The decision to end a marriage is often difficult, and couples may spend months, or even years, before deciding to end the relationship.
But when it comes to starting a separation, there is a clear pattern of who makes the final decision that the relationship can not continue. In gender relations in Western countries, statistics show that the first driver who breaks up a relationship and divorces are women, to a large extent.
Education .. and the tendency for divorce
In the United States in particular – where unjustified divorce is legal in all 50 states – some estimates put the divorce rate among women at around 70%, and this percentage rises to 90% in the case of women with higher education degrees.
In the UK, statistics from the Office for National Statistics showed that women petitioned for 62% of divorces in England and Wales in 2019.
Now, in some western countries, the issue of divorce has become easier. The UK, for example, has recently initiated the adoption of divorce cases without the need for the wrong partner, which means that couples now have a faster and more direct path to separation.
This change of rule may open the door for more women – who may have hesitated before – to file for divorce.
But why are divorce rates disproportionately higher among women than men? For some, the answer lies in how partners will – or will not – meet their emotional needs in marriage. For others, however, things can get more complicated.
The importance of financial independence
It is no coincidence that divorce rates are rising with the spread of women’s liberation, says Heidi Carr, a psychologist and domestic violence expert at the US-based Center for Educational Development.
“Because economic independence is necessary before a woman tries to end a marriage, whether she is single or has children, it is very difficult for a woman to leave the marriage if there is no way to win. money itself, “says Carr. “Genders become more complex as women begin to gain financial independence, naturally more marital conflicts arise.”
In other words, women entering the workplace made it easier for them to leave unsatisfied marriages, they were no longer financially obliged to stay in abusive partnerships or relationships where their needs were not met, and consequently women began to go to divorce proceedings. more.
This also helps to explain why women with university education are more likely to end marriages. “Across cultures and geographies, women who are economically able to take care of themselves – which is usually associated with higher education levels – are more likely to initiate divorce than women who are economically incapable of providing for themselves and their children.” , says Carr.
emotional and social factors
However, increasing economic independence alone does not explain why women are more likely to seek divorce than their husbands. However, the percentage of women who initiated divorce proceedings continued to rise and the reasons were numerous.
For many women, the expectations they had when they got married may not match the new reality. Experts say they often have higher expectations of how their partner will meet their emotional needs, which can lead to post-marriage frustration.
Gilsa Fort Martinez, a marriage therapist in Florida who specializes in family conflict resolution, says men are usually sociable but have lower emotional intelligence than women, and this can make partners feel unsupported and make more emotionally.
Women also tend to reap fewer emotional benefits from marriage, which can make a woman’s single life seem more attractive. While married men enjoy many benefits – including living longer and earning more money – many women find that they usually do not benefit from their relationship at the same level, and instead carry the bulk of the housework and growth. of children, which can consume. women, says Fort Martinez.
This does not mean that these women feel more remorse. Despite these downsides, only 27% of women said they had regretted the divorce, compared to 39% of men, suggesting that for most women divorce is better than staying in an unhappy marriage.
Looking for a solution
“Women tend to be more motivated than men to resolve their marital status,” says Katie Spooner, partner and chair of the Family Law Group in Winkworth Sherwood, London. She says, based on her clients history, that most men are happy to stay apart, unless there is a new relationship or a particular need to share their finances.
However, for women, the need for a divorce may be more urgent. “It remains a claim to file for a financial divorce,” Spooner says, referring to the legally binding process for splitting finances after a split. “Historically, women have had a greater need to do this because of their poor financial situation, or because of their role as primary caregiver,” she says.
Spooner notes that a major turning point for women starting divorce in the UK was in 1996, when being a “housewife” was recognized as a contribution to marriage, meaning that women gained the right to a more equal share of finances. .
Spooner says for the new UK divorce law there was an early rush to file for divorce without cause, suggesting that many people were waiting for the law to change. However, the expert believes that it is too early to know how social relations will change until law enforcement continues for a period of time; However, she believes there could be a “slight reduction” in women-led divorces.
Divorce filing can be a painful decision and lead to years of frustration for some. But for others, the decision to divorce is a practical step, especially if it comes with a financial solution for the woman.