For a few years, your Facebook feed was probably nothing but an endless scroll of elaborate wedding ceremony photos and honeymoon pictures. But now, it looks like every other person is selling off a fine china set or returning to her maiden name. Divorce happens, and it's probably affected you, your family, or close friends. If it makes you antsy about your own marriage, then it's a good idea to be mindful of the common habits that you don't realize increase your chances of divorce. Sure, something like a one-time incident of adultery can end a marriage abruptly, but there are also a ton of little behaviors that can erode your marriage's foundation over time.
This is not to say that divorce is always a bad thing. If you're in a relationship that's abusive, then leaving is definitely the right call. And, on a less dramatic note, you probably know couples who have split amicably because it was the best decision for them. Sometimes breaking up is simply the best course of action.
That said, it's perfectly normal and healthy for married people to wonder about their relationship's ability to go the distance. By making some simple changes, such as cutting back on your Facebook time or quitting smoking, you just might help your marriage last longer.
1. Being Addicted To Social Media
Get ready to click the dislike button. According to research by Slater and Gordon, social media use was cited as an increasing cause of divorce. Contacting exes, posting photos that were deemed inappropriate, and simply spending a significant amount of time on the websites were cited as reasons for concern, as the Slater and Gordon study further found.
2. Tuning Out Of Conversations With You SO
Many people make it to adulthood with at least a few maladaptive coping techniques, but this one can be particularly damaging. A 14-year divorce study by John Mordechai Gottman and Robert Wayne Levenson found the practice of stonewalling, or checking out of a conversation when one partner is talking, is a rather strong predictor of divorce. It can be dispiriting to talk to someone who responds like a brick wall.
3. Avoiding Fights
Although it may sound counterintuitive, arguing can be a healthy component of any relationship (provided you fight fair, that is). According to an October 2010 study in the Journal of Marriage and Family, a couple's conflict behaviors can predict their likelihood of divorce; essentially, couples who can listen and address problems constructively tend to fare better than those who withdraw or lash out. Fortunately, it's never too late to learn how to manage fights in a healthy way.
Lighting up may adversely affect your relationship. As noted in a 2010 study from The Australian National University Centre for Economic Policy Research, couples in which one or both partners smoke have a higher likelihood of breaking up. Unfortunately, quitting smoking is notoriously difficult for many people.
5. Hanging Out With Divorcées
Even grown adults are influenced by their peer group. According to findings in a 2013 study led by Brown University's Rose McDermott, divorce may be contagious among friend groups. So if you regularly socialize with divorcées, then you may be more likely to follow in their footsteps. (This is not to say you should make a pariah of your divorced friends; it's just a tendency you may want to keep in mind).
6. Drinking Habits
OK, this list is not intended to make sure you never have any fun. But the research stands for itself. As noted by findings from the University of Buffalo, heavy drinking may boost your chances for divorce, but only if one partner is the drinker. Interestingly, if both partners drink heavily, then their odds of divorce seem to remain the same, as further explained by the University of Buffalo. This may be more about having similar lifestyles than the drinking itself.
7. Ignoring Sex
Ignoring tensions in the bedroom won't make them go away. As noted in the Huffington Post, allowing your sex lives to fall by the wayside may be a marriage killer. Even if you both have low libidos, it's best to communicate about sex anyway to make sure you're both satisfied.
8. Playing Video Games
It looks like logging too many hours in a game could spell doom for your marriage. An increasing number of separations are citing video game addiction as a cause for divorce, according to a 2011 piece in the Daily Mail. Is that gaming PC causing concern for you and your SO?
9. Not Sharing Chores
Doing the dishes could help keep your bond strong. At the very least, divorce is doubly likely in households where the husband does contribute to household chores, as reported by The Telegraph. Pitching in is crucial for helping everyone in the household stay sane.
10. Spending Habits
Money is one of the big bugaboos for marriages. According to Investopedia, arguments about everything from allocation to debt management can drive your marriage to divorce. It's one of those topics that's so important (but so tricky) for couples to discuss.
11. Being Negative
Well, this one almost seems unfair. But if you have a tendency to look on the dark side of things, your marriage may suffer. As explained by Gottman, negative traits such as contempt or constant criticism often mean a marriage will falter. This isn't to say that you have to be a perfectly cheery Stepford wife all the time, but it's something to keep in mind.