About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

How Likely Are You To Get Divorced?

I was checking out this article online the other day, and thought that some of their statistics are interesting.

Some of their statistics could use some tweaking, though – what if you are liberals living in a red state?  What if you do not have children?  What if the guy is a serial cohabiter and the girl is not?  What if one or both partners is bringing children from a previous relationship into the mix?  I am also pretty sure that things like age at marriage and the presence of advanced degrees have a huge impact on how likely you are to get divorced.

According to this article, statistically Jake and I are looking good.  Each of our parents only married once (my dad is a widower who never remarried or even dated after my mom died, and Jake’s parents are still married).  We’re in Mensa so we have IQs of at least 132.  We’re the same age (okay, he’s 3 months older than me).  Neither of us has been married before and I’ve never lived with a previous partner.

What do you think of these statistics?  What do you think the “real” risk factors are?

  • Shannon

    That article reminds me of the bubble gum relationship stuff you see on the front page of Yahoo!, grasping at straws trying to make something out of meaningless statistics and situations. (Except maybe the one about arguing about finances.)

    I think the mistake many divorcing couples made is running into something too fast, thinking with their heart and not their head. Most marriages I know of that happened within one to two years of meeting one another has ended badly. That initial “honeymoon phase” of relationships screws with people’s heads, it’s only when that wears off and the true personalities of those people come out does the real test begin.

    As such, couples who are patient, clear-headed and give it a few years before making that big step are very wise, and thus will potentially have a longer lasting marriage for it.

  • http://demetershouse.wordpress.com Demeter

    Crap. Being smart and my parents long-lasting (though dysfunctional) marriage seem to be all I have going for me, according to the article. Well, that, and I don’t live in a KKK stronghold (thank god).

  • http://katwilder.com Kat Wilder

    After a long-term marriage that ended in divorce as well as watching many of the marriages of my friends end in divorce and reading/listening to women B&M about their hubbies and work-life balance, I tend to believe more in what the Gottman Institute says: contempt is the killer of marriage (of all relationships, actually).

    How you get to that point of contempt? Well, that’s a different story …
    .-= Kat Wilder´s last blog …Are fathers irrelevant? =-.

  • http://hammer86blog.com Hammer

    The biggest risk factor is the sexual market value discrepancy between the man and the woman in the relationship. The value dynamic needs to be slightly skewed toward the man in the relationship, but not far enough that he will seek other women. A man’s sexual market value is generally primarily his alphaness, whereas a woman’s is mostly her body.
    .-= Hammer´s last blog …Updates and Hot Chick Game =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    @Shannon, yes, that’s part of the reason Jake and I have been taking it slow. Our wedding will be on our 6th anniversary of dating!

    @Demi, ha! Well if Nico keeps letting his ex-wife stay at his house, you won’t be marrying him anytime soon :-)
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    @Kat – I am sure there are lots of ways to get to contempt!

    @Hammer – Jake thinks we are about equal in terms of physical attractiveness, but that I am smarter than he is (which I think is true). Although he makes more money than I do, I have a lot less debt and am significantly more financially stable. I have loaned him money on numerous occasions but never needed anything from him. Personality-wise we are both pretty alpha but have learned to compromise, with each other at least ;-)
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    My marriage ended when I decided I would no longer allow my wife to control everything that happened about my life – where I worked, how long I worked, etc. I have my own life to live. We couldn’t compromise on the ensuing power struggle.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog …Reggae, Electronica, and Rap – Tonga Style! =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I wish Jake didn’t work 70-80 hours/week, but there’s not much that can be done about that until his credit cards are paid off. At that point, we are BOTH looking forward to him making less money but having more time to spend relaxing.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • http://www.beforewisdom.com beforewisdom

    I saw some interesting surprises in that article, but most of the reasons seemed run of the mill to me and most of the theorizing seemed down to Earth.
    .-= beforewisdom´s last blog …Death =-.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    @Hammer, I don’t think that’s true about the sexual market value in marriages. I believe the biggest factor in divorce is money, as alluded to in the article, although I didn’t do additional research to back that up. I can’t recall ever hearing a couple breaking up because the woman’s sexual market value plummeted relative to her husbands. If you can back that, you should cite a source.

    Switching gears, I’m 100% certain that I would get divorced no matter what, for some of the reasons in the article, so marriage isn’t really in the cards for me. I strongly feel I need some kind of alternative relationship.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I do see what Hammer’s saying a little – there is a guy on this season’s Bachelorette who used to do mergers for a multibillion dollar firm in Chicago, condo on the river, etc., who quit his job to move in with his parents and be an aspiring screenwriter. Ugh.

    I would write such a guy off immediately, but not because I feel that I’m too attractive to be wasted on someone like that (though I also think he’s physically unattractive). It’s because I’m a professional with an advanced degree and a job I love, and I want the same in a mate.

    I think Hammer’s theory does work a little if you want to be in a traditional relationship where the woman either doesn’t work or takes a lower-paying job that gives her flexibility to spend time with their children. In that case, the guy’s ability to provide for those children is a huge component of his attractiveness.

    Women in a traditional relationship like that may have a tendency to let themselves go physically because caring for children is so time-consuming and demanding. They may also not care as much about sex, both because the physical sensation changes post-childbirth and because their devotion is oriented towards the child(ren) rather than the romantic partner. Since nothing has changed for the guy, this can lead to infidelity, which THEN leads to divorce, but the infidelity is actually a result of the children.

    This leads to a two-part conclusion for me – I don’t think that my and Jake’s relationship fits Hammer’s model because we are not having any children – so I’m very attached to having a job, and don’t care whether he makes a ton of money. fSecond, I think money breaking up marriages is actually a bunch of horseshit. I think having children is what ends relationships.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • surname

    “contempt is the killer of marriage (of all relationships, actually).”

    Absolutely. And that’s “contempt” as in lack of sympathy or humor.

    “I think having children is what ends relationships.”

    It could be an interesting point…biological urge fulfilled, no reason to continue? But that wasn’t your thesis (the wife gone all slattern because of the demands of child-rearing while the husband, still vital, chats with honey74 on AshleyMadison) but…Look at young fathers. They get fat and sloppy and “happy”, themselves. There must be a study that documents the phenomenon.

    Clearly, the most significant factor in the high rate of divorce, these days, is because the stigma has been removed. That doesn’t explain _why_ they end, case-by-case, but that you’re _allowed_ to divorce without suffering social castigation is a big, big deal.

    But back to contempt. When you live with someone everyday, it’s difficult to see growth. Anyone with kids knows this. They don’t get bigger and more of themselves on a continually upward slope. One day you wake up and your acknowledgement and appreciation is bolted. It’s a discontinuous curve. But those are your kids.

    Your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever is a different case. When you see the quantic jump–and you will–it can be intimidating. We promised ourselves to each other under such-and-such circumstances. Something changed. Does the promise still hold?

    I have a lot of sympathy for folks who marry in their twenties, have kids, and then get smacked in their thirties and try hold on while they realize that, oh my god, this _isn’t_ the person I want to spend the rest of my life with–because “rest of my life” suddenly means something. They can start to put a number to it. And they can see the date–and it’s coming soon–when the glass is half empty.

    Combine mortal acknowledgment with relieved social stigma…there’s your divorce.

  • Nicole

    I don’t plan on having kids, but I strongly disagree that kids are the reason for divorce. Men and women let themselves go for any number of reasons, with or without kids. There are plenty of fat 20-somethings. Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom it doesn’t mean you let yourself go. It has to do with your personality (like, dedication to work out, for example), and probably also how well off you are. I see endless young moms living in affluent neighborhoods where they have a nanny, do yoga, walk their purebred dogs with their toddlers, and shop in expensive boutiques all day.

    As far as the physical sensation of sex changing after childbirth…well, they’ve got vaginal rejuvenation to take care of that. Besides, a husband who cheats because his wife’s vag got a little loose after childbirthing, well, that’s a real winner of a husband, isn’t it?

    People only fight over money if there isn’t enough to go around.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    I don’t think they really divorce because they get fat, Nicole. I think it’s because of the kids.

    Whenever you and your mate disagree about something, it’s either unimportant enough that you don’t mind giving in to the other person, or it’s important enough that you’re willing to break up over it.

    If you have kids, the number of decisions that you feel strongly enough about to be willing to break up over increases EXPONENTIALLY, because (especially for women) the love that you feel for the child is significantly stronger than the love you feel for your mate.

    In other words, your bond with your spouse is no longer your first priority, so you’re willing to sacrifice it if necessary (if you feel that you’re doing it for what’s best for your child).

    I remember reading online somewhere a new mom who said she’s always thought her husband was her soulmate and that she loved him deeply, but the instant she saw her new baby, a love swept through her that was so deep and pure that she almost couldn’t even call what she felt for her husband love anymore. She would do anything for the child, and realized that she wouldn’t do anything for her husband.

    I think that happens to most women, and THAT’S what leads to divorce. Personally, Jake is the love of my life to the extent that I will not do anything to risk our relationship – including have a child.
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • Nicole

    Ugh. I find the thought of having children repulsive. I’ve never eyed any mother with envy, young or old, rich or poor. Nor have I ever felt any sense of a biological clock or a deep-seated desire to have any kids. They will ruin your body too, wreck your hormones, give you stretch marks, and god knows what else, and that’s only the surface of it. They require you to spend an endless amount of time and money on them, time and money that you could’ve had to yourself. I cannot even fathom the thought of loving my child(ren). They seem like a hassle and are responsibilities that I do not want or care for. I only wish I could find a man who shares my sentiment. It seems like every decent guy out there wants kids.

    BTW, I agree with what you said above, Honey.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Did someone clone me and give out this URL? That’s exactly how I feel :-) Though I have one friend with an awesome baby – but OTOH, that doesn’t mean I want to steal and raise him!
    .-= Honey´s last blog …How Likely Are You To Get Divorced? =-.

  • Peter

    I read with interest the various posts on this blog and enjoy the good banter. So thanks to Lance and Honey.

    Regarding divorce, I honestly do not think or feel you can pin the reason to any one particular thing. It is always a combination of things from what I’ve observed.

    Kids? Yes. Contempt? Yes. Boredom? Yes. Stress? Yes. Money? Yes. Etc, etc…

    There are no guarantees from longevity before getting married either. My wife and I have been separated for 10 months and we are proceeding to divorce. We were together for 6 years before getting married and we still failed. We were married for a little over 2 years before separating. My parents have been together for 50 years whereas my wife came from a broken home that ended in a nasty divorce.

    However, a big mistake most people make is to NOT undergo counseling or therapy to try and work on themselves as a couple. There is no guarantee from this either, but it is worth the effort in my opinion. It’s also critical to find the right counselor/therapist. We did the counseling for 9 months and it did not work for us. Part of it was our fault for not following through on some things, but part of it was the counselor’s approach did not appeal to us I think.

    The sad part is my wife and I technically should not be where we’re at. It’s actually tragic. We were on the same page for everything and had grown a lot together. In the end, the problem was an accumulation of complex issues (baggage and trust being two big ones) and growing personality differences between one another which lead to the break.

    I’ve learned a lot, but unfortunately it’s been at the expense of failure. At least I know more than ever what will and won’t work for me and hopefully won’t be making the same mistakes twice.

  • Jax

    I read somewhere that the fast way to divorce is couples counseling. ;)

    I only knew my husband 5 months prior to marrying him, 24 years later, 5 kids later, we divorced this March. I wouldn’t call anything a failure.

    My parents divorced, my grandparents ended up with other spouses because of deaths. His parents are still married, 47 years, his grandparents were til death do we partners… both he and his sister have been through divorces. So? Stats, stats… and more stats.

  • Nicole

    A divorce after 24 years of marriage?! Why?! There really are no guarantees in life. That’s scary and sad. Makes me wonder what the point of marriage is if people get divorced after THAT long.

  • Jax

    It was time. I gave the marriage many years, many chances, we both changed in ways I no longer found acceptable and I knew that if we stayed together I would not grow in the areas I wanted to and also my staying with him would in the same vein stifle him.
    We are good friends, I love that. We have worked out the living arrangements so that it’s good for the kids. It wasn’t a fast process so the kids actually got to process it slowly too.
    Nicole, don’t worry or get discouraged… maybe a shorter marriage would make you believe in marriage again. ??

  • Jax

    My being married for ‘so’ long… I had sort of an epiphany over the past week or so. I was rather puzzled by the way ‘people’ try to keep their privacy while still becoming intimate. Seems a huge skewed series of events has taken place over the past 25ish years.
    Men want to talk about surprisingly intimate details, want to cam, ask for risqué photos, textsex but keep their name, home, career, life in general private.
    I am curious to find out when the shift happened that bodies aren’t private but dwellings and facts of ones life are? How does one truly become intimate without ‘knowing’ the other person first.
    Prior to meeting there is only fake attraction, there are no pheromones at play. Because I personally can’t do cologne or perfumes, there will be no fake pheromones to sway my thinking upon meeting, I will have a true reaction to the persons scent when we meet. I know I can turn myself on, I know I can romance myself, what I know is that before meeting it’s all rather a waste of time, a set up for disappointment.
    When did it turn to “I won’t invite you to my home until I am comfortable with you, but hey let’s get a room and get intimate?”
    I am far from a a prude, and I did have a relationship during the period of being separated but not divorced. Met the man and on the first night did get to know eachother intimately, it was a 24 hour dare that lasted 18 months. But we did that in person not behind a computer screen, not in txt msgs or with nude photos. Rather makes me feel like my being is less important than a dwelling or that individuality isn’t important.
    Also it does seem to me that men(no doubt women too then but I am not dating women) have honed the onlline skills, they can seem sauve, sophisticate, sooo sexually attentive and skilled online, via txt but then meet in person and dud, socially inept, sometimes even down right scary! Being sexually masterful is easy when it’s played out on a keyboard, I am fairly skilled at turning out a good smut write up but I find that there is only a small percentage of the population now that actually waits until meeting in person is there is true chemistry. I don’t mind getting some of the basics out of the way, being sexually compatible is important so knowing that other person might have fetishes out of your comfort zone is something I would talk about but BABY LET ME MAKE YOU CUM before meeting? What is the point? They are really making me cum, I am still making me cum.
    Anyhow, the dating scene has changed.

  • Jax

    Need edit options!
    **I find that there is only a small percentage of the population now that actually waits until meeting in person is there is true chemistry**

    in person to find out if there is true chemistry…

    **BABY LET ME MAKE YOU CUM before meeting? What is the point? They are really making me cum, I am still making me cum.**

    They aren’t making me cum, I am still making me cum.
    I mean that statement rhetorically.

  • http://www.singlemomseeking.com/blog Single Mom Seeking

    Great dialogue! As a woman who’s getting remarried… this resonates with me.

    I agree with the comment above re: “Stats, stats… and more stats.”

    That’s because, it seems like what’s at the core (beyond chemistry) is: the deal breakers. How do each of you feel about the BIG things, such as… having kids? Your careers? Smoking? Values? Politics?

    Of course, you might go into marriage with strong beliefs about any of these (say, we’re not going to have kids). But what if — after 5+ years or so — one of you changes your mind? Then what?

    Let me add: I’m still a believer in love.
    .-= Single Mom Seeking´s last blog …Keeping the door open =-.