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12 Top Reasons Why Americans Get Divorced in 2023

Couples can learn from these mistakes.

Over many decades of social change, one thing about American marriages has remained constant—about half of them fail. But have the reasons shifted? Forbes Advisor surveyed 1,000 people who are divorced (or are in the process) and determined the 12 top reasons why Americans are ending their unions right now. "Married couples can learn from these mistakes," the researchers said. "And those who have experienced a divorce in the past can also go into their next relationship armed with this valuable information." 

Domestic Violence


In the survey, 3% of respondents said their marriages ended because of emotional or physical abuse.

Substance Abuse


Three percent of recently divorced people said substance abuse was the primary reason their unions dissolved.

Opposing Values or Morals

Woman pushing man aside during argument on the couch

While 6% of respondents said their marriage ended directly because of opposing values, 56% said they may not have divorced if they had a better understanding of their spouse's morals and values. 

Getting Married Too Young


Ten percent cited getting married too young as the primary reason for their divorce. But more than four in 10 respondents said their marriages could have been saved by waiting longer to get married and by waiting longer to start a family.

Parenting Differences


20% According to the study, 63% of people who divorced said having a better understanding of commitment prior to marrying could have stopped them from breaking up. 

Lack of Commitment


A lack of commitment was cited by 23% of recently divorced people. Overall, 63% of poll respondents said their union might have been rescued by having a "better understanding of the commitment of marriage before marrying." 

Financial Stress


Financial stress was blamed by 24% of people who recently divorced. 

Too Much Conflict or Arguing


A full 31% of divorced people say their split was caused by conflict or arguing. "Divorces often follow months or even years of conflict," the researchers said. The top types of conflict among couples are career choices (46% listed this as a cause of marital difficulty), parenting differences, disagreements over household chores, and relationships with family.

Lack of Intimacy

Couple lying in bed drifting apart
Lucky Business / Shutterstock

Thirty-one percent of poll respondents said their marriages failed because of a lack of intimacy. "Those who married as a formal act of commitment were more likely to end the marriage due to a lack of intimacy," the researchers said. "Their desire to cement the relationship via marriage may have been an indicator they felt this close connection lacking even before the nuptials."

Lack of Compatibility


About 31% of divorces were blamed on a lack of compatibility. Forty-eight percent of respondents said lack of showing interest in one another was their biggest warning sign that their marriages were on the rocks. 

Infidelity or Extramarital Affairs


About 34% of divorces were caused by partners stepping out on each other. "Couples who married due to societal or family pressures were most likely to divorce due to extramarital affairs," the researchers said. "These couples who felt pressure into entering into a commitment were less likely to keep it."

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Lack of Family Support


As cited by 43% of respondents, this was the most significant reason marriages failed. Notably, 42% of overall respondents said their relationship would have benefited from couples counseling. Less than 5% of people said their marriages couldn't have been saved for any reason.

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