Why do women initiate divorce so much more than men?

According to stats in the US, women initiate two out of three divorces. That means women are two times more likely than men to start a divorce procedure . But, women are usually the ones wanting to marry so bad in the first place. So what is going on there?

I think it's pretty safe to say there was a very significant difference between genders on this topic. I guess it was to be expected, statistics didn't lie. Many men and women don't see eye to eye on that whole divorce business, and I use the word business for a reason ;)


Most Helpful Guy

  • Because she can get half your stuff in the divorce. There is an incentive for her to cash out and leave.

    • This aswell, make sure you sign a pre-nupt.

    • Yes I think that financial aspects are a big reason why women initiate more. I think men are typically on the losing side from the get go while women are in a gaining position and they can initiate divorce and take the guy to the cleaner.

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 12

  • I've noticed more men will stay in an unhappy marriage, and just get a mistress after a while and not come home as much. It takes an extreme situation for a man to file, either that or his new chick has convinced him to start a divorce. Guys are more likely to just stay legally married, but ignore their wives and act like they don't have one. Where a woman in an unhappy marriage will just want a fresh start and him out of her life for good so she can move on

    • That's possible, but I think it's a much easier decision for many women because they gain from the divorce, they get child custody and financial support dominantly and have an easier time finding a new partner. Don't you think?

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    • According to statisticbrain.com "A woman’s desirability online peaks at 21" and "By 48, Men have twice as many online pursuers as Women." Peeks at 21? That is just gross. Makes sense right, men off all ages go for the youngest women rather than older women. I've heard from many women in their 40s+ that there are no good men out there and they give up looking. link

    • Women get more contact up till age 30 or so.

      In 40's, it reversed, assuming the guy is employed.

  • Because women file for divorce more often doesn't mean they always carry the main fault. Statistically the vast majority of domestic violence and marital rape are commited by men. Men are also more likley to end up in prison and while there is no reliable statistic saying men cheat more often, men on average get caught more often. Can you really blame women for initiating a divorce in those cases. I understand a lot of thoses cases maybe a very small number and yet it adds up. Added together I'm sure those cases make up a pretty decent percentage of the divorces initiated by women

    And I guess the others just didn't work out. Maybe they rushed into marriage or prince charming just didn't turn out as great as he used to. Men often marry younger women and sometimes those women just grow some more and maybe grow out of their husband.

    One other factor probably is that men have more to lose in a divorce. Of course having a family is stressfull but you also get a lot of support. In case of a divorce the woman usually gets the kids, house, alimony and child support. Men suddenly have to pay for a family and have the stress of family, but no the support

    • First off it's called Alimony, where a womanis entitled to taking half of everything you own. Second if you have kids, more than likely their going with the mother so that's also child support which is like 30% of your income.

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    • And I didn't agree whatsoever with your example so we're in a dead end.

    • ok, I thought I may agree with yours, but I guess we'll never know

  • Why do women initiate divorce so much more than men?

    Likely since it seems gals have far less to concern themselves about alimony and custody rights.

    More likely guys would be initiating divorce similarily or more than gals if they didn't fear losing their money and/or child(ren).

    But, women are usually the ones wanting to marry so bad in the first place. So what is going on there?

    Possibly gals realizing marriage isn't as wonderful as they thought it would be and may just be burdening herself with a partner who wants her to contribute like an equal while treating her like an inferior as he skimps on his workload such as childcare/household duties.

    In my opinion it's quite telling how it seems for heterosexual gals divorce has far more incentives and positives than marriage does.

    • I agree with your analysis. I also think the way laws work, divorce is too positive for women. Actually in states where custody and child support are not that easy to get for women, the gender disparity narrows.

    • It almost sounds like the underlying issue is that you want there to be punishment for women via lack of child support for the children she'll have to raise for getting a divorce.

    • @pr3ttybr0wn

      Was that for me or the QA? If it is was for me WTCupcake..o.O

  • "But, women are usually the ones wanting to marry so bad in the first place. "

    We are fed fairytales, plus many of us have a large need for companionship. Sometimes we rush into relationships and marriages that aren't meant for us.

    "According to stats in the US, women initiate two out of three divorces. That means women are two times more likely than men to start a divorce procedure."

    I think abuse happens more often to women than men. That's my take.

    • I agree with your first point. But, if you're the one realizing you made a mistake, then have the decency to ask the other to foot most of the bill.

      I don't agree with the second. Men are definitely more physically abusive, women are more emotionally abusive. In any case, I don't think abuses are the dominant root cause of divorces thus can't explain the vast statistical unbalance between genders.

    • Yeah, the second point is just a guess, but I've dumped a lot of my boyfriends for abuse, so... Maybe I'm just an oddity lol.

  • btw. 50% of homeless Women come from physically abusive relationships. that should help you understand.

    its also been shown men do not innately lack empathy, nor are they divorced from their feelings. if a person doesn't talk about something it doesn't mean they don't understand it.

    anyways I don't know where all these women get the idea guys don't express their feelings. I've never known any guy to not doit one way or another.

    I don't see any difference between men I know and women I know. there are some who discuss problems. some who dont. the ones who don't generally are very passive aggressive, or aggressive aggressive. that's not 'not sharing feelings;. its just not doing it in a respectful comprehensible coherent manner. and its not limited to men.

    I grew up with my dad. we always talked about everything extensively and respectfully. his male and female friends were very similar. my brothers are ver good at communicating and sure not confused by themselves. my uncle is very expressive. my male cousins as well. my sisters husband. my cousins bf.

    people attract similar people. so if you notice everyone you know fitting into a certain behavioral pattern.. it says a lot about yourself. not so much about the whole world.

    as for my guess as to why women leave. well I don't plan to ever marry so I can't fully relate to being there in the first plce, as marriage is very much based on the wife dong things for the guy.

    clean the house have his kids make him dinner get a supplimental job in the side. he gets a prostitute. a baby maker, a cook. and a maid. he lucks out. what does she get. someone telling her what to do. because he's a man and she's a woman.

    this is why men are more intersted in marriage. they get to keep what they have and gain a lot more. women have to sacrifice or go crazy from ver extending themselves. not because they can't work and have kids. there's just not enough support. she doesn't get help.

    oh and if a guy cheats, then they divorce well you can't exactly say he didn't 'initiate' the divorce. so the numbers are distorted.

    Last time I checked. its only illegal to rape your wife in ten states. in north America. they call it domestic affairs. that's a good enough reason for me to not get married. a lot of women may not know their husband is abusive before hand. they find out. they leave.

    being abusive. cheating. being an a**hole. that's not 'not initiating' divorce. that's pushing for it, in an aggressive but cowardly way.

    and again. women are not wanting to mary so badly in the first place. a handful perhaps. but you're exploiting the significance of that handful. today many women do not want marriage. things are changing. making a viable living doing something you have a passion for. definitely trumps being on call for sex. a cook. a babysitter. a maid. even if he 'loves' you. for now. till you get older.

    • actually, studies show women are significantly more interested in getting married then men.

    • Besides the "more men want to get married" thing, this is excellent. I find that men are perfectly capable of communicating well. I love how in previous relationships, we labeled it as "miscommunication" if the guy was being manipulative, hurtful, using guilt trips, etc. Then I tried to be as "fair" as possible to fix things by going overboard in pleasing him and sacrificing who I was. Terrible. I'm never accepting the "miscommunication" excuse again.

    • I want to find a life partner, but I'm not sure if I want to be married, either. The marital rape statistic you said scares me, not to mention I would want a prenup, and there would be a ton of arguing over that. I like my last name and don't want to take anyone else's either.

  • Easy! Men are butt heads.

    • then women shouldn't push to marry them in the first place, should they now? And when they divorce, they should just pack their bags and leave the kids and the money behind, shouldn't they?

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    • @QA this whole site is ran by feminists.

  • Because as little girls most grow up with fairy tales, and most dream about the perfect marriage with an amazing man that will make all their dreams come true :] ... But once it happens, reality hits them in the face! and they learn that most men are not amazing at all... instead they turn into jerks and only very few of them cherish what they have... and the ones that don't, which is the vast majority, end up with a divorce issue. That's what's going on.

    • lol ya'll want the jerks. the 'nice guys' are always too good and boring and you want some excitement, which is why ya'll go for jerks

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    • Get down from your pedestal girl, seriously.

  • Actually no. these days men are reportedly three times as intersted in marriage and kids, than are women.

    they also enter into 3 times as many relationships, in a lifetime.

    • What are you talking about? Your second assertion is mathematically impossible. Number of men and women is roughly equal and a relationship takes one man and one woman. So in the end, averages among both genders will be equal. It's the power of mathematics, separating facts from fiction for you.

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    • Here's another abstract example I just typed out as well:

      group 2: A B C D E F G

      group 2: a b c d e f g

      A > abcdefg > 7

      B > NONE > 0

      C > bcd > 3

      D > efg > 3

      E > abc > 3

      F > NONE > 0

      G > NONE > 0

      average 2.2857142857142857142857142857143

      a > AE > 2

      b > ACE > 3

      c > ACE> 3

      d > AC > 2

      e > AD > 2

      f > AD > 2

      g > AD > 2

      average 2.2857142857142857142857142857143

      Same again. The only way to make them different is to pair from within each group.

    • Correction, there is another way to change the averages, and that is to make the groups not the same size.

      If there were 3 times as many women as men you would expect the average number for men to be 3 times that of women.

  • Marriage sucks for women

  • Marriage for women is miserable

  • lol that's a really loaded question. I'm going to with the simplest answer for now.

    women are said, psychologically, to be more in touch with their feelings and understanding/articulate about them, while men, GENERALLY, especially in this society, don't understand their feelings as well and won't articulate them the same way. if this is true, you can simply conclude that women are far more likely to think over their misery in a conscious way and truly explore their pain, talk about their pain, and realize their unhappiness and feel compelled to act to change that. even when they don't act on the divorce, a woman may perceive misery and unhappiness in a marriage to a more devastating degree and feel more hopeless. men may gloss over any perception of unhappiness with that sense of duty ingrained in them in our society, that "tough it out, deal with it and shut up" message that men are fed from an early age. men really aren't taught to have the courage to deal with their emotions in a mature way, to confront things like this. I've noticed that a lot of men find talking about their feelings to be beneath them, which is incredibly unhealthy and psychologically damaging, imo, but that's how it is. if you're taught to bottle up your emotions and be tough, you're probably not going to say "im miserable, I hate this, and I f***ing want OUT!"

    My parents marriage is like that. My father never speaks a word about their relationship to me, but my mother does. I think she wants me to understand if anything happens or she wants me to see things as they are, even though she insists that while my dad isn't a great husband, he's a great father and she doesn't want me to feel any kind of negative way toward him. but she is miserable, very very very unhappy. my dad can't seem to be mature in the conversations they do have, he's incredibly immature and has this deeply insecure streak that I had never realized until I got older. When I was a kid hearing them argue, and perceiving the unhappiness even then, I thought it was my mom who was crazy and that was it. the insecurity I'm talking about is nothing minor, its the kind of insecurity that takes root in your mind and manifests for years and years, its a feeling of inadequacy. he smiles all the time, my dad has always been the friendly face, the solid, strong support in our lives. he'd never show me his pain on purpose, he's not brave enough. the times I have seen it have been by mistake. he shows his problem unintentionally usually through very nasty comments, jealousy, and being possessive. what bothers me most is that his comfort is my mothers misery. any efforts she makes to improve her life are met with resistance and drama from him. he likes when she gives up and settles in her unhappiness. that's what bothers me the most. I don't think things can get better between them.

    • my mom and I have talked about divorce a few times. she's so tired of her life and she feels trapped. I remember asking her if she thinks she would be happier with a divorce and she said that she knows she would be much happier and free to start living life, but she doesn't think my father could survive it and she started crying. I suggested couples counseling and she said that she didn't think he would go for it and she thinks that would be more hurtful for him than the divorce.

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    • i still think you're making sweeping generalizations. I know a ton of women who feel the EXACT same way.pretty sure my mom has said she feels unappreciated/ taken for granted as well. I also don't feel like you're sticking to the question, and taking this opp to complain about women, no? if she's divorcing him, then why would it even be an issue? wouldn't that make more sense for you, for her to leave if she's allegedly not appreciating him, so he can find someone who would? I don't get the problem?

    • Of course some divorces make a lot of sense. My overall question is about trying to understand why women file for many more divorces than men, especially since they are the ones wanting to get married so bad in the first place. I also am quite irritated by people who wants to get out but still feel entitled to get the kids and the money from the other person's.

  • I actually don't wanna get married because in truth, there are no benefits that I can see. I think it really depends on what generation you're talking to because most girls I know my age don't plan to ever get married as well or maybe my group of friends are just odd ducks. I think the older generation of women I've met DID have this fairy tale wish when they were young but they grew out of it and see that marriage, much less their men, can't make them happy, only they can themselves. If happiness is based on yourself and you alone, what's the point of marriage? Children can always be adopted. All the women I've met that are divorced were often physically and emotionally abused but these are Asian women, I'm not sure about other cultural groups but Asian women are the least likely of all cultural groups to initiate divorce, much less report abuse. Asians also have the least amount of divorces compared to other cultural groups, but that doesn't mean that they're happy in their marriages. Its more because divorce in Asian cultures are highly stigmatized. We have a word for a divorced woman in my language: broken old woman is the closest translation I can think of, no matter what her age, she's considered damaged goods.

    My understanding of men is that even if they're unhappy, they won't do much about it. They usually don't open well or know how to cope with their emotional needs because they've been taught that its unmanly. Instead of initiating a divorce with the wife they hate, they cheat or ignore her and go to work, ignoring what they really need to do: work it out with her or leave and cut it clean.

    Women are not this way, if they're unhappy, they'll make sure everyone knows about it. They've been taught to respond to every emotional need because they're girls and that's the "feminine" thing to do I guess. If the guy can't give them attention, they'll do things to irritate him, spend a lot of money on clothes and makeup or drink...etc.

    • I find your comment interesting and you bring good remarks about inabilities of many men to voice their issues while women tend to go overboard with their whining. The thing that really bothers me is women wants (or at least wanted) marriage the most, they want divorce the most, but yet the system seems to reward that behavior by largely giving them custody of the kids, splitting the assets and allowing alimony to make it easy on them so they can start fresh and well. I fail to see a balance

    • @Women are not this way, if they're unhappy, they'll make sure everyone knows about it. They've been taught to respond to every emotional need because they're girls and that's the "feminine" thing to do I guess. If the guy can't give them attention, they'll do things to irritate him, spend a lot of money on clothes and makeup or drink...etc

      you mean Women _you_ know.

      @My understanding of men ... You mean Men _you_ know.

      I know the opposite. Women hold it together and the guy throws tantrums

What Guys Said 16

  • There is often a financial benefit for a woman who isn't working and gets divorced. She can basically not work for a long period of time after, and get the kids the majority of the time. Doesnt always work that way, but for the most part more women are better off financially after than a man now a days (disclaimer, in California. Don't know how it works in other states). If I was unhappy, and thought about it practically as a woman, it would seem to make the most sense...

    • Yeah I agree. What gets me is more women want to divorce, fine. I'm interested by their reasons. But, let's be honest at least. They carry on with it because they can. And by that I mean they feel entitled to the kids and the money and they know many courts will agree with them. Beside for abuse cases, if women wanting a divorce had to walk away without the kids and money, do people really think that many women would divorce? Of course not. First and foremost, they do it because they can.

  • I think it's because most women force themselves to date a guy that treats them well but isn't that physically attracted to, because

    "he's such a good guy, athough he's not that good looking to me, I can't let a good guy go!"


    As the marriage wanes on, her resentment of doing so wades on, she feels trapped in the marriage...and because divorce is so easy to get, she has a way out, so she uses it!

  • because they wanna use and take away everything from the punkass they married; Hades couldn't explain it any better. either that, or their minds are so influenced by disney movies that they think marriage is gonna help them live the life of a princess; but when they get a taste of reality, they just wanna bail out, like quitters(and that's why I always say that marriage is insanity)

    • Funny, I do believe Disney movies is the best example of that fairytale crap that women expect in a marriage. And I'm always amazed at how men get crap for not fulfilling that fairytale promise.

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    • lol that last remark made me laugh, because I think you have a legitimate argument!

    • is that a good thing or bad?

  • Men are practical creatures. The more time and money we invest into anything the more difficult it is to give up. This holds true for women as well, but not as much as with men.

    • Interesting point. I think it has some merit. Women invest themselves emotionally, but once they get dissatisfied, these emotions changed to negative and they move away from the relationship. I think men in a sense are less invested emotionally, but yes have invested their time, money, sweat...And that doesn't vanish or turn, that investment is a rock in a sense.

  • Because they know they'll get full custody of the children, the house, and child support, I suppose.

    • i think that's a big part, the system is tipped toward them and they have it too easy compared to men. That's also my main argument. Now I'm also interested to see why women seem more disgruntled and unhappy in general. I'll admit men behave like sh*t sometimes, but boy I think women ask so much form their guys too and get pissed so often that men prefer shut down altogether

  • Because women know the courts will be in their favor.

    • Yes, I believe that's a significant reason

  • Just like the anonymous user said, About 70% if not more is based on financial reasons alone. So, the other 30% is infidelity/moral issues .

    • I don't know what you guys are talking about. There is no financial benefit to divorce. You will pay more taxes, need two appartments, if you have kids chances are one of you didn't work or worked only part time, it's hard to get a well paying job then. Unless maybe your husband is a millionaire

    • Izzy, you seem pretty naive. First of all when you divorce you get access to half of the marital assets (house, cars, money etc...) then you get child support (that part is OK but for the fact that custody is given way too easily to women), and alimony which can be anything the judge decide. That last part is the most damaging. Basically the one working gives money, for free, to someone that doesn't have to lift a finger to get it. Think about that.

  • STATISTICS DIDN'T LIE ? come on! you live in the US, a nation full of conspiracies with 300 million citizens.

    i have read many statistics that say women's IQ is higher than men's, women are better at managing finance/money/investment, women are better leaders, women commit less car accidents, women are better drivers, etc. do you also believe think these statistics lied ?

    i think you will make double standard whenever you see positive statistics on women. so I think this question only bashes women by one-sided judgement.

    BTW do you believe men gossip more than women do ? xD

    • I have no clue what you're trying to say. You just took a lot of space without even answering the initial question.

  • Since there is so much conrtoversy about paying alimony here:

    My fiancee and I are currently working on a prenup. When we have children, I want her to stay at home. There just so many benefits of one parent being at home and I make enough money to support us.

    Now I don't live in the U.S. but here the maximum duration alimony payments is one year. My fiancee say she doesn't want to quit working because if we should ever get divorced she'll have nothing. I get that fear, I really do.

    So I would be willing to support her for longer than the year I am required to (assuming she did stay at home to raise our children) and we put that into our prenup. I think that is reasonable. I don't really see why so many men are relcutant to do that. I'm assuming they don't see the whole picture.

    Also people don't always fight to death when they get a divorce. My mom initiated divorce too but I guess it was more of an equal decision. They had a house with several appartments, my dad just moved to another appartment and they kept paying the mortage together. We stayed with our mom and my dad gave us what he could and that worked fine. They never went to any court for that.

    In all honesty. You used to love that person and you still love your children. You shouldn't wish the worst on them, both parties should be a bit considerate. Both my mom and my dad had to struggle a bit more financially than they it before, but they worked it out.

  • This is an interesting read.


    • very interesting link, especially the first part. Thanks for pointing it to my attention.

  • They get bored and want out because their lives have become dull. Either that or they get bored of their partner and have an affair with some other bloke, and then divorce their partner. She then ends up in a relationship with the new guy, and their relationship ends up exactly like the first one, and so the process repeats itself. Either that she sticks with him while regretting leaving he first guy.

  • Woman are idiots you see woman brains are smaller than men. Listen it's all about show and tell woman only want to marry rich men in America and get a chunk out of it. if you see so many celebrity woman marry other celebrity is because woman hardly settle for less. woman in America is the problem their selfish. and there always going to suffer. There aren't any perfect men. and they marry to pleasure their needs.

    • totally agree brother we have a biased court system and woman judges and lawyers who need to get their ass fired.f***ing woman we gave them the liberty to pursue a career and this is how they repay us.

    • The comment about brain size is weird, since brain size has nothing to do with intelligence. Regarding your remark about women marrying to get their needs met, I do believe it's a major part of the problem. Women get into marriage with a truck loads of expectations and things they want out of it, while men just go in as a commitment. Many women quickly realize the magic didn't happen. They get mad at the fact that nothing changed in their lives once married. And here starts the guys nightmare

    • Listen in the end no one wins. children are left with broken homes and and fathers are left with broken hearts everyone is losing. And it's sad that children have to pay the price for the mothers selfish desires. People in this country promote alimony arrangement. Marriage is just another business for uncle tom uncle sam I mean.

  • because when women are unhappy they split, or you get cheated on. once a woman is unhappy it's a wrap.

    • Oh yes, once women are unhappy in a relationship it's turning sour and going down really bad. And you can't believe how the same woman that were treating you like a king not so long ago, despise you and see you as the source of all her pain then. You behave EXACTLY the same, you are the EXACT same person. But, still, YOU are the jerk that treats her wrong and make no mistake she will show you time and again that you are a bad man. First of all, no more sex! I think many many guys will relate lol

  • Women have a warped view of marriage. That's why they want it so badly. They don't have a realistic idea of what it will be like.

    When reality fails to live up to their Disney inspired idea of what marriage should be, they want a divorce.

    • I tend to agree, getting married, not marriage, seems to be the goal for a lot of women. It seems that in their mind the concept of marriage is the guy proposing to them, and them having a fairy tale like ceremony where they look pretty in their white dress. And indeed that's where all Disney stories end, "...and they lived happily ever after!". Problem is that's a good joke. The proposing and ceremony are the easy part, the living together every day is much much harder.

    • Exactly!

      No idea why someone disagreed with this. You seem to have understood exactly what I was trying to say.

  • Most of those women divorce based on financial issues or they just simply fell out of love. Marriage with them is useless.

    • ^^^Expected that kind of answer. That's why I said what I said. Most aren't because men were cheating or were abusive. -_- They never take responsibility for anything.

  • nah, there are reasons why women want to divorce. if women want to divorce why you only think its women who made mistakes by wanting marriage ? what about if they were abused ?

    come on, man. you live in the US. too many manipulative studies, stats, and datas on women. especially on driving and cheating. just like other western countries.

    • Disputing facts is just too easy. There is no question divorces have underlying reasons and motivations. Since there is such a disparity between genders it's interesting to talk about it, denying facts is just this, denial.

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