Divorce has increasingly become prevalent in society. Someone you know is very likely divorced. Either you’re divorced, your parents or a friend of yours. Of course, divorce is a last resort. There should be many conversations and months of mediation and counselling before reaching the decision to divorce. But for some couples, it is the only solution.


For many years the cause of divorce has puzzled experts. The good news is that these experts have done plenty of research on the topic. There are many causes of divorce, some which started early in the relationship and some which became more problematic over time. Here are some of their findings.


Cyber cheating

Whether physical or emotional, researchers agree that cheating is cheating. Researchers agree that the emotional impact of a cyber relationship is as harmful to a marriage as physical cheating. One study found that the majority of people do not believe cyber cheating could lead to a marital breakdown. But a massive 40% of people surveyed said that it could.


Too much time online

Connected to cyber cheating, it’s been found that being active on social media could be a predictor for divorce. There’s just something too tempting about liking an ex’s photo or posting passive aggressive updates. Researchers say that time spent on social media has a direct correlation to the likelihood of divorce. In fact, lawyers say that Facebook has become a leading cause of the divorce cases they see.



It should go without saying that communication is key to every relationship. But the reality is that the majority of people are spending a large portion of their time together staring at screens. Couples come home from work, veg out in front of the TV and then go to bed to stare at the screen of their phones. Those are not the ingredients for healthy relationships. It’s vital that couples talk to each other and share their emotions, priorities and goals.


Financial disagreements

Money is often cited as the number one cause of relationships ending. That’s because couples tend to disagree on how, when and where they spend their money. One might feel it’s important to invest for the future while the other might be focused on the present. There’s no right or wrong answer. What’s important is that couples discuss their issues and make decisions together.


Spending too much on the wedding

Speaking about money, one of the first major costs of a marriage is the wedding. And it’s been found that this cost is causing strain on these new relationships. The reality is that marriage is hard. And entering into it with massive debt is likely to create problems. Estimates are that the average cost of a wedding in South Africa is about R70 000 to R80 000. And that’s for a relatively small wedding.


Politics and religion

Researchers in the US found that divorce was more likely in the politically conservative red states than the liberal blue states. They found that this was likely due to the conservative religious culture of these states. This increases the pressure on young couples to marry and frowning on cohabitation before marriage.


It’s been found that couples with only high school education are more likely to get a divorce than their peers with tertiary education. The logic here is that having some tertiary education is more likely to include some money management skills as well as more well-paid jobs.


Splitting household chores

This is a classic predictor of divorce. If you return daily from your 9am to 5pm day job only to find your partner waiting for you to cook dinner, clean up and do the laundry, you’re going to become sick of it. You need to feel as if you’re in a partnership with shared responsibilities. You need to have a discussion about sharing this load with your partner before the pressure becomes too much to bear.


Treatment of your partner

Contempt. Is that present in your relationship? If so, it’s likely that divorce could be on the cards for you. Researchers spent four decades studying couples to determine what causes a rift between two people and how to fix it. And John Gottman, one of the world’s foremost marriage researchers, found this to be the outstanding predictor for divorce. Contempt is when you’re rolling your eyes, feeling disgust, making passive aggressive comments and thinking negatively about your partner. And those have no place in a happy relationship.

And perhaps the most seemingly odd reason of all…


Having a daughter

According to a study, couples with daughters are more likely to divorce than couples with sons. This is due to the mother wanting to set a good example for her daughters. This feeling motivates her to leave a relationship which has soured.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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