When it comes to studying divorce, social scientists have two options. They can observe different couples and try to figure out on their own what predicts the end of a marriage, or they can simply ask people why their marriage ended.
A growing body of scientific research falls into that second category. Researchers either ask participants to choose from a list of potential reasons for divorce, or they ask participants to answer an open-ended question about why they divorced. A recent blog post on Psychology Today, by the psychologist Scott M. Stanley, for example, highlights several papers on people’s reasons for divorce.
We took a look at some of that research and pulled out seven common reasons participants gave to explain their divorce.