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Predicting future divorce

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Divorce

Every year, thousands of married couples in New Jersey experience marital turmoil, often culminating in a divorce. In some cases, the seeds of that disunion can develop slowly and in a way that one or both partners can see in advance. In others, the split can be abrupt and unexpected.

Certain factors in a relationship can be predictive of a divorce in the coming years. Having knowledge of those factors may help you in your own relationship, either to mend your issues or to plan ahead for a separation or divorce on the horizon.

An unexpected cause of divorce

When thinking about factors and causes of divorce, it’s likely that you’d come up with traditional issues like physical or emotional abuse, infidelity, addiction, financial problems and similar problems. And it’s certainly true that those factors often contribute toward a divorce.

But research has demonstrated a less obvious link between the feeling of ambivalence and couples eventually divorcing.

Ambivalence is the state of being pulled between two strong but conflicting feelings. For instance, both love and dislike for your partner. Feeling ambivalent toward a relationship leads to eventual divorce a statistically significant amount of the time.

The role of ambivalence in divorce

When a relationship is marked by ambivalence, this creates strain and stress on the relationship. Feelings of love, compassion and togetherness are sustaining, but feelings of hate, contempt and division create fractures in the marriage.

Over time, those warring emotional states create conflict within a relationship, and those conflicts tend to produce more disharmony and unhappy feelings. Ultimately, a partner feeling ambivalent toward the marriage or their spouse will tend to have lower happiness in the relationship and be more likely to seek a divorce.

Ambivalence is less well-known than many other factors predicting divorce, but recent studies suggest that couples experiencing ambivalent feelings are at higher risk for eventual divorce. Therapy can help couples identify and manage feelings of ambivalence, increasing the chances of a marriage remaining intact.