Sean Cate
Sean Cate
April 22, 2024 ·  3 min read

Nearly 50% of Divorced Couples Say This Was #1 Conflict in Their Relationship (It’s Not Money)

Divorce is a prevalent phenomenon in modern society, with approximately 690,000 couples ending their marriages in 2021, according to data from the CDC.1 Despite the rise in divorces, it’s important to note that most couples opt for a no-fault divorce, allowing them to dissolve their union without proving any wrongdoing on either side. This approach, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the marriage didn’t face its share of challenges and conflicts. Divorced couples still can come to where they are for many reasons.

Factors Contributing to Divorce

Marriages often encounter several factors that strain the relationship, leading to potential conflicts and ultimately, divorce. A survey conducted by Forbes Advisor sheds light on the most commonly cited sources of tension among divorced couples. These factors include career choices, parenting differences, division of household labor, relationships with family and friends, finances, and health choices. Among these, career choices stand out as the leading source of conflict, with a significant 46% of respondents indicating it as the major point of contention in their marriages.

Career choices hold immense significance in marital dynamics. Differences in professional ambitions, work schedules, and the stress of balancing work and personal life can create friction between partners. A marriage that doesn’t find a balance between supporting individual career aspirations and nurturing the relationship can easily drift toward conflict. This is why a better understanding of commitment before marriage is often cited as a key factor in preventing divorces.

Other Common Reasons For Divorced Couples

While career choices emerge as a significant factor, it’s important to delve into other reasons that contribute to marital breakdown. Financial challenges, infidelity, and lack of commitment have consistently ranked as leading causes of divorce across cultures and generations.2 The impact of these factors is magnified when there’s a lack of open communication, intimacy, and empathy within the relationship. Research also suggests that age and cultural influences can shape the specific reasons for divorce in different regions.

The Complexity of Marital Woes

Marriages are complex unions, and divorced couples rarely reach their decision by a single factor. The 2005 national survey underscores this complexity by revealing a myriad of reasons that couples attribute to their divorces. From lack of commitment and constant arguing to infidelity and unrealistic expectations, marriages can unravel due to a combination of these issues. Inadequate preparation for marriage, financial problems, domestic violence, and religious differences are also significant contributors.

Age and Divorce

While the underlying reasons for divorce remain relatively consistent across age groups, the manifestations of these issues can differ. Older couples may be more inclined to avoid direct conflict, while younger couples might experience more frequent disagreements. Yet, the essence of unresolved conflicts remains a common thread in divorced couples, regardless of age. In cases where both parties are willing to work on the relationship and communicate effectively, therapy and efforts to rebuild the partnership can often save the marriage.

A Message for Divorced Couples

In the end, the factors that lead to divorce are preventable when couples are committed to addressing their differences and maintaining their bond. By nurturing open communication, empathy, and mutual understanding, couples can navigate through conflicts without resorting to divorce. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the decision to save or end a marriage should prioritize the safety and well-being of both partners.

In conclusion, divorced couples arrive at their destination by a myriad of factors that interact in unique ways for each couple. Career choices, among other sources of conflict, highlight the importance of balance and understanding in maintaining a healthy relationship. While challenges can vary based on age and culture, the foundations of successful marriages remain consistent in the form of open communication, commitment, and empathy.

Keep Reading: Those Who Grew Up In Divorced Homes Love Differently Than The Rest Of The World


  1. 46% of divorced couples say this was the No. 1 conflict in their relationship—and it isn’t money.” CNBC. Aditi Shrikant. August 15 2023.
  2. The Top 12 Reasons for Divorce.” Psych Central. Hope Gillette. October 25, 2022.
  3. “Leading Causes Of Divorce: 43% Report Lack Of Family Support” Forbes Advisor. August 15, 2023