Divorce men vs women

Why Women Initiate Divorce | Understanding Female Initiated Divorce

A study led by the American Sociological Association determined that nearly 70% of divorces are initiated by women. And the percentage of college-educated American women who initiated divorce is even higher. Considering that gender stereotypes indicate that women are often the driving force behind marriage, this may seem surprising.

So, what are the reasons why women are initiating divorce more often than men? Does it have to do with gender differences or gender roles? Are married women just more likely to take action in comparison to married men when it comes to filing for divorce? Here at The Jimenez Law Firm, we wanted to know why women tend to take the initiative and choose divorce. Here’s what we discovered.

Women Are More Likely to Feel Stifled by Marriage

Women today have more on their plate than ever before. Many women are trying to balance taking care of children, domestic duties such as housework and cooking, and being a good wife, all while they work a full or part-time job. Despite women making up more than half of the United States workforce, in many relationships, they are still viewed as the individual primarily accountable for domestic responsibilities in the home.

That’s not to say that men don’t help out. Some do. The problem, according to Stamford University associate professor of sociology Michael Rosenfeld, is that the institution of marriage has been slow to catch up with gender equality expectations. More often than not, women feel more pressure when it comes to child-rearing, housework, and other domestic responsibilities.

They may feel this pressure from their husband or from society in general. Furthermore, in marriages where both spouses are employed full-time, women still manage more domestic responsibilities than men. A 2019 US Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates that on an average day in 2018 only 20% of men did any housework in comparison to nearly 50% of women. This is a strong indication that among married couples with equal responsibility, the women still tend to pull more weight around the home.

In addition to handling more of the domestic responsibilities, many women say their husbands are not supportive of their careers, particularly when the woman is highly successful. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin published a study in 2019 that took a look at over 6,000 heterosexual American couples over a period of 15 years. The study indicated that many husbands experienced the effects of psychological distress when their wives made more than 40% of the household income.

When women excel at their careers, are expected to perform more of the domestic duties, and don’t get support from their husbands, well, it’s no wonder women initiate divorce more often. They may, quite simply, determine that being married is no longer in their best interest.

Women Tend to Feel More Emotional Responsibility

It’s not unusual for couples to struggle with communication. This is partially due to the fact that men have, for the most part, been expected to take life as it comes and deal with it. Many husbands never learn how to process their emotions or communicate in a healthy way. This creates conflict in the marriage. According to a survey done by the Mental Health Foundation, men are also far less likely to seek professional help when they need it. They’re also far less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. By not taking care of their own mental health or working on their communication skills, women find themselves taking on more emotional responsibility. Occasionally they end up being the only emotional support system for the entire family.

Without the assistance of their partner, this emotional burden takes its toll on women. They often feel alone and as though they have no support system within their marriage. The mental, physical, and emotional toll of the overburdening responsibilities is a major contributing factor when women are considering divorce.

Women are Less Tolerant of Unacceptable Behavior

Historically, a woman didn’t work as much as she does today. Wives were more reliant on their husbands for financial security. Often, they tolerated domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other abuse or neglect because they felt as though they had no other choice and that it was their duty. While this may still be true in some cases, for the most part, women are no longer willing to put up with bad behavior as they had done in previous generations.

Modern women have more resources and better support systems outside of the marriage. They’re less likely to put up with abuse and infidelity. Many women now understand that leaving is an option.

Divorce Planning

Divorce statistics and divorce rates show that sometimes marriage doesn’t work out to be the fairy tale we had hoped for. We’re all on a journey of personal growth and sometimes, that growth can lead us down different paths and be a reason for divorce. If you’re contemplating divorce, then spend some time thinking about the domestic outcomes, social outcomes, economic outcomes, and your own well-being outcomes. The divorce process can be mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, even if you have a prenuptial agreement.

If you’re ready to end your journey as husband and wife or end your same-sex marriage, then it’s important you find a law firm with quality divorce lawyers that can help you through the process of filing for divorce. The legal team at The Jimenez Law Firm can help you prepare for divorce and fight for your best interests. It’s okay if your relationship ends and there is life after divorce. The Jimenez Law Firm can also help with child custody, child support, and any other legal matters you want to be brought up in your divorce for your kids or yourself.

Call The Jimenez Law Firm today at (214) 513-0125 to speak with a qualified divorce attorney for assistance in filing divorce papers and more.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why women file for divorce more than men


Family Tree | How We Live

Why women file for divorce more than men

(Image credit: Getty)

By Katie Bishop13th May 2022

Statistically, women call time on their marriages more than men. What’s with the big discrepancy – and will it stay this way?


The decision to end a marriage is often difficult, and couples may spend months, or even years, soul-searching before calling it quits. But when it comes to initiating a split, there’s a clear pattern in who makes the final call. In Western heterosexual relationships, women catalyse an enormous proportion of divorces.

In the US specifically, where no-fault divorce is legal in all 50 sates, some estimates put the figure at 70%. In the UK, ONS statistics showed women petitioned for 62% of divorces in England and Wales in 2019.

Now, in some Western countries, divorce is becoming easier; the UK, for instance, recently legalised no-fault divorces, which means couples now have a quicker and more straightforward route to break up. This change in rules could open the door for even more women – who might have been hesitant before – to file for divorce.

Why, though, are women disproportionately choosing to divorce in the first place? For some, the answer lies in how partners do – or don’t – meet their emotional needs in marriage. Yet for others, things are more complicated – and there may be more nuance to these statistics than it seems.

The importance of independence

In most societies, divorce has been a relatively recent phenomenon.

In the UK, divorce was extremely uncommon before 1914, with just one divorce in every 450 marriages in the first decade of the 20th Century. Now, more than 100,000 couples in the UK get divorced every year, and in the US, around half of marriages end in divorce.

As Heidi Kar, a psychologist and expert on domestic violence at the US-based Education Development Center, explains, it’s no coincidence that the rise of divorce has coincided with women’s liberation.

“Because economic independence is an imperative before a woman can attempt to leave a marriage, either alone or with children to support, it’s extremely difficult for women to leave a marriage unless they have some way to make money on their own,” she says. “Also, because gender roles become more complicated as women start to gain financial independence, more marital conflict naturally arises.

In other words, women’s entry into the workforce enabled them to leave unhappy marriages for the first time – they were no longer financially bound to remain in abusive partnerships or relationships where their needs were not being met, and women thus began to initiate divorces at greater scale.

This also helps explain why women with university-level education are so much more likely to end a marriage. “Across cultures and geographies, women who are economically able to take care of themselves – which usually is tied to higher education levels – are more likely to initiate divorce than women who are unable to economically sustain themselves and their children,” adds Kar.

Emotional and social factors

Still, increased economic independence alone doesn’t explain why women have become so much more likely to initiate divorce than their husbands. Yet, the percentage of women initiating divorces has continued to rise – and the reasons are manifold.

For many women, the expectations they have when they enter marriage may fail to match up to reality. Experts say that they often have a higher expectation of how a partner will meet their emotional needs than men, which can lead to disappointment post-wedding.

Gilza Fort-Martinez, a Florida, US-based licensed couples’ therapist, who specialises in conflict resolution, says because men are usually socialised to have lower emotional intelligence than women, this can lead to female partners feeling unsupported and doing much of the emotional labour in the relationship.

This emotional intelligence also means women are more finely attuned to problems and relationship “red-flags”, and their tendency to be the primary communicators and empathisers means that they may also be the first to raise issues – perhaps ultimately resulting in separation or divorce.

Women also tend to gain fewer emotional benefits from marriage, which could make single life seem more appealing. While married men experience multiple perks – including living longer and earning more money – women don’t usually benefit from their relationships in the same way. Instead, they bear the brunt of household and child-rearing labour, which can leave working women “overwhelmed and stressed”, says Fort-Martinez.

Women also tend to have more close friends than men (in fact, in the US, 15% of men say they have no close friendships at all), meaning they have a better support system both to discuss any marital issues as well as to ease the transition back into single life. It’s also possible these friendships make divorce seem like a more plausible option – research suggests that if a close friend gets divorced, people’s own chances of divorcing rise by 75%.

Add this to the fact that women get primary custody of children in the vast majority of divorce cases, so women may feel they have less to lose when filing for divorce compared to men. And in some ways, they are right – evidence shows men’s wellbeing tends to drop much more dramatically immediately following a divorce.

While women suffer long-term financial impacts from divorce, only a quarter say they regret their split (Credit: Getty)

But in reality, this effect can be short-lived. “In the short-term after divorce, men’s overall wellbeing decreases more, and they report higher levels of loneliness,” says Kar. “But over time that evens out, and women continue to suffer from more chronic, long-term effects including the loss of home ownership, reduced financial means, and increased stress from life as a single parent.”

This doesn’t mean that these women have more regrets, however. In spite of these downsides, only 27% of women say they regret getting a divorce, compared to 39% of men, showing that for most women divorce-related hardships are preferable to staying in an unhappy marriage.

Seeking resolution

Of course, filing for divorce isn't the same as ending a marriage. While research shows women in heterosexual marriages are more likely to initiate the break-up, there are also women who didn't choose to end their relationship, but want or need to formalise the split nonetheless.

“Women tend to be more motivated than men to resolve their marital status,” says Katie Spooner, partner and head of family law at Winckworth Sherwood, London. She says, based on her client record, most men are happy to remain separated, unless there is a new relationship or particular imperative to sort their finances.

For women, however, the need for a divorce can be much more pressing. “It remains a requirement for divorce to be filed in order to make a financial application,” says Spooner, referring to the legally-binding process of sorting finances out after a split. “Historically, women have had a greater need to do this due to their weaker financial position, or their role as primary caregiver.”

In other words, married women tend to earn much less than their husbands, and are significantly more likely to have given up work or reduced their hours to care for children – even if they were the higher earner to begin with.

This means women who are separated from their husbands without a divorce agreement risk financial hardship, because they may not have a legal right to marital assets or financial support until a formal divorce agreement is in place. Filing for divorce might be their only choice to secure assets, even if they did not choose to end the relationship in the first place.

Spooner points out a big turning point for women initiating divorce in the UK was 1996, when being a “homemaker” was recognised as a contribution to the marriage, meaning women became entitled to a fairer share of assets. Before this, the less-wealthy spouse (usually the woman, especially if she’d given up her career) was only given financial support for basic needs, rather than how their domestic labour had contributed to the marriage. This arrangement is now common in many other countries, meaning fewer women risk poverty post-divorce, and are more motivated to push for a divorce over a separation to get their fair share of marital assets.

As for the new UK law, Spooner says there has been an early rush to file no-fault divorces, suggesting many people had been waiting for the law to change. However, it’s too early to know exactly how patterns will shift until the law has been in place for a while; Spooner herself believes there could be a “slight drop” in female-driven divorces, since it’s the first time couples can issue joint applications.

Whatever happens in the UK, ultimately, divorces – like marriages – tend to be complex and nuanced. In some cases, filing for divorce is an agonising decision based on years of unhappiness. For others, filing is more of a practical move, based on the need to reach a financial settlement. What’s clear, however, is that certain factors – women’s improved earning power, men and women’s mismatched emotional needs within marriage and ongoing inequalities in household labour – mean that divorce is likely to remain deeply gendered.

"I will never marry again": divorced men against marriage?


Man and womanDivorceSolitude

I often get letters from divorced men asking for advice. If the ex-wife cheated or independently decided to file for divorce, they are skeptical about new novels. Men are afraid of attachment and the development of relationships, because they are not sure that they can trust again.

Letter from a divorced man

“I met a girl. She lives 300 kilometers from me. We met five times on weekends. I quickly realized that she was falling in love with me, said that I liked her. But also that I will never marry and I will not say that I love her.

She made it clear that she was looking for a man with whom she would meet her old age. I didn't mean to hurt her, but I felt like I was cheating on her. I think she thinks - since I'm not dating other women, then we are a couple. She believes that one day I will put aside my dark thoughts.

In five days I'm leaving for Mexico and then for South America. Every year I spend about four months traveling. If I met the woman of my dreams, I would take her with me. Most divorced men who are still full of energy get used to the bachelor lifestyle. Our eyes are not closed and our hearts are not sealed, but we are not ready to give up our habitual lifestyle in favor of relationships. So what should I do with this girl? Break up?"

My opinion

My first reaction is yes please end the relationship. I feel sorry for this woman. She and the writer of the letter want different things. She wants to get married, he doesn't know what he wants. Obviously, he doesn't want to be with her. Her shortcomings have nothing to do with it. She's not right for him.

But he must be honest, he must be direct. Then she can get upset, cry, grieve that everything is over, and then move on and meet a man who wants to grow old with her.

But let's talk about saying "I will never tell a woman that I love her." This man has been hurt, he feels betrayed, he doubts that he can trust a woman enough to confess his love to her or marry her.

I don't judge him - I understand how he feels. A lot of people said things like that after divorce. But as time went on, they met the right person and changed their minds.

The man writes that finding true love is an impossible mission

This is true because he is deeply wounded. He will be helped by psychotherapy, or work in a support group, or any other technique that will close the situation. He needs to accept his past and realize that not all women cheat.

In my experience, I divide men into two types. Some people like to live on their own, they are the ones who do not want to “sacrifice their usual way of life” for the sake of relationships. The second likes to be in a monogamous relationship. They want to create a new marriage.

I noticed a pattern. The longer a man is single after a divorce, the less likely he is to remarry. Either men quickly find a new wife, or remain alone for many years. Of course, there are exceptions.

The future of a man depends on many factors: how long he was married, whether he has children, why he got divorced, how he is with finances, whether he likes to be alone with whom he meets. Don't throw around statements such as "I'll never get married again" or "I won't tell a woman I love her." Life loves to prove otherwise.

If someone told me that 10 years after the divorce I would still be single, I would not believe it. I really wanted to get married again. But now I am happy to live the life that I have.

Be happy and accept the gifts of fate. Of course, there is work to be done—to heal the wounds, to accept the situation, and to stop obsessing over the divorce. And then do what makes you happy, spend time together. The rest will take care of itself.

About the Author: Jackie Pilossof is a journalist and author of The Divorced Girl Smiles.

Text: Zhanna Omelianenko Photo source: Unsplash

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Who breaks up relationships more often and why that women are more likely than men to think about divorce and are more resolute in terminating marriages. Young couples are more likely than others to critically assess family relationships. The research report was prepared for the XXI April International Scientific Conference at the Higher School of Economics.

Marriage revision: from intentions to actions

The quality of relationships in the family, the duration of marriage, the age and education of spouses, common children - all this undoubtedly affects the preservation of the union. But there is another significant factor - the intentions of partners related to their assessment of marriage.

Based on the theory of planned behavior, which links intentions and actions, the researchers decided to look at how often dissatisfaction with the quality of relationships and thoughts of divorce really destroy families.

People often act out the scenario that was thought out in advance. Therefore, demographers use the theory of planned behavior when analyzing reproductive intentions and decisions (how many children they wanted and how many eventually appeared), marital behavior (the choice of an official or unregistered union - cohabitation, the planned number of marriages, etc.).

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Based on the panel data of three waves of the survey “Parents and children, men and women in the family and society” (R&D&W, 2004, 2007 and 2011), Elena Churilova and Sergey Zakharov analyzed how often family Russians have recently thought about parting with a partner and in the end really diverged.

“We are interested in the plausibility of declarative statements about the intention to leave,” explains the researcher. “We look at the responses of respondents who have a relationship with a partner for different periods of time.”

Female Courage: Double Determination

More than 3,000 respondents from different marriage cohorts (those who married in 1965-1979, in the 1980s, 1990s, early 2000s) were asked if they thought about divorce in the last year and whether they plan to part with their spouse within the next three years.

The researchers also took into account the characteristics of marriage (first/second, with or without a passport stamp), number of children, and place of residence (urban/rural).

It turned out that women who are in relationships of very different duration are twice as likely as men to think about the quality of the relationship. They were also more likely to break up with their partner—and ended up doing so.

The oldest marriage cohorts in the study entered into union between 25 and 39 years ago. With such a solid experience of family life, in the marriage cohort 1965-1979, the proportion of women who subjected their marriage to a mental revision - thinking about the relationship in it, was only 15% (the divorce process was simplified just in 1965). And men - only 7%.

That is, there were twice as many women who thought about divorce.

In the future, this ratio remained - against the background of an increase from one marriage cohort to another in the proportion of women and men who doubt their marriage.

The "younger" the union, the more people thought about parting. Of those who married in the early 2000s, more than a quarter—27%—of women and 14% of men thought about divorce.

Percentage of men and women who thought about breaking up with their partner over the past year, depending on the cohort of those who entered into marriage

Source: study by E.V.Churilova and S.V.Zakharov.

The period of mutual "adjustment"

The fact that the proportion of people who critically assessed their marriage turned out to be clearly higher among those who married in the 2000s is largely explained purely psychologically.

At the time of the study, they were at the beginning of a joint journey.

At this stage, couples organize a joint life, distribute responsibilities, find out each other's views on various aspects of life together, comments Elena Churilova. During this period, the proportion of those who think about a breakup is usually larger.

“In a conflict situation, questions arise: “Is this partner right for me? Am I comfortable living with him? Do our views on the distribution of household chores, the desired number of children, the frequency of communication with parents coincide? the researcher says. “And, of course, there are more cohabitations among the unions created at the beginning of the 2000s, and it’s easier to leave than to divorce.”

Is the family unshakable?

People who have been married for a long time may also eventually realize that marriage does not suit them.

“There is a 'gray divorce' phenomenon, which is observed, for example, in the USA and Japan,” says Churilova. - Spouses live together for a long time, and after the children grow up and leave the family, it turns out that the husband and wife have no common interests. They decide to divorce."

Nevertheless, it is impossible to talk about the devaluation of the family on the basis of this - at least in Russia, demographers believe. “According to all surveys, the family still retains a high value for Russians,” the researcher says.

“At the same time, almost half of our fellow citizens allow divorce in case of insurmountable family disagreements,” recalls Churilova. “People understand that it doesn’t make much sense to be in an unhappy marriage.”

Men: the older the marriage, the stronger

For men, revision of marriage is less typical. Those who became husbands in the 1980s and 1990s thought about breaking up in much the same way.

Answers about intentions to part with a partner in the next three years gave the following picture: among those who married in zero, a third of men and women intended to end their relationship.

Older men have a different picture. Of those who have been married for more than 15 years, only 6% intend to divorce (in a subsample of people who thought about breaking up), and among those who have been in a union from five to 14 years, 14%.

Women are more inclined towards divorce. Plans to break up with a partner were mentioned by one in four of those who thought about breaking up in the 1965-1979 cohorts of unions, and one in three in the cohorts of the 1980s and 1990s.

Divorces in fact

Data from statistics and selective studies, including those dating back to Soviet times, say that among women born in 1945-1979, every third went through a divorce or separation from a common-law husband.

Looking at the marriage cohorts, the 1945-1954 cohorts married at a time when divorce was difficult. As a result, by the 30th year of marriage, only 14% of women in this group were divorced.

“At the beginning of the marriage, it was very difficult to get a divorce,” explains Elena Churilova. - And after ten or twenty years of union there were already children, it seemed more difficult to decide to disperse. And because there was no free housing market, and because there were still few people in the environment with a divorce experience.

In the marriage cohort of 1955-1964, there are already almost twice as many divorced women - 22%. And in the cohort of the 1970-1980s - about 30%.

For those who got married in the nineties, 30% of marriages broke up in 15 years.

Unregistered unions break up twice as often - in 50-60% of cases for those who started living together in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

A parting country

Russia leads in the total divorce rate (the number of divorces per 1000 people) among the industrialized countries of the world. It amounted to 4.2 in the country. A similar level is shown by other post-Soviet countries - Belarus (3.4), Latvia (3.1), Ukraine (3.0), and the United States (3.2). The rest of the countries are far behind.

The total divorce rate in Russia has been growing since 1990 (3.8 at that time), peaked in 2002 (6.0) and fell to 4.2 by 2017.

If separation is measured by the total divorce rate (it shows the final share of broken marriages), then it was 0.58 per marriage in Russia in 2011-2014 and 0.52 in 2015-2017.

It can be expected that if the intensity of divorce does not change, then more than half of the unions concluded in recent years will end in dissolution.

The country is also among the leaders in terms of the total divorce rate, along with Sweden, the USA, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and the UK, where this indicator is also 0.5 and higher.

Demographics of divorces

The average duration of marriage today fluctuates around 9.5-10.5 years, and there is a tendency to decrease it.

Divorcing men are usually older than women (the latter marry earlier). At the same time, the age of separation is increasing.

According to the statistics of Rosstat, in men it increased from 37.8 years to 1970th year to 39.7 years in 2011. Today, it has hardly changed - 39.6 years in 2018.

For women, this age increased from 33.6 years to 35.7 by the early 2010s. In 2018, it was 35.3.

These changes are explained by the increase in the average age of marriage.

The average number of children at the time of separation is 1.2.

The reasons for divorce are very different: from marital infidelity to intolerance and religious considerations.

According to VTsIOM, Russians consider poverty, betrayal and misunderstanding between spouses to be the main reasons for divorce (46%, 22% and 21% respectively).

How to (not) save a marriage

One study asked divorcees what could keep them from breaking up. In the top five - such answers: "elimination of the reasons for divorce" (here, apparently, a wide range of answers is assumed: betrayal, deceit, etc.), "feeling of love for each other", "nothing", "having children in common" and "material considerations".

Respondents were also asked what they think the stability of a marriage is based on. They named such factors as mutual love and respect, fidelity, mutual support, common interests, responsibility to the family and tolerance of spouses to each other.

Over the past 30 years, Russians have more often said that if the decision to divorce is made, then there are no factors that can influence it (36% in 2019 versus 29% in 1990).

At the same time, circumstances that can prevent divorce have become more significant: the inability to “divide” common children (34% in 2019 versus 25% in 1990) and the financial dependence of one of the spouses (25% versus 7%).

Married and divorced

Intentions and truth largely predict future actions. Women who were determined to break up with their husbands divorced 3.4 times more often than those who did not think about breaking up, Churilova and Zakharov note.

And even female respondents who were just thinking of getting a divorce but had no intention of doing so were 1.8 times more likely to end their relationship with their husband. In addition, the decision of women to leave their husbands was positively influenced by living in the city and the absence of children.

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Men are less likely to divorce than women. At the same time, respondents who were going to disperse did so 2.4 times more often than those who did not plan to.

The order and type of union has been added to the number of important factors for men. “Men more often decide to terminate a cohabitation that does not suit them than a marriage,” demographers comment. “However, they are ready to interrupt the second union half as often as the first.

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