Why Do Women Initiate Divorce More Often Than Men?

woman initiate divorce

The number of women who end their marriages is higher than that of men. Why is this so – and will it continue to be this way?

Divorce is more financially draining for women, but they still initiate more divorces than men. Studies show that women initiate nearly 65% of divorces in Singapore, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics’ “Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, 2021” report.

What explains women’s disproportionate choice to divorce?

The following three reasons explain why women initiate divorce more often than men:

High & Complex Expectations Not Met

Women today expect an equal relationship with shared responsibilities. The modern woman is employed or pursuing a focused career path, making a similar contribution to the family as the husband.

Yet, despite having more on their plates with their careers, women continue to be primarily responsible for domestic duties in many marriages.

“The institution of marriage has lacked a lot of equality regarding gender expectations for some women.”

Wives in many cultures are expected to take their husbands’ surnames and do most of the housework and childcare. So even when both spouses work full-time, women still do most of the household chores and care for the children.

Read More: What Divorce is Not – The View from a Marriage Counsellor

Women often carry more emotional burdens.

Married women tend to take on more emotional responsibilities. As a result, family members may sometimes rely on them as their only emotional support system.

Cognitive labour: refers to thinking about all the practical aspects of household responsibilities, such as arranging playdates and shopping.

Emotional labour: involves maintaining the family’s emotions; calming things down if the kids are acting up or worried about how they are doing at school.

Mental load: is the intersection of the two: preparing, organizing, and anticipating everything that needs to be done to keep life moving forward.

There is a mental, physical, and certainly emotional toll that takes place as a result of this over time. Wives can often be left feeling alone and without a source of support within the marriage without emotional support from their husbands.

Read More: The Emotional Stages of Divorce: A Guide to Emotional Healing

Women no longer tolerate consistently unacceptable behaviour.

After marriage, many men change their behaviour. Over time, they can go from romantic to controlling and abusive in a few months.

Historically, women did not work as much as they do today. Thus, wives would rely more heavily on their husbands for financial security, often at the cost of abusive and negligent behaviour.

This no longer applies to the modern woman. Women no longer tolerate their husbands’ unacceptable behaviour, whether lying, infidelity, or abuse.

Read More: Can you Divorce?

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