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Is there a divorce gene that someone can inherit?

If you were a typical teenager, you probably went through a phase where you blamed your parents for everything that went wrong in your life. Then, you grew up and probably took more responsibility for your actions. However, you may have never wanted divorce.

Many children of divorce vow to learn from their parents’ mistakes, and you may have been one of them. If your marriage is heading for divorce, it may be convenient to fall back on old habits and blame your parents. Although you may still need to take personal responsibility for your actions, there may be some truth to your claim.

Marital instability can be inherited

Studies have shown that children of divorce often marry other children of divorce. When this occurs, there is a greater chance of divorce than if only one of the spouses had been a child of divorce.

Although this trend has been documented, there are only theories about why this happens. One theory is that children of divorce do not learn the same lessons about commitment that other children learn. Another theory is that children of divorce have genetics that may make it harder to remain married.

You can still learn from your parents mistakes

Although you may have inherited a greater risk of marital instability, your marriage is not inherently doomed to fail. You have the choice to be proactive by seeking counseling during your marriage and trying to learn skills to improve your marriage stability.

If divorce is the most appropriate option, you can still learn from your parents’ mistakes. For example, you may consider if:

  • An alternative dispute resolution option may be a more appropriate way to end your marriage than traditional litigation is
  • There are ways you can help your children continue to have a positive relationship with their other parent
  • You would benefit from seeking the emotional help of friends, family members or professionals

Some risk of marital instability may have passed from your parents to you. However, it is important to recognize the choices you have along the way. Every situation is different, but even if your marriage ends you may have options to minimize some of the harmful effects your divorce can have on you and your children.

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