Good Question: Who Initiates Divorce, Men Or Women?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In Minnesota, a happy couple gets married every 17 minutes. And every 35 minutes, an unhappy couple gets divorced. When it comes time to dissolve a marriage, who’s pulling the plug: men or women?

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, in 2009 there were 27,895 marriages and 17,113 divorces.

And who initiates most divorces?

“Women are twice as likely to initiate a divorce as men,” said Dr. Bill Doherty, a national expert on marriages, professor at the University of Minnesota and a contributor to the Huffington Post’s new divorce section.

He said the studies have consistently shown that women ask for two out of every three divorces.

“Why questions are hard, we just don’t know,” said Doherty. “One possibility, we know simply being married is beneficial for men. For women, it’s not just being married, it’s about the quality of the relationship. So women may suffer more and be more likely to want to end it.”

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.'”

“Women in general monitor the state of their relationships more,” said Doherty, “they’re calibrating, how is it? Men tend not to do that.”

Andy wrote on the blog that his divorce has been nothing short of frustrating, and, “I’m not just saying that because I wasn’t the one who chose to do this.”

“Women break up relationships even in the dating phase. Women end relationships, more than men do, all across the board,” he said.

The takeaway lesson: “People need to work on this instead of drift apart, drift apart, and the women pull the plug,” said Doherty. “The message for men is pay attention to your marriage, and your wife’s level of happiness in the marriage.”

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