Psychology researchers at UCLA conducted a four year study to determine whether cold feet before a wedding could predict divorce. Their answer: yes and no. It turns out that women’s doubts before a wedding may signal trouble ahead for the marriage, while men’s doubts do not correlate with significantly higher divorce rates.
The study divided marriages into four groups: marriages in which neither spouse had doubts, marriages in which the men had doubts, marriages in which the women had doubts, and marriages in which both the men and the women had doubts. The first group contained 36 percent of marriages, with neither side having doubts. In this group, the divorce rate was only six percent. Among the group of marriages with only male doubts, that number rose to 10 percent, an increase that the study’s authors say is too small to have significance. Conversely, marriages involving women with cold feet ended in divorce three times as often as those where neither side had any doubts; 18 percent reported divorce by the four-year mark. And, in cases where both sides had doubt, the number increases slightly to a 20 percent divorce rate, only a small difference from the women-only pool of marriages. The researchers attribute these differences to the fact that women are often more attuned to the dynamics of the relationship. Consequently, they do not get cold feet as much as men do, but when they do, they tend to be better at noticing real causes for concern.
In addition to looking at divorce rates, the researchers also examined the satisfaction of people with their marriages, and how that satisfaction related to doubts they had beforehand. Their research found that both men’s and women’s doubts impacted this area, leading to a lower level of marital satisfaction for those who experienced doubt.
The study’s authors also pointed out that these statistics can help couples in the process of preparing for their wedding. Doubts do not have to spell the end of a relationship. Rather, the authors recommend acknowledging the doubts, and communicating them to each other before the marriage. Often times opening these lines of communication can help couples work through the issues before they become too serious, allowing them to avoid a painful, but sometimes necessary, divorce later on.
If you are considering getting a divorce, or are already involved in one, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer today. They can help guide you through this trying time.