When we asked Dr. Susan Brown, lead author of the groundbreaking “Gray Divorce Revolution” study, why wives are now more likely than their husbands to initiate divorce, she suggested that women tend to be more attuned to changes in marital quality. If married life is insupportable, they now feel increasingly confident of surviving or even prospering on their own. In the past, lack of work experience might have kept them tied to an unhappy marriage.
For older women, the primary reasons behind filing for divorce are physical or emotional abuse, infidelity, and drug or alcohol issues, according to a 2004 AARP study. (For men, the top motives are “falling out of love,” different values or lifestyles, and infidelity.)
It’s no wonder that more and more women, who now constitute two-thirds of the U.S. work force, are willing to step out of an unhappy marriage and try to make it on their own.