because they are not lottery tickets for women to cash in divorce court.

  5. nilskidoo says:

    It’s a reminder that the biggest threats to the foundational sanctity of marriage don’t come from homosexuality, partisanship or foreign culture but from divorce attorneys.

    1. J. French says:

      Poorly written opinion piece.

    2. Tiffani says:

      That’s dumb. That’s like saying the biggest threat to life are doctors. The fact that somebody is there to help you through a problem does not make them the issue. What would the consequence be without divorce attorneys? Let’s look at countries where it’s harder to get divorced to find out… Higher rates of spousal abuse, murder, and suicide. Yeah, sounds way better than a divorce attorney, genius.

    3. MHart says:

      Divorce attorneys? The people who free people from abusive marriages are the cause of divorces?
      LMAO! Learn critical thinking skills. That’s the dumbest thing I will read today.

    4. ruralcounsel says:

      If you are already talking to divorce attorneys, you missed the point. Some divorce attorneys will add to the conflict in order to bill more hours, but the majority of the conflict (and billable hours) is because the two parties cannot agree or get along, and fight over ridiculous things.

      And yes, I’m divorced. And no, I don’t do family law.

  6. Eric says:

    The big lie. The vast majority of my friends and relatives have been married over 30 years. Few divorces in my neighborhood. Couple of divorces here and their.

  7. Not sure says:

    I like how the person that did the study digs real hard maybe the fact that the divorces are happening at record rates is because women are being targeted with propaganda like on Netflix and sat there for 2 years under authoritarian lockdowns and being fed a bunch of BS about how liberating it is to be free and single and promiscuous and how being tied down with a man and having a family is taking something from you. Because you know working that corporate job for 80 hours a week and getting drunk and having intercourse with 30 men a month is what you’re totally designed for right?

  8. Gabe Asher says:

    women initiate divorce FAR more than men. Guess the reason is they found out marriage isn’t like the movies show and it’s easier to throw out what might be damaged than trying to repair it

  9. Kevin says:

    Your “50%” statistic is flawed. You cannot compare *marriages this year* to *divorces this year* and say half of new marriages end in divorce.

    Would you compare *new car sales this year* to *number of car accidents this year* to calculate how many new cars get wrecked in accidents?

  10. MHart says:

    Everyone knows how a man can prevent divorce. Marry a girl as young as possible, one with zero life experience. Knock her up immediately and then tell her she will ruin her kids if she ever leaves him. It’s worked for millennia. This is why the GOP is working toward legalizing child marriage in the Red states.

    1. ruralcounsel says:

      This comment is living proof of the low IQ of some liberals.

      BTW, it is the leftist trans community with all the pedophiles who want to lower the age of consent.

  11. Alfred says:

    Was this article generated by Chat GPT. Lot’s of it’s fingerprints in the styling.

  12. Commsguy says:

    The Gender Pay Gap has been debunked already by Jordan Pedersen and others but it keeps being spun. The other reason not mentioned is the inability of women to pair bond any more, if you have more than 5 partners before your marriage your chance of pair bonding with your husband and children is reduced drastically. The current trend among women to have multiple sexual partners starting at a young age will not bode well for the future of marriage in Western countries. Marriage related businesses are going bankrupt (Davids Bridal) and men are looking overseas for more traditional and more chaste women who value the family. Search for Passport Bros, although there is only estimated to be around 800,000 who have gone overseas – so far.