The #1 Reason Couples Get Divorced May Surprise You

The first Monday in January is dubbed ‘Divorce Day’ — which is maybe the saddest holiday in all the land — by the lawyers at Slater and Gordon, a major law firm in the UK. Due to the rise in requests around that day, they decided to look at what was actually causing the divorces. And if you’re guessing infidelity was the most common reason for divorce, think again. The survey of 2,000 adults about the relationship tensions that led to divorce revealed that money was the most popular reason.

“Communication about money can be difficult for couples,” Relationship Specialist Jen Elmquist, MA, LMFT, and author of Relationship Reset: Secrets from a Couples Therapist That Will Revolutionize Your Love for a Lifetimetells Bustle. “Money and sex are two of the most uncomfortable topics for couples to discuss openly. For a variety of reasons partners may feel like it is taboo to talk about money, including: It invades their privacy, they feel embarrassed, they feel out of control, they don’t feel educated enough, or they don’t think there is a reason to talk about it. However, just like talking about your sexual health and history is critical for each partner, so is talking about your financial health and history.” As much as it may feel like an awkward topic to talk about, it’s so important that you’re able to discuss money with your partner.

“Without these conversations, assumptions are made, damaging secrets can be kept, and the freedom of being known and accepted is impossible to achieve,” Elmquist says. “Betrayal from financial mismanagement can be traumatizing and have a similar effect on a relationship as infidelity. Recovering often requires the support of a couples therapist and a financial planner to make sure that, going forward, there is some accountability.”

There are number of ways money can be a source of a relationship stress — but it wasn’t the only marital issue Slater and Gordon found. Here were the top 10 issues pushing couples toward splitsville.

Financial Pressure: 22%

Yup, over one in five went with the old favorite, financial pressure. Whether they’re fighting about not having enough, one person spending too much, or disagreements on money management styles, money continues to stress couples out time after time.

Work Stress: 21%

Although money is the big divorce-causer, it’s interesting that work stress came in at a close second. Just one percent less popular than money issues, work stress also was a huge problem in over one fifth of respondents.

Domestic Responsibilities: 16%

Sometimes, it’s the little things — or the little things that all add up to one really big thing. Domestic responsibilities came at number three on the list, so a clean home may really be a happier one.

Not Spending Enough Time Together: 14%

There’s not really anything that can take the place of quality time — and if you don’t have it, your relationship can really start to suffer. That’s probably why 14 percent of people said that not spending enough time together caused major relationship tension.

Lack Of Sex: 14%

It’s important to keep that spark alive. Fourteen percent of people said a lack of sex was driving them apart, which isn’t surprising. If you’re a sexual person, once the intimacy goes then the relationship can suffer. And if you get out of the habit, it’s not always easy getting back into it.

Fights Over Relatives: 12%

Can’t we all just get along? Apparently not, because in 12 percent of cases, relatives were causing major strife.

Their Partner Isn’t Affectionate: 11%

Eleven percent of people said that the big problem was that their partner was no longer affectionate toward them. To me, that seems like it can cover a lot of bases — sex, intimacy, thoughtfulness, and just being a decent person.

Different Interests: 9%

Even though you should retain independence in a relationship, you need to have something in common. For nine percent of people, different interests was the kiss of death.

Disagreements Over Parenting: 7%

Dealing with children is not easy, so I wasn’t shocked to see that, for seven percent of respondents, disagreements about parenting were enough to drive them apart.