Home Habits that Lead to Higher Divorce Rates

Shannon Quinn - April 29, 2021
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Sleeping together is sexy and romantic, but not great for actual sleep. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Not Sleeping In The Same Bed

When couples sleep in separate beds, it’s called “sleep divorce”. This practice is actually a hotly debated topic. Some people claim that it helps their marriage, because they sleep better. (Especially if their partner snores.) On Lifehacker, they give plenty of good reasons why a “sleep divorce” is great. You’re more comfortable, sleep better, and are ultimately less irritable in the morning. And if you both work on different schedules, it just might make sense. As long as the two of you are comfortable and confident in your relationship, it could work out.

However, some experts say that sleeping together in the same bed is crucial for a healthy marriage. On Very Well Mind, they say that it fosters comfort, security, and emotional intimacy. Obviously, it’s also more romantic, too. But they still admit that sleep problems often lead to an unhappy marriage. This is something you would need to discuss with your partner. 

A lot of housewives feel trapped. Credit: Shutterstock

18. When Household Work Leads to Feeling a Loss in Personal Identity

This next issue was brought up in Men’s Divorce magazine, and it really hits home with what is at the core of many marital spats over household chores. There are some men out there who feel that if they begin to do too many chores or child care, it somehow takes away from their identity. They want to feel like the provider, and the breadwinner. So if they begin to do too many menial household tasks, they feel a threat to their masculinity. However, this has more to do with the man’s identity issues. If he doesn’t feel confident in his identity and masculinity, that’s a journey he needs to take on his own. This could be due to the way he was raised, or some kind of childhood trauma. But it’s not his wife’s burden to fix him. He may need to go to therapy.

The same personal identity issue can happen with women, and it happens often. For example, maybe a woman had a dream of having an amazing career. Then, she gets pregnant, and all of her hopes and dreams seem impossible. She feels as though she has lost her identity as a person, and is unhappy with the label of “mother” and “housewife”. Again, this is an issue she needs to work out on her own. There are always options for her to regain that identity. She can go back to school, work part-time, hire a babysitter, and so much more. Yes, having a child makes having a career significantly more difficult. But it’s not impossible. No matter who is experiencing this loss of personal identity, they might project and say that it’s their partner’s fault. This ultimately leads to divorce. 

If you live beyond your means, you will be at first for foreclosure or eviction. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Living Beyond Your Means

Since we’re talking about household habits that lead to divorce, one of the biggest decisions to make together as a couple is the house itself. Financial issues are the #1 thing couples fight about. And one of the issues that causes this fighting is where you live. For example, maybe your budget really only allows for you to live in a one-bedroom apartment. But you decide that you’re going to “make it work” and get a three-bedroom condo. According to Investopedia, you should never spend more than 28% of your income on living expenses. But according to The New York Post, the majority of Americans spent more than 50% of their income on housing.

At the time of writing this, we are going through an unprecedented housing crisis. People are skipping mortgage and rent payments, because of the coronavirus moratorium. At the moment, there is a shortage on housing, too. There is a big chance that people will go back to the days of living in multigenerational households, and it’s already on the rise. Unfortunately, that leads to the next issue on the list.

Problems with the in-laws affects your marriage. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Problematic Relationships With the In-Laws

According to USA Today, multi-generational households are on the rise. Now, one out of every six married couples are living with their in-laws. And whenever the coronavirus rent and mortgage forbearance ends, we’re probably going to see this happening a lot more. For some people, this is great. It could be a chance to be closer with your family. And the grandparents can become free babysitters whenever you need to take a break. Household chores also become easier when you have more adults living in the same house. However, that doesn’t mean that every multi-generational household is going to be picture perfect. 

In an article called “The Scary Way Your In-Laws Affect Your Marriage” from Women’s Health Magazine, women who reported having a bad relationship with their mother-in-law actually ended up having better marriages! Believe it or not, partners who remain close with their in-laws have a higher level of divorce. This could be because it’s not exactly healthy to have your parents weighing in on your marriage difficulties. Because of this statistic, we might see a spike in divorces as people are forced to move back in with their parents.

In a lot of marriages, the husband creates more mess for his wife. Credit: Shutterstock

15. When One Partner Creates More Burden and Work for the Other

In an article titled “I Didn’t Realize How Much More I Did Around The House Until I Got Divorced”, a woman named Laney Morrison wrote that she was worried about being overwhelmed raising two kids on her own after her divorce. However, once she lived alone, she realized something astonishing. Her life was actually easier without a husband. She says, “And not a little easier. A lot easier. Like, I-have-a-lot-more-time and my-house-is-always-clean and the-laundry-is-always-done easier.” Even when her kids are staying, it’s still easier than before. As the only parent in the house, she set a cleanliness standard, and her kids learned from that. This is because her ex-husband was putting all of the burden on her, including taking care of his mess, like he was an extra child who was too old to learn new tricks.

After doing some research from the University of Michigan, Laney realized that single women do an average of 10 hours of housework per week, but married women do 17 hours per week, whether they have children or not. And this doesn’t change, even if both partners work full-time. Whichever partner works from home is also burdened with any sudden issues that might come up. Maybe it’s taking your kids to the doctor, making phone calls, or shopping. But when one partner is disproportionately doing more of the household chores, it’s likely to cause resentment. 

Credit: Shutterstock

14. Not Agreeing to Meal Plans

Something that can trigger arguments in a marriage is dinner. After all, people are angry when they’re hungry. Some husbands want their wives to prepare a warm home-cooked meal every night. Others decide to wing it. But imagine if you slaved over a stove for an hour to cook a healthy meal, only to see that your husband came home with a bag from McDonald’s. This can lead to arguments, resentment, and may be a contributing factor in divorce.

If you plan to eat together every day, it’s a good idea to get on the same page about meal plans. Maybe you take turns on who cooks dinner each night of the week. Or you might agree to get takeout on the weekends. And if plans change, there needs to be communication. This can also be a huge factor when it comes to people who are trying to lose weight. If you have a partner who doesn’t respect your efforts to eat healthier, that can be a red flag. Sometimes, partners try to use food to control the other. If they seem to be sabotaging your diet, this can also lead to divorce.

When you come home late without explanation, it can make your partner suspicious. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Arriving Home Late

If you come home late from work every once in a blue moon, that’s totally understandable. Sometimes, your boss wants you to stay late. There could be an accident on the road, or car trouble. But if your partner starts randomly showing up at home at three nights a week at 9PM instead of 6PM with little-to-no explanation, that’s a huge red flag. It’s also a sign that they may be cheating on you. Or, they could be unhappy at home, and want to spend as little time as possible with you and the kids.

Here on Home Addict, we actually have a list of stories of ways people caught their partner cheating. If you’re afraid this might be the case, it’s worth taking a look at some of those examples. Not surprisingly, a lot of these stories involve people who were perpetually coming home late or pretending to spend their weekends with friends. In almost every case, this lead to them getting a divorce.

If your partner is always staring at their phone during dinner, it’s honestly insulting. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Looking at Your Phone at Dinner Time

Studies have shown that you’ll be a happier person if you stop staring at your phone at the dinner table. Putting your technology away during dinner and having a normal conversation with your family is very helpful for bonding. As you can imagine, the opposite is also true. If you and your family members are constantly staring at their phone during dinner, this is a sign that there is a lack of communication. Staring at your phone during dinner is rude, but it’s also hurtful. Like your conversation isn’t interesting enough to talk for the 20 minutes it takes to eat.

It’s not likely that someone will file a divorce just because you checked your notification at the table. But it’s the type of behavior that is usually a big red flag that the person is unhappy, and that the attraction to you may be wavering. Think about it- If your celebrity crush was sitting across from you, would you really be watching a YouTube video or texting your friends? No! You would be giving them your undivided attention, smiling the entire time. So a lack of interest in your partner is a sign that you may no longer love them, find them attractive, or can’t even tolerate their company. 

Female breadwinners tend to do more chores than you would expect. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Struggle Over Who ‘Wears the Pants’ in the House

Most people would assume that if the wife makes more money and is the main breadwinner of the household, her husband might step up and do more chores. But you’re wrong. Studies have shown that the more money a woman makes, the less her husband is willing to help with around the house. Sounds insanely sexist, right? Well, this goes back to the masculinity issue again. I personally have a few female friends who were the main breadwinners of their household, and they went through this exact same thing. Rather than seeming “manly”, their ex’s came off as being incredibly self-entitled and lazy. Not surprisingly, they split up.

When a man’s wife makes more money than he does, he often feels emasculated. Most men are raised to believe that they should be the providers. This isn’t entirely their fault. It’s even in our DNA going back to the days of hunter-gatherers. So by doing traditionally “female” chores, they feel even more emasculated. Some women will begin to hold themselves back from their career goals in order to maintain a happy marriage.

Many men are totally oblivious to sexism in their marriage. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Never Noticing, or Outright Denying Inequality in Your Marriage

In 2020, when the world was on lockdown, a married man in Japan flew his drone throughout his house. He posted the video online, mocking the fact that their house was messy. When his wife saw it, she rebutted by writing a list of over 200 household duties she was responsible for, and her husband only had 21. Since she was homeschooling their children during lockdown, she didn’t have as much time to clean the house as she once did. And all her husband could do was play with his toy, like a child, and complain to the world about the messy house he could have cleaned himself. 

We live in a society who claims to be so “woke” about gender equality. But that doesn’t mean sexism no longer exists. It’s so ingrained in our day-to-day that many men never even notice. And in a world where both parents and at home all day, how is this fair? A lot of men I have spoken to will try to deny that sexism still exists in 2021. These same people are likely to have said that racism was gone, too. But it’s because they are not experiencing it first-hand. Sometimes, men can be shown just how uneven their situation is at home, and it forces them to change. But if not, it’s likely to lead to divorce.

One person may have much higher cleaning standards than the other. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Disagreeing on Cleanliness Standards

For some couples, a big issue can be their standard of what constitutes “clean”. For example, maybe you sprayed and wiped down the shower, so you think it means it’s clean. But then your spouse comes in and says that “clean” only happens if you use a toothbrush to scrub the grout for an hour straight. When a couple is not on the same page about this, they can often make inflammatory and unfair statements like, “You never clean.” In reality, the other person might have the perception that they are always cleaning. The standards are just totally different. If you don’t both get on the same page of what constitutes “clean enough”, it’s going to be a huge problem. 

One of the most famous examples that sticks out in my mind is from the reality show “John and Kate Plus 8”. There is an episode when John tries to hire a maid to help clean up around the house. This was supposed to lighten the workload for Kate, since she was busy and incredibly stressed out from raising their 8 kids. However, Kate’s standards of cleaning were so high, she ended up cleaning even after the maid had left. She pulled back the heavy furniture, pointing at the dust bunnies the maid neglected to vacuum. Kate promptly fired the maid for not being good enough. This was just one of the many issues they had in their marriage, and they ended up getting a divorce.

It’s important to maintain a level of self-care in a relationship. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Never Making Time For Self-Care

Some people have this misconception that “true love” means that you should be happy around your partner 24/7. Or, if you’re trying to achieve great success, you may need to work 100 hours a week, barely sleep, and never do the things you enjoy. Both of these mindsets are problematic. It’s totally necessary for you to have a work-life balance. If you don’t make time for self-care, it can seriously hurt your relationship.

Remember that even in a marriage, you are still two individual people. Both of you are going to need time alone, friendships, a relationship with your respective families, and so on. And if you have a spouse who doesn’t respect your need for self-care, it could potentially lead to divorce. If or when you two split up, self-care is more important than ever. Even if you have children to look after, don’t forget to love and care for yourself, too.

It’s okay if the bed doesn’t get made 365 days a year. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Caring Too Much About the House Being Perfect

So far on this list, we have talked a lot about how bad cleanliness habits can lead to divorce. However, this can sometimes go too far. If you forget to make the bed one morning, is that really going to hurt anything? Sometimes, we are so busy rushing to work, or swamped with deadlines that we can’t get to cleaning right away. That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. For example, I am constantly told by my roommates that I am the cleanest and most organized person in my house. And yet I still allow papers to pile up on my desk sometimes for a week straight before I get to cleaning it. This weakness doesn’t negate the other 90% of my cleanliness.

If you’re married to someone, you should know by now how messy or clean your partner actually is. So it should really only be a problem if this is something that happens over, and over again. If you start to nag someone the one time they are less-than-perfect, that can be completely unnerving. When you pick on someone for their occasional weakness, it can feel like an attack. And if someone can’t relax in their own home, it’s very problematic.

Is it really appropriate to split things up 50-50 all the time? Credit: Shutterstock

6. Dividing Everything into “His” and “Hers”

When you get married, you’re supposed to share everything 50/50. This includes your assets, but it should also mean splitting household essentials like food. So if you’re bad at sharing, this can be a huge problem that leads to resentment. On one hand, you shouldn’t give up who you are as an individual. It’s totally healthy for you to keep some boundaries intact. However, the whole point of getting married is to come together. Otherwise, why legally get married at all?

If your partner is never willing to share things with you, this is a red flag that the relationship might lead to divorce at some point. I’ll never forget a famous scene in The Joy Luck Club where a married couple both worked, and maintained their independence. They also agreed to split everything 50-50, and buy the things they want for themselves. If the wife ate some of her husband’s ice cream, she was expected to pay him the money back for the amount she ate. Eventually, it dawned on her that this was toxic. In a loving relationship, you give and take equally without keeping tabs.

Some people have been unnecessarily hoarding household goods. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Hoarding

Most people have seen the TV series “Hoarders” at least once. Unfortunately, hoarding is a serious mental health issue that is going on in the United States and other parts of the world. Millions of people have hoarding disorder, and it’s really difficult to fix without therapy and support from your family. When they’re young, this could manifest as simply enjoying collecting things. But as time goes on, it can get worse and worse.

Hoarding isn’t just about being messy, either. This has led to people getting evicted from their homes, or losing their house. Having this happen can make your life a nightmare. Hoarding puts a very heavy burden on your family. When your mental illness hurts others around you, it only makes sense that it could lead to divorce. Here at Home Addict, we’ve collected some of the most disturbing hoarding stories.

Smoking can really take a toll on your family’s health. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Smoking Cigarettes

According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, adults who smoke cigarettes have a 53% higher chance of getting a divorce compared to people who don’t smoke. When you think about this, it actually makes a lot of sense. If one of the partners doesn’t smoke, they’re going to be more sensitive to the smell. Smoking also leaves behind cigarette butts, ashes, and can increase the risk of a fire at home. What was once a harmless habit now becomes a huge issue once you’re living with a smoker.

When you have kids, this also becomes a game-changer. For example, both of my parents were smokers when they first got married. Then, when my younger brother was born, he was diagnosed with childhood asthma at age two. The doctors told them that it was most likely due to breathing in cigarette smoke. So both of my parents agreed to quit smoking at the same time. For them, it was a no-brainer. Their son’s health came first. A similar thing happened to my friend, who developed health conditions because of her mother’s smoking habit. Even though she knew that she caused her daughter’s health issues, the mom refused to quit smoking. Her parents ended up getting a divorce. While smoking wasn’t the only cause, it really does make you question how you can stay married to someone who is so selfish.

When you have kids, it can be really difficult to maintain romance in your marriage. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Too Much Time With The Kids, and Not Enough Together

There are a lot of well-meaning parents out there who essentially put their marriage on the back burner in order to take care of their kids. Not only does this add a lot of stress to a relationship, but it also kills the romance in your life. Remember that you still need to nurture your romantic partner. 

When you’re new parents, it’s really hard to find any time for yourselves. But it’s still important to have your date night. Ask friends and family to help babysit for you. Chip and Joanna Gaines are one of the busiest couples in the world, and yet they still have a weekly date night. They are constantly working on their marriage, even though they continue to have more and more kids.

When one person never does the dishes, it’s incredibly frustrating. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Not Doing the Dishes

There is an amazing article called “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By the Sink” by Matthew Fray. He talks about how he used to leave his mess behind for his wife to clean up. While he was married, he felt like his wife was unreasonable. He felt like she was trying to force him to care about a clean house as much as she did. But it wasn’t until after their divorce that he realized his behavior was a blatant lack of respect towards her. “She didn’t want to be my mother. My wife wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.”

If you’re having arguments in your marriage over household duties, I highly recommend reading that article. Matt goes over both his mindset, as well as his wife’s mindset. Arguments often occur when we don’t understand the other person’s perspective. Oftentimes, it’s not even about the dishes. It’s about a perception of disrespect and a lack of love. “The wife doesn’t want to divorce her husband because he leaves used drinking glasses by the sink. She wants to divorce him because she feels like he doesn’t respect or appreciate her, which suggests he doesn’t love her, and she can’t count on him to be her lifelong partner.”

People are more concerned with respect than housework. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Most Fights Over Housework Isn’t Really About the Housework

Last and certainly not least is that most these household habits and fights that lead to divorce are not actually about the cleaning itself. It’s about the power struggle, and lack of respect in the marriage. In the end, a man who loves a woman will swallow his pride and masculinity if it means doing something for the one he loves. Just look at the fathers who will agree to sit down to their daughter’s tea party. Do you think they enjoy doing that girly stuff? Not really. But their daughter does. And that’s all that matters. So why can’t you show that same love and respect to your partner?

If one partner can’t relate to the emotions of the other, it’s really difficult for them to get on the same page. When one person thinks the other is irrational for wanting something clean, it’s a problem. And when one person feels disrespected by the other for making a mess, it’s a problem. At the end of the day, it’s really about so much more than house work. When your partner brings up a problem, don’t automatically brush it off as nit-picking. Really listen to them, and consider going to counseling if you want to save your marriage.

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