(Closed) Why are divorce rates in the US so much higher than Europe?

posted 5 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Maybe because the US is still a pretty religious country so people feel pressure to get married early if they want to live together/have sex?

Post # 4
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

More people in the United States get married, percentage wise, than a lot of other countries.  We have backwards religious views so people think they need to get married in order to live together, and then they realize they’re incompatible…and so they get divorced.  Obviously there are other reasons why people get divorced, but I think that plays into it.

Post # 5
Member
993 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’ve spent a significant amount of time in both places, and Canada is influenced by both.  Here are some ideas:

There’s a different mentality on marriage in Europe – the person you marry is not the same person you sleep with – infidelity doesn’t always lead to divorce.  As you can see from the media lately the US is obsessed with extramarital affairs and causing it to ruin someone’s life/reputation/marriage. (compare Berlusconi to Petraeus)

Catholics don’t believe in divorce and southern European countries are heavily Catholic.

The US is pretty sue-happy/supports lawyering up.

The fairytale love story of Disney originates in the US, perhaps there is another expectation of marriage in Europe that is more realistic – you don’t get divorced when you “fall out of love”.

Europe isn’t so obsessed with abstinence/sex…its generally more open and freer so you don’t get married to have sex and are maybe generally more satisfied/open/accepting of other’s sex lives and affairs.

Just thoughts, i dunno.

Post # 6
Member
2336 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I have to disagree about religion being the reason that couples get married/divorce.

I believe the divorce rate among non-religious couples is about the same as it is among religious couples. That wouldn’t be the case if the reason people were getting divorced is because they got married too soon for religious reasons.

Post # 7
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@rachelmichelle:  I don’t think it’s because the couples themselves are religious, but that there is a pervasive sense in this country that the right thing to do is get married if you want to live together.

Post # 8
Member
7 posts
Newbee

I’m not completely sure about how it is in the US but I’m originally from Northern Europe and I swear NO ONE there gets married before they’ve lived together.

Also, I think in the US people get engaged a lot sooner – I don’t know anyone who would have gotten engaged before they had been together for at least 3-4 years. I don’t know, I just feel like that the whole attitude towards weddings is different in Northern Europe at least. After being on the Bee for quite a while, it has become clear that many people expect a proposal after just about a year and are anxious about getting married. I haven’t ever heard any of my Scandie friends saying how they’re waiting for a proposal etc, it just feels like wedding isn’t that big of a milestone at least in Northern Europe and therefore it’s done usually at a later stage than in the US and I do think that the longer the couple has been together, often reflects on whether their marriage will be succesful (of course there are exemptions though!).

 

And, personally, I just don’t understand how people get married before living together for at least a year – how are you supposed to know the other person otherwise?

Post # 9
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

This might also have something to do with it…if American people are getting married much earlier in their lives than their European counterparts (or even Canadian counterparts)…

Post # 10
Member
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I recently moved to the bible belt and from what I’ve experienced it seems that religion really does play into it. Young couples get married before even getting to know one another just so they can live together and have sex. Also, even older couples seem to rush into marriages (for some reason or another) and then divorce shortly thereafter. The guys my FI works with keep joking with him that the first marriage is only practice and most of them have been married 3 or 4 times. They talk about it like they’re wearing a badge of honor. Maybe it’s something us “Yankees” just don’t understand. Just my two cents. 

Post # 11
Member
1309 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I think PPs are right about American couples getting married a lot sooner than European couples do.

Here in Iceland at least it’s very normal to be together for 5 or even 10 years without getting married. It just isn’t that high on the list of priorities.

Because of that cultural difference, I’m always amazed when I read about women on the Bee that are desperately waiting for proposals after 1-2 years in a relationship..

Then again, here it’s very common for people to have children out of wedlock and single mothers/fathers are very common even though there is no divorce.

Post # 12
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’m trying to look up statistics about divorce among couples who live together before marriage, and divorce rates for people dependent upon how long they’ve been together.  For example, if a couple has been together x years before marriage, are they more or less likely to get divorced, regardless of age?  

 

 

Post # 13
Member
1115 posts
Bumble bee

@peachacid: To be completely honest, I was not really aware of any nationwide stigma as far as living together before marriage until the Bee.  As far as I can see, “shacking up” has become quite common.

When my mother talks about me and my SO living together, she likes to remind me that my family is extremely religious and “old fashioned.”  So even she acknowledges that it is a dated, uncommon view here though she still completely agrees with it. 

So I don’t think its a religious thing in that way, especially when you throw in the fact that some European countries are heavily Catholic.  That, when combined with cultural differences, looks like a large part of the reason for low divorce rates.

I’ve had a lot of friends from different countries tell me that having a woman on the side is common in their culture.  I don’t think that’s seen as ok here in the US.

Post # 14
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@DeadlyNightshade:  I think it’s a combination of religion, getting married young, and other countries’ citizens waiting longer before they get married that cause the disparity.

 

And when I say religion, I don’t mean that, for example, my fiance and I are religious and so feel we must get married to live together.  I mean that my grandmother (who is “old-fashioned”) would prefer we had gotten married before we lived together.  She says, to my mom, “I just don’t understand these young people.”  There is societal pressure to get married before couples live together (not in every area of the country — I would think more progressive areas would have less of this, and the big cities especially would not) and that results in couples marrying at much younger ages than they would without that pressure.

 

Also, about the infidelity thing being totally okay in Europe…that would definitely change divorce rates in this country, I bet.  If it were like, “Oh, you have a mistress?  That’s cool, so do I!” not, “OMFGBBQ you have a mistress?!?  IT’S OVER!!!!”  (I don’t see that changing, and I fall most certainly in the latter category!)

Post # 15
Member
7796 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Since the OP hasn’t quoted any figures, it’s hard to comment. Even if it’s true, lower divorce rate is pretty meaningless if the marriage rate is also lower. A more accurate rate would be “percentage of marriages which end in divorce before X years”.

Post # 16
Member
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

The social infrastructure plays a big part, too. European folks generally get more for their tax dollar than we do in the US, regardless of if the tax rate is higher or not. If you are getting longer maternity leave, subsidized childcare, good quality public education and universal health care, your average couple isn’t coming out of pocket to cover those things. Remove the expense and it’s easier to balance the household budget, thereby removing one of the most common stressors in marriages that fail.

The topic ‘Why are divorce rates in the US so much higher than Europe?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors