May 11th, 2012 by admin
It is part of popular knowledge that in romantic relationships women want commitment from men, and at some point push, openly or subtly, for a marriage certificate. Men, on the other hand, are assumed to want to explore and experiment, but “cave in” to women’s pressures at some point or another in the course of a romantic relationship.
So, how come women, who allegedly want the commitment and security of a stable relationship, are also the ones who are more likely to initiate divorce procedures and give this commitment up?
On the surface, these facts seem contradictory, as one would expect women, once they got what they wanted, to hold on to it whereas men, who may have felt pressured to make a lifelong commitment, might at some point or another want to regain their freedom again… Yet, data show a different picture.
Is it because younger women are becoming more independent, so less likely to want commitment from men as in the past? After all, a lot of women today can take care of themselves financially and otherwise, so they no longer need a man to provide, take care and protect them. And yet these data seem to be constant even among women who are dependent on men. When we look at divorce data of couples in their 50s and 60s age range, for instance, which is reflective of more traditional marriages with men being the providers and women being housewives, we discover that this is the age range where divorces are not less common, but they actually are increasing at a faster pace than at any other age. Here too, women initiate two divorces out of three.
Is it because men are more likely to be unfaithful than women, so wives get fed up and divorce them? While on the one hand infidelities are increasing among women and, in the younger generation they are starting to catch up with men, male infidelity is still more prevalent that female. However, infidelity typically accounts for only about a quarter of divorces in this country.
Is it because men are more likely than women to engage in domestic violence? Recent surveys show that domestic violence accounts for about 20% of all divorces, so it cannot be singled out as the number one reason for them.
So, while all these elements contribute to a decision to file for divorce, none of them seems to be the main reason.
So, what is the main reason?
The main reasons women report for divorcing are affective reasons. They feel their partners are no longer communicating openly and deeply with them; they and their partners have drifted apart; they feel emotionally neglected and ignored; and the companionship and friendship that were there before are now gone.
It is when women feel emotionally alone, disconnected, devalued, unappreciated, and unsupported that they want out.
So, whether you are a man or a woman, please take a look at how you interact with your partner and how he or she may feel about it. Reconnecting – emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually – can rekindle the love that was there and bring hope that it is not go.
Daniela Roher, Ph.D.