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What Percentage of Divorces Are Initiated by the Wife?

The wife initiating the divorce

Divorce is a tragic reality of life that occurs far more often than you might expect, or would like to hear. Children can end up in broken homes and may go through all kinds of avoidable trauma. Although sad, it sometimes has its place in the world as the only true potential solution for escaping unhappy, or dangerous marriages. That said, who initiates divorce more often?

It seems reasonable to assume that, on average, men and women would ask for divorce as often as each other, but that isn't the case at all! Surprisingly, women are more likely to initiate a divorce and report a higher and faster degree of unhappiness after wedlock than men. So, what percentage of divorces are initiated by the wife, and can men prevent them from leaving?

There are a host of things men can do to keep their wives happy and fulfilled in their marriage, as well as things men should absolutely avoid, or risk having their spouse lose faith and interest in their happily ever after.

Divorce: The Statistics

The wife returning her wedding ring

You spent time planning the perfect first date, your relationship blossomed, and eventually got married. Now it’s crashing and burning to the ground, and she wants a divorce. This a sad reality for many men, no matter where they come from. After all that you’re left wondering if this is rare, what percent of divorces are initiated by the wife?

Women initiate approximately 70% of divorces in the United States of America, according to the American Sociological Association. There are a wide array of reasons as to why this is, but the most commonly cited reasons include feelings of loneliness and having no support system in their marriage. Emotional neglect, lack of compatibility, and feelings of being taken for granted.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, college-educated women are much more likely to initiate a divorce than their non-college-educated counterparts. Among these women, an estimated 90% are responsible for initiating the divorce, these women are also more likely to cheat.

To top all that off, if you didn’t already know, about 50% of all marriages in the United States of America end in divorce, and the USA places 6th in terms of the highest divorce rate. The top spot goes to non-other than Russia. The biggest predictor of divorce is contempt, there needs to be strong mutual respect, or a marriage is certainly doomed to fail.

Factors that can make divorce more likely

There are so many factors at play that can reduce and increase the likelihood of a divorce, but some of the more common ones are aspects such as the ages of the couple during marriage, the background of the partners, the expectations for the marriage, religious beliefs, political affiliation, and the state you come from.

For example, according to the CDC, couples from Nevada, Idaho, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and West Virginia are the most likely to get divorced, in comparison to women from other states. However, there are also fewer marriages in Democratic states, than in Republican states.

A major factor that influences what percentage of divorces are initiated by the wife is pornography consumption. Porn use was cited as a factor in 56% of divorce cases, as men can develop unrealistic expectations, and some women may be uncomfortable with their husbands viewing other women.

An extremely astonishing statistic is that couples are between 76% and 95% more likely to get divorced if only one of them smokes! Having similar values and habits is exceptionally important for the success of a marriage, and having a habit your partner finds repulsive is never a good thing.

Factors that can make divorce less likely

There are a few factors that make divorce less likely, but not all of them are happy ones. For example, couples with children are 40% less likely to divorce, but this is often because one or both of the parents fear for their child's wellbeing. Many couples actually decide to wait until they have an “empty nest” before they divorce so that the possibility of traumatizing their kids is reduced.

Having a decent income can also greatly relieve many of the stresses that can drive couples toward divorce. When couples are financially stressed, or work long hours for little pay that leaves them exhausted at the end of the day, they are less likely to have sex. This can greatly disrupt the level of intimacy in a relationship and leave one or more partners craving more.

Marrying at an appropriate age is also a significant factor that can make a divorce less likely. Couples who marry as young as 20 to 25 have a 60% divorce rate, it’s best to wait until your 30s, when both partners are emotionally mature, before making a huge commitment like marriage.

Life after divorce: men vs women

A single mom working at home

Men are far more likely to remarry after a divorce than a woman. In fact, 65% of divorced men stated they would be open to the idea of remarrying, while only 43% of women in the same circumstance were willing to give marriage another go.

This comes as no surprise, as women are actually happier after a divorce than men are. Women are far less likely to turn to coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol than men in the exact same situation. Women seem to prioritize new experiences after divorce, as well as their emotional needs, making it easier to process their situation. Women are also less likely to regret divorce, with just 27% of them stating they regret following through with their decision, compared to 32% of men. However, it isn’t all better for women, as they’re more likely to experience stress from divorce for longer than a man is.

In terms of the physiological effects of divorce, there are actually quite a few. Divorced men and women are more susceptible to flu, have significantly higher incidences of heart disease and cancer, and may experience extreme weight changes. Exclusively experienced by men is a mortality rate increase of 250% compared to single men and an increased incidence of heart attack and stroke.

Women get custody of the children in about 80% of cases, but 90% of custody cases are settled without a judge's ruling. This implies that, more often than not, an agreement is reached by most couples that both deem to be acceptable as far as child custody goes.

What Percent of Divorces are Initiated by the Wife?

In all marriages within the United States of America, 70%-90% of divorces are initiated by the woman, depending on her level of education. College-educated white women, while more likely to leave an unhappy relationship, are also more likely to stay in the ones that fulfill them. Men are far more tolerant of unhappiness in a relationship than women, who on average, are much less likely to settle even once they are already married.

Men often feel a high degree of shame for getting divorced, as expectations are set on them to keep their wives happy, or risk “not being real men.” There are also significant financial pressures, such as having to give money to their ex-wife should they get divorced.

Men may also feel afraid of losing contact with their children, or not being able to see them as often, which is a very valid concern.

Women today receive a far greater education than they once did, which enables them to go off on their own without the need to rely on a man. This makes it far easier to leave a marriage than ever before, meaning women don’t need to stay with men who don’t fulfill them. They also tend not to have the same financial concerns as men or worry about losing their kids, making abandoning an unhappy marriage far easier.

How men can keep their wives from leaving

A happy middle-aged couple

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who initiates divorce more often, or what percent of divorces are initiated by the wife. What matters is that both partners are kept fulfilled enough to stay, but evidently this will take some more work from men.

If you are already at the stage where you are aware that your wife wants to leave, she has undoubtedly been thinking about it for quite some time. You need to make sudden changes in your communication and interactions with her, and show her that you can be what she needs you to be. Does she respect you? If not, why not?

Women can’t be happy in a loving and sexual relationship with a man they don’t respect, or with one who doesn’t respect them. How could you expect that from them?

Women are instinctively attracted to men who command respect not just from other women, but from other men. If you aren’t doing at least everything mentioned here, you need to step up and become the kind of man women want to be with.

What does the division of labor look like? If you’re expecting your wife to clean up after you, and not dividing chores fairly, it’s obvious why she’d want to leave and doesn't respect you.

Perhaps that isn't it, when is the last time you surprised her with flowers, complimented her, or showed her some affection?

If you won't be the man to make her feel secure and beautiful, it’s only a matter of time until she starts looking for another man who will, and there are plenty of them. Don’t fall into complacency during the marriage, you’re still competing with every other man for her attention, whether you and she realize it or not.

How to prevent divorce from crossing her mind

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you let things get so bad that you have to convince her not to leave, she may learn to respect and love you again, but it probably won't ever be the same.

You need to emotionally, physically, and perhaps even spiritually satisfy your wife in every way you can. The more you keep her thinking about how great you are, the less likely any thought of divorce is to ever pop up. A fantastic way to show your wife you care is by planning playful and exciting dates. She married you for who you were while dating, try not to change!

You also need to show her you respect her and desire her. If she doesn't feel desired, you need to fix that asap, or someone else will. Complimenting her while she’s in her underwear, kissing her in exciting places, at sporadic times, and all kinds of small gestures can really add up.At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what percentage of divorces are initiated by the wife. Be somebody she can love and respect, show her the same, and you have the recipe for a happy and lifelong marriage.

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