Recent data released by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) reveals that divorce rates in Singapore are on the rise, especially amongst couples who have been married between 5 and 10 years.
With seemingly rock-solid couples like Bill and Melinda Gates announcing their divorce, it is worth looking at why we think ‘decoupling’ is now becoming more commonplace locally.
When asked about the likely causes behind rising divorce rates, Singaporeans unsurprisingly put money and socio- economic changes at the top of the list: women’s economic independence now gives them more options (22%) and many couples still fight over financial issues (21%).
Across the board, the data shows some differences in the way men and women view the causes of divorce.
Singaporean men are more prone to blame factors related to the sexual side of marriage – couples get tired of each other, infidelity,
a lack of intimacy, changes to physical appearance – while women are more likely to highlight communication issues, along with the greater opportunities that now allow them to exit a bad marriage.
These findings suggest that just as in other mature economies, divorce is set to keep rising in Singapore. Indeed, the root causes of strained marriages – financial woes, demanding jobs, busy schedules, family obligations, over-bearing in-laws – may have intensified during the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.
This may be why the MSF has recently called for the public to contribute views on measures to better support divorcing couples and their children. Indeed, while the government recognises that divorces cannot be avoided, their long-term consequences can be mitigated.