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6 good reasons for divorce

Every marriage goes through its ups and downs. At the same time, some problems seem to have gone on for so long or are so unpleasant that you may wonder if your marriage is over. Could you even be in a dangerous situation? Here are six good reasons for divorce that are also warning signs, especially when a spouse refuses to get treatment to change his/her behavior.

  1. Control: Attempts to control spouses’ behavior, friends, finances, or activities by using threats, anger, or excessive criticism are often the first signs of abusive relationships.
  2. Addiction: A persistent history of gambling, drug or alcohol use, or other behavior that harms the spouse, children, and/or family relationships.
  3. Repeated cheating: One infidelity doesn’t mean the marriage is over; with dedication you and your spouse can move on and strengthen your relationship. At the same time, repeated infidelities or an on-going affair with no willingness to change is a good reason to divorce and can be considered emotional abuse.
  4. Mistreatment of Children: Violence or inappropriate sexual behavior towards children, biological or not, calls for you to remove yourself and the children from contact with this person right away and seek professional help.
  5. Unchecked mental disorder: Mental illness can challenge a relationship, and with proper support generally can be successfully managed. At the same time, a spouse’s uncontrolled mental health or personality disorder can be unsafe and unhealthy.
  6. Physical Violence: If your spouse has ever been physically violent towards you or your children, remove as soon as possible and seek professional help.  Physical violence toward anyone, especially you or your children, without commitment to get help, is a deal-breaker.


Both sadly and happily, the bulk of divorces in America today do not take place for these 6 good reasons for divorce. Rather, ongoing unpleasant interactions, disappointment, or emotional distance are what make people believe their marriages are over. Fortunately though, many of these problems can actually be repaired.  The key?  Upgrading your marriage skills. 

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Dr. Abigail Hirsch

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.