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Likelihood of divorce increases with illness

A new study suggests that illness can play a role in the longevity of marriages. The study, which may surprise Connecticut residents, indicates that divorce becomes more likely in incidences of chronic or serious sickness arising for one member of a couple. While the last few years has seen a dramatic rise in so-called grey divorce for older couples, this study sheds new light on one of the potential causes for the phenomenon.

According to the study, which polled 2,717 couples over the age of 50, a shocking 75 percent of all marriages in which one member of the couple becomes chronically or seriously ill ended in divorce. A total of 31 percent of all polled marriages ended the same way. Men were said to be more prone to developing these illnesses, but the potential for divorce went up dramatically if the wife was the one to fall ill.

Experts have suggested several reasons for this trend, not the least of which was the emotional pressure put on a relationship by a serious illness or one of long duration. Additionally, some men may not feel they live up to the social expectations of caregiving, while some women may feel they are not receiving the care and attention from their partner they deserve. Regardless, it seems as though "in sickness and in health" is open to some interpretation.

Marriages are subjected to a wide variety of pressures over time, with illness being one of the more challenging to overcome. Connecticut residents for whom this is a pressing concern should be aware of the effect an illness can have on their relationship and. should a divorce become a possibility, may benefit from learning more about their rights under state law when it comes to property division and other particulars. Being prepared ahead of time can make an already difficult situation easier to navigate.

Source: Time Magazine, "Couples Are More Likely to Get Divorced if the Wife Gets Sick", Alexandra Sifferlin, May 1, 2014

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