Why Do Women Choose Divorce First?

A recent report finds that women are more likely to begin a divorce proceeding than men. The natural question of why, however, does not produce a simple or straightforward answer. They want many things in a spouse, and when their expectations are not met, dissatisfaction builds.

Eventually, many of these women look for a divorce attorney and file papers. The survey found that women file the first 69 percent of the time. Oddly, among couples who were not married, the split between the partners deciding to split was about even.

The marriage relationship has changed over the last few decades. After World War II, most women looked to marriage to secure their financial future and society expected them to dutifully bear children and become “homemakers” for their husbands, who were expected to be the breadwinner.

Ironically, the necessity of women entering the workforce during the war to replace men accelerated the demise of that societal construct. Women who earn independent incomes have less need of a man’s financial support.

Marriage carries many contradictions. Women see the ideal of romantic love, embodied within the $50 billion wedding industry, which is designed to encourage extravagant spending and may raise expectations that are not met in everyday life.

The reasons for divorce are always personal, even if they are often similar. A match made too young, or for the wrong reasons. People change and may develop different interests. When women stayed home and raised children, there was little opportunity for growth and development, and society created very negative sanctions for divorced women.

Today, the sanctions, while still present, are far less controlling and because more women have their own incomes, they are less willing to tolerate a marriage where they wind up maintaining a home with a controlling, abusive, absent, disinterested, philandering, or any one of a thousand other undesirable behaviors in their husband.