While we consider driving to and from work routine, you might want to put your foot on the brakes for a minute and consider the results of one study: Long distance commuting increases the chances of divorce or separation. The study entitled Til Work Do Us Part: The Social Fallacy of Long-distance Commuting published on SAGE Journals last August, Erika Sandow of Umea University in Sweden investigated the odds of separation between long distance commuting couples and those who don't. The nationwide study conducted in Sweden spanned ten years, from 1995 to 2005.
Of the more than two million couples surveyed, the study found that couples (11 per cent) who commute for more than 45 minutes to work increased the likelihood of divorce by 40 per cent. However, the author also found that couples who had already been commuting for long distances for five years or more were less likely to separate than those who had been commuting for less than that amount of time. Long distance commuting couples were also less likely to divorce if at least one partner already had a previous experience with commuting before entering into the relationship.
The study found that the first five years of long distance commuting seemed to be the most destructive time for relationships. If couples are able to stay intact within that time frame, they are most likely going to be fine. Sandow isn't really certain why. In an interview with The Local, a Swedish news website in English, the lead author of the study said, "There could be another selection process at work there as well, that the 'weaker' relationships can't take that kind of strain in the first place."
Long distance commutes have become part and parcel of our daily lives. Aside from the economic benefits it provides, it also prevents the need for families to actually relocate and cut off social relationships built through the years. However, it also means having less time to spend with the family.
HubSpot Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah also featured the issue in his LinkedIn Post and urges those who have the choice to commute or not to consider the "trade-off between time and money (or job title or prestige or whatever the lure is)" very carefully.
Some of his readers agree with him. Aaron Abdelmaseh, Marketing Manager at Global Information Inc, says long commutes can also be detrimental to one's work. He writes, "I have a 90 minute commute, but I'm able to work from home one day a week, and that is my single most productive day by a long shot. And as a marketing guy, I have the data to prove that!"
Jillian Barrott, meanwhile, considered another perspective. She said, "Long commutes are tough on families and couples, but imagine if you could commute together. Some important conversations could happen, or at least some fun radio sing alongs."
By Nicel Jane Avellana, contributor at r/ally, the mobile collaboration platform that lets you socialize your goals.
Follow Leah Eichler on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RallyYourGoals