Today, a divorce is a social norm, and the amount of people who are ready to save their marriage decreases every year. According to sociologists’ studies, the divorce rate is growing all over the world. Scientists have analyzed over 40 years of data in 84 countries and concluded that the number of divorced couples has doubled.
Bright Side wants to find out why couples decide to divorce today and what can be done about it.
The most common reasons for a divorce, according to statistics
On average, a modern marriage lasts for 7-10 years, depending on the country. According to the studies, the main reasons leading couples to divorce are the same. People usually break up because of infidelity, financial problems, egoism, or a lack of understanding between the spouses. By the way, today, women decide to divorce more often than men. Psychologists say that they’re more emotional, so they treat issues more seriously and they’re prone to analyzing what’s happening in their families. As women’s rights are more secure now, they’re free to choose their destiny: they decide whether they want to live alone or together with their husband.
But there are even more reasons formed by modern realities that make couples divorce. Below, we’ll try to figure out what can lead to a divorce in the 21st century.
We can survive on our own today.
Economic reasons have a huge influence on families. Today, when the world has entered the era of post-industrial society, the human being has gained an ability to live in comfort alone. In the past, people needed a family to survive. A person living in the pre-industrial or even the industrial era couldn’t take care of themselves properly if they were all alone. Today, people don’t need each other’s help: both men and women are able to earn money.
The single person is an alternative to the family — they can lead their lives on their own. It’s a completely new concept in history. And it’s not about egocentrism, we just simply have more opportunities.
So people don’t try to save their marriage just to avoid potential financial issues that accompany a divorce. If a woman works, she’s not afraid of staying alone without her husband’s money.
High life expectancy and serial monogamy
In society, there’s still a rule that a family is the thing that lasts forever. But the average life expectancy is growing compared to the 20th century, and this fact has an influence on a family relationship. Let’s imagine 2 average people who want to get married.
For example, a fiancée is 25-28 years, her fiancé is 28-32. It’s hard to believe they’ll live together for 40-45 years because everything can change. People find different goals and purposes and it’s impossible to predict what they’ll be doing in 20-30 years. So a modern relationship looks like this: people get married, have children, bring them up to a certain age, and get divorced.
It’s the reason sociologists discuss serial monogamy. What is it? Monogamy is a relationship that implies loyalty between 2 people who are a couple. Serial monogamy is a relationship model where a person has several monogamous relationships throughout their live.
The thing is, despite the sexual revolution and the freedom in people’s relationships, most couples don’t support polyamory and cheating. People want honesty in their relationships and families. But not for the rest of their lives. “Eternal” marriages were reasonable when people died while they were young (compared to modern standards).
Thus, serial monogamy is becoming a common practice for modern people: spouses don’t cheat on each other, they simply break up and start living a new life.
We’ve become more demanding.
In the 21st century, we’ve become more critical of our partners and our relationships themselves. There are several reasons for this.
First, since we don’t need a relationship now to survive, we now just want to become better with our beloved by our side. A social status and our spouse’s ambitions also matter. If we don’t see mutual development in the family and we understand that we don’t inspire each other anymore, we get divorced and look for a more inspiring person.
Second, our lifestyle has also changed, and it has a great impact on the family structure. In the modern world, we are able to spend more time together as working conditions and working hours have changed. Russian political scientist Ekaterina Shulman thinks that people from the 20th century used to see each other less often than people from the 21st century. People used to go to work early in the morning and come back late at night, and women were also responsible for all of the household duties and couples didn’t communicate a lot.
Of course, this lifestyle is still common, but today, especially in big cities, many people prefer remote or partially-remote work, they start their own small business, and call a cleaning service to clean the house. So, it’s really important for us to live with a person who shares the same views and interests as we do. The value of family ties, as well as the requirements for them, are growing.
More dating opportunities
The internet is developing and it’s getting easier to meet new people. Different social media sites, dating apps, and websites give us a good choice of potential partners.
How did people meet in the past? They used to meet each other thanks to their families and friends, at work, or in class while away at college. Of course, some people met on the street or on public transportation, but this wasn’t that common. Today, thanks to the internet, the whole world is open to you, especially if you speak a foreign language. If your relationship is about to crash and burn, you’re no longer afraid of staying all alone since there are so many opportunities to find a person with the same interests and hobbies.
What should we do about it?
We can’t say that the family unit isn’t valuable anymore in the modern world, it has just transformed. The amount of divorces show that people have become more demanding and attentive to their partners. Both men and women have also become more liberated when it comes to their choices: they aren’t ready to save an unhappy marriage, and instead prefer to just stop their complicated relationships, and start leading a new life with a new person.
We also aren’t ready to save the family unit just because of our children or financial prosperity anymore, because we’re not afraid of being alone. So you shouldn’t worry about the high divorce rate since, today, we get married to be happy, not because it’s convenient and beneficial.
Do you think there are even more reasons why people get divorced today?