A 2015 study from the American Sociological Association found that two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. Among college-educated women that rate is even higher – a staggering 90%.
Statistically, women are also more likely to:
- Speak with a marriage counselor
- Buy a marriage or self-development book
- Be vocal with friends and family members about their marital problems
And yet despite all efforts, many women simply choose to leave. Marriage is one of the biggest events in a woman’s life, and divorce is most certainly tumultuous.
Why would any woman want to break her marriage, unless she’s absolutely certain that it is beyond repair? Asking for divorce is a huge deal, and no woman wants to think her decision is a mistake.
Here are some common reasons why women ask for divorce:
- Infidelity or extramarital affairs
- Financial troubles
- Lack of communication
- Lack of intimacy
- Constant arguing
- Physical and emotional abuse
- Not ready for marriage
We’ve gone a bit further and found the top ten reasons for a woman to leave her marriage. Let’s explore those reasons and learn what’s behind them.
1. Women crave connection but struggle to ask for it
Women want to feel close to their partners, share their vulnerability, and feel protected. A true marriage is a raw one, it’s a partnership between two people choosing to be each other’s soulmates every single day.
When a woman seeks connection but doesn’t get it, she feels rejected. Deep down, women know when their partner isn’t really into it. Often, women decide they will leave after they’ve exasperated all other options.
Stereotypes aside, women are far more likely to experience emotional neglect and perceive their husbands as aloof. This could just come from a lack of communication – men simply don’t know what their wives want.
Often a man would complain that his wife:
- Nags him all the time
- Has unrealistic expectations
- Doesn’t know what she really wants
- Doesn’t let her husband be truly himself
- Plays the victim
- Thinks he is intentionally ignoring her
- Is being emotional for no apparent reason
2. Love languages matter
People want to be loved, but the ways in which they feel loved can differ considerably from one person to the next. A dozen red roses on a Friday now and then might make one woman feel safe and loved, while it could literally insult another.
Knowing the five love languages – and what yours and your partner’s are – is a great way to make sure a marriage is successful. The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and receiving gifts, and everyone values each one differently.
Therefore, it’s important for a woman to be receiving love in her love language, not in the love language her husband has. That might mean him taking the rubbish out without her asking, or drawing her a warm bath, or simply listening to her.
At the source of every broken marriage is ultimately a communication breakdown – usually, women expect their husbands to be mind readers and not say what they really need. As a result, men are never getting it, so a lot of resentment festers.
3. Women talk to the wrong people
When a woman is disappointed with her husband, she might seek her friends’ help or the help of a counselor, or a self-help book, instead of actually talking to the one person who can help her: her husband.
A woman who’s dissatisfied in her marriage often feels powerless, so she would rather talk to a stranger on the internet than face the difficult conversation she needs to have with her partner.
4. Men are unfaithful
The number one reason for divorce is a husband’s infidelity, but we can’t blame it all on the husband. A man doesn’t just stray when he’s in a happy marriage. And a woman doesn’t just ask for divorce if she truly loves her husband.
There are always underlying issues going on, including:
- Lack of intimacy
- Lack of communication
- Parenting problems
- Money issues
- Unbalance in the relationship
It’s not healthy to point the finger at one partner and say it’s all their fault. A marriage is a complex system with a lot of dynamics and a lot of things can go wrong when the two partners are not taking care of their marriage.
5. Men and women view problems differently
While a husband might think that everything’s fine and fights are pretty normal, the wife might think that the ship is sinking and that a divorce is the only way out. Making the decision to ask for a divorce is never easy.
By the time a woman does ask, she’s probably already been through hell and back. This is something that may come as a total shock to the husband.
6. Marrying too young can be a problem
When you are young and madly in love with someone, it feels like you are on top of the world. Why wait, you might think? Let’s just get married now.
Marrying young is a common risk factor for divorce. You can’t take a shortcut to experience, and you certainly can’t speed up getting to know someone really well. Of course, the pressure to marry young can be religious or cultural, but it still doesn’t increase the chances of a happy marriage.
Sometimes, women feel like they owe it to their teenage sweetheart to marry them instead of giving themselves an opportunity to grow and develop as a person during their twenties. When the woman does grow, she may discover she is with the wrong person for her.
7. Incompatibility in the bedroom
Women often state that a reason for divorce is sexual incompatibility. Sexual incompatibility can create a wall between a wife and a husband, so much so that her options are to have an affair (for the rest of her life) as a form of compromise or to leave.
Often, sexual incompatibility leads to partners agreeing to an open marriage where both are free to explore their sexual preferences with other people while staying married to one another.
The real question is – can this be a long-term solution? Isn’t this ultimately a sign that the marriage is over? And what happens if someone falls in love with a new partner?
8. Emotional or physical abuse
A lot of women stay in abusive relationships and marriages for years. Some never leave. When a partner shows a need to control, blame, or manipulate you, there’s only so much you can do.
These types of marriages usually revolve around a constant cycle of highs and lows, which are extremely confusing to deal with. The abusive husband can be wonderful in one moment, intensely loving and protective, then snap out of nowhere. The abuse is often followed by apologizing and promising to change, but it never happens, and the woman decides to call it quits.
9. Changes in the power dynamic
Another reason women leave marriages is due to a job promotion, which may sound surprising, but is actually quite common. A woman who’s doing well in her job and growing in her career wants to be supported and encouraged by her husband.
She doesn’t need to feel guilty for missing her daughter’s bedtime or not being a good housewife. When a husband fails to appreciate his wife’s career aspirations, it often leads to divorce.
This is an interesting dynamic, because traditionally we are used to the husband being the one whose career is important, needs protecting, and is a priority. When the roles are reversed, not all men can deal with it.
10. People change
There’s a saying that when they get married, a husband hopes that his wife won’t change, and a wife hopes that her husband will change. Often, both end up disappointed.
The reality is that people do change over the course of their marriage (and life) and that’s completely natural. It’s when you can’t deal with that change as a woman that you may feel like you’ve made a mistake.
Did I marry the wrong person?
Does he still love me?
Am I only with him because he’s the father of my children?
Is he having an affair?
Does he still find me attractive?
There could be many thoughts going through your head when you feel distant from your husband. These will trigger a deep sense of fulfilment, which is hard to shake off.
Accepting that you and your husband have changed is healthy. You are not the same people who walked down the aisle and that’s okay. Learning how to be with one another after many years of marriage, rediscovering your love for one another, and what keeps you together are essential steps towards nurturing your marriage. For some women, however, the change is too much, and they decide the end the marriage.
What can you do when you feel like leaving your husband?
The thought of leaving your husband is probably really scary. Depending on the reason, this thought might feel totally wise or completely irrational. How can you know if you are about to make the biggest mistake of your life?
Here are some steps you can take before you quit your marriage.
Rekindle your relationship
You might love your husband but are simply not in love with him anymore. However, a divorce is a huge life decision and can lead to a lot of trauma – trauma that you could be dealing with for months or years to come.
If you want to give yourself one last chance, start by looking at your marriage with open eyes and asking yourself:
What can I do to bring passion back into my relationship?
What is one thing can I do today or this week that will make me happier?
What does my husband seek from me that I might not be giving him?
There’s no harm in booking a weekend (or a week) away to try and save your marriage. When you are away from the house, chores, children, work, and other life stresses, you will be able to look at your marriage in a more objective manner and give you both the chance to breathe and reconnect.
Take some time apart
They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. If you are with your husband all the time, you barely have the chance to miss him. Can you imagine a life without him? Probably…but that’s because you see him all the time and you just want to escape.
So, take the opportunity to get an escape from him, in whatever way serves you. Stay with a friend, book a yoga retreat, or go on a road trip. Being away just with your thoughts you might see some new perspectives. You might end up missing him and realize that a divorce will be a huge mistake.
By taking time apart you’ll cultivate gratitude which is essential for feeling better about your husband and your marriage. Being thankful for what you have will always lead to higher marital satisfaction.
Go to marriage counseling together
Marriage is like a tango – you can’t dance it by yourself. Therefore, if you want to give your marriage one last chance, you need to invest the time and effort together. Book a marriage counselor and make it a priority to go regularly.
Talk through your feelings, your life, what your hopes and dreams are, and what it is about the marriage that isn’t working. A marriage counselor can help you identify the root causes of your unhappiness and help you have the right conversations.
The best thing you can do is to have an outcome in mind, even if it’s one that is different from your husband’s.
What are you looking to achieve? What kind of conversations do you need to have? Is there hope that your marriage can survive this?
At the end of the day, marriage counseling might not repair your marriage, but it might help you heal and prepare for a separation that isn’t soul-destroying for you and your partner.