The tides are changing. Research shows that 70% of divorces are initiated by women in heterosexual marriages. The reasons are unclear however, some suggest that women may be less satisfied with their relationships and actually do something about it. The women’s movement and women joining the workforce at higher rates surely has an impact as well.
Given the expectations of marriage and of men as the primary breadwinners and that their wives are expected to take on all the traditional roles, it’s no wonder men who face an unwanted divorce may have a harder time.
Some other reasons men may be more challenged by divorce than women:
1. Men tend to be reluctant to ask for help. While therapy is becoming more socially acceptable, men are not used to seeking help. Many feel it’s a sign of weakness rather than an opportunity to find strength and hope.
2. Men typically rely on their wives to provide the social life. As a result, when they divorce, their circle remains small. They may lose their identity no longer being part of a couple.
3. Women share their emotional highs and lows with their friends whereas men may feel it’s inappropriate to share personal issues and/or, they may not have developed a group of friends outside of their marriage.
4. Men don’t realize how much of the family work women do. When couples get divorced men are faced with figuring everything out – from how to turn on the washing machine to how to put their children to bed.
5. As a result, often, men find themselves rushing into relationships too soon without doing the work that may have caused their marriage to end in the first place. The divorce rates for 2nd and 3rd marriages are 67% and 75%.
If you’re a man facing divorce and find yourself overwhelmed and unsure, know that it’s perfectly normal! Find a therapist, hire a Divorce Coach, join a support group, anything that will help you move on with your life, be a better parent and create your new chapter.
In the New York area? Join me, along with Family Therapist, Josh Jonas of The Village Institute, on May 22nd. Details available here.