If you've just returned home or your spouse is sitting in traffic, consider this: researchers at Umea University in Sweden say a long-distance commute increases the risk of separation and possibly divorce by 40 percent.
The average commute time in the United States is 23 minutes. People are working longer hours. Traffic can be unbearable at times, leaving less time in the day to spend with family or relaxing after work. Could there be a connection?
The study also found that most long-distance commuters are men. When the husband commutes, the wife often takes a lower-paying or part-time job closer to home - with a larger share of household responsibilities. Women who commute long-distances feel more stress, time pressure, and less successful at work. Not surprisingly, the study found that income and careers benefit from commuting, but the social costs are considerable.
"As interesting as that study may be, it's not so much the act of commuting [that is the problem]," says divorce attorney Greg Frey of the law firm Coates & Frey. "It's the stresses one is under away from their spouse."
Frey says that time on the road is one of many added pressures on today's couples. He points to the high cost of living in many places and notes the percentage in these areas of both husbands and wives working - many times, more than one job.
"The Dolly Parton days of '9 to 5,' [. . .] don't exist anymore," explains Frey. "And they certainly don't exist here because one will work a 9 to 5 job and then work a 6 to 11 job."
Here's another interesting statistic from research found in a book called The Over-worked American. It claims that working couples talk to each other only 12 minutes during the average weekday. As Frey points out, maybe commuting isn't the only problem.
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