Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Stuck with a long commute? Your marriage may be at risk

A long commute can increase the risk of divorce by 45 per cent, a Swedish study shows.

Stockbyte/iStockphoto

As if that bumper-to-bumper traffic wasn't frustrating enough, commuting is also bad for your love life. A Swedish study has found that a commute longer than 45 minutes can increase your chances of divorce by 40 per cent.

The study looked at 2 million Swedes who were either married or living with someone and mapped long-distance commuting in the country. Travelling farther for work was good for the bank account and career status, but it was a real romance wrecker, according to study author Erika Sandow, a social geographer at Umea University.

Her main explanation was the gender imbalance that results between couples when one commutes a long distance and and the other is left to manage the domestic responsibilities. It was more common, she pointed out, for women to take a lesser job closer to home, so someone wouldn't be stuck in traffic during, say, soccer practice. On the whole, the research showed that urban sprawl has boosted mainly men's careers; by travelling farther, they saw the biggest uptick in salary.

Story continues below advertisement

So, let's add it up: Commuting is bad for our blood pressure, the environment and our love affairs. In a nation where the drive home keeps getting longer, the only good news here is that if you're a veteran at hitting that long stretch of highway, familiarity has probably worked out most of the kinks. The highest risk of a breakup was in the first year of the commute.

Still, if you're the spouse cranking tunes in the car as you head home, you might want to pick up dinner on the way - and do the dishes.







Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.