University of Washington researchers have concluded that divorces are indeed seasonal and are most likely to take place after the winter and summer holidays. Sociology professor Julie Brines and doctoral candidate Brian Serafini have attributed these seasonal splits to what they call “domestic ritual,” or a calendar that can influence family tendencies and cause trends.
Their research, taken from divorce filings from 2001 until 2015, uncovered consistently higher numbers of divorce in March and August. The logic behind this trend is that these two holidays represent a time of family and fun and are met with high expectations compared to an average day. These holidays can turn into major disappointments when couples cannot seem to mend or maintain their relationship during these emotionally charged breaks.
Personally I can clearly remember my parents’ pre-divorce struggles during the holiday seasons. I think the elevated expectations are definitely a large factor especially when added to the “free time” couples experience during these breaks. These failed attempts at what should be an enjoyable period of time can really illuminate deeper marital issues and reveal that couples cannot happily coexist even in times of relatively low stress. Not being able to have joyful holidays year after year can be quite disheartening for the entire family as a group and it makes perfect sense that couples would split up following that tension. It’s a sad, yet logical finding.