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 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.