As we’ve seen in the past, divorce can be not just an emotional issue, it can be a downright weird one. While case by case, divorce can be the result of strange circumstances, the reasons different places have accepted as grounds for divorce over history have sometimes been remarkably unusual.
10. Thousands of Egyptian Divorces Listed Candy Crush as a Cause
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Candy Crush has been a massively popular game. It generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2020 alone and has over a quarter of a billion players. Turns out all that money and all those players are maybe a little too into the game because Candy Crush has been cited in numerous Egyptian divorces. And by numerous we mean it ranged from around 8,000 to as many as 17,000. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the divorces caused by PlayStation, which have been blamed for 250,000 more.
As a result of gaming and assorted more traditional issues, the divorce rate in Egypt rose to the highest level in the world at 40%.
9. Pigeon Racing is Leading to Divorces in Indonesia
In the Western world, things like dog and horse racing are still fairly popular sports among casual fans and gamblers alike. Across the world in places like Indonesia, it’s pigeon racing that keeps the crowds enthralled. And just like people who bet on the ponies, pigeon race gamblers can take it too far.
Back in 2017, Indonesian officials started seeing an uptick in the number of divorces that cited pigeon racing as a reason. Husbands betting and losing money on pigeons was becoming untenable for a number of marriages, and that seemed to be a major cause behind the filings.
Gambling wasn’t the only reason, however. As the popularity of the sport increased, some men were just devoting all of their time to raising and training their own pigeons, much to the chagrin of their wives.
8. Using Facebook More Than 1 Hour a Day
You can’t swing a cat on the internet without finding an article that talks about something horrible being attributed to Facebook. Whether it’s the spread of misinformation or causing various websites to go out of business because they lied about video metrics, the company is mired in controversy all the time. And it turns out they’re being blamed for ruining marriages as well.
As far back as 2012, there was evidence mounting that marriages were finding Facebook at the center of many divorces. Anecdotally, one in three divorces in the UK were blaming Facebook and social media for causing problems. A study at the time linked people who spent an hour a day or more on Facebook with serious marital problems.
Most US divorce attorneys acknowledged that social media was becoming a rising issue and Facebook was specifically named in a third of divorce cases. Infidelity was among the main reasons Facebook was name dropped as people would end up messaging members of the opposite sex in inappropriate ways.
Facebook was also used in many custody hearings as evidence of one party saying cruel or inappropriate things to children or ex-spouses.
7. Retired Husband Syndrome is a Cause for Divorce in Japan
Retirement for most people is supposed to be a time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of many years of labor. You have money saved up to see you through life and you can just relax and enjoy whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do. Now whether many or any of us will get a chance to retire is another matter, but for those in Japan who have already done it, it brings a whole new set of problems.
Retired Husband Syndrome is the name given to a stress-related condition that is very prevalent in Japan, with as many as 60% of older women experiencing it. It occurs when the husband, who spent years working, retires and is home all the time. These couples would have had very strained relationships that were not particularly loving or even friendly, sustained more as a business deal than anything else. The man makes money; the woman cares for the home and children. But when he is home all the time, the stress takes a toll and the couples do not get along. Women may suffer ulcers, rashes and more.
Even though divorce was culturally less accepted in Japan, the divorce rates were consistently rising for many years. They are still lower than American rates but still much higher than even 30 years ago.
6. Unreasonable Behavior
A no-fault divorce is what you call it when a divorce is granted without a court requiring one party to show that the other wronged them. Basically, you just want a divorce and that’s good enough. England didn’t do those for many years. Instead, parties had to demonstrate something that their spouse did which made them seek that divorce and that’s where “unreasonable behavior” comes in. This is a wide-reaching term that can be defined by hundreds of different behaviors, and some of them are far more unreasonable than others.
There have been cases brought before the court in which the most unbelievable reasons for divorce were presented. One man said he hated tuna casserole and his wife consistently and maliciously cooked it for him. A woman claimed her husband forced her to dress like a Klingon. Other reasons have included throwing old cold cuts, messing with the TV antenna, and letting a pet tarantula sleep next to the bed.
5. Disagreements Over the Effects of Radiation Have Led to “Atomic Divorce”
Getting into disagreement is par for the course in any marriage and if they’re bad enough, they can be a direct cause for a divorce. But Japan’s “Atomic Divorces” are being caused by a very specific kind of disagreement that isn’t seen in many other places in the world.
Several years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, a rise in divorces was seen as husbands and wives got into disagreements over how to raise their families in the aftermath. This echoed concerns from after WWII, when many Japanese women feared starting families due to concerns over how radiation would affect their children. The modern concerns are much the same – mothers wanted to ensure their families were as far from potential radiation as possible when fathers were trusting the government that there was no cause for concern at all. In some cases, the mothers would move the children away. The disagreement became so insurmountable that divorce soon followed.
It’s unclear how many divorces occurred as a result, but there are details of a number of them happening.
4. Birth Control Pills May Alter What You Find Attractive and Lead to Divorce
Feelings are known to change over time and no doubt most of us have experienced what it is to no longer care for someone as much as we once did. But imagine finding out that your partner didn’t so much fall out of love with you as they just think you’re unappealing now. That’s a thing that can happen and it’s linked to birth control pills.
Psychologist Sarah Hill studied how birth control pills affect a woman’s brain chemistry. Not only do the pills affect a woman’s mood and sex drive, they also affect attraction. When taking birth control pills, women tend to me more attracted to men who exhibit less masculine attributes and are also less interested in sex than normal. If that same woman stops taking birth control, she could find herself both with an increased sex drive and less attraction to the man she’s with.
In terms of divorce, it’s worth noting that what you may think happens is the opposite of what happens. Women who choose partners while they are taking pills are “significantly” less likely to divorce than those who partnered up not on the pill because they’re happier overall with what their partners bring to the table. This is generally related to things like financial stability, so even though the women aren’t enjoying sex and may not be all that attracted to their partner, they stay together.
3. Cats Were a Prominent Reason for Divorces in America
The internet loves cats, but no one is married to the internet and being forced to put up with those cats 24/7. Turns out, in real life, some people are 110% dog people and want nothing to do with our feline friends. They dislike them so much that divorce has followed, and it’s been happening for longer than you might think.
Back in 1903, a man filed for divorce from his wife, citing the unending feline turmoil he experienced in his own home, which included unrelenting hissing, clawing, and sharing his bed with the animals. A man back in 1912 blamed his divorce on his wife having 35 cats.
While the cats were potentially annoying, there seems to be more to the divorces. Cats had not been widely accepted as house pets until the late 1800s. The cat boom was just beginning and many of these people would likely have never lived with cats growing up and considered them street or barn animals. But more relevant was that no-fault divorce was not an option at the time, either. People needed a reason to divorce, something they could point to that was egregious and damaging. So the cats may have filled the void by making up a reason for couples to call it quits.
2. Covid has Been Linked to a Spike in Divorce Rates
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the world and will probably continue to have repercussions for years to come. It affected everything from commerce to politics to relationships in ways no one predicted. And when it comes to that last one, it has caused some serious damage to many marriages.
Being forced to stay home on lockdown to a greater or lesser degree caused many couples around the world to change the dynamics of their relationship. For many, it was more than they could take. Some couples got sick of each other because they’d never been forced to be together for so long. Others discovered dark secrets like infidelity and more as a result of sharing close quarters for such an extended period.
Between 2019 and 2020, divorce rates rose 34% in America. Canadian divorce rates spiked, as did British, Australian, Italian, Indian and those in pretty much every country on earth where divorce is allowed. All the stresses of Covid from the disease itself to losing jobs and money or being forced together became too much for thousands of couples around the world.
1. Ingmar Bergman Was Blamed for a Rise in Swedish Divorces
It’s very rare that a third party is the cause for a divorce if that third party is in no way involved in the marriage at all. If someone has an affair, that’s one thing, but when neither partner knows the person, well, that’s unusual. Nonetheless, famed director Ingmar Bergman was blamed for a notable rise in Swedish divorces despite not knowing any of those involved. And it was all thanks to his 1973 miniseries Scenes From a Marriage.
About 50% of Sweden watched the series when it aired, and within a year the divorce rate rose from 2% to 3.3%. A fairly significant increase overall, that is anecdotally placed at the feet of the series.
Though it was fiction, the show was presented in a realistic, documentary style and showed a marriage falling to shambles. There is evidence to show that Sweden’s marriage counseling services saw a massive increase in demand and wait lists ballooned from three weeks to three months as the show seemed to inspire couples to want to address similar issues in their own marriages.
That same year, divorce laws in Sweden changed. Previously, couples had to go through some serious hoops, including mutual agreement, marriage counseling, and a full year of separation. Divorce law reform made it much easier, so it’s possible both of these factors contributed to the divorce boom.