To nurture a relationship, couples are forced to find a balance between spending enough time with each other and not spending too much time together. The stress of trying to find the right balance when so many demands are placed on a person’s time — driving to and from work, taking care of the kids, making dinner, running a household and more — can cause a great deal of tension in marriages.

According to a Swedish study, long commutes that take precious time away from couples may be pushing them toward separation or even divorce. Scientists who studied a number of married couples determined that a lengthy commute increases the chances of divorce by 40 percent.

Researchers found that commutes were more difficult for women than men. This is not surprising when you consider that when both parents work and one parent has a longer distance to travel, one person is left to handle a majority of the childcare and household duties such as cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and shopping. Anytime the division of duties is not equal, tension may arise.

Interestingly, the increased chance of divorce only seems to apply during the first few years of commuting. After a certain amount of time has gone by, couples appear to be immune to the lengthy commute divorce risk.

Since spending too much time on the road can cause couples to split, it may seem as though working from home could be a great option. However, experts advise against this. They suggest that not having enough space can be every bit as stressful as having too much space. A number of divorce lawyers say they have been seeing several marriages end when the commute disappears.

Finding a balance is important to maintaining a healthy relationship. However, if couples have tried to make it work and find they simply cannot, a divorce attorney can help guide them through the process of ending a marriage.

Source: CBS New York, “Study: Long Commute Could Lead To Divorce, Separation,” 25 May 2011