Huffpost Divorce

Research Findings From 2013 Offer Insight Into Why Couples Split -- And What Happens After

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What causes a marriage to fall apart?

There is definitely no one right answer -- but there is plenty of research offering suggestions. We gathered some of the most interesting facts published about divorce in 2013. Check them out below.

  • The Number Of Divorced Women In America Is On The Rise
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    The number of divorced and separated women in the U.S. is on the rise, according to a July 2013 report by Bowling Green State University's National Center for Marriage and Family Research (NCFMR). The report, titled "Marriage: More Than A Century Of Change," found that 15 percent of women in the U.S. are divorced or separated today, compared with less than one percent in 1920. Dr. Susan Brown, co-director of the NCFMR, explained in a press release that this increase is due in part to cultural changes. "The divorce rate remains high in the U.S., and individuals today are less likely to remarry than they were in the past," she said.
  • Couples With Different Drinking Habits Are More Likely To Divorce
    A November 2013 study concludes that heavy drinking is a marital deal breaker when spouses consume different amounts of alcohol. Researchers at the University at Buffalo followed 634 couples through the first nine years of marriage. What they found? Fifty percent of couples in which one partner was imbibing significantly more than their spouse ended up divorcing. However, that number dropped to 30 percent for couples who possessed similar drinking habits, regardless of if they were heavy or light drinkers.
  • Your Yearbook Photo May Predict Your Likelihood Of Divorce
    According to a book published in November 2013, your smile, or lackthereof, in photos from your youth may predict your likelihood of divorce later in life. In his book, The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are, DePauw University psychology professor Matthew Hertenstein digs deeper into his 2009 study that revealed that people who smiled widely were more likely to have lasting marriages than those who smiled weakly, or not at all, in their childhood photos.
  • Divorce Can Have Serious Impact On Men's Health
    According to a paper published in the Journal Of Men's Health in September 2013, divorce can take a great mental and physical toll on men. Specifically, divorced and unmarried men have higher rates of mortality and are more prone to substance abuse and depression than married men. The researchers also found that divorced men are more likely to partake in risky activities such as abusing alcohol and drugs, and divorced or separated men have a suicide rate that is thirty-nine percent higher than that of married men. Depression is also more common for divorced men than married men, and divorced men undergo psychiatric care ten times more often than married men do.
  • Couples With Longer Commutes Are More Likely To Divorce
    According to research published in August 2013 by Erica Sandow of Umea University in Sweden, people who commute at least 45 minutes one-way to work are more likely to divorce than people who have shorter daily commutes. The study analyzed data that tracked millions of Swedes from 1995 to 2005. Sandow focused on people who were married or living with a partner for her research. She found that around 11 percent of the couples she studied had split by 2000, and more commuter couples separated than those who worked close to home. Fourteen percent of couples in which one or both partners commuted at least 45 minutes called it quits, while only 10 percent of non-commuter couples broke up.
  • Fear Of Being Alone Keeps People In Bad Relationships
    A study published in December 2013 in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the fear of being single may drive adults to stay in bad relationships or settle for less-than-desirable partners, all because they'd rather have someone than no one. Stephanie Spielmann, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto, conducted seven different studies focused on how the fear of loneliness affects romantic relationships. The researchers concluded, "During relationship initiation and maintenance, those who fear being single may prioritize relationship status above relationship quality, settling for less responsive and less attractive partners and remaining in relationships that are less satisfying."
  • Using Facebook Excessively Leads To More Relationship Problems
    Research published in June 2013 suggests that people who use Facebook excessively (interpreted by the researchers as checking it more than hourly) are more likely to "experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.” Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism, surveyed 205 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82 -- 79 percent of whom reported being in a romantic relationship. Clayton explained his findings as follows: “Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.”
  • Younger Children Feel Lasting Effects Of Divorce
    Research published in September 2013 suggests that children whose parents divorce when they are very young have a more difficult time establishing close relationships with their parents later in life. The study, which appeared in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that children whose parents divorced when they were between birth and 3 to 5 years old had a greater level of insecurity in their parental relationships than children whose parents divorced when they were older, according to a press release.
  • There's An Upside To Experiencing Hardship Like Divorce
    A study published in November 2013 in the Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that people who have experienced hardships in the past, like divorce, savor things more in the present. The researchers surveyed 14,986 adults and discovered that "individuals who had dealt with more adversity in the past reported an elevated capacity for savoring." In other words, those who had previously experienced pain were more likely to appreciate life's small pleasures.

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