In a world where Divorce Court is an actual TV show, most of us have watched marital bliss end in real time.
But whether you’re witnessing your BFF’s split or Brangelina’s, there’s one thing that all divorces have in common: There’s no set script for splitting up. “Getting divorced is a process full of unknowns, and there’s no right way to do it,” says divorce coach Karen Finn, Ph.D.
That being said, researchers have studied why marriages end, the weird things that cause divorce, and how many people are actually getting divorced. Here are the facts you need to know.
1. You don’t want to get married too early—or wait too long. People who get hitched between the ages of 28 and 32 have the lowest risk of divorce, according to research published by the Institute of Family Studies. The authors suggest that tying the knot when you’re too young can lead to a split because you don’t have the maturity or coping skills neccessary to make it work. Meanwhile, waiting too long opens the door for messy past relationships and set-in-stone lifestyle habits to get in the way of a healthy marriage.
2. March and August are the most popular months for filing a divorce. According to University of Washington sociologists who analyzed divorce filings in the state of Washington between 2001 and 2015, most people put off filing during the holidays (kind of kills the mood), and by the time they get their resources together again spring rolls around. At the same time, summer divorces are usually an attempt to have that convo before the kids head back to school.
3. Women are more likely to initiate a divorce. Ladies set 69 percent of all marital splits into motion. Weirdly, men and women equally initiate breakups before tying the knot, according to research from Stanford University.
4. Forget that freaky 50 percent divorce stat you keep hearing. The average employed woman only has a 2 percent chance of getting divorced before age 30, and a 19 percent chance of splitting up with her hubs by the age of 50, according to data from the 2014 American Community survey. Not so bad, right?
5. Porn might cause the two of you to drift apart. A random study from the University of Oklahoma found that people that started watching porn after marriage doubled their risk of divorce. Worse, dirty flicks had a stronger effect on women. Their risk for divorce tripled (going from 6 to 18 percent) if they started watching the X-rated stuff after getting hitched. Like most study results, the correlation between divorce and starting a new porn habit while married does not prove causation. Some experts say porn can even boost your bond in bed. Grain of salt, people.
6. Boozing heavily ups your risk for divorce. That’s especially true if you’re throwing back more than your hubs, according to a study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The risk of divorce actually triples when a female partner drinks heavily and her husband doesn’t drink at all. Booze compatibility matters.
7. Where you live might affect how long you stay hitched. For a study by the personal finance company WalletHub, researchers collected data from U.S. agencies like the Bureau of Labor Statistics to discover which states had the highest divorce rates in the country. They were (in order) Washington D.C., Nevada, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Meanwhile the longest-lasting married couples were located in Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
8. There’s a premarital sex sweet spot. A study from the University of Utah found that while women with ten or more sexual partners were the most likely to get a divorce, women with three to nine sexual partners were less likely to get a divorce than women who had just two partners. But don’t let a magic number keep you from doing you.
9. A big rock might lead to a rocky marriage. According to a survey from Emory University professors, couples who spend less on their wedding and engagement rings tend to have longer-lasting marriages than those who splurge. Forking over $2,000 to $4,000 on an engagement ring increases your risk of divorce by 1.3 times, compared to spending between $500 and $2,000. Meanwhile, women who spent more than $20,000 on their weddings had a divorce rate 1.6 times higher than those who spent between $5,000 and $10,000. And spending under $1,000 on nuptials meant couples had a lower than average divorce rate. Go figure.
10. Arguing with your S.O. about where the cash goes is a slippery slope. Regardless of how much you pull in, financial arguments are one of the top predictors of divorce, according to Kansas State University researchers. Mo’ money fights, mo’ splits.