You may have grown up imagining your wedding and the life you’d enjoy with your spouse and children. Then, divorce probably never entered your mind.
Yet, divorce is surprisingly common. While divorce is on the decline in the majority of age groups (with seniors being a notable exception), it no longer has the stigma attached to it that it once did. If you aren’t happy in your marriage, there’s little social pressure to stay.
As it turns out, you’re more likely to divorce at specific times in your marriage than others.
What the statistics say about divorce
Statistically, the vast majority of marriages break up — if they’re going to do so — right around the four-year mark.
Why? It’s hard to say. At least one scientist has theorized that may be related to the fact that humans are somewhat hardwired toward feelings of love and partnership just long enough to conceive a child and raise it past infancy. At that point, the emotions of the couple may change. They “fall out of love” and start looking for a new source of fulfillment.
Others (including some divorce attorneys) say that they also see a lot of divorce right around the first and second years of marriage — and then, again, around the fifth through eighth years. They attribute the trend largely to unmet expectations.
Within the first couple years of marriage, the reality of life with your chosen partner hits home — and it may not be what you thought it would be. Somewhere between the fifth and eighth years, couples may find themselves going through major life changes where their careers, hopes and dreams shift — and their marriages feel like impediments to everything they want.
What you need to keep in mind about divorce
No matter what’s brought you to this crossroads in your life, you shouldn’t try to travel the road alone. Working with an experienced advocate can help you better define your goals for your divorce and protect your interests.