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A divorce coach reveals the eight most common reasons married couples split up

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

On your wedding day, amid all the romance and love, the idea that you might one day split up from your partner seems absolutely crazy.

What could ever go so wrong that it couldn’t be fixed? What couldn’t your love overcome?

And yet, 42% of marriages end in divorce. All those separated couples likely never imagined they’d form part of that statistic – so what went wrong? Why do marriages not work out?

Sara Davison – The Divorce Coach – has helped hundreds of people through divorces and breakups, so she knows all there is to know about the ins and outs of relationship breakdowns – from why they happen to how to get through them.

Ahead, she breaks down the eight common reasons for splits that she sees pop up over and over again.

‘We are fluid beings and what we want out of relationship can change over the course of a marriage,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Especially if we’re sacrificing what we want and need for the sake of keeping a marriage together.

‘Relationships end for so many different reasons and each situation is unique.

‘Some fizzle out over a period of time as you slowly drift apart or stop communicating, whereas others come to an explosive conclusion, following a messy affair or betrayal. For some of us it comes as a complete surprise and is forced upon us. For others it is our decision and feels like the right thing to do is to walk away so that both of you can thrive.

‘As a Divorce Coach, I often find that the reasons can be traced back to the early stages of dating, when niggling doubts surfaced but were overlooked. Over time, these same issues are compounded and become intolerable when you face the fact that they are never going to change their ways.

‘While the reasons for a divorce are always unique, here are the most common issues I see cropping up…’

Infidelity

Cheating is a big one. In some cases it’s possible to recover from this devastating betrayal, but for many, the break of trust means the relationship just can’t continue.

Sara tells us: ‘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. It feels like the ultimate betrayal and a clear sign that healthy communication broke down a long time ago.

‘While it is possible to come back from, for many, this is the moment a spouse decides to officially check out.’

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%,’ Sara shares. ‘Domestic abuse varies from physical harm, to emotional abuse and coercive control, which are often much harder to spot.

‘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.’

Incompatibility

It’s easy to get swept up in the honeymoon stage – so much so that you don’t notice you and your partner are completely incompatible.

Other times, you start out feeling super connected, but as you each grow as individuals, the relationship stops making sense.

Having children

Sara says: ‘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.

‘Coming to a compromise and also agreeing to have each other’s backs in front of the kids is often a winning strategy.’

A difference in expectations

How do you want your married life to look? Have you discussed that with your partner?

‘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,’ says Sara. ‘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.’

Money

Money can cause all sorts of cracks in a relationship – some you can’t plaster over.

Different spending styles, a big discrepancy in income, dissonant choices about how money should be used… these can all be tricky issues to navigate.

A lack of communication

Sara tells us: ‘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!’

A lack of intimacy

‘Dormant bedroom life is a very common factor I see in divorce,’ notes Sara. ‘It’s the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” realisation.

‘There is nothing wrong with a dry spell but a lack of physical affection can cause serious disconnect. Over time, this leads to both partners feeling unfulfilled and puts the marriage at risk.

‘All too often this disappears after years of being together so discuss how you can keep this side of your relationship fulfilling for both of you.

‘Remember how it used to be and make time to recreate those moments. Keep the playfulness alive with friendly banter, surprises and lots of laughter.

‘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!’

Sara’s Breakup Recovery Retreat takes place on June 25 and June 26 this year. To book in or for one-to-one coaching, head to her website.

 


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