"Should I Fix My Broken Relationship?" What do relationship scientists say about divorce? — get the facts!

Should I Fix My Broken Relationship or Divorce My Partner?

[Get the facts before you decide!]

Hi, this is couple therapist Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT CCHT,

Have your hopes for a loving relationship dimmed?

Has the promise of a beautiful romance that once swept you off your feet turned into arguments, angry outbursts, and desperate loneliness?

There’s nothing more painful than constant bickering, mistrust, and stress.

Little by little, one caustic comment after another, you have begun to question whether it’s possible to save your marriage or committed relationship.

Perhaps you feel you have failed. You doubt whether the relationship you once cherished can last.

You never dreamed you would pledge to honor your partner from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until "DIVORCE do us part."

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Most divorces can (and should) be avoided

Perhaps you call out to the One Above, "save my marriage!" However, this is not enough. You and your partner need to learn the science behind good relationships. You need to learn the skills needed to create love, trust, and friendship.

For the past 25+ years, I have been assisting unhappy couples. As a professional couple therapist, I have helped many individuals find their way out of their relationship darkness. Most couples have eliminated significant amounts of their relationship pain and some have even reach the promised land of love and passion!

Don't give up!

The techniques, secrets, and sound advice I have used for years has been put into this website, GoSmartLife.com. Applying the wisdom found here can help you turn your marriage or committed relationship around making it healthy, happy, and long-lasting. 

I want to help you save your marriage...

As a professional couple and family therapist I have worked with people from all backgrounds and situations for over 25 years. I have learned a lot about families.

I know for a fact that for most couples and families 'divorce' is a disaster! And I also know that for most couples, with reasonable effort, their marriage or committed relationship can be saved.

I encourage you to make every effort to save your marriage or committed relationship through relationship repair. Then you be able to stay together in a relationship filled with love and friendship. 

Even if your relationship has been in the traumatized by past 'relationship sins' such as infidelity and abuse, I encourage you to carefully assess your situation to see if you can find a way to save your marriage or committed relationship. 

 Divorce is harmful to all! But accepting a bad marriage or committed relationship is also harmful to all!  Unfortunately for most people, living alone is not desirable and it has been documented that it is also unhealthy! That is why it is best to fix relationship problems and then happily stay together.

Learn more what relationship science has to say about divorce or living in a bad marriage or bad committed relationship. Then consider your options and opportunities to build a better relationship with the person you are with — who may also be the mother or father of your child(ren).

If you need personal assistance from a experienced professional you can learn more about my couple and family therapy practice.

Free marriage counseling: Relationship Map GPS

Use a scientific approach to keep your relationship on course

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Click to learn more: Committed Relationship Builder Map

This happens when you divorce

The first step to answering this question about whether or not you should get divorced is to educate yourself. Learn the scientific facts about divorce.

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Divorce and physical health

On average, single individuals have 20% more occurrences of heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, and are 23% more likely to have mobility problems.

Interestingly, when remarried individuals are compared to individuals who have been continuously married, it was noted that the remarried individuals report significantly worse health.

Divorced individuals have a poorer prognosis for the diseases from which they suffer. 

Divorce and mental health

Divorced individuals experience more anxiety, depression, and loneliness than do people cohabiting within a committed relationship.

Divorce is a health risk comparable to smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and physical inactivity.

Those individuals who were divorced or widowed and did not remarry have shown to have worse health than those individuals who are living in a committed relationship. 

The period before divorce, during the process of divorce, and until the divorce is finally implemented and all the extenuating legal issues resolved can take many years.

This divorce process can completely drain you emotionally due to fighting and accusations. It can drain you financially through spousal support, child support, therapy, assessments, and legal fees. 

For most members of the family, these are years of stress, uncertainty, anger, and emotional pain. And often, some issues are never resolved in spite of time and effort and remain an ongoing source of pain and resentment.

For most unhappy couples the goal should be to fix the relationship problems and stay together as a family, doing so is reasonable and affords the greatest possibility of a positive outcome.

We will now discuss committed relationship distress and conclude with what you can do to fix it. 

Outside resource: Does divorce make people happy?

Children of divorce — physical and mental health

Children whose parents divorce often witness many negative interactions between their parents before and after the separation. 

Children are traumatized by a convergence of many negative factors which affect their physical and mental health.

Children of divorced parents are at a higher risk for poor physical health, engaging in risky behaviors, drug use, and sexual promiscuity.

In one study, approximately 20 to 25 percent of children experience long-term adjustment problems, compared to roughly 10 percent of children in first-marriage families.

A parent's stress, anxiety, anger, and loneliness impacts negatively on his or her children. A parent fearful of the future cannot be fully present in a child’s daily life.

Research shows that problems caused by divorce last for a very long time in a child's life.

Adult children of divorced parents suffer from higher rates of depression and have more emotional problems than adults whose parents stayed together in a committed relationship or marriage. 

In some tragic cases, children lose their access to their father or mother.

In one British national survey, it was discovered that one-quarter of children living with their single mother had not seen their fathers the previous year.

When one parent leaves the family, the quality of parenting typically changes for the worst. Instead of two adults caring for the children, there is now one, and often the sole parent is overwhelmed and resentful. 

When a family breaks apart children may lose access to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Research shows that some children benefit when their parents separate when the conflict has occurred in their presence, and this conflict is traumatizing. 

On the other hand, when the relationship conflict has been concealed from the children, typically divorce has a greater negative impact upon them.

Without a doubt when parents repair their broken marriage or committed relationship, their children are the primary beneficiaries.

Children almost always suffer when there is a divorce.

Children and Divorce - what happens when a parent remarries or couples with a new partner?

Creating a blended family with your new partner's children and your new partner building a relationship as a stepparent with your children is difficult.

For many individuals, being a stepparent is heart-wrenchingly difficult and in spite of significant effort, it ends in failure. Children have a natural love for a birth parent — not a stepparent.

As well, an individual who remarries naturally resents the perceived interference in their new relationship by 'children who are not their own' (their stepchildren).

The many relationship complications that arise from trying to form a harmonious blended family has ruined many new partnerships that would otherwise have been successful.

Should remarriage or coupling with a new partner be your fate, it is essential you get the help of a qualified relationship specialist to assist you to form a blended family with your children and their new stepparent.

Get a FREE Divorce Awareness Guide

Living with relationship distress is also harmful. A broken relationship should be fixed!

Worldwide statistics show that 85% of people enter into a committed relationship by the age of 50 regardless of culture, country, or religion. 

Scientists suggest that being in a committed relationship is an evolutionary driven urge.

Even though committed relationships are common, many couples experience relationship stress. In the United States, 31% of married couples characterize their relationship at any given time as stressed.

Typically, this relationship distress remains unless there is treatment to fix the specific problems.

Researchers have found that committed relationship distress is a significant factor in poor physical and mental health.

A bad committed relationship and physical health

Relationship distress can lead to poor physical health.

Researchers speculate that one of the reasons for this result is that poor quality relationships may lead to risky health behaviors such as smoking, using drugs, using alcohol, poor eating, and inadequate sleep. 

Relationship researchers drawing from a comprehensive meta-analytic review from 126 studies show that marital discord was predictive of chronic fatigue, lower immune functioning, ulcers, chronic pain, atherosclerosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

 The link between relationship distress and poor health is so strong that it has been identified as a greater risk factor for health problems than smoking or drinking alcohol.

One study found a significant association between committed relationship distress and increased hospital and doctor office visits, for these individuals, there was an increase in using medication.

A bad committed relationship and mental health

Researchers have documented that relationship distress is associated with an increase in the utilization of mental health services. 

Adults in distressed relationships were 70% more likely to seek mental health services than adults in non-distressed relationships. 

In particular, those individuals in distressed relationships had a 40% more likelihood of experiencing anxiety, a mood disorder, or substance abuse disorder, than those individuals in happy relationships.

Infidelity and domestic violence, in particular, are significant predictors of major depression.

Relationship distress is predictive of a 69% greater likelihood of an anxiety disorder compared to happily married individuals. 

Preserve your committed relationship when possible

When there is marital or committed relationship distress, it should still be the goal of every couple to avoid separation and divorce. 

If the relationship includes 'relationship sins' such as cheating or emotional abuse, the challenges to stay together will be much more difficult. However, it may be possible with effort and commitment to remain together.

People can change for the better. Look around and you will find many examples of individuals who have reformed their lives and become far better individuals than they had been in the past.

If you decide to stick with your partner because you have decided getting divorced is not a reasonable option, you should also conclude that living in a bad marriage or committed relationship is also not a reasonable option.

Living in relationship conflict and distress is extremely harmful and is not a reasonable alternative to divorce. Instead, the only sane thing to do is to repair your relationship.

You may not make your relationship perfect, but you can improve it and make it a far better option than either divorcing or living in a bad marriage or bad committed relationship.

We have discussed how damaging divorce may be, and how harmful it is to stay in a stressful marriage or stressful committed relationship, now let's look at a solution.

Solutions to a bad marriage or committed relationship

Fixing a broken marriage or committed relationship should be 'Plan-A' (your first choice) — this should be your preferred solution to relationship conflict, distress, and trauma. 

Plan-A is not always possible. However, you should at least try with sincerity, effort, commitment and when possible with the assistance of a qualified relationship specialist.

Couples therapy

Research has shown the effectiveness of couple therapy for decreasing relationship distress. 

Positive change is reported by 70% of couples who took part in relationship therapy. 

Research suggests that the gains achieved during couple therapy last for months and even years following treatment completion. The evidence for the efficacy of couple therapy is strong.

The therapist you are considering working with must have specialized relationship training. Unfortunately, far too many 'relationship therapists' have no academic training, nor were never supervised to work with couples.

Therapists trained to work with individuals are not qualified to work with couples. Those therapists have been trained to work with individuals who are depressed, anxious, or have mood or personality disorders — not with couples who have 'relationship problems.'

‘Two individuals’ do not make a couple!... A couple is a third entity with its own dynamics and only a couple’s therapist trained in systemic therapy can effectively help individuals who require help with their marriage or committed relationship.

For couples who do not have access to couple therapy, or in addition to couple therapy, acquiring relationship education should be seriously considered. Looking for a qualified relationship therapist?

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

The Canadian Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Surviving Infidelity Recovery Specialist 

FREE Guide: What You Need To Know Before You Begin Therapy

Couple's education

Couple education typically works with couples during a period when they are getting along. This is what distinguishes it from couple therapy. 

Couple education addresses relationships from an educational point of view teaching communication, problem-solving skills, household management, and intimacy etc.

There is a strong correlation between couple education and positive outcome. 

Research has shown that those couples who have engaged in relationship education have improved problem-solving skills, have lower levels of marital discord, and report improved relationship satisfaction which leads to a diminished likelihood of divorce.

Here are three well-established researched based couple education programs. They offer classes and online services:







Marriage or committed relationship self-help

There has been much research that proves the efficacy of reading self-help books and doing home exercises to help a person improve their mood and overcome such conditions as depression, OCD, and anxiety.

Unfortunately, very little research has been done regarding the effectiveness of reading self-help books and relationship improvement.

However, the anecdotal evidence is conclusive that many thousands of people have improved their relationships by reading helpful books or guides on how to build a healthy marriage or committed relationship.

Go the Divorce Section of our Web Site click on Power Tools to see many vetted books to help you improve your relationship — some of which have been written by the author of this article. It is important that the books you read are written by qualified individuals, as there are many books written on the topic.

Using the relationship aids available at www.GoSmartLife.com you can find books that target  your relationship needs such as anger control, assertiveness training, and effective communication. There are also books on how to improve interpersonal interactions and intimacy between you and your partner. 

All of these approaches — which are determined by your individual and relationship needs — will help you create a healthy, happy, and long-lasting marriage or committed relationship.

Only those individuals who are academically trained, certified by appropriated governing bodies, and have practical experience working with couples are qualified to advise you on how to fix a marriage or committed relationship and establish long-term peace and harmony.

Wishing you and your family the best,
Marriage and family therapist, Abe Kass MA RSW RMFT CCHT

Click to learn more: How To A Stop Divorce

Click to learn more: Committed Relationship Builder Map

Click to learn more: Anger Management? Take the Free Quiz

Want to learn even about separation and divorce?

Free Divorce Guide with the 11-facts you need to know before you decide! FREE Divorce Guide immediate download.

Do you want to find the right mental health professional to help you decide when you should get divorced? FREE and immediate download.

Need help with your marriage or committed relationship? Buy my book from Amazon for only a few dollars. Learn more... tap or click the book cover below:

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Research (in addition to the author's own contributions):

Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
July 2018, volume 44, number three titled, The Case For Insurance Reimbursement Of Couple Therapy, Bringham Young University, Robb E. Clawson, and others.

Wiley Online Library

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jmft.12263 [retrieved January 2, 2019]


https://www.wellness.com/reference/conditions/marital-distress/symptoms-and-causes [retrieved January 2, 2019]

Pew Research Center

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/02/13/8-facts-about-love-and-marriage [retrieved January 2, 2019]

Fact Retriever

https://www.factretriever.com/divorce-facts [retrieved January 2, 2019]

JRank Site Search Engine

http://family.jrank.org/pages/413/Divorce.html [retrieved January 2, 2019]

American Psychological Association

https://www.apa.org/research/action/marital.aspx [retrieved January 7, 2019]

Cambridge University Press

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behaviour-change/article/prevention-of-marital-distress-current-issues-in-programming-and-research/63C0CE28F2417F1D77A39BC3F77F8F37 [retrieved January 7, 2019]

Good Therapy

https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/bibliotherapy [retrieved January 7, 2019]

The Wall Street Journal

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB118583572352482728 [retrieved January 7, 2019]


This is a best self-help book for men and women looking to build their marriage or committed relationship — by relationship expert Abe Kass, author of this site and certified marriage and family therapist:

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A successful marriage or committed relationship is a science. A successful marriage or committed relationship is not chemistry, luck, or genetics. When you know 'how,' you can build a great connection with your partner. In this book, The 8 Marriage Rules for a Passionate Marriage, you will learn the eight most essential rules that when followed will lead to friendship, respect, love, and passion.

Click or Tap to learn more: A best self-help book for women and men looking to prevent divorce and build their marriage or committed relationship

More books by Abe:

How to Make a Man Happy

Contributing to 'your man's' happiness gives you pleasure. However, doing so is not always easy. In this book, How to Make a Man Happy, you will learn the emotional ingredients your male partner needs to feel content and recognize you as a valued part of his life.

Relationship Listening Audiobook

Like a bridge that spans a great divide, words forge a bond between two people. In this audiobook,  Relationship Listening — attract the people you like and bring them close to you, you will learn the most direct way to build emotional intimacy. It's simple... if you don't know how to listen, validate, and understand, there will be no connection. With this audiobook, you will learn how to use simple techniques to build lasting love, trust, and closeness.

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Strong Self-esteem Audiobook

Healthy relationships require two healthy individuals. Low self-esteem will negatively on your marriage or committed relationship. For example, low self-esteem will interfere with being assertive. Use this simple program to build your self-esteem muscles.
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Optimism and Positive Thinking Audiobook

"Negative individuals" are avoided. Positive individuals attract others. Just as you need to attend to your physical impression, so too your emotional impression! Be the kind of person your partner wants to spend time with. Positive thinking and optimism are attractive character traits.
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Anger Management Audiobook

Anger is the primary cause of marital conflict and divorce. Protect the love you and your partner have — keep anger far away. This simple and easy to use program will dramatically help you eliminate or reduce anger. This program has already been successfully used by thousands of individuals.

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Assertiveness Training Audio Book

Don't let others take advantage of you. If you do, you will be resentful and angry. Don't expect your partner to be a "mind-reader" and know what you want. Learn to "speak-up" and get your get the cooperation you need to get your legitimate needs.

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Defeat Circumstantial Depression

Simple  — people don't like to be around "sad" individuals. Get an all "natural" approach to overcoming circumstantial depression using the power of your mind! Being without depression and feeling good about yourself is a great relationship booster. 

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Enter Happiness Audiobook

You can create happiness... You can when you know how! Happiness is a relationship magnet. Learn how to bring happiness into your life, and be attractive to your husband, wife or partner. 

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Lose Weight Audiobook

Be attractive to your partner using this program that is different from any you have tried before. This weight loss approach strengthens your motivation to shed those extra pounds and keep them off. Without motivation, even the best diet won't work. Why? Simple, you won't stick to it. With this revolutionary approach, YOU CAN TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE — increase your motivation and decrease your weight.

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Anxiety and Panic Relief Audiobook

Solve your anxiety and worry problems using the most natural treatment available — "your mind." When calm, your partner will enjoy being around you! 

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Relax and Live Stress Free Audio Book

Is stress robbing you of your health and happiness? Do others complain that you are "always" stressed and difficult to be around? Get help... get this program that will teach how to relax naturally.

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Anger Management Workbook

There are many convoluted and wordy anger management books in the marketplace! There is "only one" that is simple, easy to use, and gets straight to the point — Anger Management Workbook with anger management worksheets — this is the anger management book that has it all!

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Contribute to a peaceful family with authoritative parenting

Authoritative Parenting is the most critical part of parenting. Use whatever good parenting strategy you want. However, if you are NOT an authoritative parent you will fail in your application since you will be unable to influence your child or teen. Learn how to organize your family into a peaceful and cooperative community.

Fix a broken relationship with these FREE  relationship building tools

Here is a collection of free marriage counseling and committed relationship self-help tools for you to use to prevent divorce and make your marriage or committed relationship healthy, loving, happy and long-lasting. Benefit from these relationship building tools; make your family a wonderful place to live.

To read more about How to Save Your Relationship go to our blog...

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QUIZ - FREE Healthy Relationship Quiz

Learn about the health of your marriage or committed relationship and what areas you and your partner need to improve.

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QUIZ - FREE Anger Management Test

Excessive anger is the primary cause of marital and committed relationships breakdown. Like high blood pressure, it is often difficult for individuals to know what is "too much" anger. Find out your anger level  — take this anger management test. Get bonus anger management tips.

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VIDEO - Assertive Communication

Is your marriage or committed relationship broken? A healthy relationship rests on the ability to assert oneself. Learn more about Assertive Communication, a necessary relationship skill.

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QUIZ - FREE Relationship Maturity Quiz

Not everyone has the maturity needed to successfully maintain a healthy relationship. Take this quiz and see if you and your partner have what it takes. 

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QUIZ - Evaluate the quality of extended family relationships with this FREE quiz

Marriages or committed relationships are injured when there is fighting between an individual and his or her in laws. Take this quiz and learn more about your or your partners extended family relationships.

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VIDEO - Who Will Tell The Truth About What Lying Does To Your Valued Relationships?

Lying destroys relationships in many ways. "Honesty is the best policy." Learn why! Also, discover the two exceptions when "lying" is the right thing to do. 

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VIDEO - Tips for Men When Your Wife Wants a Divorce

Your wife wants a divorce? Many marriages can be saved with the right effort. Watch this video and learn how discord is so painful for your wife or girlfriend and what you can do to turn your situation into one of love and harmony.

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VIDEO - The Science of Relationship Failure!

Do you want to know how to save your marriage or how to fix a broken relationship? Hint. It is not what you do that is as important as what you don't do! Watch this video and learn what not to do.

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VIDEO - Be Accepting

Acceptance of your partner is key to relationship success and is a powerful antidote to destructive anger. Use "acceptance" to build your marriage or committed relationship.