A comic stands up in a nightclub and asks, “Do you know why more women file for divorce more than men? Because MURDER is illegal and Women know this!” Ha, Ha, Ha! Silly, but it’s true!
Although the giving and caring nature of women can seem infinite, we do have our limits. When we finally make up our minds that we are done, we mean, “WE ARE DONE!” Women are strong and often tolerate more than we should, but once pushed beyond our limits, we eventually find our courage. Hopefully, this comes without murder.
The truth is that the trend of women filing for divorce more often than men is related to socio-economic trends, changes in divorce law and some basic gender differences.
1. Education and Careers:
Women are better educated and more career-oriented than ever before. These trends have increased steadily since WW II when women first entered the workforce in a large way. The US Census Bureau reported that “More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees.”
Because of the educational and career trends noted above, women are more empowered to leave marriages that make them miserable. The shifts in educational and career status have liberated them. Women have become more independent and financially secure in their own right. Regardless of their individual reasons that make them ultimately want to leave their marriage, empowerment is the reason they are able to leave.
3. Social Stigma:
As divorce rates have increased, the social stigma attached to “Divorce” has decreased. Or is it that, “because the Stigma has decreased, divorce rates have increased?” Either way, it’s a fact that both have changed substantially over the last 50 years.
The creation of “No-Fault” divorce not only changed the way that we legally handle divorce but how we view it socially as well. With no-fault divorce, women didn’t have to be a victim of abuse, abandonment, or infidelity to seek a divorce. Until the changes in divorce law, there was a stigma attached to being divorced, as if you were to blame. Since the advent of the “No-Fault Divorce”, our attitudes have changed as a society.
The stigma we face now is more in our own heads. We feel the stigma of failure. Let’s face it, unless you were leaving a dangerous situation, it’s hard to walk away and not feel that we failed.
4. Women Leadership:
This isn’t exactly what it sounds like… but, divorce has impacted even powerful, successful women in our society. We all know women in our workplace or community that have divorced. We have seen that in spite of all the emotional trauma and financial headaches that go along with divorce, these successful women have lived through it. Through their example, we know that we can survive it too. We have hope. Divorce does not have to be a life sentence of loneliness or depression. Perhaps after a little while, we might not only survive, we just might thrive.
5. Gender roles:
Gender roles also play a big part in men not leaving the marriage. Since women tend to do more shopping, cooking, and cleaning than men do, men have a greater lifestyle change if they leave the marriage. Men are not as motivated to leave the marriage even if they have strayed outside their marriage. This is partly about being able to “have their cake and eat it too” and partly because they are more complacent. They just won’t leave unless they are forced to.
Remember the movie, “When Harry Met Sally”? For part of the movie, Carrie Fisher’s character, Marie, is involved with a married man. In several scenes, she is talking to her girlfriends and feeling that she is wasting her time. At one point, she tells her friend Sally (Meg Ryan),”He just spent $120 on a new nightgown for his wife. He’s never going to leave her.” Sally tells her, “No one thinks he is ever going to leave her.” Marie says,”You’re right, I know you’re right.” When Harry Met Sally Quotes
6. Men and their kids:
Men are also more reluctant to leave the marriage in cases where children are present. Traditionally, women have maintained custody of the children and the fathers then become subject to visitation agreements. I think that many men are reluctant to leave due to fear of losing their connection with their children. Of the many couples that I have known that have divorced, I can say that I have only known a few families where the men felt as if they were still as connected to their kids post-divorce. However, this may change over time as shared custody agreements are becoming more common.
There are other reasons that men don’t file- more likely related to financial matters. Or better the she-devil you know, than the one you don’t.
Women, on the other hand, motivated by their emotions are more resolved to file for divorce once they have reached their limits. We know we can take care of ourselves and the kids. We are more empowered than ever before to get through this tough time.
I will say, that in spite of the trending reasons that allow women to file…women survive the process in a big part due to the support and love of their girlfriends. Thank you, ladies!
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