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How long commutes can lead to divorce

Marriages can become turbulent for a variety of reasons. However, some may not know the likelihood of divorce can increase if one spouse has a long commute. That’s because the time away from home and stress of traffic can provoke rising tensions at home.

According to a study from Umea University in Sweden, people who commute around 45 minutes one way to work can have a higher chance of divorcing than those with shorter drives.

Negative impacts of lengthy commutes

While it’s not always the sole cause of divorce, there are factors that can play a role:

  • Less time spent together: When one partner spends eight hours at the office and then another hour coming home, this can result in them spending less time with their spouse and children.
  • Limit of job prospects for the other spouse: With Chicago being the third largest metro in the U.S., it’s suburbs can expand well beyond city limits. If one spouse takes a job in downtown but lives in a far-out suburb with fewer career prospects for their partner, it could foster resentment between the two of them.
  • Money can become an issue: In many instances, longer commutes can cost more. Several economists have estimated a 40% pay increase may be necessary to make a long commute worth the expense. If transportation ends up draining one’s finances, this can cause marital problems.
  • Traffic can lead to increased stress: It’s no surprise that Chicago is home to some of the worst traffic in the country. When commuters are subject to constant gridlock, road construction or the negligence of reckless drivers, it can increase stress and anxiety for any motorist. Unfortunately, those who endure tension out on the road may take it out on their spouse.

Driving stress can escalate marital tensions

The friction and hostility one can face while commuting can damage an already turbulent marriage or strained marriage. In some cases, it may result in a tipping point toward divorce.