(WFLX) - It's the biggest buzz kill in all of romance: the fear that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. But is that true, or just the worst urban legend of them all?
Anne Baranski's at the park while her husband is at work. They've been married for two years; however, between her marriage and the random couple in the park next to you, one will end in divorce … right?
"Of the people I know, that's probably a good number," Baranski told Ivanhoe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year, more than 2.1 million marriages took place in the U.S. For every 7.1 couples hitched, three-and-a-half divorced. But not every state reports divorce data.
"A lot of couples that are getting ready to get married will come in and actually bring that statistic," Janie Lacy, a relationship coach at Total Life Counseling in Orlando, Fla., explained.
Lacy says the true number of failed marriages is 35 to 40 percent.
"It doesn't surprise me, but it doesn't change my way of thinking either," Nelly Alier said.
Alier got divorced last month; although, her two kids are her life, she's lost faith.
"The way I see it, less people are getting married these days," Alier commented.
Since 1987, the number of women cohabitating with men jumped from 30 percent to 61 percent.
"Wouldn't say it shocks me … sort of saddens me," Baranski said.
"In our field, what we tend to look at is, we tend to break it down into more subsets," Lacy said.
The CDC reports that a woman without a GED has a 63 percent chance of making her marriage last at least 10 years. A woman with a bachelor's degree or higher has a 78 percent chance.
"My best friend is getting divorced next month," Alier added.
Both Alier and Baranski graduated from college, and while there are several paths to happiness, Lacy says there's only "one" in marriage: communication and lots of it.
"We all have our strengths," Baranski said. "We're all good at something, and hopefully together you can find a good path through the world."
A plan that Baranski and her husband will follow for a lifetime.
For what it's worth, relationship experts say the 50 percent divorce myth began in the 1980s, when the US saw an increased number of faltering marriages.