The Real Reasons For Divorce

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The reasons for divorce vary from one person to the next, and the legal grounds claimed on the divorce papers usually only tell part of the story.

First of all, in no-fault states the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences (the marriage is irretrievably broken). These states include Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The rest of the states allow a spouse to declare other grounds based on marital misconduct as the reason for divorce. Even though each state has specific fault grounds (you can look up the statutes for your state), the most common ones are:

  • Insanity
  • Adultery
  • Domestic violence
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Alcoholism or drug addition
  • Separation
  • Marriage entered into fraudulently
  • Misconduct by spouse

I'll admit, these are some good reasons for divorce, but I wanted to find out what our visitors considered the main cause of the breakup of their marriage. Below you can see the results from our ongoing divorce survey:

Reasons for divorce pie chart

Answers

Infidelity
Violence
Money
Children
Incompatibility
Grown Apart
Other

Percentage

26.7%
8.6%
6.1%
1.0%
17.1%
20.2%
20.3%

Responses

465
150
107
18
298
352
355

Given that 20.3% of the respondents chose "Other" as a cause for their divorce, it made me wonder what I was missing. Could it be there is a lot more to the story?

Most people who have gone through a divorce will probably tell you there were multiple reasons why their marriage didn't work out. After talking with other women and doing a lot more research, I've expanded my original list to include more specific reasons for divorce, as outlined below:

Abusive Behavior:
• Physical Abuse
• Mental or Emotional Abuse
• Sexual Abuse
• Controlling Behavior

Major Life Changes:
• Death / major illness of family member
• Major Illness of you or your spouse
• Loss of a job
• Financial Problems

Irreconcilable differences:
• Religious differences
• Married for the wrong reasons
• Differences in career/personal goals
• Cultural differences
• Communication problems
• Intellectual Incompatibility
• Unwillingness to compromise
• Problems with parents or in-laws
• Different money management styles
• Different financial goals

Other Issues:
• Criminal behavior or incarceration
• Mental Illness or Insanity
• Marriage entered into fraudulently
• Desertion
• Child Abuse

Addictions:
• Alcohol
• Drugs
• Gambling


Children
:
•Decision to have children
•Fighting over discipline
•Different parenting styles
•Parenting duty inequity
• Step-children issues

Grown in Different Directions
:
• Grown Apart
• Don't respect your partner
• Immaturity
• Leading separate lives
• Fallen Out of Love
• Married too young
• Constant fighting
• Lack of commitment
• Midlife crisis


Sexual Problems
:
• Infidelity
• Porn Addiction
• Impotency
• Lack of Sex
• Sexual Incompatibility
• Sexual orientation issues

As you think back over your own situation, you will probably agree there is usually not one single factor that caused your marriage to fail, but rather a multiple of factors.

What were your reasons for divorce?

Do your reasons for divorce go beyond what is defined by the legal grounds? Share why your marriage broke up.

Causes of divorce from our visitors

Click below to read contributions from other visitors to this page...

Constant lying 
My ex continually lied; not just about big things, but even the little things. It started prior to us getting married; he lied about who he was and his …

His personality disorder 
Many times I’ve wondered who the Bleep Did I Marry?! He wasn't honest about who he was and where he came from. Before the marriage, we dated for 3 years …

His cyber affair and online addiction 
We have been married for 20 years. I found out after the first year of marriage about his massive porn collection (hundreds of magazines and video tapes). …

Sexual orientation issues 
The whole time we have been married, there have been issues with infidelity, sexual problems, and even sexual orientation. Early on in our marriage my …

I Left The Abuse 
I finally had enough of the Verbal and Emotional Abuse after being married for seven years and having two kids. Ladies, don't wait until you have a scar …

Tired of walking on eggshells 
I have been married for 27 years. My husband is nine years older than I am. From the very start of our relationship, my husband was very controlling and …

Years of deceit and betrayal 
Never stay for the kid’s sake! My husband of twenty years drained the life out of me after so many years of lies, deceit, and betrayal. He wouldn’t work, …

He Emotionally Destroyed Me 
He was so mentally and emotionally abusive over a two year period that I woke up one day and saw that he had gradually all but destroyed me mentally and …

I was an obligation 
My marriage broke up because I was mean and hurtful when he couldn't meet my emotional needs. I feel like it's what came first, the chicken or the egg …

Using friends as a weapon. 
He used going out with friends as a weapon to hurt me. In the beginning of our relationship we spent almost all our time together. However I discovered …

He has no ambition 
My marriage of 17 years is about to dissolve because my husband has usually held a job, but doesn't want to consistently go to work. I pay the mortgage, …

Using Drugs on Our Wedding Day 
Yes, that title is the truth. When I met my husband six years ago, he shared with me that he was a recovering alcoholic, and that he had been sober for …

Mental Abuse from the Start 
I don’t know how to even start describing what he’s put me through. It seems as if the mental and emotional abuse has always been a part of our relationship. …

From love to abuse 
He went from loving me to abusing me. I have only been married 6 months but it is a marriage that should have never happened. My husband and I have …

Emotionally Disconnected 
A friend introduced me to the man who became my husband and we hit it off immediately. We had lots of shared interests, both in and out of the bedroom. …

Thrown Away Like Yesterdays Trash 
After 32 years of marriage, he just threw me away like yesterday’s trash! You need to know that this "IS" my true story and what I have to deal with …

Submission No More! 
My story is so convoluted; I don’t really know where to start. My husband and I met eight years ago on the internet. When we discovered that we actually …

He lied about money 
For years now, he has lied about money and our finances. I have been married to him for nearly 25 years and have known for a long time that it wouldn’t …

Too much Negativity 
Thirty years of marriage and never did I think that I would be debating on whether to divorce or not. Every week, there is another problem, the negativity …

Combat PTSD 
I’ve always felt the need to help other women mend their broken lives. But it took my life being broken to really get motivated. A little over 2 years …

Separate Beds 
We were rarely intimate and I’m tired of being lonely. How many times do I hear he wants sex all the time, he won’t leave me alone? How about never! I …

My Prince Charming Changed 
He treated me and my two girls like queens when we started dating. He made me feel special, and we feel in love after three or four months. It was so wonderful …

He Crushed My Spirit 
We have been married for two years and I would like to think we have a pretty good relationship in spite of our occasional arguments. But things between …

He abandoned me 
He abandoned me without warning and for NO REASON! I just want to know why he could move on so easily. He was nine years older than me when we met and …

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Rocky Toxic Marriage  
My husband and I have been together since I was 15. He was my first love and we truly loved each other. Looking back, I realize we had children too young, …

Texting another woman 
My husband and I have only been married for three months, but I just left him last night because he’s such an idiot. First of all, he drinks way too much, …

Facebook obsession 
Innocently connecting with friends online can turn into a Facebook obsession for some people. The number of people who use the internet has mushroomed …

He Pulled Away 
This is my second failed marriage, and I would have to admit it’s been the toughest one to handle. My first marriage ended after three years of alcohol …

Married me for a green card 
I met the man who became my husband in another country and eventually brought him back to the United States. He had a temporary green card and interviewed …

He never grew up 
We have been married for over twelve years and he never grew up. We aren’t divorced yet, but I’m working on figuring everything out so I can do this. My …

He is the man 
In his mind, he is the man and therefore is always right. He treats me like a child and thinks he owns me. Here is just a little example of how he treats …

Covert abuse 
My marriage was destroyed by escalating covert abuse. What do I mean by that? It’s like everything seems perfect from the surface and outsiders don’t realize …

No Longer in Love 
After 3 years of marriage, we no longer have an intimate relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it was great when we first got together. But now there is no …

Emotionally unavailable 
What were my reasons for divorce? He was emotionally unavailable, addicted to porn, his Big Ego and the list goes on.... Early on in our marriage he …

Untruth 
He has been keeping things from me (tax issues, house liens, and an affair). He has a son with another woman, whom he never married. He never wanted anything …

Lack of attention  
The lack of emotional and physical attention is more than I can take. We got married when I was 20. I was young, but I really did love him. After we got …

Mismatch 
We were always fighting and could never see eye to eye on anything. First of all, he refused to work, so I was the one who had to pay all the bills and …

He was a mommas boy 
My ex was a momma’s boy who never cut the apron strings. His mom criticized me all the time because she thought I was too young for him. And he never stood …

Progressive alcohol addiction 
His alcohol addiction got progressively worse after the birth of each child. We have been together for the last 16 years and didn’t have our first child …

Too little too late 
Years ago, we lost a very good friend to suicide and my husband never recovered from the loss. He slowly slipped into drinking, anger and eventually inconsolable …

Something just was not right 
I’ve know something just was not right for a long time. He was an over-the-road truck driver and never came home even when he was in town. He was never …

He was a bully.  
You wouldn’t believe what a jerk my husband can be. He bullies everyone, including our own children. When they were toddlers and learning to walk, he would …

Spoiled rotten step child 
My step-child was spoiled rotten and his dad teamed against me with him. My ex-husband was a nice man… unfortunately, too nice. His son took full …

He left me with nothing 
He claims I never paid ATTENTION to him and the children. Then one day my ex tells it’s not working and that he filed for divorce. He tells me that I need …

All Around Incompatibility 
My husband has always been very controlling and a bully. I did not know myself at all when we first started seeing one another. I had just moved from my …

We lost our trust 
He was controlling and lacked self-esteem, but we had the best passion ever. We had a blended family and both tried hard to be the best parents possible. …

No remorse for his infidelity 
A "sexual fling" and its destructive powers that I thought we were working on (I was wrong) was what started unraveling out marriage. While separated to …

He could not be trusted 
There was infidelity from day one of the marriage with many women. But yet he denied me emotional and physical intimacies. He literary worked me to death …

He was mean, abusive, and always high 
I would imagine that my tittle says it all; and yes, those are all true. Alcoholism, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, porn addiction, and …

Click here to write your own.

I started seeing someone else 
I am 22 years old and have been married for 3 1/2 years and four months ago, I left my husband. A guy I dated back in high school came back into my …

Is this how life is supposed to be 
As I sit here drinking my glass of wine, I wonder “is this how I thought life was going to be?” The quick answer to this is F*** NO! I had this image in …

Drugs and affairs ended our marriage 
My marriage ended thanks to drugs, other women, and his fathering a child with another woman. My husband got into drugs and spent thousands of dollars …

Losing My Husband to a Bottle 
I can ask my husband 7 days a week why he is so adamant about divorcing me and he will give me 7 different answers. They are never the same, they never …

Addiction and abuse tore us apart 
When we started out, I felt like we were the perfect couple, and a lot of our family and friends thought so too. Looking back, I realize that my husband …

He wanted a separation 
He had started working in another city and he went out one night with his sister. She and her husband have an open marriage, but he always said he didn't …

Alcohol and adultery 
My husband met a woman at work who made him feel young and made him laugh. This same woman confronted me publicly and said they were in love and wanted …

His kids were more important 
I was in a bad car accident and going through menopause. I admitted myself into the hospital after the accident. While I was in there, he took his youngest …

My abuser left me 
Porn addiction, and his need to act out exactly what he saw, left me feeling like a victim whom had been groomed for the acts he wanted. Sex was only on …

He misled me 
This man entered my life as "Prince Charming". He came in and took me to places I had only dreamed of. He was God fearing, loving, and kind. Never, ever …

Controlling over finances  
He is controlling over finances, not letting me go to school or work while my child was younger. He just wasn’t exciting to me, and we had no sex life …

Alcohol and drugs were more important 
I am a simple lady with different views than my husband. He loves to party with others and drink and smoke crack. My husband loves his Alcohol and Crack …

He lied about everything 
He is a narcissist. He is dishonest, was cheating, didn't pay bills or taxes, and stayed out all night. He was very controlling and isolated me from family. …

He beat our son 
I came home from work and my husband said our 3 year old son had two potty accidents at school. After they got home, my son had another accident and my …

He cheated several times 
I’ve been married for almost six years and I'm in the process of divorcing (still looking for an attorney). My husband started to act strange when he started …

lack of sex 
Our sex life was reasonable before we married, then we had sex once on honeymoon then it stopped. That was just over 6 years ago. I tried to get my …

He deserted me 
My husband and I were married almost 3 years ago and have been separated for well over a year. He has refused to speak to, deal with, or provide for me …

His gambling addiction and abuse 
I am not sure where I should start... My soon to be ex is a compulsive liar with a gambling addiction. He blames me for everything and uses verbal …

Lying and porn addiction 
Porn addiction and the associated lying and secrecy were the main reason for our divorce. There was also passive aggressive behavior, including withholding …

Controlling money freak 
Hundreds of reasons, but ultimately I couldn't live this way any longer. He controlled all the finances, to the point of him checking every item on receipts …

He had another family 
Fasten your seat belt ladies, here comes my story. I was married for 27 1/2 years and have one son who is 25 and married, and a 22 year old daughter who …

Inappropriate relationships with other women 
My husband was having so many inappropriate relationships with women. He had a lot of "friends" that he met on conferences and a lot of "friends" from …

He Had a Girlfriend 
I was married to the same man for 25 years. He has been verbally and mentally abusive to me and our kids. I was not allowed to ask where he was going or …

He Walked Away 
My husband and I had been living separated for 3 months when he called and wanted to "reconcile". We reconciled and the next day after having a great evening …

So many reasons 
My husband was abusive (mentally and physically). He has no respect for me, emotionally is not there, we're always fighting and yelling, there is no control …

Click here to write your own.

Porn and Impotency 
He was addicted to pornography and couldn't perform in bed.

Irreconcilable differences broke up my marriage 
Irreconcilable differences broke up my marriage. His side was Catholic and my mother's side is Buddhist. We had a non-denominational wedding, but his mother …

He is a narcissist 
He is controlling, dishonest, emotionally and verbally abusive: A Narcissist After almost 29 years of marriage, 6 children, and constant financial crisis, …

Irreconcilable differences drove us apart 
My partner started out very free spirited and open minded about planning our future. We liked being together under whatever circumstances, rough or good. …

Escalating Abuse Was The Final Straw 
Should have listened to my gut... I actually broke off our engagement because of his verbal abuse and let myself get suckered into going through with it. …

He found a girlfriend on the internet 
I have been married for 27 years. Things at home were not going so good the last couple years. My husband was sleeping on couch and I couldn't get him …

Who Are We Really Married To 
My husband was on all these dating sites and was e-mailing girlfriends he had like 25 years ago. It was all hidden and when asked he just lied about everything. …

My husband is having a baby with his mistress. 
My husband has been having an affair with a woman for about 2 years. I decided to stick it out with him because I felt he was going through a mid-life …

He was having a long term affair 
My husband was having a long term affair. I never suspected a thing until my brother in law told me I should be watching him a little closer. I checked …

Partner Travels A Lot 
Due to finances, my husband did his out of state antique shows without me during the past year, choosing to split expenses with his guy friends, like hotel, …

Infidelity Was The Final Straw 
I resented the fact he never was home. I had many conversations with my husband on my feelings and it didn't change. I got angry and communication broke …

I Got Tired of Being Controlled 
After thirty years of marriage and two children (now in college), I finally found the courage to snap the chains that have controlled me for all of my …

A life of mind games...and being ignored  
The reason for my failing marriage was that I was the scapegoat for so many things... Several times over the years...if he would mess up on his job...example …

Sacrificing Motherhood 
I paid for everything and he’s decided he doesn’t want kids. I pay ALL the bills, clean the house, work 9 1/2 hours a day, do the grocery shopping and …

Married but all alone 
My story is a little unique...I’m not looking for judgment please. I am still currently married; I have been with my husband for 10 years and married almost …

"Our love ended so soon" 
My husband and I got married after dating for well over nine years. We met while we were still in high school and working at the same job. A friendship …

Mid life crisis 
He left because he felt like he had lost himself. I guess he had a mid-life crisis at the age of 30. He said that he felt like the choices he made were …

He was cheating on me  
My ex and I were married for almost 28 years. I found out he was cheating on me and I let him come back with the understanding that if he did it again, …

My husband has the mindset of an incorrigible teenager. 
I met my husband six years ago when we were both teachers at the same school. The relationship began very intensely. I had been alone for 7.5 years after …

He isolated himself 
I’m divorcing him but I don't want to divorce his family . . . . My divorce will be final soon & I'm scared of the unknown but happy to start a new …

Still Trying to Figure It Out 
We married young, I was 20 and he was 21. We dated for two years before we got married but we've known each other since early teen years. We were each …

In denial about his addictions 
We have been married for two years and his drinking has worsened. He doesn't try to hide the vodka anymore instead he finds reasons to fight with me. He …

Not my prince charming 
He was all smoke and mirrors and I wanted to believe the fairytale. After waiting 38 years to settle down with the right guy, I THOUGHT I married the man …

Tenant Wife 
22 years... Separated for next one? He wouldn't leave the marital home even after premeditated "I love you, but want a separation" exit plan. He tried …

He Married a Trophy Wife 
My husband hired the woman who became his new wife from 3000 miles across our country when she was still married to her multimillionaire top USA RANKED …

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Toxic Split 
We have all experienced the "honeymoon" phase. When you think this IS the one and he's so wonderful!! This was my second marriage. I was married almost …

Things never changed 
He committed adultery 6 months after we were married. Probably, my inability to forgive his infidelity led to some of our problems. He would never introduce …

Until He Got Sick 
One day he came home sicker than usual. I was just called back to work and he started having more seizures, panic, and anxiety attacks than usual. So, …

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Other articles covering some of the main causes for divorce: