Study: A Long Commute Can Ruin Your Marriage

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man stressed in the car
A new study finds that long commutes can increase the risk for divorce by 40 percent.

Is it just us, or does everything potentially cause divorce nowadays? Studies have shown that everything from daughters, to premarital cohabitation, financial troubles, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural differences, and the fifth anniversary of marriage are all linked to the deterioration of a relationship. As if those factors weren't plentiful enough, new research from Sweden claims that a long commute hikes up your risk of divorce. Does Living Together Before Marriage Increase Divorce Chances?

According to the study, 11 percent of Swedes embark on a daily commute that is 45 minutes or longer. While 45 minutes may not seem crazy to, say, Los Angeles residents, long commutes are a fairly new addition to the Swedish lifestyle. 6 Factors That Make You Less Likely To Divorce [Infographic]

 

Alas, it looks like married couples are having a hard time dealing with the change, which ironically creates marital tension by reinforcing traditional (read: outdated) gender stereotypes. In Sweden, most of the commuters who travel long distances are men; many are in relationships, and several have young children. When a man commutes long distances, his wife is likely to take a lower-paying job closer to home, which can make her feel pigeonholed into catering to his career. A long commute can also mean more time spent away from the kids, which can pressure the woman to overcompensate for her husband's absence by taking on additional domestic responsibilities. The commute can also put a drain on finances. Gas is expensive, bus passes cost momey, and having one spouse work a low-paying job nearby while the other travels can also compromise the household income. 3 Ways To Bring Your Marriage Back From Divorce

Alarmingly, the study found that the risk of divorce increases by 40 percent for commuters, and the strain is especially intense during the first few years of commuting. After about five years, families learn to adapt, although men and women can experience additional stress when their working hours grow longer over time.

What's the solution here? If changing jobs, relocating, or working from home aren't an option, acknowledging the commute (and not your partner) as the antagonist may deflect the pain of seeing him conduct a separate life in a city far away. Taking time to meet each other for lunch, splurging for household help, and making up for those couple of hours lost to traveling with quality time together can also close the gap that a long commute creates.

Has a long commute ever put a strain on your relationship? What do you do to get around it?