Over the last several decades, relationship research has found that women tend to be the ones who bring up the issue of divorce. According to a recent study, however, the disparity between women and men looking to end their marriages may be somewhat surprising.
Two Times More Often
Lead author Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, presented his findings to the American Sociological Association during its annual meeting in Chicago last month. After studying more than 2,200 adults in heterosexual relationships over a five year period, Rosenfeld found that, when divorce occurs, it is initiated by the wife more than two-thirds of the time. Wives, overall, reported lower relationship quality than husbands.
Rosenfeld’s research suggests that some of the concern may be with the institution of marriage as a whole. The study also looked at heterosexual couples in non-marital relationships, including many who were living together. Between unmarried partners, the gender divide regarding the decision to split was found to be approximately equal. Men and women tended to initiate breakups at equal rates when marriage was not part of the equation. The findings have led Rosenfeld to speculate that there may be aspects to marriage that inherently puts more pressure on the wife than the pressures caused by other types of committed relationships.
Possible Contributing Factors
“I think that marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality,” Dr. Rosenfeld said in a statement. He pointed out that, despite outward commitment and the best intentions of many men to maintain a more equal relationship, some traditional expectations may still remain on a subconscious level. Wives, to this day, continue to take on more of the domestic responsibilities than husbands, they tend to take their husbands’ surnames, and are generally expected to be the primary caretakers of children. Conversely, non-marital relationships, according to Rosenfeld, are not weighed down by “historical baggage and expectations of marriage,” making them more adaptable and more conducive to evolving standards of gender equality.
No matter who decides to end a marriage, the process can be overwhelming without the proper guidance and advice. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, contact a knowledgeable family law attorney in St. Charles. At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., our attorneys have been helping area clients deal with the difficulties of divorce for more than 40 years and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. Call 630-377-7770 for your free consultation today.