How Does Gender Affect Marriage and Divorce?

Gender roles and expectations can shape both marriage and divorce. Couples who divide household chores and childcare responsibilities equally, for example, are less likely to get divorced. Meanwhile, couples who begin their marriage with traditional gender roles and experience a shift in economic and social roles are more likely to get divorced.

Gender Roles and Marriage

In the United States, most men take on the role of breadwinner (authority and financial responsibility), and women take on the role of caregiver and homemaker. While this dynamic worked well enough in the 1950s, when the social norm was for women to stay home, it doesn’t hold up now that women make up 57.4% of the U.S. workforce.

The gender roles and expectations each spouse takes on can shape and guide a marital relationship, but spouses must agree on those expectations, and those expectations must be realistic for the couple’s situation.

“Unrealistic expectations,” is a leading reason for divorce, especially when women initiate.

Which Gender Is Responsible for Divorce?

When a marriage ends, each spouse faces some responsibility for the breakdown of the relationship. Nevertheless, women are up to 69% more likely to initiate divorce than men.

Because women no longer rely on men for financial security, they are more likely to leave a marriage when they feel unsatisfied. Women can also control their fertility, which means they do not have to be mothers if they do not want to be, and even women who want to be mothers can accomplish their goals without a husband.

Still, evolutionary urges and social norms have not yet caught up to the world of dual-income partnerships.

Unsurprisingly, women face more conflict when trying to balance the reality of their professional lives with the gender roles and expectations assigned to them at home.

Women in the Workplace

Working women, especially women who are successful in their careers or get promoted, are more likely to get divorced. By dedicating themselves more fully to their career, women are rejecting traditional gender roles, and their partners may not be supportive.

Even if a woman excels professionally and meets the gender roles expected of her at home, she is more likely to be burnt out and see her spouse as another dependent, which decreases sexual desire and marital satisfaction.

Men may also feel insecure about not making enough money or be shamed by other men for taking a more active role at home.

The cure to the problems of modern marriage seems to be equality – in both thought and action.

Egalitarian Marriages

Couples who are closer to one another in age and take a more egalitarian approach to housework and childcare are more likely to stay together – even if economic and social roles change (e.g., the woman gets a promotion).

When men and women share responsibilities both inside and outside of the home, the benefits of a partnership are clear for both parties

Men and women who see each other as equals and partners are revolutionizing marriage and the way it works in modern society.

For every couple that figures it out, however, there are many more with mismatched expectations.

With this in mind, remember that divorce is not always a bad thing. Getting divorced may allow you to enter a more egalitarian relationship and find a partner whose expectations align more closely with your own.

At Cianci Law, PC, we can help you make informed decisions about divorce and your future. With more than 6 decades of combined experience, we provide transparent representation based on honesty and integrity.

To take the next step toward your future, please call us at (916) 797-1575 or contact us online, so we can begin building your creative family solutions.

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