A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that a spouse’s health can serve as a predictor of divorce likelihood.
According to researchers, couples in which one of the partners is chronically ill are 50 percent more likely to get a divorce than the average couple. To unearth these findings, researchers looked through 20 years of data on more than 2,700 couples. For a better data sample, researchers only looked at couples where one of the partners was over 50 years old, as age is often a predictor of chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke.
After analyzing the data, researchers uncovered:
- Men were more likely than women to get sick.
- Divorce was more common when the woman, not the husband, fell ill.
Although researchers fell short of determining exactly why divorce was more common when the wife became ill, they speculated that men may feel ill-equipped to act as a caretaker for their wife, while the wife may be more comfortable playing the role of caretaker for the husband.
“It’s…important to recognize that the impetus for divorce may be health-related and that sick ex-wives may need additional care and service to prevent worsening health and increased health expenditures,” study author Amelia Karraker said in a statement.
Amelia begins to uncover one of the root causes of divorce when she talks about increased health expenditures, but she fails to mention the emotional tolls of a chronic illness. Chronic diseases are physically and emotionally draining for both partners in a relationship, and sometimes people can become overwhelmed.
Be open about your concerns, and talk about the possibility of a separation instead of just dropping divorce papers in front someone. If that’s the route you choose to go, having candid discussions with one another and your divorce lawyer can help simplify the divorce process during this difficult time in a person’s life. It will also make it much easier to devise a spousal maintenance agreement if both parties are open about their finances and their expected expenses.
Related source: TIME