The decision didn’t come easily for Amy Marcantel of Atlanta. She and her husband tried to find their way around divorcing, but it just didn’t work.
The final straw came to her one night as she got out of bed because of a headache. She found her husband passed out on their couch with a revolver in his hand. “It hit me that night,” Marcantel said. “It was safety. And I couldn’t forgive myself if something happened to my kids.”
Marcantel and her former husband are no different from millions of couples who struggle with the decision to divorce. There are a variety of reasons that might push a couple over the edge, but according to a poll conducted by GFK Roper,
commissioned by Divorce360.com,
about 36 percent of Americans polled said they divorced because of verbal or physical abuse. That figure was higher for women – 48 percent.
GFK Roper spoke to more than 1,500 people by telephone in September to discuss marriage and divorce issues with them. Slightly more than half of the respondents, 860, were women, and the rest were men. There is a margin or error of plus or minus 2.6 percent for the sample.
While both genders cited abuse as a reason for divorce, men were more likely than women to divorce over financial issues, 23 percent, or sexual issues, 22 percent. Sexual issues were high on the list for men, but low for women, at 11 percent. Christie Lawrence, who hosts Pathways Life Management Seminars in Texas,
said the divergence makes sense because when women aren't happy in their intimate relationships, they are less likely to want sex -- which men see as a sign of intimacy.
Disagreements about how to raise children ended marriages for 13 percent of the full group. About 12 percent of the people who responded said they left their marriages because they were bored. The decision of whether to have children ended 6 percent of the marriages, and religion was a reason for divorce for 4 percent. WHEN TO GET DIVORCED?
There's no answer for the person who struggles with the question of divorce. The beginning of the end of the Marcantels’ marriage had been coming for months before that final moment. Marcantel’s husband had been abusing alcohol
. “For several years, I didn’t realize how bad it was, and it was getting progressively worse,” she said.
Eventually, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, she said. That was a wake-up call. He began going to Alcoholics Anonymous, Marcantel said. They went to an addictionologist to try to understand his addiction. He did well for a few weeks, then fell off the wagon, she said. They fought so vehemently, she said, she had to call the police to report domestic violence. “It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Marcantel said. “He won’t stop drinking for his family.”
She asked him to leave their home, and he said he would. It was that same night that she found he had crept back in their house and passed out on the couch, she said. Their divorce was final in January 2007. Marcantel said she knows she made the right decision. She said she tried to stay in the marriage to help her ex-husband and to keep her family intact. It just didn’t work.