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Study: couples with “gimmick” wedding dates more likely to divorce

In a surprising study by the University of Melbourne, couples who marry on special dates like Valentine’s Day, 11/11/11, 9/9/99, or 12/12/12 are up to 36 percent more likely to divorce.

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that 18 to 36 percent of couples married on those dates are more likely to get divorced than those wed on “normal” dates. They studied 1.1 million weddings performed in the Netherlands from 1999 to 2013 among couples aged 18 to 60 years old. They then calculated the divorce rates over that time – of 100 couples who married on those dates, how many broke up?

By the ninth year of marriage, those married on Valentine’s Day were one-third more likely to have divorced than other couples – 21 percent to 16 percent. And marriages on same-number dates like 12/12/12 were about 25 percent more likely to break up at 19 percent against 16 percent.

Why is there a difference?

The study also found that couples who tend to get married on special dates because of the quality of their relationship and compatibility, and this likely is the factor that can be blamed for the higher rates of divorce.

The researchers called it a “sliding versus deciding” factor – “sliding” couples may be lower in compatibility, and can be influenced by external factors like gimmick dates to make the decision to get married. In addition, the special date couples usually are less similar in ages and education levels, and are more likely to have been married before and have children.

Divorce can’t always be predicted

Keep in mind, this study was done with Dutch couples, not American, so differences from country to country could exist. However, the data found about “sliding” couples is interesting – couples who weren’t necessarily good matches tend to go for special dates. But do these couples or those around them recognize their low compatibility? They may not, and it’s likely that those couples will stay happy and married for the rest of their lives!

No matter the reasons for divorce, if you’re ready to take that step, it’s best to reach out to an attorney. They can help you through the process, and aid you in making important decisions and making sure you’re doing what’s best for you. Divorce can not only be painful, but complicated, so an attorney will help you best navigate the journey.