Why Women Are More Likely to Initiate Divorce, According to Research

Why Women Are More Likely to Initiate Divorce, According to Research

Take a moment to consider any straight couples you may have known who divorced. Who made the choice to break things off—the man or the woman?

In a recent work by Parker and colleagues, which was published in the February 2022 issue of Current Opinion in Psychology, research demonstrates that women are more likely than males to want a divorce, despite the fact that doing so is more expensive for them. In addition, women report more life happiness after divorce than do males.

The report’s authors contend that evolutionary theory may forecast the chance of a marriage divorcing, as detailed in an article on the research in Psychology Today. More precisely, the authors clarify that “mismatches” between the sexes enhance the likelihood that a relationship would fail for heteosexual couples in Western nations.

According to the authors, the mismatches are as follows:

  • Guys with “excellent genes” are desired by women (i.e., masculinity, facial symmetry, beauty, and social dominance), but these men are “often more engaged in short-term relationships and do not make the ideal long-term partners (e.g., are less resourceful)” Because they “correlate with health and physical strength, which are traits that improve survival and reproductive success,” according to the scientists, women have an innate yearning for “excellent genes.”
  • Due to their evolutionary “need to rely on males capable of caring for them during pregnancy and lactation, which are periods of high energy consumption and poor mobility,” women seek “wealthy and successful” men. But as society changes, wives now frequently have more status and incomes than their husbands.
  • Couples are less dependent on one another than they formerly were, in part because of the above-mentioned salary gap. The article claims that women are no longer as willing to forego their own pleasure and well-being in favor of their love partner’s satisfaction. Women who can financially sustain themselves on their own are also better equipped to quit their partners if they so desire.
  • Finally, women have a strong natural desire to care for their children and/or spouses, but many of them are overburdened with work on top of their domestic responsibilities. “Their well-being, relationship satisfaction, and sexual desire for their love partner are reduced” as a result of this stress. Both couples get overburdened when this is combined with the fact that males who request parental leave are “frequently viewed by their coworkers as weaker and less forceful, intelligent, and ambitious.”
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