Who initiates divorce more often? Husbands or wives?
In the United State of America, although the percentages vary depending on the study, the research is unanimous in finding that wives initiate divorce more often than husbands. Between 65% and 70% more, generally. This study published in 2017 set the percentage of wife-initiated divorces at 69%.
You’ll see a lot of articles that claim women file 80% of divorces, but I could not find any studies or statistics to back that claim.
As to why wives file for divorce more often than men, this MSN article (the accuracy for which I cannot vouch) summarized this study from American Psychological Association (ASA) as follows:
- Women are more likely to feel like marriage is holding them back.
- Women tend to do more emotional labor in a marriage.
- Women are less likely to tolerate “bad behavior” today.
I can tell you from experience as a divorce lawyer that one reason husbands are reluctant to file for divorce is because they are afraid of being labeled pariahs; culturally, it’s easier to sympathize with a woman seeking a divorce because there is this belief that a woman seeking a divorce is a victim seeking escape or relief, while men who seek divorce are often presumed to be self-absorbed cads.
According to this article in PMC*
- when men are not employed, both husbands or wives are more likely to leave the marriage.
- when wives report better than average marital satisfaction, their employment affects neither their nor their husbands’ exits.
- when wives report below average marital satisfaction, their employment makes it more likely that they will leave.
*PubMed Central (PMC) is a free archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). It is a repository for journal literature deposited by participating publishers, as well as for author manuscripts that have been submitted in compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy and similar policies of other research funding agencies.
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