Who Are More Likely to Initiate a Divorce: Men or Women?

Posted on November 08, 2019 11:08am
Who Are More Likely to Initiate a Divorce: Men or Women?

According to research, women are more likely than men to request a divorce in heterosexual marriages, though both are just as likely to end non-marital relationships. This begs the question—why the difference? According to research published by the American Sociology Association, women initiate up to 69% of all divorces, while only 31% are initiated by men. Social scientists speculate that the reason for this difference lies with the ways in which men and women handle relationship difficulties, and their sensitivity to identifying those problems that all too often end marriages.

We understand that statistics don’t make or break marriages. Each marriage is unique, and the reasons for which couples decide to divorce depend mostly on their specific circumstances. However, this new social study may reveal certain ways in which men and women differ in their views of divorce and marriage. To learn more, read below.

Why Do Women Ask for Divorce More Often?

One sociologist, Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University, speculated that women initiate divorces more often because the institution of marriage itself no longer aligns with many women’s desire for more gender equality in their homes and relationships.  According to the American Sociological Association, many women may feel burdened by dated beliefs set out by a traditional marital relationship because the view of marriage hasn’t yet evolved enough to fit current expectations for gender equity.

In an article published by Psychology Today, Rosenfeld’s assessment of years of surveys continues to explain that both women and men end non-marital relationships equally, but when it comes to divorce, the numbers favor women significantly. His idea is that, because non-marital relationships are more flexible, there is more equal footing and women and men have more room to accommodate and evolve without seeking divorce. When married, on the other hand, women are more likely to feel oppressed by their partner’s expectations.

Rosenfeld explains:

“Wives still take their husbands' surnames, and are sometimes pressured to do so. Husbands still expect their wives to do the bulk of the housework and the bulk of the childcare. On the other hand, I think that non-marital relationships lack the historical baggage and expectations of marriage, which makes the non-marital relationships more flexible and therefore more adaptable to modern expectations, including women's expectations for more gender equality."

Ready to Get Started?

Knowing that women initiate divorce more often doesn’t change much about the divorce process, but it could impact your relationship and how you view your spouse/ex-spouse. If you are ready to file for divorce, or if you’re wondering whether or not a divorce is the best choice for you, make sure you discuss your options with an experienced attorney at McKinley Irvin.

Contact McKinley Irvin at our Oregon offices to discuss your options with our team. Call 503-395-0244 to schedule a meeting with one of our divorce attorneys.

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