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Social researchers spend a lot of time studying how people behave and the relationships that they form.

While social scientists can't guarantee wedded bliss or a disastrous divorce, they have been able to detect the patterns that indicate which couples are more likely than others to end up untying the knot:

You have a May-December romance

At least one study indicates that couples who are only a year apart in age stand a 3 percent chance of divorce. Change that difference to five years, however, and the chance of divorce increases to 18 percent. Couples who have a 10-year difference in ages are an incredible 39 percent likely to split!

You and your spouse only have high school degrees

The higher your education, the less likely you are to end up divorced -- presuming that your spouse also has the benefit of a higher education as well.

While scientists aren't sure what causes some of the other social reactions, they believe that education levels affect income levels. Those with less education end up earning lower incomes. The lower incomes lead to more stressful lives with little time left over to devote to the relationship itself.

You and your spouse have poor conflict-resolution skills

There are some behaviors that social scientists see between couples that are essentially the kiss of death for a relationship. The two most significant ones are painfully clear:

  • Refusing to communicate by meeting the other partner's attempts at communication with silence, also known as "stonewalling."
  • Regarding one's partner with contempt, as if he or she is somehow inferior, beneath notice or simply not to be taken seriously.

Both behaviors show up in different studies as factors that will kill any chance at a long-standing relationship. Couples can't resolve their conflicts if they can't communicate or if one partner doesn't treat the other as an equal.

You expect a never-ending fairy tale

Couples who start out in white-hot relationships are more likely to end up divorced within seven years than couples who start out with a more reserved affection for each other.

Scientists think that couples who start out in terribly intense relationships may get disappointed when the intensity starts to fade -- while those who take it slow feel the intensity build and are more satisfied.

If you believe that you're headed for divorce, it's time to consider legal counsel in order to protect your rights.

Source: www.businessinsider.com, "7 things science says predict divorce," Shana Lebowitz, accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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