10 Surprising Traits That Make Couples More Likely to Divorce

Wendy Robinson | Jan 12, 2015 Love & Sex
10 Surprising Traits That Make Couples More Likely to Divorce

We all hope that when we say, "I do," it will lead to a lifetime of love and commitment. The sad truth, however, is that divorce rates are still shockingly high, with 40 to 50 percent of first time marriages ending in a split. According to both national and international research studies on thousands of married people, there are some common traits that make some couples more likely to divorce.

Click on to find out some of the characteristics of marriages that researchers say are more likely to end in divorce. You might be surprised to discover what makes you more likely to go from "I do" to "I don't anymore."

Do you ever worry about divorce?


  • Having Kids


    © iStock.com/gradyreese

    According to researchers in the United Kingdom, couples who are married without children are "happier with their relationship and their partner" than married couples with children. According to their research, married parents say "I love you" less, make less time for "relationship maintenance," and are less likely to talk openly.

    Hmm, could it be because parents are also probably sleep-deprived, pressed for time, and have less money for things like date nights and long weekends away to do "relationship maintenance"?

  • Being Straight


    © iStock.com/svetikd

    The same UK researchers found that gay couples are "more positive about and happier with the quality of their relationship" than heterosexual participants.

    As gay marriage becomes more widely legalized in the United States, it will be interesting to see how the divorce rates between gay and straight couples compare over time and if the "gay advantage" continues.

  • He's a Spender, You're a Saver (or Visa Versa)


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    According to a study from the University of Michigan School of Business, conflicts over money lower marital satisfaction, regardless of income level and the amount of money a couple has in savings. So, even if you aren't going broke or up to your eyeballs in debt, constant battles over spending versus saving can really take a toll on a marriage.

  • Skipping College


    © iStock.com/YinYang

    Well, maybe those student loans are worth it after all!

    According to the Pew Research Center, not only are adults with a college degree slightly more likely to be married by age 30, they are also more likely to stay married than adults without a college degree.

    Researchers suspect that perhaps the greater level of economic security associated with having a college degree might play a role in this trend. I suspect maybe dealing with crazy college roommates might help prepare you for dealing with all the quirks of living with a spouse!

  • Always Being the Designated Driver


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    If one of you is always the designated driver and the other one is usually three sheets to the wind, you might be in trouble!

    A University of Buffalo study finds that if one partner drinks heavily (six or more drinks per night) and the other doesn't, their divorce rate is 20% higher than couples whose drinking rates are more similar. The divorce rate is even higher than for couples where both drink heavily.

    Apparently this is an area where birds of a feather are, in fact, more likely to stick together.

  • Having Divorced Friends


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    Is divorce contagious? According to one study, yes!

    Brown University researchers report that having a close relative or friend get divorced is linked to a 75% (!) increase that you will divorce too.

    So, if you are the one comforting your friend or sister as she breaks up, it might be time to schedule some extra date nights or relationship talks in your own life too!

  • Getting Married in Your Teens


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    It is awfully cute to marry your high school sweetheart, as long as you don't do it while you are still in high school.

    Information provided by the University of Utah indicates that getting married at a young age, especially if you are still in your late teens, increases the likelihood of divorce. Younger couples are also likely to divorce more quickly with many separating within the first few years of being married.

    As I remember the boys I liked when I was 18 to 19, this one makes total sense to me!

  • Having a Baby First


    © iStock.com/Neyya

    The University of Utah research also notes that couples who have a baby before they are married are also more likely to end up divorced. In fact, most of these couple will be divorced before the baby is 5 years old.

    I can't help but wonder if this is due to people getting married because a baby is on the way rather than because they were really ready to marry in the first place.

  • Having a $20,000 Wedding


    © iStock.com/tovfla

    Couples who break the bank for a fancy wedding might want to think about saving up some money for couples counseling!

    According to an Emory University study, the divorce rate for couples who spent $20,000 or more was 3.5 times higher than for more budget minded couples who spent between $5,000 to $10,000.

    Other interesting findings include that having a large number of wedding guests and going on a honeymoon correlated with staying married, so it looks like having a big, but inexpensive, wedding is the way to go.

  • Marrying Someone Too Old or Too Young


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    If you are looking for love, you might want to limit your search to those who are in the same decade of life as you are.

    The Emory University study also finds that couples with a 10-year age difference are 39% more likely to divorce than couples who are the closer to the same age.

    Well, shoot. As a straight mother with two divorced siblings who is married to an older man, I think I might be doomed!

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