Gender Factor and Divorce
Studies that have continued throughout the post-war decades show that women are more likely to file for divorce than men. In the United States, 70% of marriages are terminated by women, and the remaining 30% – by men. However, this is not about dating couples, most of which break up by mutual consent. These are the results of research held by Michael Rosenfeld of Stanford University, which continued from 2009 until 2015 and involved 2,262 men and women of various age groups, both married and dating. Interestingly, more than 300 of those surveyed split up or divorced over the six-year research period.
Most analysts are quick to explain women’s dominance in initiating divorce by their relatively high sensitivity to the hardships of married life. Partially, it is true. However, there are a greater number of factors.
Social and Marital Status
About a century and a half ago, women were legally owned by men and were pretty much stripped of rights and freedoms. Although those days are long gone, and now women have broken free from the matrimonial jail, marriage still carries a degree of male dominance in a number of aspects. Particularly, many women resent having to take on a large share of housekeeping and childcare duties. About 90% of women have to take their husbands’ surnames. All this creates a potential for conflicts, which eat all happiness up on the inside. In some cases, collisions resolve in infidelity and violence, which shatter marriages beyond repair. Because women have to take on the whole brunt of it, they are more vulnerable and likely to snap.
Another reason why men are less likely to end a marriage is because he is less motivated to do so. Not having to do as much household work as their wives do and feminine care makes them feel quite satisfied about their lives. They get pretty much used to their life in the family, and find staying in it more convenient. Men who have children are reluctant to break up, because a divorce entails having to abide by the terms visitation agreements, which are set by women. Also, they are afraid to lose all contacts with their kids. These fears are not groundless.
Cohabiting couples do not have to face any of these, not even those who have been dating for several years. This is because extramarital relationships are based on different criteria, which do not work for married couples.
Apart from intramarital factors, there are a number of socio-economic reasons why women are more likely to ask for divorce. Over the past century, women have gained substantial independence. Now they are as free to get an education and a job as men are. Many of them reach financial independence and choose to get away from married life, which they now find binding and oppressive.
There are lots of women who have left their husbands, successfully come through the financial and psychological rigors of divorce, and made a great career. This inspires some women to leave and seek a better life.