Group photo of Blacha Law Office, LLC
Protecting
Your Family and future

Why do women call it quits on marriage more often than men?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Divorce |

Marital problems often develop slowly over time – but when a couple’s growing dissatisfaction with their relationship comes to a breaking point in a heterosexual marriage, it’s the wife who usually decides to file for divorce.

While individual experiences may vary, it is estimated that women initiate as many as 70% of all divorces in the United States. Why do women seem to take action to end their marriages more than men? Over the years, numerous studies have looked for patterns and conjectures have been made, and the answer is complicated. Here are some of the strongest possibilities:

Women and men process their emotions differently

This probably isn’t news to most people, but men and women don’t exhibit the same sort of emotional responses when they’re unhappy – and a bad marriage is literally bad for a woman’s health in ways that it isn’t for a man. That may be due to the way that many women internalize their stress, which can have a disastrous effect on their physical well-being. 

While both women and men in unhappy relationships struggle with depression, women are far more likely than men to suffer from high blood pressure, increased belly fat and metabolic syndrome (which can lead to diabetes and heart attacks). When a woman realizes what a toxic marriage is doing to her health, she may decide that getting out is literally important to her survival. 

Social roles have changed but women are still doing the heavy lifting

Even though the traditional gender roles that once dominated marital dynamics have changed considerably in recent decades, many women still find that they’re still handling most of the physical and emotional burdens in the relationship. 

That’s largely because women tend to be socialized to consider the needs of others above their own, while men are largely socialized to prioritize their own wants and needs. A “good wife” is still seen as someone who keeps a household in order, while a “good husband” is still largely seen as a provider.

As a result, many women still find themselves shouldering the largest part of child-rearing, daily chores and social organization – even though most women now have their own jobs and careers. Their husbands may prioritize work and leisure, rather than their contributions toward keeping a household running. For example, a husband may consider doing the dishes or watching a baby “helping his wife,” instead of seeing the jobs as shared responsibilities. 

The resulting imbalance can end up becoming intolerable to the wives, especially if they feel like they aren’t getting the emotional support they need, either.

Education and awareness about relationship dynamics and the ties between mental and physical health have grown tremendously over time. Because women tend to put a premium on empathy and communication skills, they may simply be more likely to recognize the issues within their marriage. When attempts to address those issues fail, they may simply have more self-awareness about what they do and do not want for their futures. Their tendency to actively seek personal growth may ultimately be why they initiate the divorce process more often.

If you’re at the end of your rope with your marriage, it pays to take a considered and thoughtful approach to your next steps. Legal guidance can help you make a plan that will put you on track to a better future.