When a couple’s marriage goes south, more often than not it’s the woman that ends up in a divorce attorney’s office first. That’s not exactly a new thing, but research is just now starting to understand why.
Way back in the 1800s, research indicated that women initiated divorce about 60% of the time. Despite all of the societal changes that have evolved since then, that figure has largely remained the same — or grown. In 2015, a study of heterosexual marriages found that women started divorce proceedings 69% of the time.
Are women just more likely to give up on a marriage than men? Not hardly. A similar study that looked at unmarried heterosexual couples indicated that the end of the relationships was initiated about evenly between the sexes. That led to the suggestion that many marriages start with the idea that the women — not the men — have to make the major adjustments necessary to make the marriage work. This imbalance often leads to an unequal division of labor, particularly once kids are involved in the picture.
In the past, many women were relegated to primarily domestic tasks, and the concept of having an independent life and career apart from her husband wasn’t as common. These days, most families are dual-income, and women are as actively involved in their careers as their husbands. Inside the home, however, there are spoken or unspoken expectations on them that leave many women feeling stifled, controlled or overwhelmed.
Knowing this, it may help you and your spouse to renegotiate the expectations in your relationship before you get to the point of divorce. Failing that, however, you may want to learn more about what to expect in your divorce process.