Are certain times of the year harder on a marriage?
Maybe, suggests new research that found Americans are more likely to file for divorce after winter and summer holidays. And, that’s true even though many couples view the holidays as a time when things might get better, the researchers said.
“People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past. They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense,” researcher Julie Brines, an associate professor of sociology from the University of Washington, said in a university news release.
“They’re very symbolically charged moments in time for the culture,” she added.
However, holidays can be stressful and emotionally charged for struggling couples and widen fissures in their marriage. So when holidays don’t meet expectations, people may file for divorce, Brines said.
Researchers analyzed divorce filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015 and found that they consistently peaked in March and August.
The results suggest that family holidays may influence when people file for divorce, the researchers said. Winter and summer holidays are important for many families and filing for divorce at that time may be considered inappropriate.
The study was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Seattle. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Psychological Association offers tips for a healthy divorce.