The Mating Grounds

20-Year Marriages: Why They Fail and How to Move On

Are you feeling like your marriage of 20 years is falling apart? Have you found yourself wondering why things went wrong, and how you got to this point?

You’re not alone. There are many reasons why couples divorce after 20 years.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the common reasons why marriages fail after two decades, and what you can do if you’re facing a similar situation.

Reasons Why Couples Divorce After 20 Years

Cheating and Infidelity

One of the most common reasons why couples divorce after 20 years is infidelity. Whether it’s a one-time occurrence or a long-term affair, cheating can cause irreparable damage to a marriage.

For many couples, cheating is a dealbreaker, especially if trust has already been broken in the past.

Falling Out of Love

Over time, it’s natural for feelings of love and attraction to ebb and flow. However, if one or both partners have fallen out of love completely, it can be difficult to rekindle that spark.

If you’re no longer emotionally connected to your spouse, you may feel like you’re living with a roommate instead of a life partner.

No Reason to Stay

Sometimes, couples simply grow apart and realize that they no longer have any reason to stay together. They may have different goals, values, or interests, and find that they’re no longer compatible.

In these cases, divorce can be a way to move forward and start a new chapter in life.

Desire for Freedom

After 20 years of marriage, some people may start to feel suffocated or trapped. They may want more freedom to pursue their own interests and hobbies, or explore new opportunities.

This desire for independence can be a sign that the marriage has run its course.

Unresolved Past Issues

Relationships are complicated, and it’s not uncommon for old issues to resurface over time. If there are unresolved conflicts or traumas in a marriage, they can fester and create tension.

It’s essential to address these issues head-on and seek help if necessary, to avoid them turning into irreconcilable differences.

Wanting More in Life

As people grow and change, their goals and aspirations can also shift. If one partner wants to further their education, pursue a certain career, travel, or explore new hobbies, the other partner may not feel the same way.

This can create a sense of disconnect and dissatisfaction.

Lack of Communication

Communication is one of the keys to a successful marriage. When couples stop communicating effectively, they may start to feel distant and disconnected from one another.

This can lead to a breakdown in the relationship over time.

Loss of Identity and Equality

Sometimes, one partner may feel like they’ve lost their sense of identity or individuality in the marriage. They may feel suffocated by their spouse’s demands or expectations, and yearn for more space and independence.

This can also be a sign of an unequal relationship, where one partner has more power or control than the other.

Old-Fashioned Mentality

Outdated beliefs and values can cause significant strains on a marriage. If one partner is stuck in the past and refuses to change or adapt, it can be difficult for the relationship to thrive.

This can be particularly challenging if the other partner is more progressive and open-minded.


Abuse of any kind is never acceptable, and it’s a valid reason for seeking divorce. Whether it’s physical, emotional, financial, sexual or mental abuse, it can take a severe toll on a person’s mental and emotional well-being.

It’s crucial to get help and support if you’re experiencing abuse in your marriage.

Fear of Being Alone

Many people stay in unhappy marriages because they’re afraid of being alone. They may worry about the financial implications of divorce, or how they’ll cope without their partner.

While these fears are understandable, they shouldn’t be the sole reason for staying in an unhealthy relationship.


Honesty is the foundation of any successful marriage. If one partner lies or conceals important information, it can erode trust and lead to serious problems down the line.

It’s essential to be open and truthful with your partner, even if the truth is difficult to share.


Addiction can have devastating effects on a marriage. Whether it’s excessive spending, gambling, pornography, drugs, or cheating, addiction can create a sense of betrayal and cause serious damage to the relationship.

More Acceptable to Get Divorced

As society becomes more accepting of divorce, it’s becoming more common for couples to seek separation after 20 years of marriage. While it’s essential to prioritize your happiness and well-being, it’s also important to take the time to consider all options before making a decision.

Professional Failure

If one partner is experiencing professional failure or struggling with feelings of worthlessness, it can create tension and stress in the relationship. It’s essential to support each other through difficult times and seek help if necessary.

Varying Sexual Preferences

Sexual compatibility is an essential aspect of any relationship. If one partner has different sexual preferences or desires, it can cause tension and frustration.

It’s vital to communicate openly about your needs and desires and seek help if necessary.

Kids Leaving Home

The transition to empty nesting can be challenging for many couples. After years of raising children, couples may find that they’ve grown apart and no longer have much in common.

It’s important to recognize these shifts and work together to rekindle your connection.

Lack of Emotional Support

When one partner ignores or dismisses the other’s emotional needs, it can lead to resentment and tension. It’s essential to be supportive and empathetic towards your partner, even if their needs may be different from your own.

Going Through Financial Problems

Financial stress can be a significant strain on a marriage. If one partner is struggling with debt or unemployment, it can cause tension and anxiety in the relationship.

It’s essential to be open and honest about your financial situation and work together to find solutions.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling can be invaluable tools for couples who are struggling in their marriage. Talking to a professional can help couples gain a deeper understanding of themselves and each other, and work through their issues in a constructive way.

Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes, couples enter into a marriage with unrealistic expectations. They may expect their partner to be perfect or fulfill all of their needs and desires.

This can create a sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction over time.

Mental and Personality Disorders

Mental and personality disorders can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their marriage. It’s important to seek professional help if you or your partner is experiencing these issues, to ensure that you’re getting the support you need.

Delaying the Separation

Delaying a separation can be challenging, but sometimes necessary. It’s important to take the time to consider your options and work through any unresolved issues before making a decision.

Absence of Mutual Growth

Finally, a lack of mutual growth can cause significant issues in a marriage. If one partner is growing and evolving while the other is stagnant, it can create a sense of distance and disconnect.

It’s essential to work together to support each other’s growth and personal development.


Divorcing after 20 years of marriage is never an easy decision. However, by understanding the common reasons why marriages fail after two decades, you can start to move forward and build a better future for yourself.

Remember that seeking help and support is essential, and there are many resources available to help you through this challenging time. Whether you choose to work through your issues in counseling or seek separation, prioritize your happiness and well-being, and know that you’re not alone.

Divorcing after 20 years of marriage can be a daunting experience. You may have built a life together, raised children, and created a home that’s filled with memories.

But sometimes, despite efforts to save the relationship, divorce is the only option. If you’re going through a divorce after two decades of marriage, there are some ways to make the process easier.

Have a Serious Discussion

It’s important to have an open and honest discussion with your partner before starting the divorce process. This discussion should cover the basic details of your separation, including finances, property, and custody if you have children.

It’s crucial to communicate your needs and listen to your partner’s concerns, as this will make the process smoother. In some cases, it may be necessary to consult with lawyers for legal guidance.

Manage Your Finances

Divorce can be expensive, so it’s essential to have a sound financial plan in place. This includes making a budget, tracking expenses, and considering the long-term financial implications of your divorce.

Take the time to review your financial situation and make any necessary adjustments, such as downsizing your home or cutting back on expenses.

Focus on Yourself

Divorce can be emotionally draining, so it’s essential to take care of yourself during this time. This means practicing self-care, such as exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and indulging in activities that bring you joy.

Consider seeking out a therapist or counselor to help you navigate the emotional challenges of divorce.

Do What You Love

Divorce can also be an opportunity to explore new hobbies and experiences. Embrace the opportunity to do things that you may have put on hold during the marriage.

Take up a new hobby, travel, or try something that’s always interested you. This can be an empowering way to create a new chapter in your life.

Avoid Questions

It’s essential to be respectful of your ex-partner’s privacy during and after the divorce. It’s important to avoid asking questions about their personal life and dating life, as this can be invasive and damaging to the healing process.

Instead, focus on your own healing and moving forward.

Prioritize Forgiveness

Finally, it’s essential to prioritize forgiveness during the divorce process. Holding onto resentment and anger can be harmful to your well-being, so it’s crucial to find ways to let go of these negative emotions.

This may involve seeking professional help, practicing mindfulness, or finding ways to reframe your thoughts. In conclusion, divorce after 20 years of marriage is never easy.

However, by taking care of yourself, communicating openly with your partner, managing your finances, and prioritizing forgiveness, you can make the process smoother and ultimately move on to a brighter future. Remember to seek out support from friends, family, or professionals during this time, and know that healing is possible.

In conclusion, divorcing after 20 years of marriage can be a tumultuous journey, but it’s essential to navigate it with care and compassion for yourself and your partner. Communicating openly and respectfully, planning for your financial future, focusing on self-care and growth, and prioritizing forgiveness are essential steps to take during and after the divorce process.

By taking these steps, you can not only survive this difficult period, but also thrive and build a new, fulfilling life for yourself. Remember that it’s essential to seek out support from family, friends, or professionals during this time, and know that healing is possible.

Whatever challenges you may face, know that you have the strength and resilience to overcome them.

Popular Posts