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Why Women Initiate Divorce More Often Than Men

  • Feb 24, 2021
  • The Harr Law Firm

Woman removing wedding ringIn 2015, the American Sociological Association conducted a study that discovered 69% of all divorces were initiated by women. This, of course, leads to the question of “Why?” Why is it that women are more than twice as likely to initiate a divorce as their male partners? Are women just inherently unsatisfied in their relationships? Are men just more likely to be the root of the problem, pushing their wives away? The answer is, of course, a bit more complex than that. Let’s look a bit more closely at the matter.

It’s Unique to Marriages

Another interesting finding in the 2015 study was that this skewed statistic about divorces was not true of all heterosexual relationships. In fact, in non-married couples, a man was just as likely to initiate the breakup as a woman. It is only in married relationships that the data begins to skew, placing the bulk of breakups in the hands of the wife. This indicates that this large difference must be something connected to the institution of marriage itself, and not a general difference between men and women. Let’s take a close look at some of the possibilities and further statistics connected to these findings.

Higher Awareness of Issues

There is also some evidence that women in marriages are more likely to be acutely aware of the issues in the relationship than married men. In the same study mentioned above, women reported much lower levels of relationship quality in their marriages than the men, suggesting that women are simply more aware of when something feels awry than their husbands.

In fact, many husbands may be entirely oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong, and they can feel quite blindsided when their wife says she wants a divorce. One could argue that men are oblivious or that women are sensitive, but the bottom line is that a more acute awareness of issues within the relationship is likely a contributing factor to women initiating more divorces.

A Lack of Connection

Women tend to crave a much deeper connection and closeness with their partners. However, many aren’t sure of how to ask for it. They believe that their husbands should instinctively know how to connect with them, and when he fails to do so, the woman often feels let down. This can lead to feelings of resentment that, when left unspoken, can fester into major problems and lead to a total breakdown of the relationship.

Trouble with Traditional Roles

Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University and a central part of the ASA’s study hypothesized that traditional roles in marriage may also be a reason that women file for divorce more frequently. He stated that many husbands continue to expect women to shoulder the bulk of the housework and childcare, regardless of whether or not both partners work outside the home. This inequality in the household, as a carryover from decades pass, can cause those festering feelings of resentment for a woman who feels her husband doesn’t pull his weight in the home.

The possibility of this being a major contributing factor to these disparate numbers is bolstered by how the statistics change when the woman is college educated. In marriages where both partners have a college degree, the wives initiate a staggering 90% of divorces. Women with college degrees are more likely to pursue careers outside the home, sloughing off the traditional roles of a housewife; and when both partners have full-time careers, a lack of balance in the household duties becomes much more apparent much more quickly.

There’s No Single Reason

Of course, the reason for these statistics will always be little more than educated speculation. The bottom line will always be that there is no single reason for divorce, and no single reason that women initiate far more divorces than men. Simply put, women seem to be more aware of breakdowns in their marriages much earlier than men—whatever the cause of that breakdown may be—and are more likely to take action.

Whatever your reason is for wanting a divorce, be sure to sit down and consult with an experienced and professional divorce attorney, even before you file your divorce papers. Doing so can help you to take proper steps to protect yourself and your assets now, so that the divorce process goes much more smoothly. Contact the Harr Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation with one of our divorce lawyers.