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March, August divorce spikes may have explanation

Have you heard of the "Cat of Sadness?" We're guessing your answer will be one of two responses: either "no" or "what in the world are you talking about?"

We promise the "Cat of Sadness" isn't some internet meme or joke. Instead, it is a comical term for a line graph of divorce rates by month. More specifically, it is the way some are calling a line graph of Washington state divorce rates by month from 2001 to 2015. The "Cat of Sadness" is depicted thanks to two peaks in divorce rates -- in March and August -- forming the cat's ears, and the remaining months filling out the silhouette of a cat's head.

Beyond the resemblance to a cat, what does this graph teach us? Well, it says something about us as people and how we deal with conflict. The theory for why many near-divorcing couples wait until the months of March and August to finally file for divorce is grounded in a sense of hope and an avoidance of conflict.

Researchers believe that a vast decline in filings from September to December is due to near-divorcing couples holding out hope that the holiday season will rekindle the magic that the couple once had. It could also be that a near-divorcing couple doesn't want to pull the trigger on a divorce during the holiday months simply because that would seen as a cold and sad time to actually end a marriage.

But then why the spike in March and August? Researchers think the March spike reflects those divorce-avoiding couples who wait through the holiday season finally coming to terms with their irreconcilable marriage. The August spike, meanwhile, could be due to near-divorcing couples waiting out the school year and the summer to finally pull the trigger -- before they enter that holiday period.

Source: CNN, "Study: These are the peak times for divorce," AJ Willingham, Aug. 24, 2016

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