Even in the happiest of marriages, things can go wrong. If you don’t commit to resolving your issues together, it can bring this bond to a respectful or often messy end. From a lack of communication to arguments about finances to instances of cheating, there are many reasons why couples call it quits. Throughout the marriage and ultimately the divorce process, partners may not see eye to eye. In fact, studies have found that when heterosexual couples begin their split, women often view the situation differently than men—which is essentially how many divorces come to be. To see what this difference is, read on.
While relationships can come to an end for many different reasons, one partner may know sooner than the other that he or she wants to separate. In a 2015 study published in the American Sociological Association, researcher Michael J. Rosenfeld set out to discover which gender in a heterosexual marriage was the most often to initiate a divorce.
Rosenfeld looked at data from 2,262 adults who had partners of the opposite sex. From 2009 to 2015, these adults participated in the “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” survey. By 2015, 371 of those adults had ended their relationships. Out of all the breakups, there were 92 divorces reported. And in 69 percent of those divorces, the women were the instigators.
Throughout the six years of this study, participants documented how happy they were in their marriages. For respondents who were married during the first wave of the study in 2009, 69.2 percent of the husbands and 60.1 percent of the wives said the quality of their relationship was “excellent,” giving it five out of five points on the relationship quality scale. On the other hand, six percent of husbands and 11.1 percent of wives described their marriages as “fair,” “poor,” or “very poor.”
Results showed that men see the quality of their relationships in a slightly different light than women. While there are many different reasons why relationships come to an end, some explanations from the women in the study included: “I wasn’t in love with him anymore, he was selfish, immature. I was ready to move on and find better love.”
Despite the fact that many women were the ones to want a divorce, this wasn’t always the case. Out of the 92 divorces, 18 of them were initiated by a man, while 18 others were mutual decisions.
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Rosenfeld found that when it comes to who ends a non-martial relationship, there’s more of a mix. For heterosexual couples who lived together, 56 percent of women were the first to suggest breaking up. Additionally, cohabitation doesn’t appear to affect non-marital breakups, as only 53 percent of breakups, where partners were not living together, were wanted by women.
When compared to married couples, however, those who have not tied the knot have a lot of differences.
“I think that non-marital relationships lack the historical baggage and expectations of marriage, which makes the non-marital relationships more flexible and therefore more adaptable to modern expectations, including women’s expectations for more gender equality,” Rosenfeld explained in a press release.
Regardless if you or your significant other is the one who wants to break up, how you behave in your relationship can make all the difference. In a 2013 study published in Couple and Family Psychology, 52 divorced individuals explained the reasons behind their splits. Some of which included, lack of commitment, cases of infidelity, and financial problems.
Many participants expressed that they could have done things differently during their marriages: 31.6 percent of men and 33.3 percent of women reported that they should have personally worked harder to make their relationships work.