70% Of Divorces Are Initiated By Women Due To Various Mismatches, But Is There More To The Story?

Research shows that women are much more likely to initiate divorce from their husbands than the other way around. There are a lot of factors to consider, though.

By Gina Florio2 min read

Marriage isn't exactly a popular thing to aspire towards in today's society. We're almost discouraged from settling down, getting married, and focusing primarily on our family. That of course has resulted in marriage not being valued as much as it used to be, even though it's the bedrock of any healthy society. This naturally means that divorce is going to be widely accepted across the nation, which is why the divorce rate remains very high.

70% Of Divorces Are Initiated by Women Due to Various Mismatches, but Is There More to the Story?

Women are much, much more likely to file for divorce than their husbands are. In fact, a study from the American Sociological Association determined that roughly 70% of divorces are initiated by the wife. And that percentage is even higher when it comes to college-educated women. This has led to many people questioning why is it that so many women are unhappy in marriage, despite the generations-long stereotype that women are the ones who often hold the marriage together.

Psychology Today shared that 1 million American women divorced in 2019 and even though divorce is more costly for women than it is for men, they are still the ones more likely to file for divorce as well as report higher satisfaction after the divorce has been finalized. The publication also suggests that mismatches are the main reasons for divorce, especially mismatches in areas of caregiving, interdependence, and mate preference. This comes from a paper from Current Opinion in Psychology.

Women are biologically wired to find a man with good genes, who is good-looking, physically strong, and fertile. The paper suggests that these genetically superior men are more interested in short-term relationships and tend to be poor long-term husbands, partly because they are a hot commodity and find it difficult to stay monogamous to one woman. Another potential mismatch is financial resources, so if there are financial troubles at home and the husband isn't able to provide for whatever reason, the wife could be more inclined to end the marriage. There are also mismatch issues such as caregiving and interdependence, meaning the wife struggles to manage childcare, housework, and working outside the home all at once, while the husband isn't expected to deal with the first two issues.

Whatever the case may be, the reason for many divorces is that the woman reports being unhappy or unfulfilled in the marriage. This has led many people to point out that the idea of men leaving the home and being an absent husband or father is nothing more than a myth. Twitter user @WorldWarWang said, "Men 'walking out' is a myth and a blood libel. 80% of divorces are initiated by women. With the minority of divorces that are initiated by men, they are usually bullied into it. Real number 95%+."

But some women have chimed in to share their own experiences and add some color to the statistics. Many women report that they file for divorce because their husband has cheated on them, for example. Relationship coach Leila Tomasone shared her experience: "I can’t speak to every situation obviously, but when my ex was having an affair and left to live with his lover, I was the one who 'initiated' the divorce."

She also added that she was "unhappy" when she filed for the divorce, which had nothing to do with mismatches, and everything to do with her husband's infidelity. Leila herself notes that she is just sharing her own personal story, but other women chimed in to say that they've been through similar experiences. It begs the question of whether the majority of these women filing for divorce are just ending the marriage because they're unhappy or because the husband has done something unforgivable that has left them unhappy amongst other things (such as an affair or abuse).