Divorce is known as the 2nd most traumatic experience in our life after the death of a loved one and there are lots of reasons why it happens. We don’t always see it coming and for some it is easier to navigate than others. 

There are so many different reasons that marriages come to an end. And every situation will be different too depending on the personalities, lifestyles and the individuals ability to manage stress. On one end we have conscious uncoupling – highlighted to us a few years ago by Gwyenth Paltrow – where couples separate pretty smoothly (on the surface at least). And then by stark contrast we have what I have termed ‘aggressively severing’ where there is huge amounts of conflict in the divorce (not always equally distributed).

  1. Adultery: Sometimes we don’t see this coming and the betrayal hits you like a freight train. For others they have suspicions about their partner for a while. Either way the destruction of trust is devastating to any relationship and very hard to rebuild once it is gone.
  1. Abuse: We are seeing a lot of breakups from toxic relationships since the pandemic and domestic abuse support lines saw an increase in calls of over 300%. Being a victim of abuse is never your fault and you are not to blame. However when an unhealthy relationship comes to an end it is important to get the support you need. It can take a while to rebuild self confidence and learn to trust again. The key is to learn to trust yourself to make better choices in the future and this becomes easier as you learn to spot the signs of abuse to prevent you from repeating the same patterns.
  1. Incompatibility: Sometimes the rose tinted glasses cloud our judgement and we fall in lust rather than love. When the honeymoon period is over we are left with someone who we just don’t connect with. For others it fizzles over time and by the time the kids leave home they are left gazing over the breakfast table at someone they no longer have anything in common with. Marriage therapy could help to get the sparkle back so don’t give up, but also know that sometimes good things fall apart so better things can come together. 
  1. Children: Having children totally shifts the relationship dynamic and can put pressure on the marriage as one partner feels left out or unable to cope with the new changes. Sometimes a difference in parenting styles can drive couples apart as they argue over the best way to bring up the kids. Give each other a break as more often than not you are both doing what you feel is best. Often we learn parenting styles from our parents and it isn’t a conscious choice. It can help to calmly discuss what you believe is most important and why and be open to listening to your partner too. Coming to a compromise and also agreeing to have each other’s backs in front of the kids is often a winning strategy. 
  1. Expectations: It is interesting that many couples spend a long time planning the details of the wedding but little time discussing their expectations of the marriage. It is often assumed that because they are in love that they are on the same page for life goals and how they want to live their lives. Also life events can change expectations too and when couples are not aligned this can cause cracks to appear. Talking it through and being prepared to compromise will enable you to get back on track. Although be careful not to make sacrifices that you live to regret. 
  1. Money: This is often a topic that causes disagreement and conflict in a marriage. Tensions can rise as money can impact lifestyles and security and this can be frightening as it causes a lot of uncertainty. Where couples have fundamentally different risk profiles to money this can be extremely tricky to navigate. It is always helpful to agree budgets in advance and to stick to them, especially around big events like Christmas where financial pressures can be difficult to manage.
  1. Lack of Communication: Ultimately good communication is essential for any successful relationship. Being able to openly talk to your partner about even the most difficult topics is going to enable you to navigate the challenges as they come up. Remember that your partner may have a different communication style to you – for example they may prefer to leave the room rather than raise their voice whereas you prefer to stay put and shout it out if needed until you find a resolution. Working together and being comfortable to air your different opinions respectfully with the common goal to find a fair resolution will keep your relationship on track. It’s easier said than done so make sure making up is fun too!

Whatever happens please know that divorce can be a chance to redesign your life just the way you want it. With the right help and support you can speed up the process and create a life you love!