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Divorce, Its Causes, Effects, and Solutions

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Published: Dec 3, 2020

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Essays About Divorce: Top 5 Examples and 7 Prompts

Essays about divorce can be challenging to write; read on to see our top essay examples and writing prompts to help you get started.

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage. It can be a messy affair, especially if it includes children. Dividing the couple’s assets also often causes chaos when divorce proceedings are in session. 

Divorce also touches and considers religion and tradition. Therefore, laws are formed depending on the country’s history, culture, and belief system.

To help you choose what you want to talk about regarding this topic, here are examples you can read to get an idea of what kind of essay you want to write.

1. Divorce Should Be Legalized in the Philippines by Ernestine Montgomery

2. to divorce or not to divorce by mark ghantous, 3. what if you mess up by manis friedman, 4. divorce: a life-changing experience by writer louie, 5. divorce’s effects on early adult relationships by percy massey, 1. the major reasons for divorce, 2. why i support divorce, 3. my divorce experience, 4. how to avoid divorce, 5. divorce and its effects on my family, 6. the consequences of divorce, 7. divorce laws around the world.

“What we need is a divorce law that defines clearly and unequivocally the grounds and terms for terminating a marriage… Divorce is a choice and we all should have the freedom to make choices… in cases where a union is more harmful than beneficial, a divorce can be benevolent and less hurtful way of severing ties with your partner.”

As the title suggests, Montgomery and his other colleagues discuss why the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, needs to allow divorce. Then, to strengthen his argument, he mentions that Spain, the root of Christianity, and Italy, where the Vatican City is, administer divorce. 

He also mentions bills, relevant figures, and statistics to make his case in favor of divorce more compelling. Montgomery adds that people who want a divorce don’t necessarily mean they want to marry again, citing other motives such as abuse and marital failure.

“Divorce, being the final step in a detrimental marriage, brings upon the gruesome decision as to whether a married couple wishes to end that once made commitment they had for each other. As opposed to the present, divorce was rare in ancient times…”

Ghantous starts his essay with what divorce means, as not only an end of a commitment but also the termination of legal duties and other obligations of the couple to each other. He then talks about divorce in ancient times, when men had superior control over women and their children. He also mentions Caroline Norton, who fought with English family law that was clearly against women.

“So even though G‑d has rules,… laws,… divine commandments, when you sin, He tells you: ‘You messed up? Try again.’ That’s exactly how you should be married — by treating your spouse the way G‑d treats you. With that much mercy and compassion, that much kindness and consideration.”

Friedman’s essay discusses how the Torah sees marriage and divorce and explains it by recounting a scene with his daughters where they couldn’t follow a recipe. He includes good treatment and forgiveness necessary in spouses. But he also explains that God understands and doesn’t want people in a failed marriage to continue hurting. You might also be interested in these essays about commitment .

“Depending on the reasons that led up to the divorce the effects can vary… I was fourteen years old and the one child that suffered the most emotional damage… My parents did not discuss their reasons for the divorce with me, they didn’t have to, and I knew the reasons.”

The author starts the essay by citing the famous marital promise: “For better or worse, for richer or poorer,” before going in-depth regarding the divorce rate among Americans. He further expounds on how common divorce is, including its legalities. Although divorce has established legal grounds, it doesn’t consider the emotional trauma it will cause, especially for children.

Louie recounts how his life changed when his dad moved out, listing why his parents divorced. He ends the essay by saying society is at fault for commercializing divorce as if it’s the only option.

“With divorce becoming more prevalent, many researchers have taken it upon themselves to explore many aspects of this topic such as evolving attitudes, what causes divorce, and how it effects the outcome of children’s lives.”

Massey examines the causes of divorce and how it impacts children’s well-being by citing many relevant research studies. Some of the things he mentions are the connection between the child’s mental health, behavioral issues, and future relationships. Another is the trauma a child can endure during the divorce proceedings.

He also mentions that some children who had a broken family put marriage on a pedestal. As a result, they do their best to create a better future family and treat their children better.

Top 7 Prompts on Essays About Divorce

After adding to your knowledge about the subject, you’re better prepared to write essays about divorce.

There are many causes of the dissolution of marriage, and many essays have already discussed these reasons. However, you can explain these reasons differently. For example, you can focus on domestic abuse, constant fighting, infidelity, financial issues, etc.

If you want to make your piece stand out, you can include your personal experience, but only if you’re comfortable sharing your story with others. 

If you believe divorce offers a better life for all parties involved, list these benefits and explain them. Then, you can focus on a specific pro of legalizing divorce, such as getting out of an abusive relationship. 

If you want to write an essay to argue against the negative effects of divorce, here’s an excellent guide on how to write an argumentative essay .

This prompt is not only for anyone who has no or sole guardian. If you want to write about the experiences of a child raised by other people or who lives with a single parent, you can interview a friend or anyone willing to talk about their struggles and triumphs even if they didn’t have a set of parents.

Aside from reasons for divorce, you can talk about what makes these reasons more probable. Then, analyze what steps couples can take to avoid it. Such as taking couples’ therapy, weekly family get-together, etc. To make your essay more valuable, weigh in on what makes these tips effective.

Essays About Divorce: Divorce and its effects on my family

Divorce is diverse and has varying effects. There are many elements to its results, and no two sets of factors are precisely the same for two families. 

If you have an intimate experience of how your immediate and extended family dynamic had been affected by divorce, narrate those affairs. Include what it made you and the others around you feel. You might also be interested in these essays about conflict .

This is a broad prompt, but you can narrow it down by focusing on an experience you or a close friend had. You can also interview someone closely related to a divorce case, such as a lawyer, reporter, or researcher. 

If you don’t have any experience with divorce, do not know anyone who had to go through it, or is more interested in its legal aspects, compiles different divorce laws for each country. You can even add a brief history for each law to make the readers understand how they came about.

Are you looking for other topics to write on? Check out our general resource of essay writing topics .

essay about factors of divorce

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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  • Divorce statistics


Causes Of Divorce: 19 Of The Most Common Reasons

About Brette Sember, JD | Divorce.com

By Brette Sember, JD Updated Mar 15, 2024

What are the most common reasons for divorce? Of course, this is a subjective question, as the reasons people get divorced are as varied as the reasons they fall in love.

However, certain issues arise more often: conflict, infidelity, poor communication, incompatibility, and a lack of romantic intimacy. Even though the overall divorce rate is decreasing among adults aged 16 to 65, approximately 45% of marriages in the US still end in divorce.

Read on to learn about the 19 most common reasons people decide to divorce.

What Are The Most Common Causes of Divorce?

According to various studies, the four most common causes of divorce are lack of commitment, infidelity or extramarital affairs, too much conflict and arguing, and lack of physical intimacy. The least common reasons are lack of shared interests and incompatibility between partners.

The 19 Most Common Reasons for Divorce

1. too much conflict, incessant arguing.

Constant conflict, bitter battles, and going to bed angry every night are no one’s idea of a healthy marriage.

"How you handle conflict is the single most important predictor of whether your marriage will survive."

How long could you stick it out when your home – which is supposed to be your place of peace and release from the daily grind – is more stressful than your worst day at work? In a good marriage, your spouse is your partner, your shelter from the storm, and your number-one cheerleader when you’re down.

In a high-conflict marriage, your spouse is as emotionally dangerous as a terrible boss. Unless interrupted by marriage counseling or therapy, this negative spiral will continue downward until the only place left to go is divorce.

Related Reading

2. Lack of Commitment

A happy and healthy marriage requires commitment from both spouses. Unfortunately, it only takes one spouse with a lack of commitment to the relationship to doom the marriage. If one partner isn’t fully committed to the other, then the marriage will eventually suffer.

Sometimes, the spouse who is still committed to the relationship believes they can singlehandedly save their marriage if they work harder at it. After all, if they put in 200% while their spouse puts in 0%, that equals 100% – right?

When their marriage inevitably ends, after the shock and disbelief have worn off, their rage at being used and taken for granted during the relationship may lead to a very difficult divorce.

angry woman arguing

3. Infidelity / Extramarital Affairs

Being cheated on by the person who vowed to remain faithful to you forever is a bitter pill to swallow, and most people consider this to be an unforgivable offense. Infidelity doesn’t always lead to divorce, but it does destroy how you see your relationship.

Discovering that your spouse has been engaging in an extramarital affair makes you ask three questions:

  • Can my marriage survive this betrayal?
  • Can I ever trust my spouse/partner again?
  • Am I willing to work on my marriage, or is my partner’s infidelity the last straw?

The answer to these questions depends on whether both of you are willing and able to repair your relationship – almost certainly with the help of a marriage and family therapist (MFT) .

To rescue your relationship, you will have to forgive your partner – and your partner will have to make a genuine apology and commit to acting to end their cheating for good. If you have been drifting apart, focus on reconnecting rather than pointing fingers and playing the blame game.

4. Lack of Emotional and/or Physical Intimacy

Emotional and physical intimacy “grease the wheels” of a smooth-running relationship. When they’re gone, however, serious relationship issues often take their place.

Communication breakdown, anger, resentment, sadness, loneliness, infidelity, and greatly diminished self-esteem are some of the most serious issues – and left untreated, they can irreparably damage a relationship and pave the road to divorce.

When emotional intimacy is low or non-existent, your sex life will probably suffer as well. When you feel emotionally distant or disconnected from your spouse, your marriage may become a sexless one.

To reignite the spark, try to remember why you fell in love with your spouse and consciously view them through those lenses.

Also, think about what you used to love doing together and carve out time to do those things together again. Spending quality time doing something you both enjoy can help rebuild emotional intimacy, leading to physical intimacy.

Emotional and physical intimacy is like super-glue to strengthen your love and marriage bonds.

5. Communication Problems Between Partners

A breakdown in the lines of communication is one of the biggest predictors of divorce. Couples who don’t communicate well cannot resolve issues together and tend to suffer more misunderstandings and hurt feelings than those who have learned how to resolve conflict respectfully.

Good communication is physical as well as verbal, and it is required for almost everything in a good relationship, including sex, a couple’s finances, whether or not to have children, areas of disagreement, and other sensitive topics unhappy couples deem too dangerous to discuss.

An inability to communicate turns problem-solving sessions into shouting matches, which will eventually kill love, intimacy, and respect in your relationship.

To make it through the inevitable tough times, you must be willing and able to talk about what’s wrong or not working and decide how to resolve these issues together.

“Being able to communicate well requires both good transmission skills (articulation) and good receptive skills (listening). Without both, communication will be, at best, difficult.”

6. Domestic Violence: Abuse by a Partner or Parent

Domestic violence can include any act of tangible or threatened abuse – including verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and/or economic abuse. In such a relationship, one person gains or maintains power over their partner via a pattern of abusive behavior.

This abuse can be directed solely at a spouse, or it can also involve one or more children of the marriage. If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911 now!

For 24/7 confidential help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

In October 2022, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) merged to form Project Opal .

For more resources, visit: https://ncadv.org/get-help

7. Opposing Values or Morals

There have been literal wars fought over differences in race, religion, nationality, and culture – and persecution based on all of these, plus gender, sexuality, and even which political party someone supports.

When two spouses have or develop opposing values and/or morals, and neither can or is willing to see things from their spouse’s point of view, the marriage is likely to end in divorce.

smiling girl and her boyfriend

She believes in a woman’s right to choose, and he believes life begins at conception; his best friend is gay, and his wife is homophobic. They fell in love despite their religious difference, but those differences are tearing them apart now that they have children.

When you’re in love, you tend to overlook or rationalize red flags that your core values and morals are too different for a healthy relationship – but when the rose-colored glasses come off, those differences make it difficult or impossible to sustain a happy marriage.

8. Addiction: Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling, or Sex

There are many different types and degrees of addiction, and many top professionals – politicians, businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, portfolio managers, actors, and athletes, to name a few – have been able to hide their addiction successfully as they rose to the top.

Their spouses may be blissfully unaware, willing to look the other way in return for lifestyle/economic benefits, or gaslighted into believing they’re crazy to suspect their spouse’s addiction. No matter how the moment of truth arrives, it is always shattering.

Whether the marriage can survive depends on several factors – including the addict’s willingness and ability to take responsibility for their addiction, a genuine desire to seek treatment, and a lifelong commitment to recovery.

9. Absence of Romantic Intimacy or Love

This one is far too common given how busy and stressful our lives are – especially when you add driving the kids to football/hockey/baseball/ballet/orchestra/theater/choir practice before and after school into the mix.

Too many couples prioritize everything except their relationships, and then one partner is blindsided when the other says, “I want a divorce.” Contrary to popular belief, romantic love is not self-sustaining: without carving out quality time for intimacy and fun as a couple – not just as a family – love withers like a plant without water or sunshine.

Create a weekly carved-in-stone date night. For example, go to bed, wake up earlier, and use the time for daily physical (cuddling and/or sex) and emotional intimacy. Remember what you loved doing while you were dating, then start doing those things again before it’s too late!

10. One Spouse Not Carrying Their Weight in the Marriage

We all know marriages like this: both spouses work full-time, but only one of them takes responsibility for grocery shopping and cooking, household chores, and child-rearing.

Over time, the spouse whose work doesn’t end when they get home can build up a powerful resentment against the other, and unless the situation is addressed and rectified, the marriage could spiral down into divorce.

Sit down and list everything that needs to be done to keep the household running smoothly. Then, place a name beside each task, making sure to divide the chores equitably.

Don’t forget to add your children’s names to tasks they are old enough to tackle or help with – from setting the table to washing the dishes to mowing the lawn to vacuuming the carpets.

“Not carrying your weight” extends to romance and intimacy; if one partner is the only one making romantic gestures, arranging date nights, or initiating sex, that will also take a toll on the marriage.

11. Financial Problems and Debt

Money has been tight for many couples over the last few years. Arguments about money can become nasty and vindictive – and if a couple lacks the communication skills to discuss their financial problems calmly and rationally, that can be a reason for divorce.

In a marriage, financial problems are not limited to carrying massive debt and/or being unable to cover necessities. When the way spouses think about money and debt – no matter how much or how little of it they actually have – are fundamentally incompatible, it can also cause the breakdown of a marriage.

If financial problems are your main issue, consider hiring an expert specializing in financial divorce issues. They could save money by recommending the most efficient property division, tax, and support strategies.

A divorce financial analyst can also provide scenarios extrapolating your cash flow and net worth 5, 10, or even 20 years into the future if you choose Settlement A vs. Settlement B.

12. Marrying Too Young

A study from the University of Utah suggests that the perfect age to get married is between 28 and 32 . This is because those who marry young most likely don’t fully grasp marriage. This could be a reason why a lot of young married couples get divorced.

About 46% of couples who get married young get divorced. Also, 48% of couples who marry before they turn 18 are most likely to get divorced in 10 years, compared to 25% of people who marry after the age of 25.

13. Lack of Shared Interests / Incompatibility Between Partners

Opposites may attract, but similarities are what bind. With no shared interests, you will either start spending less and less time with your spouse as you pursue your hobbies and passions or give them up in favor of your spouse’s interests.

Both of these strategies will build resentment and weaken the bond you share. If you hope to stay together, you will likely need marriage counseling and a willingness to compromise.

For example, if he loves bowling and she loves dancing, he could bowl with his buddies on Thursdays while she goes dancing with her girlfriends – and then they identify something they both love and do that on “Friday date night.”

This applies to every area of your shared life, from household chores to choosing which extracurricular activities their children will do. If you cannot reach a compromise that both of you can commit to, your incompatibility may lead to divorce.

14. Religious Differences

Religious beliefs and practices play a pivotal role in shaping an individual's worldview, values, and daily rituals.

When two partners come from different religious backgrounds, it can sometimes lead to disagreements on fundamental life choices, from dietary habits to child-rearing practices.

While many interfaith couples find ways to blend their beliefs and traditions, for others harmoniously, the differences can become a source of recurring conflict. The challenge often lies in reconciling deeply held beliefs and finding common ground, especially during significant life events or ceremonies.

In some cases, external pressures from family or the broader community can exacerbate these differences.

Religious differences can significantly lead to marital discord without open communication and mutual respect.

15. Parenting Differences

Parenting is one of the most rewarding yet challenging responsibilities a couple can undertake together.

Differences in parenting styles, stemming from individual upbringings, personal beliefs, or cultural backgrounds, can become a significant source of tension in a marriage. While one partner might advocate for a more disciplined approach, the other might lean towards a lenient and nurturing style.

These disparities can lead to disagreements, ranging from education choices to setting boundaries and disciplinary actions. As children grow and navigate different life stages, these differences can become more pronounced, especially if not addressed early on.

Effective co-parenting requires open communication, compromise, and a unified front. Without these, parenting differences can strain the marital relationship, leading to deeper misunderstandings and conflicts.

16. External Family Pressures

Marriage often means merging two families, bringing along a mix of expectations and traditions. External pressures from in-laws, cultural differences, or unsolicited advice can strain a marriage.

Balancing the couple's needs with extended family demands is crucial. Without clear boundaries and open communication, these pressures can lead to resentment, potentially pushing a couple toward divorce.

17. Unrealistic Expectations

Every individual enters marriage with a set of expectations, often shaped by personal experiences, societal norms, or portrayals in media. While some expectations are reasonable, others can be unrealistic, setting the stage for disappointment and conflict.

Whether it's about roles in the household, financial achievements, or emotional support, when reality doesn't align with these lofty ideals, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and resentment. For a marriage to thrive, it's essential for partners to communicate openly, adjust expectations, and understand that perfection is unattainable.

Unrealistic expectations, if unchecked, can become a silent threat to marital harmony.

18. Trust Issues

Trust is the bedrock of any strong relationship, and its absence can create deep fissures in the foundation of a marriage. Trust issues can stem from past betrayals, misunderstandings, or personal insecurities.

Whether it's doubts about fidelity, financial decisions, or even smaller daily matters, a lack of trust can lead to constant second-guessing and surveillance. This atmosphere of suspicion can stifle open communication and intimacy.

For a marriage to overcome trust issues, it often requires open dialogue, understanding, and sometimes professional counseling. If not addressed, persistent trust issues can erode the bond between partners, making reconciliation challenging.

19. Supporting Each Other's Goals

In a marriage, individual aspirations don't disappear; they intertwine with shared dreams.

Supporting each other's goals is pivotal for mutual growth and fulfillment. When one partner feels their ambitions are sidelined or undervalued, it can lead to feelings of resentment and stagnation.

Whether it's career advancements, personal passions, or educational pursuits, acknowledging and championing these aspirations strengthens the marital bond. Conversely, neglecting or undermining a partner's goals can create a rift, making one feel unsupported or isolated.

Successful marriages often thrive on mutual respect and encouragement, ensuring both partners feel valued in their pursuits.

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Divorce and Health: Current Trends and Future Directions

David a. sbarra.

Department of Psychology, University of Arizona

Associated Data

Social relationships play a vital role in health and wellbeing, and it follows that loss experiences can be highly stressful for some people. This paper reviews what is known about the association between marital separation, divorce and health outcomes.

Key findings in the area of divorce and health are discussed, and the review outlines a series of specific questions for future research. In particular, the paper integrates research in social epidemiology with research in social psychophysiology. The former approach provides a broad-based estimate of the association between marital status and health outcomes, whereas the latter approach studies mechanisms of action and individual differences associated with increased risk for poor outcomes.

The experience of separation or divorce confers risk for poor health outcomes, including a 23% higher mortality rate. However, most people cope well and are resilient after their marriage or long-term relationship ends. Despite the fact that resilience is the most common response, a small percentage of people (approximately 10–15%) struggle quite substantially, and it appears that the overall elevated adverse health risks are driven by the poor functioning of this group. Several candidate mechanisms and novel (ambulatory) assessment techniques are discussed that may elucidate the poor outcomes among people who adapt poorly to separation.


To increase knowledge on the association between divorce and health, three primary areas require more research: (a) genetic and third variable explanations for divorce-related health outcomes; (b) better studies of objective social behavior following separation; and, (c) increased attention to interventions targeting high risk adults.

In the last four decades, relationship research has burgeoned into a legitimate scientific enterprise ( 1 ). High quality social relationships are positively associated with increased life satisfaction and psychological well-being ( 2 ) and negatively associated with morbidities and mortality from a range of disease processes ( 3 ). Meta-analytic findings indicate that the effects linking low social integration to increased risk for all-cause mortality are as robust as many other public health risk factors ( 4 , 5 ). Animal studies suggest the neuropeptide oxytocin, which is associated with social bonding, may be health protective ( 6 ) and that disease-relevant biological changes may have their roots in early care giving, especially as gene expression is established in the context of care giving environments ( 7 , 8 ). Similar patterns of gene expression – e.g., over-expression of inflammatory signaling pathways – are observed among adults who are low in social embeddeness ( 9 ). Relationship quality predicts time to death following treatments for a range of medical conditions (e.g., 10 ). Brain regions associated with the detection of physical pain are also sensitive to social rejection ( 11 ); early assessments of preschoolers’ attachment relationships are strong predictors of self-reported health in adulthood, nearly three decades later ( 12 ); and, the quality of marital interactions during daily life is associated with carotid artery intima-medial thickness, a marker of subclinical cardiovascular disease ( 13 ). These examples, from all corners of psychosomatic medicine and other areas where the biopsychosocial model plays a critical role, share one common theme: relationships and social connection are central to human health.

Because high quality relationships may promote positive health and wellbeing—we have only limited evidence that these effects are causal, a point to which I return below— it stands to reason that social separations and loss place people at unique risk for poor health. Indeed, a large literature also links marital status to morbidity and mortality. Increased risk of death from all causes following conjugal bereavement, the so-called ‘widowhood effect’, is well documented ( 14 , 15 ). Similarly, relative to married adults, separated or divorced adults evidence substantially increased risk for death from multiple disease processes. Figure 1 displays the results from a large meta-analysis (including studies that assessed over 6.5 million people, 160,000 deaths, and 755,000 divorces from 11 different countries) examining the association between divorce and all-cause mortality ( 16 ). As shown, on average, separated/divorced adults were 23% more likely to have died at the successive follow-up period (in the 32 prospective studies included in the meta-analysis) relative to their married counterparts. In addition, divorced men were significantly more likely to die early than were divorced women. These findings were subsequently replicated in a sample of 600 million adults ( 17 ). In the remainder of this review, I break down the epidemiological association between divorce and death by discussing research relevant to the question of who is at the greatest risk for poor health when marriage comes to an end and why. 1 In doing so, this article provides a selective review of the literature on the health consequences of separation and divorce, especially the topics of individual differences and potential mechanisms of change. An interesting feature of the work in this area is that although the average effect linking divorce with risk for early mortality suggests elevated risk, the modal effect is one of psychosocial resilience (cf. 18 ) and the bulk of the risk for poor outcomes appears to be limited to a sub-set of adults. Before addressing these topics in detail, I consider two orienting questions. Why is the study of divorce and health important for psychosomatic medicine? What is the organizing theory behind this work?

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Object name is nihms657406f1.jpg

Reproduced from Sbarra et al.( 16 ). Forest plot illustrating the raw risk hazard (RH) statistic and associated 95% confidence interval for each study in the meta-analysis. The RH statistic quantifies risk for early death among separated/divorced relative to married adults in each study; the estimates are displayed according to their proportional (inverse variance) weighting in the random effects meta-analysis. Results from the overall meta-analysis are presented in the final row of the table, and the overall meta-analytic effect is illustrated by the diamond marker.

Relevance for Psychosomatic Medicine and Organizing Theory

As a field, psychosomatic medicine seeks integrative approaches to human disease processes, including an understanding of how social factors are associated with health-relevant physiology. (For distinctions between social psychophysiology, health psychology and psychosomatic medicine, see 19 .) As I have written elsewhere, the study of divorce provides an ideal “model system” for understanding how these processes may unfold ( 20 ), and there are several compelling reasons why studying divorce is an excellent means of studying stress and health more generally. First, marital dissolution remains relatively common, with roughly 40% of first marriages ending in divorce ( 21 ); up to 75% of people who end a first marriage will remarry, and the divorce rate of second marriages is considerably higher than first marriages. Thus, in absolute terms, more than 2 million adults are newly affected by marital separation each year .

Second, for the vast majority of these people, even for people who report relatively transient disturbances in psychological wellbeing, the transition out of marriage constitutes a significant life stress ( 18 , 22 , 23 ). In the original Social Readjustment Rating Scale ( 24 ), for example, divorce was rated as the second most stressful experience a person could have, sandwiched between the death of a spouse and a jail term among the top of the list. It is easy to see why this is the case. For many people, marital separation means substantial financial upheaval, the renegotiation of parenting relationships and co-parenting conflict, changes in friendships and social networks, moving locally or relocating cities, as well as a host of psychological challenges, including re-organizing one’s fundamental sense of self: Who am I without my partner?

Third, and most critically, although each of these challenges present numerous interpersonal and logistical obstacles, most people are psychologically resilient in the face of divorce ( 25 ). A large, prospective study of German adults, for example, demonstrated that the vast majority, nearly 72% of over 600 divorces, could be considered to have a resilient outcome, with little self-reported change in life satisfaction across a 9-year period that included the divorce ( 26 ). In contrast, 19% of people in the sample demonstrated what the authors referred to as a “moderate-decreasing” trajectory, with declines in life satisfaction that precede and follow the divorce year, but also seem to level off in the mid-range of overall functioning. Similarly, a recent study of adults who divorced after 25 years of marriage found that 79% of people could be described as either “average copers” (with average levels of life satisfaction and self-reported health, and little depression) or “resilient” (with high levels of life satisfaction and self-reported health, and the lowest levels of depression) ( 27 ). These studies and the broader literature on resilience following divorce ( 28 ) illustrate a key point: Most people fare well, but some people suffer quite a lot. Who are the people at greatest risk for poor outcomes? What mechanisms explain their declines in wellbeing and, potentially, physical health?

Taken together, these three observations—that divorce is common, highly stressful for many people, but also quite variable in terms of distal outcomes—make the study of marital dissolution ideally suited to informing our understanding of stress and health more generally. In addition, social baseline theory ( 29 ) and attachment theory ( 30 , 31 ) provide excellent frameworks for understanding the importance of close relationships in promoting psychological wellbeing and physical health. These theories can be used to derive specific hypotheses about the consequences of separation or loss (e.g., see 32 , 33 ). Social baseline theory proposes that the presence of other people, especially close others, helps guide the way people perceive threat in the environment; social embeddedness represents the default—or, baseline— state for emotion regulation, largely because this state allows for the sharing and conserving of physiologically “costly” metabolic resources for dealing with environmental challenges ( 29 ). Holding the hand of one’s partner (especially a partner in a high quality relationship), for example, attenuates women’s neural response to threat relative to being alone or to holding the hand of a stranger ( 34 ).

The obvious implication of this work is that transitioning out of a relationship means that people shoulder the burden of moving from their innate, prepared baseline state for dealing with task demands to – quite literally at times – an “alone condition” in which emotional challenges require greater physiological effort and output. This perspective is consistent with the ideas outlined by Sbarra and Hazan ( 32 ), who suggested that one function of normative attachment to another person is coregulation—the dyadic maintenance of physiological homeostasis within an intact relationship (cf. 35 , 36 ), and that the loss of coregulation portends a physiological stress response.

Attachment theory provides an excellent vantage point for understanding why the challenges of the so-called alone condition may be especially difficult for some people after divorce ( 37 ). One of the most robust and well-replicated findings in the literature on social separations is that individual differences in attachment styles, which are presumed to be relatively stable person variables ( 38 ), are associated with divorce adjustment ( 39 ) and moderate the ways in which people respond to non-marital breakups ( 40 ). Attachment styles reflect how individuals view themselves and others in close relationships and play a critical role in regulating the experience of felt security ( 37 ). In the face of real or perceived threats to felt security, when the primary strategy of attachment figure proximity seeking is not a viable option, people high in attachment anxiety and avoidance engage in different secondary strategies to regulate distress—essentially, two different emotion regulation strategies. People high in attachment anxiety often engage in hyper activating strategies , including repetitive efforts to feel close to, or reunite with, the attachment figure that render the system chronically activated. In contrast, highly avoidant individuals tend to engage in deactivating strategies by becoming hyper self-reliant and down-regulating the attachment system to minimize their distress. Hyper activating strategies, in particular, have clear health-relevant physiological correlates ( 41 – 46 ). Thus, attachment theory is highly generative for not only understanding who may be at greatest risk for poor outcomes when relationships end, but also for understanding the mechanisms that may explain these outcomes (a point to which I return below).

Studying Moderators to Understand Mechanisms

When attempting to deconstruct the association between marital separation/divorce and distal health outcomes, two of the observations I outlined above stand in opposition. How is it possible that most people are resilient in the face of divorce but that divorce also carries with it a significant risk for early death? Consider this oft-asked question by a divorced adult who becomes aware of these findings: “Even though I am actually happier now than I was prior to my divorce, are you also saying my health is at risk?” One critical detail to remember about meta-analysis is that this statistical approach deals, for the most part, with an arithmetic average of weighted effect sizes. Statistical averages are highly susceptible to the influence of outliers; thus, if some people suffer much more than others when marriage ends, it is entirely possible for an average effect to suggest that exposure to divorce is associated with poor outcomes while the modal response is a fairly quick return to life as normal.

Thus, in the study of divorce and health, it appears that individual differences moderate many of the outcomes of interest, and that a relatively small percentage of adults – perhaps 10 to 15% – fare quite poorly when their marriage comes to an end. Recent research provides evidence to support this assertion. Using two waves of data from the nationally-representative Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, Sbarra, Emery, Beam, and Ocker ( 47 ) compared rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) among people who were married at the first wave of the study and then divorced at the second wave relative to those people who were continuously married at both assessments. As shown in Figure 2 , the effects of divorce on the probability of depression depend almost entirely on adults’ history of MDD at the first MIDUS assessment. For people without a history of MDD , the experience of marital separation and divorce do not significantly elevate risk for a future depressive episode. In contrast, roughly 6 out of 10 people with a history of MDD who also become divorced will experience a subsequent depressive episode. In the U.S. population, the lifetime prevalence of MDD is roughly 17% ( 48 ); the rates observed by Sbarra et al. (2013) for people with a history of MDD who experience divorce are substantially elevated. This effect fits well with classic diathesis-stress models of psychopathology ( 49 ). After divorce, risk of poor mental health outcomes appears limited to people who have struggled prior to the end of marriage.

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Reproduced from Sbarra et al. ( 47 ). Probability for a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the second wave of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Study (M2) as a function of participants’ marital status and depression at the first MIDUS assessment (M1). The greatest risk for a MDE was observed among people who experienced a separation/divorce between M1 and M2 and who also experienced a MDE at M1.

We have also shown that a similar type of moderating effect is observed in the study of divorce and mortality. Specifically, it appears that the association between divorce and risk for early death depends on how researchers define a person’s marital biography (i.e., their personal history of moving into and out of marriage). Using data from the Charleston Heart Study that followed over 1600 adults across 40 years, Sbarra and Nietert ( 50 ) examined the association between marital status and risk for death from all causes. The risk associated with divorce varied quite substantially depending on whether a person was divorced at the inception of the study or whether they had reported being divorced at some point during the study. The former group—people who divorced and never re-married—were at substantially elevated risk for early death, evidencing a 66% greater chance of being dead at each successive follow-up period than the continuously married participants. In contrast, mere exposure to divorce was not associated with significantly elevated risk for early death. This finding raises a series of interesting questions: Does the amount of time spent living as a divorced/single adult explain the observed outcomes, perhaps as a function of cumulative exposure to psychological stress? Alternatively, are there personality or other individual differences that are common to both becoming divorced and never remarrying as well as increased risk for early death? Regardless of the ultimate explanation, questions of this nature are focused squarely on individual differences that may confer risk and suggest that a smaller percentage of people may carry the bulk of the risk for poor outcomes following the end of marriage.

In terms of psychological characteristics associated with adjustment to divorce, it is well known that individual differences in attachment anxiety, as mentioned above, are associated with poor outcomes when people perceive a threat to their relationship and/or their security within the relationship. In a study of adults’ adjustment to marital separation, for example, Lee, Sbarra, Mason, and Law ( 51 ) used language as a behavioral manifestation of attachment-related hyper activation. People higher in attachment anxiety who spoke about their separation experience in a highly immediate, experiential and self-focused manner demonstrated greater increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure when thinking about their relationship history and separation experience relative to those people lower in attachment anxiety. People at high risk for poor outcomes following marital separation appear to employ coping strategies that are associated with a high degree of physiological activation and this study, focused on blood pressure reactivity, provides an example of the ways in which emotion regulation strategies around attachment themes can provide insights into processes that confer risk for poor distal health outcomes.

The findings discussed above provide clues about the potential mechanisms linking marital separation to poor health outcomes. People who have a hard time distancing themselves from their psychological experiences show excessive cardiovascular responding, which, if maintained over time, is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease ( 52 ). Conceptually, this work fits well with the larger literature on self-distanced reflection and evidence indicating that people who recount their experiences in a blow-by-blow manner rather than reconstrue their experiences to find meaning, are at heightened risk for mood disorders (e.g., 53 )

The process of psychological distancing may be especially difficult for some people and in some contexts. For example, a recent study found that separated adults who reported a high degree of rumination, the tendency to reflect over one’s experiences in a negative, self-focused, and over-general way ( 54 ), reported increases in separation-related emotional distress three months after engaging in a three session expressive writing intervention that encouraged them to express their emotions about the separation event ( 55 ). When assigned to control writing, which asked them to write in a concrete, non-emotional way about how they had spent and would spend their time in the next few days, however, high ruminators reported the lowest levels of separation-related emotional distress eight months later compared to people low in rumination assigned to either condition. For people with a tendency to ruminate and who are in the throes of coping with their separation, engaging in emotional writing may be an ill-advised prescription because it promotes recounting and self-focused reflection. In this circumstance, control writing may operate in a manner similar to behavioral activation treatment for mood disorders by focusing people on re-engaging with pleasurable activities and, colloquially, getting out of their heads about their separation and back into their day-to-day lives.

Proximal Psychosocial Mechanisms

We have suggested that the ability to gain a self-distanced perspective on one’s separation may be a variable linking the end of marriage to health, but it is certainly not the only mechanistic pathway. Chronic psychological stress has health-compromising effects ( 56 – 60 ), and any efforts to understand pathways of action must consider divorce-specific variables above-and-beyond general psychological stress and loneliness. I would like to suggest three additional variables (two psychological and one health behavior) that deserve further consideration in this regard. Some of the earliest immunological work on divorce focused on attachment to/longing for an ex-partner ( 61 ). This research found that ongoing attachment to an ex-spouse was associated with impairments in cellular immune responses (e.g., antibody titers to latent herpes virus) and remains one of the only investigations of the ways in which psychological responses to marital separation may be associated with health-relevant immunological changes. The field needs much more research in this vein; simply studying physiology as a marker of health relevance is not enough, and a number of researchers have called for the need to investigate biologically plausible pathways from life stress to disease outcomes ( 62 ).

Beyond self-distanced reflection and longing, other variables and processes may serve as potential proximal mechanisms leading to health-relevant biological changes. In a prospective study of breakups following non-marital dissolution ( 63 ), improvements in self-concept clarity (knowing who you are as a person after a separation) earlier in the study were associated with future increases in future psychological wellbeing. There was no evidence in this study that people begin to feel better, and then have a greater sense of who they are in the aftermath of their breakup; the direction of the effect seems to operate from self-concept clarity to psychological wellbeing. Self-concept clarity was a key variable in the early empirical study of divorce ( 23 ), yet no studies to date have examined this variable with respect to biomarkers of interest.

Finally, given well-known theories regarding the social control of health ( 64 ), it is also important to investigate whether and how the end of marriage is associated with changes in health-promoting and/or health-compromising behaviors. Sleep is a salubrious health behavior that affects nearly every aspect of psychological functioning, and sleep problems are linked to a variety of physical morbidities. With respect to divorce outcomes, a recent study demonstrated that sleep problems within the first 10 weeks following marital separation were unassociated with adults’ resting blood pressure ( 65 ); ongoing sleep problems lasting longer than 10 weeks after the separation, however, were associated with future increases in resting blood pressure. This work suggests that sleep problems that extend beyond a few months after the physical separation may presage worsening physical health. Sleep is one of many health-promoting and/or - compromising behaviors that could link divorce to pathophysiology, and future research will benefit by studying how psychological responses to divorce work in tandem with changes in health behaviors to predict long-term outcomes (see 16 ).

Future Directions and Conclusions

This review concludes by highlighting three areas of study that can greatly enhance what we know about social relationships and health, and, in particular, the associations between marital separation, divorce, and health outcomes.

First, the observation that changes in marital status (or the dissolution of any partnership, for that matter) might be associated with long-term disease outcomes has spurred a wealth of excitement in the field and a fervent search for explanatory mechanisms. However, divorce is non-random, and it is not yet known whether the alleged health consequences of divorce follow from the end of marriage (social causation) or exist as a function of third-variable processes that also operate to select people out of marriage (social selection). In this respect, the study of divorce and health may be a bit ahead of itself; at this point, it would be ideal to begin asking basic questions about the putatively causal effect of divorce on subsequent health outcomes. The field of behavior genetics provides an excellent method for studying this issue directly ( 66 ). To truly separate selection from causation explanations, it will be critical at some point in the near future to conduct co-twin controlled research in which monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs who are discordant for divorce are compared in terms of their health outcomes. (For an excellent example of this approach, see 67 .) Genetic influences on depression, hostility, or substance abuse, for example, may explain elevated risk for poor outcomes following the end of marriage (cf. 68 ). Hypothetically, if the death rate of the MZ twins exposed to divorce exceeds that of their co-twin and is substantially larger than the death rate differences observed in DZ twins, this would suggest that the end of marriage exerts a causal influence on the outcome in question. All of the variables and processes described in this paper may be related to health outcomes of interest, but until co-twin studies are completed, it would be premature to suggest the health relevant changes are a consequence of the end of marriage itself.

Second, one of the more glaring omissions in the study of divorce and health is that the work in this area focuses largely – almost exclusively – on individual differences in psychological responses to the end of marriage and how variables tapping intrapersonal psychological functioning are related to health-relevant outcomes ( 69 ). We have learned a great deal about adults’ subjective responses to divorce, but we know very little about how social behaviors change after a relationship ends, and the types of interpersonal changes that may promote good outcomes. How much time do people spend alone? How much time do they talk about their ex-spouse and divorce? How much time fighting with their ex- is a lot of fighting? And, perhaps most importantly, are any of these daily behaviors associated with adults’ health outcomes? One tool for studying these questions a bit more precisely is the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR; 70 ). The EAR is a reliable and valid naturalistic observation tool that periodically records snippets of sounds from participants’ momentary environments ( 71 – 77 ). The EAR operates through application software running on the mobile operating system iOS (commonly referred to as “an app” for the iPhone or iTouch devices); participants in the study wear an iTouch device with the EAR installed during their waking hours for an entire weekend. The sampled sounds, which are collected at 30 second intervals every 12 minutes (roughly 5% of the time between 0600 and 1159 each day), are then coded for aspects of participants’ social interactions that are expected to play a critical role in their adjustment to divorce. Currently, ongoing research with divorced adults who wear the EAR is beginning to yield new insights into how people spend their time, with whom they associate, and the topics of their conversations following their recent marital separation. Supplemental Digital Content 1 provides an example of a transcript for a single EAR file recording from one of the study participants (the woman).

From the transcript, it is immediately obvious that you cannot capture this type of rich social interaction from self-report data, nor can laboratory interactions’ assessments of interpersonal behaviors provide as detailed a picture of how social processes unfold in their natural environment. Each audio file is coded by multiple judges who rate the presence or absence of many different specific behaviors (e.g., whether the person is alone or with others; whether the topic of discussion is divorce-related or not) and affective states (e.g., the presence of negative affect or the absence of negative affect), which, when summarized across multiple recordings, yields a quantitative picture (in the form of a percentage of time, for example, the participant was alone on a given EAR weekend—i.e., 32% of all sound files) that can be used in empirical analyses (see 72 , 75 ). The EAR has the potential to reshape our understanding of how people cope with stressful life events, and it will be critical for future studies to compare and contrast what people say they do and what they actually do (to cope with their separation) on a day-to-day basis (e.g., 78 ).

Finally, the field needs better interventions for separated and divorcing adults. In general, the study of social relationships and health lacks clinical trials demonstrating that changes in social functioning are associated with changes in health ( 79 ). Despite the fact that over two million adults face divorce each year and that 10–15% of these people suffer considerable emotional distress, no easily administered and few empirically-validated interventions exist that are specific to this population (see 80 ). One intriguing place to begin would be to expand the control (time use) writing condition, which Sbarra and colleagues ( 55 ) found led to the greatest improvement for people who reported a strong tendency toward psychological rumination, especially the style of self-reflection known as brooding. Conceptually, several lines of work are consistent with the potential value of time use writing for ruminators/brooders. The brooding component of psychological rumination is an abstract and negative form of self-reflection that is concurrently and prospectively associated with mood disturbances (e.g., Why me? ). Nolen-Hoeksema and colleagues found that for dysphoric adults, self-focused (relative to self-distanced) reflection causes people to have more negative feelings and cognitions, and that distraction yields mood improvements for these same people ( 54 ). Self-distanced reflection, the ability to reason about one’s experience in a manner that is not egocentric (i.e., self-immersed), is a key variable for promoting positive adjustment to difficult experiences and for mitigating the psychological toll of depressive states ( 53 , 81 ). Asking high ruminators to reflect over how they spent their time and how they will spend their time in a highly objective and concrete way may promote self-distancing and counteract tendencies toward self-immersion, which maintains distress over time.

Behavioral activation is a well-established treatment for major depression ( 82 ), and it is possible that the control writing instructions activate divorcing adults, especially those at risk for poor outcomes, in a way that helps them re-engage in their daily lives without focusing on the emotional pain of their loss. In situations that are defined primarily by how people deal with feelings of regret, shame, loss, and self-identity disruption, concentrating on what you do with your time may provide the precise antidote necessary to gain psychological distance from painful emotional thoughts.

Other intervention strategies may also be useful following the end of marriage, but the essential task for building treatments that work is identifying targets of interest. For example, one of the main divorce intervention studies focuses on forgiveness ( 80 , 83 ), and it may be useful to expand this work to integrate the topic of self-compassion, which correlational research shows is associated with positive outcomes after marital separation ( 84 ). Many separating and divorcing adults experience profound loneliness ( 85 ), and interventions designed to target loneliness may prove useful in time ( 86 ). Finally, other intervention strategies may be adopted to target people who have difficulty “letting go” of their separation experience. For example, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; 87 ) provides many tools and methods for helping people become more mindful about and accepting of painful thoughts. As a treatment modality, ACT may be ideally suited for people who are at risk for poor outcomes following divorce. One important question for all future intervention research in this area concerns the magnitude of the dosing that is required to effect positive change. Are three days of self-distanced writing too little to bring about positive outcomes? Alternatively, can we observe improvements in divorce-related recovery by modifying empirically-supported treatments like ACT without requiring that people participate in a full-course of ACT therapy?

Many of our most deeply felt emotions are expressed in the context of close relationships, and relationship stress or loss can be profoundly difficult for some people. This paper reviewed what is known about the association between marital dissolution and health, with a focus on the individual difference variables that place some people at risk for poor outcomes, as well as the potential mechanisms that may explain this risk. I also detailed three important areas for further study: genetically-informed designs that can answer questions about social causation/social selection, the use and potential of naturalistic observational methods for understanding the daily social lives of separated adults, and the need for improved intervention research that targets adults who are at high risk for poor outcomes. Research addressing these questions will move the field forward in a number of ways and inform not only the understanding of divorce and health, but also the study of attachment, stress and coping more generally.

Supplementary Material

Supplemental data file _.doc_ .xls_ .jpg etc._, acknowledgments.

The research reported in this paper was funded in part by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD#069498), the National Institute of Mental Health (MH#074637), and the National Institute on Aging (AG#028454 and AG#036895).

Portions of this paper were presented at the 2014 meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society as part of the author’s Herbert Weiner Early Career Award address.

No conflicts of interests to declare.

1 For simplicity, we refer to separated and divorced adults as divorced throughout this proposal. When distinctions between marital separation and legal divorce are meaningful, we use more precise terminology.

Three Main Causes of Divorce Essay

The life of married couples all over the world involves numerous positive and negative events. Even though people can be sincere when speaking their wedding vows, divorce does not belong to extraordinary events since many factors are affecting the health of marital relationships. Classifying the causes of divorce can be difficult since they are unique in every single case, and not all couples state them explicitly. However, based on the character of events preceding the divorce, it is possible to single out three categories of causes such as domestic abuse, infidelity, and other types of disappointed expectations.

It often happens that divorces occur due to spouses’ bad relationships and infidelity. The first category of reasons to file for divorce includes a large number of cases related to infidelity. Although many couples that would like to obtain a divorce due to one or both sides’ infidelity prefer to keep it out of the public eye, breakups related to this category are quite common. Divorces that are fully or partially caused by marital unfaithfulness can be divided into numerous sub-categories. For instance, they can take place due to one or both spouses’ extramarital affairs. Also, it is possible to single out some subcategories based on the character of adulterous affairs, be it one-night sexual encounters, long-term extramarital relationships, or even having “secret” children.

Apart from the violations of oaths related to fidelity, divorces can be caused by several situations referring to abuse and violence in relationships. Thus, the second group of causes explaining people’s willingness to get divorced refers to numerous circumstances dealing with domestic violence and abuse. In modern society, the perceptions of individuals who experience abuse sometimes involve victim-blaming and other harmful tendencies.

With that in mind, it is valid to say that some people filing for divorce due to their spouses’ violence want to keep the situation a secret if it does not involve danger to health or life. This category is comprised of a large number of sub-categories referring to different forms of violence. Speaking about the most common of them, it is necessary to list such aspects of domestic violence as physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse (marital rape).

The next category of reasons for divorce is quite broad and refers to the conflict of reality vs expectation as it relates to family life. The so-called “unmet expectations” can be called a separate category since particular causes that fall into it do not involve criminal or morally condemnable acts as in the case with the previous categories. Concerning the sub-categories and examples, spouses can fail to meet each other’s expectations in a variety of ways. In some situations, even people’s appearance can become a point of dispute. For instance, one spouse’s weight issues or aesthetic problems after pregnancy, illnesses, or traumas can sometimes contribute to problems in relationships and lead to divorce.

Similar causes in this category include one person’s financial struggles or issues with career development that cause another side’s discontent. Finally, there is a sub-category that can be referred to as poor interpersonal or sexual compatibility. It involves irreconcilable differences in people’s personality traits, tastes, needs, and views on sexual life that lead to frequent conflicts and can result in divorce.

To sum up, the known causes of divorce can be divided into three categories such as infidelity, domestic violence, and unmet expectations. Also, each of these categories has at least three subcategories referring to specific circumstances that present the bone of contention. Among them are different types of conjugal infidelity based on the length of relationships and the key forms of domestic abuse. The third category related to expectations includes the causes for divorce based on unwanted changes in appearance, financial/career difficulties, and spouses’ incompatibility in terms of personality and sex life.

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Seth Meyers Psy.D.

How Financial Problems & Stress Cause Divorce

Financial issues can destroy your relationship if you're not careful..

Posted December 6, 2012

You’ve probably heard that money problems are one the most significant factors that can lead to divorce . Without doubt, differences in money management styles between two partners can ruin a marriage . In fact, you don’t even need to be married to fall victim to the powerful influence money problems can have on a relationship. You could have been cohabitating for years or have recently begun dating someone, but everyone’s relationship with money is quickly transparent. If you tend to be a little reckless with your money or a negligent financial planner, it is going to negatively affect your partner and the overall longevity of your relationship.

There’s no complicated algorithm to determine whether you are a bad money manager – there are simple signs that flash like neon lights in all the corners of your life.

• You are almost always worried about money.

• You have credit card debt even though you make a decent salary.

• You have a penchant for expensive things.

• You have at least one loan beyond a mortgage or a school loan.

• You have an expensive car but don’t yet own a home or condominium.

• Someone you love (probably your partner) has repeatedly expressed concern about the way you handle money.

If you have problems managing your money, you and your partner probably argue frequently about money. Added to this, a struggling economy only makes things worse. If you know that money management is a true problem, you must confront the issue head on immediately.

There are several behaviors you can engage in to improve your money management skills. First, take yourself to a local bookstore or search online for books that specifically focus on this subject. Second, it’s time to have a discussion with your partner and for you to make a vow to change your relationship with money. Third, create what I call a Financial Performance Improvement Plan. In this plan, identify two or three specific money problems, create a solution for each, and come up with a deadline by which the problems will be resolved. Again, be specific.

The final suggestion I have for handling money management problems in your relationship is to talk to other couples in your social circle about how they handle the same issues. I refer to this process as conducting interviews, because you essentially want to get answers and ideas from others that you can possibly apply to your own life and improve your circumstances as a result.

With true commitment and time spent making some changes, you can absolutely improve your money management skills and protect the longevity of your relationships all at once.

Feel free to check out my book on relationships, Overcome Relationship Repitition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve, or follow me on Twitter!

Seth Meyers Psy.D.

Seth Meyers, Psy.D. , is a licensed clinical psychologist, TV guest expert, author, and relationship expert.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, how to write a college essay about divorced parents.

Hi all, my parents recently got divorced and it's had a big impact on my life. I want to write about it in my college essay, but I don't want it to sound too negative. Any advice on how to approach this topic and share my story in a meaningful way?

When writing a college essay about your parents' divorce, it's important to focus on personal growth and development rather than the negativity of the situation. Here are some tips to help you approach this topic in a meaningful way:

1. Focus on your growth: Highlight how the experience of your parents getting divorced has led to personal growth or development. Perhaps you learned valuable lessons about resilience, independence, or empathy from the situation. Show how these qualities have made you a stronger person and will benefit you in your future academic and personal pursuits.

2. Share a specific personal anecdote: Avoid talking about your parents' divorce in general terms. Instead, focus on a specific event or moment from your life that illustrates the impact of the divorce on you. This will make your essay more engaging and relatable to the reader.

3. Balance positivity and realism: While it's important not to dwell on the negative aspects of your parents' divorce, you also want to be honest about the challenges you faced. Try to strike a balance between acknowledging the adversity you've been through and emphasizing the positive growth or realizations that emerged from the situation.

4. Demonstrate self-awareness: Being introspective about how the experience has shaped you is crucial. Show that you have a deep understanding of your emotions, thoughts, and reactions throughout the process. This shows maturity and self-awareness, which are qualities that colleges value in their applicants.

5. Relate the experience to your goals: Explain how your parents' divorce and the lessons you learned from it have influenced your academic, career, or life goals. This will help the reader understand the significance of your story and see how it's relevant to your aspirations.

6. Proofread and revise: Finally, make sure to revise, proofread, and seek feedback from a trusted teacher, counselor, or mentor to ensure your essay is well-written and effectively conveys your message.

By focusing on your personal growth, sharing a specific anecdote, balancing positivity with realism, demonstrating self-awareness, and relating your experience to your goals, you can write a meaningful college essay about your parents' divorce that will resonate with admissions officers.

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

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The Morning

A new rent-versus-buy calculator.

Does it make sense for you to buy a home right now?

A graphic showing sliding scales for Home Price and Monthly Rent

By David Leonhardt

It is the biggest financial decision for many younger adults: Should I rent a home or buy one? The decision is especially difficult these days, with both interest rates and rents having risen in the past few years.

To help people understand the trade-offs, The Times has just relaunched its popular rent-versus-buy calculator . Even if you already own your home — or are a committed renter — you may enjoy playing with the calculator and learning a few things about the real estate market. I did.

The calculator, which The Times’s Upshot section built, has been updated in several important ways, including to take into account the 2017 tax law that affected the mortgage-interest deduction.

Ultimately, the calculator can’t tell you whether you should rent or buy. That decision depends on the future paths of home prices and rents, which are unknowable. It also depends on your life stage — a factor that too many people fail to consider when making this decision. If you know you will move again a few years from now, for instance, buying is almost certainly a mistake.

Here are a few other points that the calculator helps highlight:

1. It’s OK to rent

I know that many people feel guilty about renting — as if it’s an inherently inferior decision that wastes money. That’s wrong (as I explained on a recent “Daily” episode ). When house prices are high, as they are in most parts of the U.S., buying often wastes more money because of broker’s fees, mortgage interest, house repairs and other costs of owning.

“At this time, in the majority of circumstances, renting likely makes more economic sense than buying,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who has advised our work on the calculator over the years. He notes that the typical monthly mortgage is about $2,000 today, more than double what it was when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Rents have risen, too, but not nearly as much. And many new rental units are coming on the market, which should hold down rents in the near future. The new units include higher-end, multifamily developments, like a 15-story, 1,111-unit complex on South Broad Street in Philadelphia.

2. An overrated deduction

The 2017 tax law reduced the advantages of owning a home in a way that many people have not fully recognized, said my colleague Francesca Paris, who helped build the new calculator. Francesca, who’s a renter, told me that she herself didn’t understand this dynamic until she worked on the calculator.

First, a bit of background: Taxpayers must choose between taking one large deduction, known as the standard deduction, and a series of individual deductions, known as itemized deductions, like the one for mortgage interest. If the standard deduction is more valuable to you, the itemized deductions become irrelevant.

The 2017 tax law, which was Donald Trump’s main domestic legislation, was mostly a tax cut, and it increased the value of the standard deduction. But the law also effectively reduced the value of itemized deductions in states with high taxes, like California, Illinois and New York. (Doing so created an incentive for states to cut their own taxes, a longtime goal of conservatives.)

This combination means that many homeowners now save more money by taking the standard deduction rather than itemized deductions. For them, the mortgage-interest deduction has become irrelevant.

3. The break-even rate

The calculator allows you to see the break-even mortgage rate that would make buying or renting more affordable (if the economy followed an expected path). In many situations, that break-even rate is between 4 percent and 5 percent, Francesca noted.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 7 percent today, up from less than 3 percent in early 2021 — which is a big reason that renting is often the smarter choice now.

4. When to buy

Buying will still make sense for some families. Home prices in large parts of the country — including New Orleans, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, upstate New York — are more reasonable. And even in expensive markets, families that are confident that they are going to remain in the same home for a decade or longer may prefer to own even if doing so costs extra.

For people tempted to buy, Zandi encourages looking at new construction. Prices of older homes haven’t fallen much as mortgage rates have risen, because owners can simply decide not to sell if they don’t get an offer they like. Developers are more likely to cut a deal. They lose money when homes sit empty, and many have cut the price of newly built homes, as the financial writer Wolf Richter has noted .

Use the calculator to explore these dynamics. As the housing market changes, you can check back to see how your calculations change.

Related: An “assumable mortgage,” which allows a buyer to take over a seller’s mortgage, is becoming more popular in this era of high interest rates.


Election polls.

Trump leads President Biden in five battleground states, and Gaza and the economy have hurt Biden among young and nonwhite voters, polls found .

Democrats lead their Republican rivals for the Senate in Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — races that could decide control of the chamber.

The polls show a pattern of people splitting tickets. That might be good news for Biden: Voters haven’t abandoned him in full , Nate Cohn writes.

Israel-Hamas War

Israel has not offered a plan to govern Gaza after the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned yesterday that without such a plan, it’s likely Hamas would eventually regain power .

For years, a secret police force overseen by Hamas has spied on Palestinians , according to a Times investigation.

U.S. officials said that Yahya Sinwar, the top Hamas leader, was not hiding in Rafah , in southern Gaza. The intelligence could undercut Israel’s rationale for a major operation there.

In the past week, the flow of aid into Gaza has almost entirely stopped, according to the U.N.

Israel is observing Memorial Day , an annual commemoration that has taken on greater significance after the Hamas-led attacks.

Campus Protests

Dozens of graduates walked out of Duke University’s commencement ceremony before a speech by Jerry Seinfeld, who has vocally supported Israel.

Many students, distrustful of major U.S. outlets, are reading the Arab news network Al Jazeera .

War in Ukraine

Russian forces have poured across Ukraine’s northeastern border , capturing villages and settlements.

Vladimir Putin replaced the defense minister who had led Russia’s military since the start of the war. The new defense chief is an economist.

More International News

About 130 children had a sleepover at Rome’s opera house , part of a campaign to make theater more accessible.

Spain’s governing Socialists won the most votes in Catalonia’s elections , a result that might lead to the first anti-independence government there in over a decade.

Ahead of elections in Mexico, cartels and criminals have killed more than two dozen candidates , The Washington Post reports.

Other Big Stories

On Instagram, a children’s jewelry ad drew solicitations for sex with a 5-year-old, a Times report found . The investigation suggests that the app’s algorithms play an important role in directing men to photos of children.

The former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen once called himself Trump’s “designated thug.” Today, he is set to testify against the former president. Read what to expect .

A man died two months after he became the first person to receive a kidney from a genetically modified pig. The hospital said it had “no indication” his death was related to the transplant.

Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin are under an air quality alert because of wildfire smoke from Canada.

Federal law today discriminates against disabled people who marry or work , Pepper Stetler writes. Congress can fix the problem.

Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss commencement season and Trump’s hush-money trial .

Here are columns by David French on becoming a grandfather , and Maureen Dowd on Stormy Daniels and Trump .


Small cars, small drivers: Go inside the intense competition to represent New York City at the international soapbox derby championship.

Ask Vanessa: “Should I get rid of my clothes after a divorce?”

Punctuation: A town in England dropped apostrophes from its street signs. Some residents aren’t happy .

McHaters: “Super Size Me,” a documentary released 20 years ago, led to a backlash against McDonald’s. It didn’t stick .

Metropolitan Diary: St. Patrick’s Day, ’78 .

Lives Lived: Roger Corman was a prolific director and producer of low-budget cinema who helped start the careers of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. He died at 98 .

N.B.A.: The Denver Nuggets defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves , 115-107, to even their series at 2-2. Indiana and New York are also tied at 2-2 after the Pacers blew out the Knicks, 121-89.

N.H.L.: The Florida Panthers outlasted the Boston Bruins , 3-2, to take a 3-1 series lead. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New York Rangers , 4-3, but the Rangers are ahead in the series, 3-1. And the Dallas Stars held off the Colorado Avalanche to win 4-1, moving 2-1 ahead in the series.

College softball: For the first time in years, the Oklahoma Sooners are not the No. 1 seed in the N.C.A.A. softball tournament — their longtime rival, Texas, claimed the top spot .


As psychedelics show promise in the treatment of depression and addiction, a number of organizations that describe themselves as churches are offering the compounds to followers. It’s a wide field: Some organizations merely sell psychoactive drugs online, while others are congregations that hold regular worship services .

More on culture

The actress Anya Taylor-Joy is in “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” She said, “I’ve never been more alone than making that movie.”

The Cannes Film Festival begins tomorrow. Read five things to watch for , including Sebastian Stan as a young Trump in “The Apprentice.”

People are buying 18th-century re-enactment clothing online.

Prom dresses today are more refined than shimmering taffeta. Social media has made style among age groups more fluid, Hilary George-Parkin writes in The Atlantic .


Bake a delicious meatloaf with a tangy tomato glaze.

Solve your mouse problem .

Pick the best frozen pizza .

Take our news quiz .

Here is today’s Spelling Bee . Yesterday’s pangrams were clementine and inclement .

And here are today’s Mini Crossword , Wordle , Sudoku , Connections and Strands .

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox . Reach our team at [email protected] .

David Leonhardt runs The Morning , The Times’s flagship daily newsletter. Since joining The Times in 1999, he has been an economics columnist, opinion columnist, head of the Washington bureau and founding editor of the Upshot section, among other roles. More about David Leonhardt


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  1. Divorce, Its Causes, Effects, and Solutions

    Divorce has several factors behind it and to many it can have alternate definitions. Personally I think divorce is rather simple to understand if you take the literal definition of separation. To each, their own, when defining definition because for some it is a gateway to peace and for others it is a wall to the bridge to true happiness ...

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  7. Causes and Effects of Divorce

    Divorce is very common in the modern society due to the above mentioned reasons. However, if all attempts to save a relationship fail it is better for a person to divorce and get rid of a risky marriage than waste their lives in them. Works Cited. Stewart, Alison. Divorce: Causes and Consequences (Current Perspectives in Psychology). New Haven ...

  8. A 20-year prospective study of marital separation and divorce in

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    Separation. Family. It is much easier to find out information about divorce than it is separation. Divorce greatly increased after the 1969 Divorce Reform Act. This legislation made getting a divorce much easier and took away the need to prove that someone was at fault. It also made it equally easy for a woman to obtain a divorce as a man.

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    As such, Denmark offers a unique context in which to study whether sociodemographic and divorce-related factors predict post-divorce mental and physical health. Based on the above, the current study sought to investigate mental and physical health among recently divorced Danes using a well-known, comprehensive, and population-normed mental and ...

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    Research published by sociologist Lisa Strohschein showed that, even before marital breakup, children whose parents later divorce exhibit higher levels of anxiety, depression, and antisocial ...

  18. Divorce and Health: Current Trends and Future Directions

    As shown, on average, separated/divorced adults were 23% more likely to have died at the successive follow-up period (in the 32 prospective studies included in the meta-analysis) relative to their married counterparts. In addition, divorced men were significantly more likely to die early than were divorced women.

  19. Three Main Causes of Divorce

    To sum up, the known causes of divorce can be divided into three categories such as infidelity, domestic violence, and unmet expectations. Also, each of these categories has at least three subcategories referring to specific circumstances that present the bone of contention. Among them are different types of conjugal infidelity based on the ...

  20. How Financial Problems & Stress Cause Divorce

    Financial issues can destroy your relationship if you're not careful. Posted December 6, 2012. You've probably heard that money problems are one the most significant factors that can lead to ...

  21. How to write a college essay about divorced parents?

    Here are some tips to help you approach this topic in a meaningful way: 1. Focus on your growth: Highlight how the experience of your parents getting divorced has led to personal growth or development. Perhaps you learned valuable lessons about resilience, independence, or empathy from the situation. Show how these qualities have made you a ...

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