Reasons For Divorce Go Beyond What People Tell You

reasons for divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

There are many reasons for divorce, but if you ask someone  why he or she is getting divorced, here are some answers you might get:

1. My husband cheated on me.
2. I came home one day and found my wife in bed with some guy.
3. My wife doesn’t love me anymore.
4. My husband’s an asshole.
5. My wife’s a Bitch.
6. It just wasn’t working
7. Because my wife is a compulsive liar and a psychopath
8. Ugh…don’t even ask.

But if you think about it, these answers are just scratching the surface on the reasons for divorce. I’m not saying that these things aren’t true, (they certainly might be) but let’s face facts. None of these reasons for divorce are the REAL reason or ALL of the reason the two decided to get divorced.  In other words, getting divorced goes so far beyond “My wife’s a Bitch.”


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In my novel, also called Divorced Girl Smiling, one of the biggest messages in the story is that the reason for the divorce isn’t so simple. It’s not cut and dry.

Here’s an example. A guy leaving his wife for another woman isn’t because he fell madly in love with the other woman and oh, what a fluke! Usually, there are undoubtedly so many other factors that came into play.

Possibilities include:


1. The man (or woman) was unhappy with himself, and went outside his marriage to try to fix what was bothering him.

2. The man (or woman) has a sex addiction and wasn’t satisfied with monogamy.

3. The woman (or man) neglected the spouse, denied him or her sex and he/she didn’t feel loved or appreciated anymore.

I’m not saying these reasons for divorce are justified. But, I’m saying that when you hear a reason for divorce, it’s most likely so much more than you think. And this includes your own divorce.


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Here’s another example. I know a woman who was happily married for 27 years, was having great sex with her husband, was loving and caring and nurturing, and to her complete shock, he left her for another woman, who he married shortly after their divorce was final.

Ask this woman if she thinks she had any fault in the demise of her marriage and she will say admittedly, she wasn’t perfect, and that looking back, she could have done some things differently, but all in all, no. She can’t take blame for the divorce.

I also know people who have left their spouse, and years later realize that it was all them, meaning they realize later that the reason for their divorce was their unhappiness. In other words, the divorce didn’t stem from the bad marriage, it came from deep unhappiness within, that no one could fix but themselves.

And then there are people who later realize that although their spouse is the one who pulled the trigger, THEY weren’t happy either, and that in the end, their spouse did them a favor.


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Here’s the thing. You can get dealt a bad card and your spouse could just leave you when you thought everything was perfect. That is traumatic and devastating and takes a long time to get over. I’m not saying these people are victims, but rather took the brunt of someone else’s bad mental state and/or addiction or unhappiness.

However, in so many cases, I see people who are unwilling to take ANY accountability for their divorce. They place the blame entirely on their ex. Their ex is the reason for divorce. It’s infuriatingly frustrating to me.

I actually know a woman who cheated on her husband, causing the demise of her marriage. The guy she cheated with ultimately ended the relationship and now, if you ask the woman why she got divorced, she will say, “My husband is awful! He was a terrible husband.”

She refuses to acknowledge that SHE was partially (if not entirely) at fault. In her mind, her cheating was justified because of the way her husband treated her in the marriage. It’s so sad because she hates her husband on the outside, but in my opinion, she hates herself and won’t let herself realize that.

If she would admit to herself that she didn’t make the best choice, she’d probably get over both the divorce and the other guy so much quicker!

People like this woman will never be able to fully heal from the divorce until they are able to admit, “SOME of what broke us up is my fault.”


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I know that personally, in my marriage, I did some things that I am not proud of, and that I wish I’d have done differently. I don’t think they would have saved my marriage, but still, I am at fault. Did you hear that? I AM AT FAULT for certain aspects of the failure of my marriage. If you can say that, you are healing.

In the end, and years later, reasons for divorce end up not really mattering. But admitting some fault is key in moving on and being a better person in your next relationship and in life, in general.

It’s easy to spot the people who accept their faults and those who don’t. A person who accepts some blame has so much less bitterness, anger, and baggage. Their heart is open and ready to love again because they are able to come to peace with the past.

So, why are you getting divorced?


Like this article? Check out, “9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    6 Responses to “Reasons For Divorce Go Beyond What People Tell You”

    1. caroline

      I don’t know why it didn’t work but I know we both did things that made it not work. No way is it cut and dry. I know that for years I tried to create a picture perfect life, maybe that was my biggest mistake. Who knows. I certainly share the blame if not taking the lions share, but I also wish he would stop trying it like he was blindsided and like I walked away from a happy marriage. When one person says “I’m not happy” and you ignore it, that doesn’t mean you get to be blameless when it falls apart

    2. Doug, Chicago

      A relationship is by definition “the state of being connected” … period. While that connection can be enhanced by mutual trust, respect, acceptance, compassion and care, it requires, at a minimum, unanimous participation of both parties. As it is inevitable that each party will change during the course of a relationship, the relationship can only be sustained by mutual cooperation and shared adjustments. One party’s determination that the other is responsible for the failure of the relationship doesn’t make the determination so, but it certainly confirms the disappearance of cooperation and agreement. We’d all like to think that the failure was the other person’s fault but harmony requires BOTH to be in sync … synchronization is not broken by one (that would presume that such person is solely responsible for finding harmony with the other … a presumption that often exists but is rarely acknowledged) … the sync ceases as a function of both. Making peace with this dynamic can go a long way toward promoting acceptance of the end of a relationship, finding forgiveness for our exes and restoring peace within ourselves. I know it helped me.

    3. Kimberley

      My ex would like to blame the demise of our marriage solely on me. I do admit it is partly my fault but not all of it is. When we first got together I wanted to be little Mrs. Susie homemaker and I was so proud to be his wife and I took pride in cleaning the house and all the domestic stuff. But he would criticize everything I did the house wasn’t clean enough, the food was too salty or too bland, there was something wrong with everything I did! If I accidently left the cap off the toothpaste and he found it and I was in another room he would call my name until I came into the bathroom and point out that I left the cap off the toothpaste and rant and rave about how irresponsible I am (like I am some small child!) Always pointing out flaws or things he didn’t like. Made fun of my clothes, hated my hair I could go on and on. So I just stopped trying to clean the house and he would get upset that I wouldn’t clean. I tried explaining why should I bother when nothing I do is ever good enough for you? He wouldn’t listen to me and said I just keep making excuses. He is very friendly and outgoing and I am very shy he hated that I wasn’t more outgoing like he was. He asked me for a divorce 4 times in our marriage the first 3 I cried and pleaded with him not to. But when he asked the 4th time I packed and moved out. He knew each time he asked me for a divorce it hurt me and chipped away at my soul but every few years he would do it. I realized it must be what he really wanted or why would he keep asking me for one? He got angry when I left and said I didn’t love him enough because if I did I wouldn’t have left, and I would have fought for him and did everything he asked me to. So yes I did stop cleaning the house, I didn’t cook him dinner, I was shy around his friends, I let myself go etc… He is right and he said that is the reason he wanted the divorce. But in my defense he is a perfectionist who wants everything perfect at all times. He belittled me, made fun of me in front of other people, made fun of my appearance, my clothes, etc… I was never good enough for him. I was his second marriage and his standards and ideal of perfect is so high it doesn’t exist no one can meet it. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him! I don’t think any of his future relationships will work out either unless he gets counseling and tries to change. I asked if he wanted to go to counseling not for us to get back together but for us to both heal but he said no he doesn’t feel he has a problem. He blames everything on me!!! I am the cause of our marriage ending and he had nothing to do with it. Oh and I twisted his words around to make him look like the bad guy. The day he asked me for the divorce the final time. I was waiting for some biopsy results and he said to me “I waited to make sure you were okay before I told you because if your results came back positive and you were sick I wouldn’t have left. Because I wouldn’t have wanted people thinking I was an asshole who left you because you were sick” Isn’t that kind of him? Or the time I was in the hospital for 5 days and could have nothing by mouth and he goes and gets two slices of pie and eats them right in front of me!!! And when I get out of the hospital he takes me home and leaves me by myself to go out to dinner with his buddies. I could go on and on. No need for me to twist those words around I can say them straight out and he does look bad and he doesn’t like that. Yes I am a little bitter still but it’s still fresh.

    4. Dunya

      My wife and I almost got divorced until I realized my fault in the marriage. I was a great husband…great father and just a good human being. Unfortunately I was cheating on my wife. No not with another woman but with my job. After being married for 9 years and having children, my focus changed and I became very committed to my work and career. As a result, I paid more attention to that then my wife and unbeknown to me, my wife felt just as betrayed as one would if they were cheated on. If she called me while at work, I wouldn’t pick the phone. I was too busy. Slowly she stopped calling and starting drifting away. That was the beginning of our almost divorce until I realized my fault. It took some help but if I was going to save my marriage, I needed to figure out what FAULT was mine. Prior to this I was blaming my wife and it was getting us no where but once I figured out I was to blame, it was easy for me to work on becoming the husband my wife fell in love with. Eventually things changed and now I’m ready to reveal tips of how I did it too. Hopefully they can inspire someone to change and take account of their issues like you suggest above.

    5. Aron Antonicci

      Truth revealed!

      Basically, most people can’t tell truth to their parents or family so they try to give an explanation which i think might not be the reason for divorce.

      You have mentioned all the points which might be the real reason for divorce.


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