Part 1: Why Women Are More Likely to Initiate Divorce

Couples divorce for many different reasons. Sometimes, people rush into marriages at a young age before they truly know themselves, let alone each other. Other times, people feel like they need to get married to fulfill a social expectation, even if they are not truly in love. And in some instances, people simply change after years together. Down the line, they might realize that they were never truly compatible, or one partner might have to admit that they have not been happy for a long time.

More often than not, if a heterosexual couple gets divorced, the woman initiates the separation. But why is this the case? Here are a few contributing factors that may explain why women are more likely to initiate a divorce.

Dynamic Shift After Having Children

Many couples today attempt to split childcare in a more equal fashion than couples did in previous decades. But plenty of women still find that if they have children, they end up doing far more childcare than their partners. Lots of men do not even realize when they are falling short in this area. They did not necessarily see healthy parenting dynamics modeled while growing up. Women might feel like they will actually have less of a burden while co-parenting with an ex than they would as one-half of a committed, married couple.

The “Second Shift”

Even outside of childcare, women often carry a heavier load of domestic responsibilities. Couples who do not have children still fall into this trap. Women generally spend more time on household chores than their male partners, even if they both work full-time. Today, women who are rightfully frustrated with this arrangement may find themselves wishing that they only had themselves to take care of.

Differences In Emotional Intelligence

Women are socialized to develop a deeper sense of emotional intelligence than men. This is not to say that men do not possess emotional intelligence. Lots of men are quite sensitive, patient, and empathetic. However, women are taught that they have a duty to attend to the needs of others. Therefore, a wife might feel like she picks up on all of her husband’s needs and often addresses them without being thanked. It’s simply expected that she understands his needs while he doesn’t pay attention to hers.

Financial Independence

In the past, many women who were in unhappy or abusive marriages did not have the choice to leave. Their employment options were limited, and they lacked certain legal rights. They would not have been able to support themselves financially without a husband. But today, that is not the case. Women have far more career options than they did in the past. They are even more likely to attend college than men. Therefore, women do not need to get married out of financial necessity. If a woman is stuck in an unhappy marriage, she can leave and support herself.

Escaping Societal Pressures

Although women have more options available to them today than being mothers and wives, they are still taught from a young age that marriage is an essential milestone. Some women who got married before they were truly ready might feel like they were pressured by society and their families into settling down too soon. They might feel like a very different person in adulthood than they did when they got married. Now, they have the freedom to make their own decisions, which might not fit society’s standards.

Are you navigating a divorce or separation? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for therapy for women.