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Research: Long commutes can lead to divorce

Do you have a long commute to work? Spending 90-plus minutes each day in your car can be a pain. Not only may it make you irritable, it means you have less time for your kids, and it can make date night with your spouse nearly impossible. Don’t let your small case of road rage infect the rest of your life.

Too much traveling can put a strain on a marriage. One study conducted in Sweden found that rates of divorce could be connected to the length of couples’ commutes. Specifically, those driving 45 minutes or more one-way are more likely to have marital trouble. The research suggests that the frustration of a long commute is bad for a marriage.

How to not let your commute time ruin your marriage

What does a long commute mean for your mood, and in turn for your marriage? Many workers in the Washington DC area face epic commutes — some driving 1.5 or two hours per day. Try to find an optimal solution and avoid heading for a costly divorce by checking out these two tips.

Fill your commute

Making your commuting hours more enjoyable and less frustrating can help you maintain a lighter mood when you get home to your spouse. Ideas for filling your commute with happy thoughts include:

  • Thinking through your plans for the day ahead, including your evening plans
  • Listening to music, a lighthearted podcast or an uplifting audiobook
  • Calling your partner or another family member for a chat, making it a social occasion

Know the cost of commuting

Maybe you signed up for a long commute because you were offered more money. Is it really worth it? For example, what if you are offered a few thousand dollars more for a new job but you have to commute an extra 30 minutes a day? Do the math and ask yourself: Is the potential loss of your emotional wellbeing, maybe even your marriage, worth it?

Long commutes can make you feel awful, making you less productive and less satisfied with your life. While long hours in the car might not cause a divorce, they probably don’t bring you and your partner any closer. Remember that divorce can be a long and tedious affair — perhaps not unlike commuting. However, if you design your commute to suit your needs and the needs of your family, it might mean less frustration for all involved.

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