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Why Do Women Initiate Divorce More Frequently Than Men?

There are about 2 million marriages in the U.S. each year. At the same time, there are roughly 700,000 divorces in the U.S. each year. The divorce numbers relate to first marriages. Couples getting hitched for the second (or more) time face a substantially higher divorce rate. You may or may not be familiar with such numbers but there’s a statistic that may take you by surprise. About 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women.

On top of that, 4 out of 10 men report feeling regret about getting divorced. For women, that number is only 27 percent. While the hardships and financial costs of getting divorced are usually far more challenging for women, they often see staying in an unhappy marriage as worse.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence

How we are raised and socialize has a huge impact on how we see the world as adults. A big part of socialization is gender-based. Men, more often than women, will display lower emotional intelligence. It’s not that men can’t have plenty of emotional intelligence, they’re just now encouraged to cultivate this crucial attribute.

As a result, women are more likely to feel unsupported. The burden of emotional labor is dumped on them — along with child-rearing and domestic chores. At some point, all of this can add up to make divorce sound more palatable than the status quo.

A Few More Reasons Why Women Initiate Divorce More Frequently Than Men


The blend of female socialization and higher emotional intelligence can create a scenario in which women enter into marriage with high expectations. As pop culture promises, it will “complete” them. Thus, when disappointment rears its ugly head in the form of unmet emotional needs, it’s only natural for women to do some reassessing.


When you start a new job, it’s normal to ask about the benefits being offered. If the company doesn’t follow through, you’d be justified to feel let down. Well, statistically speaking, married men live longer and earn higher incomes. Married women do not usually reap such benefits. Combine this with the aforementioned unmet emotional needs and it helps explain why 7 out of 10 divorces are initiated by women.

asian woman with serious look on her face looking at something off cameraRisks

Men commit far more violent crimes (including domestic abuse), consume more pornography, and are more likely to engage in infidelity. There’s more than can be added to that list but you probably get the idea. Life can be safer and more simple in a variety of ways for single women.


Almost one-fifth of American male adults have no close friendships. Meanwhile, women frequently have large social networks — including several close friends. This equates to having a strong support system in which they can discuss marital strife and weigh the pros and cons of divorce.


Women are granted child custody in over 80 percent of divorces. In other words, they don’t need to view such a separation as shifting into loneliness and isolation. Divorced men, on the other hand, most often see a decline in their mental and physical well-being. Therefore, men less often make the first move when it comes to divorce.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Yes, the above information sounds daunting. In no way, however, does this mean you can’t break the mold. Men and women can have fulfilling and egalitarian relationships but it requires self-awareness and commitment to doing the work. Rather than allowing society to design your blueprint, you can challenge your conditioning to learn new ways to live in the world.

If your marriage is not what you need it to be, let’s connect and talk. Life transitions counseling can be a giant step toward bringing out the best in each other.

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