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Divorce Advice for Men: Navigating the Journey With Confidence

by Dr. Jeffrey House, LMFT & Danielle Wright

In 2015, researcher Michael Rosenfeld published a paper with the American Sociological Association where he addressed the question, “Why are women more likely to initiate divorces, but not non-marital breakups?”

His research led him to discover that married women reported lower levels of relationship quality than married men. In contrast, women and men in non-marital relationships reported equal levels of relationship quality. He also mentioned that some women experience heterosexual marriage as oppressive or uncomfortable. “I think that marriage as an institution has been a little bit slow to catch up with expectations for gender equality,” Rosenfeld said.


“Wives still take their husbands’ surnames and are sometimes pressured to do so. Husbands still expect their wives to do the bulk of the housework and childcare. On the other hand, I think that non-marital relationships lack the historical baggage and expectations of marriage, which makes non-marital relationships more flexible and therefore more adaptable to modern expectations, including women’s expectations for gender equality.”


Navigating divorce for men can vastly differ from that of women—with 70% of women saying they will never remarry, while the opposite is true for divorced men. In most cases, a man will remarry given the benefits he reaps from the union. If the labor of marriage were split equally, would women be more likely to initiate a divorce? The answer is probably no. So, are men who marry ready for marriage in the first place? When we think of marriage, we think of two people coming together to share a home and a life together—raising children, traveling, etc.


But we also have to take into account the importance of providing. Men are expected to work and provide for their families while women are expected to raise the children and take on the bulk of the housework. However, if you’ve ever lived on your own, you would know how tiring it can be to work all day, come home to fix a meal, and then clean. Weekends are reserved for deep cleaning, laundry, and maybe hanging out with friends and/or loved ones.


As a married man or woman, that routine changes drastically; now you’re either simply going to work and coming home, or, for the woman, you’re home all day but cooking and cleaning profusely. Which would you prefer? We hear some men say that having children with a partner is less of a commitment than being married to them—in other words, having a family rely on you is the commitment, not the marriage itself, which, in some essence, is true.

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