There are numerous reasons why divorce has become more prevalent in recent decades. From changing societal norms to couples rethinking their post-retirement lives, divorce is a viable option now more than ever. Research indicates, however, that certain marriage durations fall under a higher risk category for divorce.
Researchers collected data from census information and more than 10,000 divorce cases across the nation to find a pattern that might help married couples identify trouble spots and understand the challenges inherent in married life. Two time periods were specifically highlighted:
- Early marriage: During the first two years of marriage, the couple faces a significant risk of divorce. While the reasons are myriad, much can be attributed to common sense. During dating, the relationship is highlighted by excitement, new experiences and romance. After the wedding, however, the “honeymoon period” quickly fades. Couples might start to question their decision and seek to correct an error in planning.
- Mid-marriage: While the “7-year itch” has a place in social consciousness, it is grounded in reality. The research indicates that those married between 5 and 8 years are another high-risk group for divorce. Numerous reasons contribute to the higher divorce rates including couples who become tired of each other, infidelity, addiction and boorish behavior. While poor habits might have seemed endearing early in the relationship, after half a decade, the couple likely starts to look at each other with disdain. Additionally, couples might conclude that their first-grade or second-grade children are old enough to handle a dramatic change such as divorced parents.
Since the 1990s, researchers have recognized a growing trend of divorce among those in later stages of life. Termed “gray divorce,” those in their 50s seem to decide divorce is the best option for their futures. Whether it is greater financial stability, a longer lifespan or the independence of seeing children grown and leaving the home more and more adults nearing retirement age have decided to end their marriages.
While every relationship is unique, most share similar characteristics. Forcing a failing marriage to continue in light of numerous negative factors can often injure the family unit beyond repair. Even though many couples can successfully navigate these challenges, it is crucial to remember that divorce is a strong option to develop separate, successful futures.