A Relationship Trajectory that Leads to Divorce?

I’m at the age where some of my friends are going through separations and divorces. Of those with kids, I have noticed that their relationship timelines have all been very similar.

They met in their late-20s to mid-30s.

  • Engaged after a year or two.
Wedding
  • Buy a house
Try for kids – either get pregnant within a year, or struggle with fertility issues which culminate with IVF a few years later.
  • Have a second kid.

Then, when the youngest is 3-5 cracks start to emerge in the relationship.
That is not an exact timeline for each relationship.  Some had kids before getting married, some bought a house before they were married. But all those main events happened, with the first kid coming within 3-5 years of meeting. Or 5-7 years if IVF was involved.

I have a theory. Couples like this always have ‘a thing’ holding them together, something to stop incompatibility from coming to the surface.
The initial new relationship energy, being excited to be engaged, planing a wedding, buying a house, having a baby.
Then, when the youngest kid starts to become a tiny human and there is time for the relationship again the fundamental incompatibilities start to come to light.

In couples that were together for a decade or more before having kids, have experienced different dynamics within their relationship. They know how to change and adapt as a couple.
On the other hand, couples who had a child, or children, very early in their relationship (like me!), didn’t have an established dynamic pre-child so neither party is striving for ‘what used to be.

Don’t get me wrong, couples that have accident babies often don’t work out, but from my anecdotal experiences it seems that those splits happen while the child is still an infant.
And couples who have been together decades also split. They grow apart or whatever.
It just seems that the couples in my life that are currently going through a separation, most of them fit a similar trajectory.

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