If someone were to approach one of our
divorce attorneys and straight-up ask us, “Who initiates divorce more often,
men or women?” we would not hesitate. We would quickly say that
by far the majority of divorce filings are initiated by women. If you’re
a woman who wants to file for divorce first, you probably get this. But
if you’re a man who is responding to a divorce filing, you may be
wondering why more (much more) women file for divorce than men.
While we are not women’s empowerment coaches or licensed therapists,
we have certainly represented our fair share of female clientele, and
we have heard them explain to us in detail why it is that they want divorces.
In many situations, we’re hearing different versions of the same
story, so there are definitely a lot of consistencies.
Women Initiate Two-Thirds of Divorces
According to a recent study by the American Sociological Association entitled
“How Couples Meet and Stay Together,” two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women – a whopping 69%
to be exact. Interestingly, 90% of all divorces are filed by college-educated
women, which brings us to the question: Why is it that women file for
divorce so much more often than their male counterparts?
As a divorce law firm, we represent both men and women in their divorce
proceedings, so we have heard all about the “reasons” for
divorce from both sides, both from a proactive and reactive point of view.
Usually, when a woman comes to our firm, she’s already decided to
file for divorce. In fact, she’s put a lot of thought into it and
there’s no going back and changing her mind.
When a woman first meets with us, she usually opens up about her marital
woes. Sometimes, she gave her husband a lot of warnings and she even gave
him second, third, and fourth chances to change and save the marriage.
When she told her husband that she was thinking about divorce, suddenly
he started to do the things she wanted him to do, but his last-ditch effort
was too little too late.
It’s not uncommon for our conversations with prospective clients
to include a question that is something to the effect of, “Are you
absolutely sure the marriage can’t be saved?” Often, the question
is met with a quick response, “No, I am absolutely certain I want
a divorce. There is NO way I am changing my mind.”
When Resentment Has Been Building
Sometimes, when a woman’s husband walks into a room, she gets annoyed,
even when he hasn’t done anything wrong. Just him being there, sharing
the same space as she causes her to feel annoyed. Resentment can slowly
seep into a marriage like a disease until it gets so bad, that it’s
incurable and a lot easier to escape from than endure. Resentment should
not be overlooked; it can literally kill a marriage.
What many men fail to realize is that women seek to be close and vulnerable
in their marriages. Women want to feel safe to be 100% themselves in front
of their soulmates. When a woman reaches out to her husband in an effort
to feel “connected” and he gives her the wrong response, the
wife does something interesting...she lays the first brick down. Slowly
but surely, she lays more bricks down until the wall is so high, the husband
has no hope of penetrating it.
Women Seek ‘Connection’
Women seek to feel deeply connected to their husbands, but not all women
realize that is what they are seeking and men aren’t always the
best at reading their wife’s minds. Women don’t tell their
husbands that connection is what they want and husbands don’t get
it, so the wall starts to go up.
Usually, the wife will ask herself, “Why am I so unhappy?”
Instead of pointing the finger at her husband, she’ll look inward.
She’ll read self-help books. She’ll change her diet, start
exercising, lose weight, and try to spice things up in the bedroom.
She’ll try to be nicer to the kids, keep the house cleaner, and be
a better wife and mother. Initially, she may start to feel a little better,
but then she’ll start to fall back down the slippery slope. When
the loneliness seeps back in, she’ll look more closely at her marriage.
As she looks at her marriage under a microscope, she starts to see a lot
of blemishes. He doesn’t lift a finger around the house. He doesn’t
do diapers, give the kids baths, or cook an occasional dinner like he
should be doing. Sometimes, they both work all day and he comes home and
watches TV while she prepares dinner, does homework with the kids, does
a couple of loads of laundry, puts the kids to bed, and cleans until she
goes to bed.
Suddenly, she’s realizing that he doesn’t acknowledge all of
her hard work around the house, he doesn’t compliment her, he doesn’t
buy her gifts, and he doesn’t make her feel sexy anymore. The romance
is GONE, but it doesn’t seem to stop him from having a wandering
eye when they go out, or from ogling a couple of his attractive co-workers.
They don’t connect anymore, the marriage feels empty, and she feels
like she’s living with a roommate, not a soulmate. While so many
marriages end because husbands have affairs, women have them too. We have
female clients who cheat on their husbands and the question becomes, what
was the reason for the wife’s infidelity?
In many situations, our clients explain how lonely they felt and how the
office flirtation that made them feel attractive for the first time in
years made them realize how lonely they were. Regardless if someone cheated
or not, usually a wife comes to a point where she reaches out to her husband
and tries to “work on the relationship” or “fix things.”
When the wife’s pleas are met with resistance, she’ll often
arrive at the conclusion that she has no other option but to file for
divorce. By the time she files for divorce, there’s no hope for
reconciliation and the husband is blind-sided – he somehow missed
all the warning signs and when she dropped the “D Bomb,” it
was too late.
Contemplating Divorce? Here’s How to Pull the Trigger
If you’re looking for divorce representation,
contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today.