When I interviewed 289 women in 1987 for my tome Women I was surprised to find their different reactions to adultery. Most did not give the issue such importance as to lead them to break a long term relationship with their partner. They simply took into account the often held view that men are generally penis-driven by nature, and copulation does not necessarily diminish their love for whoever they cohabit with at the time.
A new study by divorce lawyers reveals that irritating habits are the real reason couples get divorced. Everyday annoyances account for 10% of cases, from having a condescending manner to using patronizing nicknames. Other splits revealed how a partner had poor personal hygiene or dressed badly or had an obsession with gambling, pornography or shopping on the internet. One claimant even said they wanted a divorce because they were not allowed to watch television channels with an odd number.
JMW Solicitors, who carried out the survey, said thousands of marriages a year could be saved by changes in behaviour. Many of the unwelcome habits reflect the internet playing a greater part in couple’s lives. Others were annoyed when their housekeeping allowance was referred to as ‘pocket money’ or when their pets’ welfare was valued above their own.
Gianna Lisiecki-Cunane, of JMW, said she was surprised at the true proportion of divorces involving bad habits, adding ‘access to the internet is so readily available that people can bet, watch porn or shop in what they believe is relative secrecy compared to a decade ago.’
Official figures show ‘unreasonable behaviour’ was the main ground in 54% of divorces granted to women in England and Wales last year, while adultery accounted for only 13%.
In my humble view, this survey goes to prove that women are much wiser than men when it comes to relationships. They are not given credit for their insight into human nature or their tolerance when the frailties of men tend to ruin a good relationship, built on far more meaningful understanding than simply sexual deviation.