Do Women Initiate More Divorces Than Men?

Woman laying in bed awake

Do women initiate more divorces than men?

At one point in history it was far more commonplace for a man to leave his wife, than for a women to leave her husband. That, it seems, is changing. A recent survey of 2000 heterosexual couples shows that the tide has turned and it is now women, not men, who are walking away from their marriages in far greater numbers.

The study was conducted by author Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University. He looked at a total of 2,000 couples who got together in 2009, and then tracked their relationships through the end of 2015. By the end of that seventh year, 371 of those relationships had ended, either by breaking up, or by way of divorce.

But what made the results so interesting was the fact that according to the data, women initiate approximately 70% of all divorces, which is a substantial disparity between the two camps. When asked about this, Rosenfeld said that this result had been quite a surprise because prior to his study, “the only research that had been done on who wanted the breakup was research on marital divorces.” In other words, there was no comparative study that looked at non-marital break-ups as well.

Interestingly, while the results reveal that there is a distinct variance in which gender ends more marriages, this same slant does not apply to non-marital relationships. In looking at relationships between unmarried couples, the study found that when it comes to ending a relationship, the disparity between men and women is almost non-existent. Interestingly, when couples are not married, the study shows that each sex ends the relationship in roughly the same proportion.

When considering this data, one has to ask the question, “why?”

Rosenfeld has revealed the reasons he believes that more women file for divorce, but are they accurate? Several marital counselors, divorce attorneys and therapists have weighed in on this information since the study was completed, sharing the reasons they believe contribute to this divorce-related phenomenon, and many of them agree with Rosenfeld’s suggestions.

For example, Rosenfeld has proposed the idea that marriage as an institution has been slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality in this day and age. This can be seen in the fact that women are still expected to take their husband’s names, whereas women are still expected to do the bulk of the household chores along with the majority of the child care.

According to Rosenfeld, the data has shown that married women reported lower levels of relationship quality than married men. Incidentally, this is not the case for women in non-married relationships, who reported a much higher level of relationship quality, comparable to that of men in the same type of relationship. This, he says, shows that non-marital relationships are more flexible, and more able to adapt to modern expectations of equality.

Given this interesting information, we have to wonder where that leaves marriage for future generations? Will marriage continue to decline over the years or will it bounce back and get stronger? Only time will tell. Notably, these very same patterns exist right here in Michigan too. Until then, if you are considering getting married and want help preparing your prenuptial agreement, or are considering divorce and need assistance with the preparations, we are here for you. Call our Farmington Hills office today at (248) 479-6200. An experienced family law attorney at The Kronzek Firm is standing by to take your call and provide the legal guidance you need to ensure your future.


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