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Reasons for divorce affect attitudes about saving the marriage

A recent survey of couples who had filed for divorce found that some of the respondents had an unexpectedly high rate of optimism that the marriage could be saved. Nearly a quarter of the respondents said that they thought reconciliation was possible. For 12 percent of the respondents, their spouse also said that it was possible they could reconcile.

Why the ambivalence about divorce? The researchers found a correlation between respondents' expressing a feeling that it might be possible to save the marriage and the reasons for their dissatisfaction with the marriage. If the reasons for divorce had to do with general unhappiness, there was more optimism that things could change, and, if they did, the marriage could work again.

These feelings of general unhappiness the researchers labeled "soft reasons."

On the other hand, problems like alcoholism, gambling addiction, physical abuse or chronic infidelity were labeled "hard reasons." In these situations, it is more likely that one spouse is unwilling to change, and their behavior is causing the other spouse to suffer. In these cases, there was far less likelihood to express optimism about reconciliation.

Pittsburgh divorce attorneys noted from news reports that the survey found that 55 percent of respondents cited "growing apart" as a reason for their divorce. It was the number one response. People taking the survey could give more than one reason. "Not able to talk together" got 53 percent. Infidelity had 34 percent, and 34 percent also said "not enough attention."

Source: USA Today "Some couples pull back from the edge of divorce" Sept. 28, 2011

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