Why do women initiate divorce more often than men?

There was a time when married men were generally the breadwinners of the household, while their wives stayed home and handled domestic duties. That is not the case in today’s society, as many married women have full-time jobs, and there are perhaps more stay-at-home dads today than ever before.

According to a study recently presented at the annual gathering of the American Sociological Association, these relatively recent social developments have led to heightened expectations among married women, and these heightened expectations likely contribute to the fact that women initiate divorce in most cases.

For the study, 2,262 men and women in heterosexual relationships participated in a survey over a five-year period, and of those relationships that ended during that time, nearly 70 percent of divorces were initiated by women.

It has long been known that women are more likely to ask for divorce than men, but the study points to women’s heightened expectations of marriage as a contributing factor. According to the sociologist who conducted the survey, “The expectation is that marriage has a whole bunch of benefits and positive characteristics for women that it didn’t have in the past, but the truth is much trickier than that.”

The study looked at not only married couples, but also couples who were in non-marital relationships. Interestingly, in those relationships, breakups were initiated by men and women at equal rates. In other words, there seems to be something about marriage that leads women to ask to end the relationship more often than men.

One thing is certain: people get divorced for a variety of reasons, and every divorce is unique. If you have questions about divorce in Missouri, then our divorce and separation overview may prove helpful.

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