DeBlog: Who Initiates More Divorces?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

Tonight’s Good Question is about divorce. According to the Department of Health, every 17 minutes a couple is married in Minnesota. Every 35 minutes a couple is divorced.

Divorce is a real part of life. But I was wondering about who files for divorce more often: is it men or women? Who pulls the plug? And why?

I have some previously unpublished statistics from Hennepin County talking about reasons for divorce. The reasons why people say they divorce are fairly similar:

For men:
Not able to talk together: 56%
Growing Apart: 54%
Not enough attention: 42%
Infidelity: 38%

For women:
Not able to talk together: 55%
Growing apart: 49%
Infidelity: 40%
Personal problems of my spouse: 35%

I’d love to hear your stories. If you’re divorced — who pulled the plug? Was your spouse surprised? We may use your comments tonight at 10.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • KathyHowe

    I’m divorced and I am the one that pulled the plug on that deal. I’m not sure if he was surprised by it or not. We had struggled in our marriage for years although I clearly remember telling him (repeatedly) that one of these days I would say “This is your last chance.” and I would actually mean it.

  • BrianStrub

    IMy question: How many of those people with the “Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman” bumper stickers are divorced, or in math terms, “Marriage = (((1 man + 1 woman) – 1 woman) + 1 different woman)”?

  • connie

    My Ex husband cheated on me, after 8 years of marriage and 2 kids. He didn’t get a second chance. I filed for divorce shortly after learning he was spying on me- then accusing me of cheating.

  • Kim

    I too am divorced, and was the one who pulled the plug. He wasn’t man enough to say he wanted a divorce after 27 years, 2 kids, etc…, so instead he ran around and took up with the married neighbor to “make it easier to leave me” or so he says. He made my life a living hell, I tried everything (counseling, intervention, etc…) there were no options. I say good riddens, ohhh and KARMA’s a bitch! :-)

  • David

    I find it interesting that the stats are almost identical regardless of Sex.

  • Kim

    I too am divorced, and was the one who pulled the plug. He wasn’t man enough to say he wanted a divorce after 27 years, 2 kids, etc…, so instead he ran around and took up with the married neighbor to “make it easier to leave me” or so he says. He made my life a living hell, I tried everything (counseling, intervention, etc…) there were no options. I say good riddens, ohhh and KARMA’s a bummer! :-)

  • Andy

    My partner initiated our divorce, which is slowly going through multiple systems. I don’t even know the technical reason for her actually wanting the divorce. I just know that I no longer live with her and see my one year old daughter only a few times a week.

    I can’t afford a $3000 retainer to get this over and done with, so I’m reliant on consultations with the good people at legal aid. It’s been nothing short of frustrating, and I’m not just saying that because I wasn’t the one who chose to do this.

    • kevin braend

      lucky you, Under the violence against WOMAN ACT. Legal aid cannot represent a man, comflict of interest with the direction of there funding. Legal Aid is the legal system for the battered woman.. Be careful..Kevin

  • Melissa

    I initiated the divorce. My ex wanted to stay in “high school” mode and I wanted to grow up. After 14 years, I just couldn’t stand it anymore!

  • Laura

    He initiated the divorce. But now I look back and probably should have done it a few years ago. I did a lot of supporting (multiple job changes, his travel for work, moving, opening his dream business), forgiving and forgetting over the last 15 years, 1 child, 3 dogs and 2 homes. Then I supposedly screw up once and he can’t see past it. He is just using it as an excuse because he is too much of a coward otherwise.
    There is no infedelity on my part, his is still questioned.
    And he also retracted to ‘high school’ mode after I moved out 3 months ago.
    I agree with Kim, Karma is a bummer…And it will come back to bite you when you least expect it.
    Good riddance

  • Doug

    I wish mine would end. I wish she would pull the plug and be done.

  • Scott

    I was blinded sided…15 yrs being marred where great..that last year when I caught her with some one was not so great..had 3 kids..but I learn one thing..and this is just how I belive..I said then lets go to counsleing..what I found out was that was not the best thing..she wanted out the first time we got together in counsleing…what my counsler says you didnt have a chance becasue you cant work on your marriage if the first time you get together and she wants out..Second to stay for the kids sake again what I belive is not good to do..your kids know something is not right..and I will always remember the look on my kids face when we told them and my oldest son still will tell me to this day..that the day it happen…how sad is that…but I have my kids half the time I pay no child support or spousel maitance…and I have found out I am a lot better off now then I was before..becasue she got remarried not to my kids likeing but I see how she is so controling…and still trys to control my life…Life is good now…and I dont hink hers is all that good…But I will say one thing…I belive as hard is it is on the kids…and for me as one I have gotten over it…but my kids are very good kids still raised very well…one had little problem with grades at first for a few yrs but now is back on track…I could go on and on but think you get the picture..

  • Kathy

    I filed for the divorce after 14 1/2 years of marriage and two kids but only because he told me it was over and, besides, he already had wife #2 already waiting in line; so what point would counseling have proven when there was obviously only one of us willing to make the marriage work? He never did ever give me a reason for his “change of heart” other than he no longer felt anything for me. All of this came as a complete shock to me at the time. I have now been 16 years into my second marriage to a man who, after 13 years of marriage and two kids, found his wife in bed with another man. This second marriage for us has been so much better and we are both very committed to making this work. I know our kids suffered during the divorce too but today they are grown, married (except for one of them), and have kids of their own. I think they may have learned something from our mistakes and divorce process because, at least for now, they seem to be happy and in good relationships.

  • Charles

    I feel making the decision to leave a marriage is much more complicated, especially if you’ve shared years and years together, are financially established, have kids who rely on both parents, and want to do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing means ending a long-time relationship. Both men and women need to be courageous when the time comes to end a marriage. If it can be reconciled, don’t pretend, don’t blame your spouse, and don’t start an affair to have an easy “out.” Face the facts and have the conversation, privately, with your spouse.

  • Emm

    I am divorced Mom of three beautiful girls. My exhusband was an abusive cop and had numerous affairs. After 11 years of abuse and affairs. I said enough was enough and divorced him. I got out alive.
    He is so bad that he stated he couldn’t afford to pay the full child support required by law and instead of dragging it out and paying costs above my head to fight him, I had to agree to a lower child support payment. He is also suppose to be paying half of their activity costs and refuses.
    When he left, he left me with a huge house and car payment. When I asked for help he said tough and we had to get food from the food shelves.

    • Larry

      I just have one question. How did he leave you with a huge car and house payment? you stated “I said enough was enough and divorced him.” when my ex left i told her same thing with the car. if she wanted out she could have it because of our kids but it was no longer my responsibility to pay for it. she left

    • kevin braend

      I’ll bet you gt him good. How long to get an O.F.P. against him. Sounds like you got everything. House cars, Enjoy the revenge and new freedom

  • Nancy

    I pulled the plug on my marriage after 12 years. Many of the years were spent in marriage counseling but we just continued to go in circles – fighting over the same old stuff. It finally came to a point where it was affecting our son and ironically, I was staying married for the sake of our son. As it turns out, I should have pulled the plug a lot earlier. It would have spared us all a lot of extra pain.

  • Michele

    When there is nothing left I belive people should just divorce. Staying married for the kids or because of debt is just not worth it. I’ve seen and have had too many friends cry on my shoulder for years before they finally end the broken marriage, and no counseling would have helped any of these marriages survive or come back sometimes you just have to let go. All of them are remarried to others and have been happy for years, and yes they are friendly with the ex’s divorce doesn’t always have to be nasty. If you can’t afford it but both want out you can do the divorce yourself as long as there are no kids or fighting over property.

  • Jerry

    I cannot believe that you announced the exact amount of money that was recovered for that fire victim. I hope if she is burglarized you provide restitution!

  • Greg

    “Pro-family” types always paint divorce as purely negative, but do NOT know the positives, of which there are many.
    Divorce can lead to entirely new and wonderful families, relationships and relatives you never would have met before. Sure, you can get a dud or two, but In reality, I have wonderful new people in my family across the USA, simply BECAUSE of my parents divorce and subsequent remarriages decades ago.
    Divorce may be tough as hell on everyone at the time, but can bloom into many new and fantastic lives and connections later on.
    That is too often overlooked.

  • Howard Crume

    We will all answer to Jesus for the things we do in life. good or bad. Divorce is not the all good a person makes it out to be, It never ever solves things-it only complicate lives

    • Greg

      Howard, no offense, but I’m sure it’s less “complicated” to stay in a bad marriage, but not a real good reason to stay in a painful situation.
      I also doubt convenience is all that important to Jesus.
      I’ve actually been there and can give a comment untainted by religious bias.

  • Sarah

    My husband initiated a separation, and I initiated the divorce after 4 months of living apart. I think that technically I “filed” for divorce or “pulled the plug.” But he was the one who refused to get real help for his issues, moved out of the house and did not think of his family.

    I’m much happier now, and I just hope he gets the help he needs.

  • Laura

    So….. why were the number of people married in minnesota and the number of people divorced both odd numbers>

    I thought it was, well, odd.

    • Jason DeRusha

      Laura, I need you to be my copy editor. Those were the numbers of marriages- and numbers of divorces. I should have said “couples” instead of “people.”

  • Good Question: Who Initiates Divorce, Men Or Women? « CBS Minnesota – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Minnesota

    […] On Jason’s DeBlog on, Kathy wrote that she wanted the divorce: “I clearly remember telling him (repeatedly) that one of these days I would say, ‘This is your last chance.’” […]

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