“My divorce came to me as a complete surprise. That’s what happens when you haven’t been home in 18 years.” – Lee Trevino, Hall of Fame Professional Golfer
As the quote above demonstrates, Mr. Lee Trevino has been known to discuss a number of sensitive topics with a delicate mix of compassion and a sense of humor. Now 77 years old, Trevino has been happily married to his second wife, Claudia Bove, for 23 years. For many divorced people, talking about their experience is anything but humorous. The same goes for divorce attorneys, who often bear the brunt of a couple’s past mistakes. One former divorce lawyer put it this way:
“When I began practicing, I realized something pretty quickly – I could do without the drama and bickering and baggage that people were bringing into their case. I found myself using my psychology skills just as much as my legal skills…I didn’t get the satisfaction…and I didn’t feel I was helping people in a positive way.”
Aside from being life-changing, divorce is often a lengthy process. A divorce lawyer is perhaps the only person, aside from the couple themselves, to witness the oft-ugly nature of human detachment. Nonetheless, these professionals possess a breadth of knowledge about this sensitive subject matter.
So, why do nearly half of all marriages end in divorce? Some divorce attorneys around America were asked this question.
Here are the 7 leading contributors to a failing marriage, according to divorce attorneys:
1. Silence is (not so) golden
At the risk of sounding overtly obvious, good communication is vital in a marriage. When this all-important communication factor deteriorates, it’s common for one or both partners to go silent.
According to divorce attorneys, this “silent treatment” occurs much more frequently within a failing marriage. Evie Jeang, among the most prominent divorce attorneys in America, states: “This is essentially the kiss of death for couples because it leads to feelings of resentment. Being able to work through issues that arise paves the way for resolution.”
2. Controlling behavior
Attempting to control one’s spouse, regardless of the matter at hand (e.g. staying out late, unkempt house, etc.), isn’t a good sign for the relationship. Couple this with the fact that controlling individuals rarely change their behavior, and it becomes apparent as to why cohabitation with such a person is tough.
Controlling money by denying the partner access to, or information about, bank accounts, credit lines, etc., can also contribute to an eventual divorce.
3. Addictive behaviors
Joan Bibelhausen, J.D. and family lawyer, in an article written in Family Lawyer Magazine, states “In family law, addiction to alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviors such as gambling are present in a significant amount of cases.”
Alcohol and drug addiction is a treatable condition; however, the number of untreated addicts far exceeds the rehabilitated. Addiction – and its negative consequences – is often too much for the other to handle.
4. Money issues
Ideally, anything finance related is discussed prior to marriage, but many times it is not. Perhaps more damaging than any potential financial repercussions (e.g. difficulties obtaining a mortgage), is the perceived breach of trust.
During the marriage is when many money problems occur. Spending too much, making secret purchases, maxing out credit cards, late bills – all are potential reasons for one partner to consider divorce.
5. Lack of common interests
“Opposites attract” doesn’t necessarily translate into “Opposites stay attracted.”
Lisa Meyer, a divorce attorney in California, says “While it’s true that opposites attract, don’t assume the qualities you fell in love with are going to keep a marriage together.”
Different personality types often enjoy different things. When there is a wide “interest gap” between two people, they’ll spend more time apart, which leads us to…
6. A sense of separation
It is typical in marriage to experience polarizing emotions; among them is a sense of closeness and distance. When this dynamic subsists at reasonable intervals, it can actually be perceived as a good sign. The passion and genuine care for each other are often evident during these times.
However, it is the “creeping” sense of distance that often spells ends for a marriage. Many relationship components, some of them mentioned on this list, can ignite this slow evolution of separation.
7. The job coming first
“Family comes first” is a tried and true axiom of happy couples and families. When one half of the marriage suddenly becomes a workaholic, it may be a bad sign. The circumstances surrounding such behavior ultimately determines the relationship’s outcome.
Unsurprisingly, effective communication is vital; when the other half begins to spend a disproportionate amount of time at work, sans explanation, the chances of divorce increases significantly.