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A long commute can increase the risk of divorce by 45 per cent, a Swedish study shows. (Stockbyte/iStockphoto)
A long commute can increase the risk of divorce by 45 per cent, a Swedish study shows. (Stockbyte/iStockphoto)

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

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.

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.

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