- Divorce rates in the US are at an all-time low
- Everyone’s relationship is different, and so is every divorce
- Research has shown certain factors make a divorce more likely
- Don’t take the findings as a prediction for your own relationship
In 2015, the US divorce rate hit a 40-year low.
According to data from Bowling Green State University, there were 16.9 divorces for every 1,000 women that year.
To determine the factors that make divorce more likely and the effects — positive and negative — of ending your marriage, we dug into years of research on the predictors and consequences of marital dissolution. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most intriguing findings.
Keep in mind that all these studies offer general takeaways about modern relationships — no one can predict with 100% accuracy what will happen to yours.
Couples may be most likely to divorce in March and August.
2016 research from the University of Washington, presented at the American Sociological Association, found that March and August bring spikes in divorce filings.
The researchers say it’s meaningful that March and August follow holiday or vacation periods. In the paper, they suggest that holidays represent something like “optimism cycles” — we see them as a chance to start anew in our relationships, only to find that the same problems exist once they’re over.
The researchers also suspect that oftentimes our holiday experiences can be stressful and disappointing, laying bare the real issues in our marriage. As soon as they’re over, we’re ready to call it quits.
Married people who watch porn may be more likely to divorce.
A 2017 study, published in the Journal of Sex Research, found that married people who start watching pornography are about twice as likely to get divorced as those who don’t.
The study involved about 2,000 participants over the course of nearly a decade. It found that the effect was stronger for women, who were about three times as likely to get divorced if they started watching porn during the study period.
But, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out on Reason, it’s possible that taking up a porn habit may signal that something else is going wrong in your relationship. Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your sex life or maybe you and your partner aren’t communicating well.
In other words, it might not be the porn, per se, that’s causing marital problems. It might be a symptom of other underlying issues.
Couples who marry in their late 20s may be less likely to divorce.
Research led by Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah, found that contrary to a long-held belief, waiting longer to wed doesn’t necessarily predict a stronger marriage.
Instead, as Wolfinger wrote on the Institute for Family Studies blog in 2015, the best time to marry seems to be between the early 20s and early 30s. If you wait until you’re older than 32, your chances of divorce start to creep up (though they’re still not as high as if you get married in your teens).
As Wolfinger wrote, “For almost everyone, the late twenties seems to be the best time to tie the knot.”