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Why Do More Women Initiate Divorce Than Men?

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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.

Next: Contemplating Divorce? Here’s How to Pull the Trigger

If you’re looking for divorce representation, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP today.


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