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After 10 Years of Marriage, What Usually Causes a Divorce?

After 10 Years of Marriage, What Usually Causes a Divorce?

As the years go on, it seems like time moves faster and faster, but the fact remains that a decade is still a long period of your life. A marriage that has reached its tin (diamond in more recent times) anniversary is not something to be easily thrown away. But unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, divorce is a reality of life for many couples.

Statistics show that divorce most often occurs before the 10-year mark, but those numbers are skewed by couples who get married too quickly and simply discover they aren’t right for each other within a couple of years. Divorce in marriages that have already managed to pass the first year teething troubles is still a fact of life, though. 

Habits Change

A lot can happen in 10 years of our lives. In a decade our likes, dislikes, opinions, attitudes, and habits can all change drastically. Change isn’t a bad thing; it’s how we evolve and improve ourselves. Change can have adverse effects on our relationships, however.

Habits are an especially contentious issue, particularly as we develop new ones. Not all habits are bad, but they can be a source of aggravation between couples. New habits can often sneak up without us realizng we have developed them until it’s too late. Of course, not all habits will cause the end of a relationship, but they can be a major contributing factor to tension.

Frustration Builds Up

Frustration can be a problem in any relationship from the personal to the professional. It’s rare for a relationship to be completely without any frustrations —they are simply a fact of life. When frustrations are allowed to build-up, unchecked and unaddressed, however, it can quickly lead to a complete breakdown of relations and ultimately divorce.

Money Issues

It’s often said that money can’t buy happiness, and while that is mostly true, the lack of money can cause a variety of issues that lead to unhappiness and depression. Even with generally separated finances, it’s impossible to be in a relationship with somebody for over 10-years without budgets and money being a shared issue to some extent.

Money troubles, whether caused by one partner directly (e.g. differences in spending) or as a cumulative issue (e.g. redundancy), can cause extreme amounts of stress and the breakdown of trust that can ultimately lead to divorce.

Intimacy Changes

Intimacy comes in many different shapes and forms—it’s not exclusively a synonym for sex—and what intimacy looks like will be different in every marriage. Whatever form intimacy is present in a relationship doesn’t matter, but its presence is vital.

As we grow older the type of intimacy we are both looking for and express changes as we change as a person, and of course as our libido levels go up and down. A difference in the type and levels of intimacy you and your partner are seeking can be the starting point of a relationship breakdown.


A marriage is a partnership between two people, built on trust. Without the ability to trust your partner the joining is almost certainly doomed to fail. Infidelity is almost a guaranteed way to ensure the trust will break down. 

Infidelity does not always mean the end of a relationship —some couples do manage to overcome the challenges it presents—but it is a leading cause of divorce.


For a marriage to be successful, the couple must be compatible with each other. Compatibility comes in many different forms and means different things to different people. Some incompatibilities can, such as favourite foods, movies, or books, can be easily overcome, and often one of the core pillars of why a relationship works, but larger issues are often impossible to get past. If you and your partner are incompatible on the big issues —those of lifestyle, life goals, children, money, etc—divorce may, unfortunately, be unavoidable.

Lack of Communication

Communication is critical to the long-term survivability of all marriages. Almost no marriage is without its problems; all relationships have disagreements, disputes, and fights. Good communication skills help to resolve these arguments and disagreements before they reach a point of critical mass and cause the irreparable breakdown of the marriage.

If communication has broken down, or there was simply a lack of good communication between the couple in the first place, it’s impossible to work through these issues. Divorce occurs for many different reasons, but almost all of them can be worked through and dealt with if there is good communication. A lack of communication, therefore, is one of the biggest causes of divorce in marriages of any length.

Divorce is never something people want or look forward to. It’s never a happy time when a relationship you have put time and effort into comes to an end, and people can often end up feeling overwhelmed and lost without the partner they have relied on for a decade or more. In some marriages divorce may, unfortunately, be inevitable—a simple incompatibility that grows over time—but in most the cause is an issue that started small and developed into an insurmountable problem.

Knowing the common causes of divorce in long-term marriage may help you address them early. If it’s already too late then understanding the reasons marriages fall apart might help you to better process and cope with the changes you are experiencing.


CHRISTINA ELROY is a proud mother, entrepreneur, author and world traveller. Previously a successful businesswoman who gave it all up to raise children, Christina spent a lot of her free time during those years flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics. She hopes her books will inspire and motivate others to do what makes them happy and to achieve their goals.

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