It is no secret that the number of divorces in Singapore has been on the rise in recent years. There were 7,522 divorce and annulment cases here in 2015 (inclusive of those married under the Administration of Muslim Law Act), which is an average of 20.6 a day!
While we know that there are lots of divorce cases here, a more important question to ask is…why? What is causing couples to get divorced?
Before you scroll down to look at the reasons, here’s a simple brain teaser : Guess what the top reason is.
Alright, Here are the top causes of divorce in Singapore :
1 in 4 (25%) of couples stated Adultery as a reason for divorce. Maybe you might have guessed this one.
The thing about adultery is, sometimes, it starts from something really small. Like flirty texts and emails, which leads to lying about whereabouts and what they were actually doing. Then, once a party is caught, lies are told to soften the blow.
Once someone is caught for lying, the trust built over the years goes down the drain. It takes a lot of time to rebuild, so living with someone you no longer trust can be extremely difficult and emotionally taxing.
Counselling takes time, and not everyone is up for it. The feelings the ‘victim’ experiences, if not dealt with properly, can get more concentrated and affect other aspects of the relationship.
For example, the victim, in the moment of hurt and disappointment, might get more intense, make accusations and display negative behaviors. This will in turn cause the perpetrator to distance themselves away from the victim, instead of empathising with them and attempt to work things out. That in turn leads to more lies and secrecy.
This is where communication skills come in, to be able to effectively articulate your problems and feelings to your partner. The victim desires to be understood.
Instead of finding ways to get revenge on your partner, making them look bad etc, find ways to work on the relationship instead, which is a long term solution for the betterment of both parties.
2. Money Issues
You’re probably thinking – lack of money leads to quarrels, which leads to divorce. You’re partly right. Interestingly, on the other end of the spectrum is the financially well off, who desire more from life, and as a result become unfaithful.
So while part of the problem is lack of money, it is unfair to base this point around just that. Another angle to explore is rather how that money is spent. Materialism – or valuing things or objects over spiritual values such as relationships is a root cause as well.
A Study showed that materialism itself that created much of the difficulty even when couples had plenty of money.
Conflicting Money Values in couples, like a spouse who gambles often, or a partner who is too extravagant in their spending can also lead to problems. We will look more into this at a later point in this article.
3. Lack of communication
Lack of communication – or rather lack of proper communication, is another common cause. Yelling at your spouse, using vulgarities and such, can all lead to one spouse drifting away from the other.
Some days, it can be rough and partners don’t talk or communicate with each other. That’s normal and happens to most couples. However, when partners do not talk to each other often, chances are they are talking to someone else about events in their life, their problems etc. And slowly, they turn to others for support or to discuss issues that they used to discuss with their spouses instead.
Overtime, This leads to couples losing the connection, love, or the spark that was once present. At this stage, its like treading on thin ice and change is required immediately.
4. Personality differences
Couples are not expected to agree on everything all the time. Heck, i even know some couples who cannot work together.
In a research study done by an ivy league school, they asked more than 500 people who have been married for at least 40 years, what their secrets to a long lasting marriage were.
It’s no longer a secret :
You are much more likely to have a satisfying marriage for a lifetime when you and your mate are fundamentally similar.
Similar in what sense? Well interestingly, in core values. I could attempt to explain it, but this is probably the most useful quote in the study and it is extremely well said, so i’ll share it here :
“I didn’t know it when I got married, but in retrospect I know it’s important to have the same basic values. In other words, if you’re a free spender, marry somebody who understands that. If you’re frugal, you need to marry somebody who understands that, because money is one of the stumbling blocks in marriages. Fortunately we had the same values on most things. Because of this, we really didn’t argue. And we didn’t agonize over things. We came to our decisions by just realizing that we had usually the same goals.”
Said by an 87 year old woman who has been married for 58 years.
Before we end off, there were a few interesting facts with regards to marriages and divorces in Singapore that i thought i’d share here :
A recent study by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) found that those who marry young face greater risk of divorce. The divorce rate for grooms who are aged 20 to 24 when they wed is twice that for those 25 and above, it found. This is similar for Muslim marriages.
A 2016 Prudential Relationship Index, based on an online survey of 500 Singaporeans, shows about a quarter of married people are thinking of divorce, and the fact that one in four couples fight over the amount of time spent on the phone. Your partner is more important than those Facebook updates, people.
Also mentioned in the survey :
In any given week, 24% of married people in Singapore who were surveyed think seriously about leaving their spouse. 34% feel that their partners upset them at least once a week. The same proportion also say they argue with their partners quite often, including 20 per cent who say these arguments lead to verbal abuse.
The top 4 things they fight about :
– Children (46%)
– Money (41%)
– Housework (29%)
– Spending too much time on the computer/phone (28%)
So there you have it. The 5 most common reasons for divorce in Singapore.
In another upcoming article, we will be gathering feedback from readers and discussing how to overcome these problems we covered above. Stay tuned !
Data for divorces and annulments in 2016 was not available at the time of writing.