Why Women Initiate Divorce

Why Women Initiate Divorce More Often Than Men

Since women are stereotypically the ones in a relationship who want to get married and settle down, the title of this article - why women initiate divorce more often than men - might have surprised you. If we were to go along these lines, we would also expect women to be more willing to stay in a marriage than terminate it. Surprisingly, statistics say otherwise.

According to a 2015 study conducted by the American Sociological Association (ASA), almost 70% of divorces in the US are initiated by women. Among college educated women, this figure goes up even further - up to 90%!

Why Women Initiate Divorce - Women are Most Likely To Feel Held Back


In the US, women account for more than 50% of the workforce. This means that more women are spending their time in the workplace than men. However, despite dealing with the demands of a career, women are still expected to take charge of domestic duties. 


Studies also show that in marriages where both spouses are employed full time, there is still inequity in the distribution of housework. It’s not hard to guess who still gets the short end of the stick. For women who have lucrative careers, being in a marriage where there exists such an inequality, the union may seem less advantageous to them.

The feeling is compounded if a woman’s career is on the upswing and the husband is unsupportive of, or worse, threatened by, her success.

Juggling the pressures of work and the responsibilities of the household, with the added psychological distress of an unsupportive spouse, may prove too much. This is one reason why women may want out of a marriage. 


Women Usually Carry the Emotional Burden in the Marriage

A big factor that leads to the disintegration of marriage is the lack of meaningful communication. And this stems from a difference in how women and men deal with emotions.


Women are more open with their emotions and are willing to process what they are feeling with people close to them. Men, on the other hand, don’t know how to process their emotions, much less communicate what they are feeling inside. This means that women take on the emotional labor of the marriage, as well. 


How does this lead to the wife initiating the divorce?

Women get emotional support from many sources. When there’s discontent in the marriage, they may find solace in advice from friends, counselling, or even self-help books. Usually, by the time a woman asks for divorce, she has already scrutinized the many reasons why the marriage is failing.

Often the reason stems from lack of connection with the husband and the underlying emotion is emptiness within the marriage. Knowing this, many wives will reach out to their husband to try to fix the problem, and this will often be met with resistance and denial that something is wrong with the marriage. 


Men often see their wives as their sole provider of emotional support. When they encounter problems, they often find difficulty in sharing these with their friends or family. So, they are more likely to just not “rock the boat” in order not to lose their sole source of emotional support. 


When shouldering the burden of doing all the emotional labor becomes too heavy, women will most likely pull the plug and initiate divorce.


Women No Longer Tolerate Unacceptable Behavior


Again, we go back to women being more active members of the workforce. Because they are able to earn their own money, wives are less reliant on their husbands for financial security. 


Whereas before women may have taken abusive or negligent behaviour just because they had nowhere else to go, that is not the general case anymore. 


With the capability to earn one’s keep comes the unwillingness to put up with consistent unacceptable behaviour from husbands. When there’s infidelity, verbal or physical abuse, or substance abuse (alcohol or drugs) in the union, many women will more likely seek an end to a dysfunctional marriage. 


Women Do Not Get What They Need in the Marriage


Sometimes there is no particular reason but just a compounding of many different things that explain why women initiate divorce more often than men. Among them:

Indifference or cluelessness to their feelings or needs

Women seek connection and expectations are higher with their “chosen one”. However, women also frequently do not say what they like or need but expect their husbands to read their minds. 


When the husband does not “get it” or needs are met with a “wrong” response often enough, resentment festers and an impenetrable wall goes up. If there is no meaningful dialogue to resolve issues, many women may seek a way out of the marriage. 


Absence of small gestures

Often, it’s the little things that make wives feel appreciated and loved that spell the difference between a successful marriage and one that is ready to sink.

The things that make a wife loved and valued vary from woman to woman. It may be as elaborate as expensive gifts of jewelry, however, it can be as simple as watching over the kids so she can enjoy a long and relaxing soak in the tub.

When a woman does not get this within the marriage, she will eventually look elsewhere for this. If it gets bad enough, she can totally give up on the marriage and seek divorce. 


The reality of marriage does not live up to expectations

This is more likely for whirlwind romances when you do not get a chance to get to know the other person that well. 


During the dating stage, the husband may have worked hard to win his wife over. And understandably, the wife may have come to expect this from her husband. However, the reality is, things change after getting married. 


When the husband stops doing things he once did, it can end in disappointment. When a woman sees her marriage as a farce, she may realize that staying married may be pointless. 


Loss of romance

Women need romance to make them feel unique and loved. And it goes beyond physical closeness. Loss of romance after marriage is one of the reasons why women initiate divorce more often than men. 


During courtship, there may have been a lot of romantic moments and gestures. However, some men do not feel it necessary to be as romantic after marriage and children. When a husband starts to treat a wife less as a romantic partner and just another person, this can push a woman to give up and seek divorce.

While many women go into marriage and get their happily ever after, there are also women who find that their marriage is not what they hoped it would be. Statistics show that women, more than men, are initiating divorce to seek a better life beyond it.

Gain Financial Empowerment Now


If you are contemplating divorce or in the middle of one, I can help. I understand that divorce is stressful, however, I also understand that any decisions you make during this critical period regarding your finances can affect you not only today but even 20 years down the line. 


As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, I help you choose your options carefully, so you not only survive divorce but also look forward to a thriving future.


Contact me at (907) 347-3860 or send me an email at Divorce@KimberlySurber.com for a free consultation. 

Tags: why women initiate divorce, why women divorce, reasons women divorce,  women and unhappy marriage

This information is not intended to be a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. For legal or tax advice please seek the services of a qualified attorney and/or qualified tax professional.

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