Women are the ones who initiate the majority of divorces – some two-thirds of heterosexual divorces. Even though they tend to fare worse financially than their husbands after divorce and, if they’re mothers, end up with the bulk of child-raising responsibilities, wives are still more likely to want out of the marriage than husbands. They’re also more likely to express greater satisfaction with their post-divorce lives than men are.
Researchers have been studying the reasons behind why women are more likely to want out – and to be happier after they are. While everyone’s marriage is different, researchers have found that gender roles in marriage often still reflect those of an earlier era.
Wives still have the bulk of traditional “female” responsibilities
Even when spouses earn roughly the same amount (or the wife earns more), women still are more likely to take on more of the childcare and household responsibilities than their husbands. This leads to growing resentment in many cases that ultimately derails the marriage.
Women are less likely to stay in unhappy, unfulfilling marriages than they used to because they now have more options. Many already have a career when they divorce. Even if they stepped back to work part-time when their children were young, they have education and experience that will help them get back onto their career path or a new one.
Can a simple evening of labor division help?
These studies do more than help us understand why wives more commonly initiate divorce than husbands. It can help couples be more proactive about changing their division of labor if it’s causing a problem. Whether it’s the husband taking on more responsibilities at home or hiring people to help care for your children at home, that can ease the burden on working wives and mothers.
If making those changes doesn’t help or your spouse is unwilling to make those changes, consider seeking legal guidance. The better prepared you are if and when you make your wishes for divorce known, the better you’ll fare as you go through the divorce process.