Why Do People Get Divorced? 10 Reasons And Statistics

Updated April 30, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

High divorce rates persist in the United States, and according to the American Psychological Association, up to 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce. The rate is even higher for those who marry for a second time.  This article will learn about the top 10 reasons why people divorce in the U.S. and how they contribute to this widespread societal issue.

1. Personal differences and growing apart

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Divorce is all too common

One of the leading causes of divorce is simply having irreconcilable differences. Many reasons can fall into this particular category such as political alignment, religious differences, or everyday decisions. In some cases, compatibility issues can create resentment and frequent fighting. Too many disagreements, even small ones, can add up and potentially lead to a divorce.

2. Excessive arguing

Excessive arguing is one of the most common reasons for divorce. If married couples can't come to an agreement, and there is constant conflict and tension or an inability to resolve issues calmly and constructively, the chance of divorce rises. For many couples, frequent arguing causes persistent hostility, and the threat of conflict creates an uncomfortable living situation for both parties. These factors will inevitably result in a loss of a positive connection established earlier on in the relationship. 

3. Abuse and domestic violence

If arguing escalates to domestic abuse and violence, not only is it an acceptable reason for divorce and the final straw for many couples, but it is a crime as well. Domestic violence in a relationship is serious, and the issue does not typically resolve itself. Many people try to solve the problem, but it can keep recurring and become more intense over time. 

4. Getting married too young

While marriage does involve commitment, and it might seem like a person has found "the one," many couples are getting married at a very young age, sometimes right out of high school. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but over time, these couples may eventually find out that it was not the best decision. Statistics show that those who marry young are two to three times more likely to get divorced compared to the general population. 

Ilona Titova/EyeEm

Marriages between young people can be the result of an urgent need to settle down. However, not everyone plans far enough in advance, and many couples soon realize that they wished they had waited longer to tie the knot.  Moreover, people who get married after dating for just a short time may also become divorce statistics. This could be because they didn't take the time to learn about each other beforehand. In either situation, a lack of objectivity and rational-decision making may be to blame.

5. Substance use disorder

The risk of divorce rises significantly when one partner struggles with a substance use disorder such as addiction. Alcohol misuse, in particular, has been an interest for many researchers. According to studies, problems with drinking and drug use are predictors of marital dissolution. Substance misuse can also be linked to domestic violence in many cases.

6. Financial issues

While problems with finances may be a source for excessive arguing, around 30 percent of married couples who quarrel once a week about money and assets are more likely to separate. One of the most common divorce reasons in regards to finances involves spending habits. If an individual feels that their spouse spends money unwisely, this can increase the risk of divorce.  A loss of a personally-owned business and struggling with debt also accounts for many marital dissolutions because of its stress on couples and the family.

7. Having unrealistic expectations

Having expectations that are difficult or even impossible to meet can put a strain on your relationship. What you see as the "perfect" partner might be heavily influenced by outside forces like the media (such as romantic movies or TV shows), and while they might seem innocent, they may be destructive.

8. Impotence and infertility

Intimacy can affect many types of relationships, not just married couples. Still, it is documented that marital disharmony is a consequence of impotence. Moreover, some overlap has also been observed between patients experiencing sexual dysfunction and marital issues. While impotence refers to the inability to have sex, infertility is another related concern and can be equally straining on relationships. 

9. Infidelity

Being unfaithful consistently ranks high in lists of common divorce reasons. Still, it may be less problematic than some other reasons in this list like excessive arguing and domestic violence. Despite an affair, many couples can attend counseling and work past this issue. Nonetheless, cheating does create a trust issue that may be difficult to overcome. 

10. Lack of love and commitment

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Divorce is all too common

Although infidelity can potentially fall into this category, commitment issues do not always have to result in cheating on a spouse. Some couples may grow apart, for instance, or perhaps there was no love or commitment to begin with. People may get married for the wrong reasons such as financial gain or obtaining a spouse visa to stay in the country, for example. In other cases, a lack of commitment can mean that the marriage is too one-sided, and one partner might be unwilling to work on the relationship.

Discuss the option of divorce in online counseling

If you are experiencing any of these issues in your marriage and you want to file for divorce, consider consulting with a professional relationship counselor. Some couples may be hesitant to seek out counseling in an in-person setting. These clinical environments can sometimes make discussions about sensitive topics even more difficult. Internet-based therapeutic settings may put some individuals at ease when talking about marital issues. Online counseling may also be more convenient since appointment times are available day or night. 

A recent study demonstrated the effectiveness of online therapy, especially when coupled with videoconferencing technology. Researchers found that this form of couples counseling was just as effective as in-person therapy for improving relationship functioning. 


At Regain, licensed counselors and therapists trained to help people with marriage troubles are available online at your convenience. Understandably, some problems can be irreconcilable, but with improvements in communication and understanding, it is possible to salvage many marriages that are on the verge of divorce.

If there’s stress within your marriage, reach out to a counselor today

For Additional Help & Support With Your ConcernsThis website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started
This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.