21 Factors That May Increase the Risk of Divorce
Approximately half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, according to Divorce Magazine, but that’s much better than Sweden, where the divorce rate is 64 percent. In Canada, 45 percent of marriages end in divorce, compared with 26 percent in Israel, 18 percent in Greece, and only 12 percent in Italy. So what are some of the warning factors that can increase the chance a marriage will end in divorce?
Anneli Rufus, an author and journalist who researched studies that explored the factors that indicate a couple is headed for a divorce, recently accumulated a list of warning signs, but these are by no means the only ones investigators have uncovered.
Factors Associated with Divorce
You are more likely to divorce:
- If you were raised in a single-parent home than if your parents remained married
- If you frowned in photographs taken of you when you were young. Only 10 percent of people who smiled in early photographs had gone through a divorce later in life compared with 31 percent of those did not smile.
- If you are a choreographer than if you are a mathematician. Your chance of getting a divorce if you’re a dancer or choreographer is 43 percent compared with only 19 percent among mathematicians.
- If you are a woman who got married before you turned 18. You have a 48 percent chance of getting a divorce within ten years.
- If you are a woman who wants a child much more than your spouse does. Couples who do not agree on how much they do or don’t want to have children are twice as likely to end their marriage.
- If you have a childless marriage. The absence of children leads to loneliness, and at least 66 percent of divorced couples in the United States are childless.
- If you have two sons, you have a 36.9 percent chance of getting a divorce. Couples with two daughters have a likelihood of 43.1 percent.
- If a husband is nine or more years older than his wife or two or more years younger, the risk of getting a divorce is twice that of couples who are closer in age.
- If you and your partner lived together before marriage, you are at greater risk of getting a divorce than if you had not cohabitated. Sociologists suggest this is because living together strengthens a belief that marriage is not a sacred bond.
- If there are stepchildren, it may create conflict that stresses a relationship and tends to lead to higher divorce rates.
- If only one partner smokes, the chance of divorce nearly doubles. If both people smoke, the chance of divorce increases by nearly 2.4 times than if neither individual smokes. One theory is that smokers tend to participate in more risky activities and are more likely to end a marriage. Another is that smokers are more likely to be economically disadvantaged, and this population tends to be at higher risk for an unstable marriage.
- If you have a child that dies after the twentieth week of pregnancy or soon after labor, you are 40 percent more likely to divorce than if you never lost a child.
- If you are a woman who has recently been diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis, the chances of divorce are sixfold greater than if your husband has been diagnosed with the same diseases.
- If you are a man with a high testosterone level, you are 43 percent more likely to get a divorce than a man with low testosterone.
- If either partner has ever suffered a brain injury, there is a 17 percent chance the marriage will end in divorce.
- If either partner drinks more than two drinks per day, the chances of divorce are higher. If both drink three or more daily, they have nearly twice the risk of divorce than if neither individual drinks to excess. Suggested reasons include heavy drinkers may not choose good mates and alcohol can get in the way of being a good spouse.
- If you have a child who has ADHD, you are 22.7 percent more likely to divorce before the child reaches his or her eighth birthday than parents of a child without ADHD.
- If you are woman who is actively serving in the military, you are 250 times more likely to get a divorce than if a man is serving actively in the military.
- If you are a white woman who is separated from her spouse, there is a 98 percent change you will get a divorce within six years of the separation. Hispanic women have an 80 percent chance, while African-American women have a 72 percent chance.
- If you are an African-American woman, your first marriage has a 47 percent chance of ending in divorce within ten years. The likelihood is 34 percent for Hispanic women, 32 percent for white women, and 20 percent for Asian women.
- If you are a farmer, your chances of getting a divorce are low, only 7.63 percent. Nuclear engineers have a 7.29 percent chance while optometrists face a 4.01 percent likelihood.
On the upside of the issue, your risk of divorce decreases by 30 percent if you have an annual income of more than $50,000, according to the authors of The State of Our Unions. You can decrease the chance you will divorce by 24 percent if you wait until you are older than 25 to get married, by 14 percent if your parents are happily married, and by 13 percent if you have attended college.
Couples who are considering marriage, who are already married, or who are in the middle of or have divorced may all find these factors to be of interest. They can serve as serious talking points or merely as conversation pieces. However, given the high divorce rates in many countries, at least some of them may deserve a second look by couples in a serious relationship.