This is why your chance of getting divorced could be down to your DNA

Does your married life seem to be mimicking your parents'?

(Image credit: Getty)

Are you a divorcee from a family of divorcees? Turns out this could be more than just a coincidence.

New research has suggested that there’s more at play than just leading similar lives when it comes to divorce in families.

If your marriage ended in a break up in the same way your parents’ did, their genetics could be to thank.


While experts used to believe that learned behaviour from our relatives with failed relationships contributed to the failing of our own, new research has found that inherited traits are they key to a short lived marriage. Now it is thought it's a combination of genetics and learned psychology.

READ MORE:Study reveals divorced women are retiring on pensions a third the size of men’s (opens in new tab)

For example, those who are neurotic (a personality trait passed down through generations), may view their partner negatively in the same way their divorced relatives might have done.

Dr Jessica Salvatore who conducted the research into genetics and divorce said, “At present, the bulk of evidence on why divorce runs in families points to the idea that growing up with divorced parents weakens your commitment to and the interpersonal skills needed for marriage.

divorce genetics

“What we find is strong, consistent evidence that genetic factors account for the intergenerational transmission of divorce.

READ MORE:This is how much money Brits spend leaving their partners and how many months they spend saving for it (opens in new tab)


Offering a potentially marriage-saving solution, Dr Salvatore explained that working on strengthening commitment is probably not the way forward.

“Focusing on increasing commitment or strengthening interpersonal skills may not be a particularly good use of time for a therapist working with a distressed couple.

“Addressing these underlying, personality-driven cognitive distortions through cognitive-behavioural approaches may be a better strategy than trying to foster commitment.”

Caitlin Elliott