Actually, it is. And like all trends, this one has social and economic implications beyond the individuals involved in the divorce. The facts and figures surrounding divorce are essential to know individually, but they can also tell us how society is changing.
You may hear, "Divorce rates have been declining in general." Divorce rates have generally been declining, as much as 50%, since the 1970s, and it's lower now than in the 1950s and 1930s. Sounds good, huh? Maybe, maybe not...
Then there's this: "More women are filing for divorce." According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more women are filing for divorce than men, and this trend isn't slowing down. Women initiate 70% of divorces, skyrocketing to 90% when college-educated.
Here's the rub: In many cases, wives file for divorce because they feel their husbands have become abusive or neglectful. Other times, they want to start over with someone new while maintaining custody of their children. Regardless of what drives them, women who initiate splits tend to do so because they don't feel valued by their partners anymore, not because they're unhappy with themselves or their lives.
So, what is it?
With less stigma surrounding single-parent households today and more significant economic opportunities thanks primarily due to advancements made during second-wave feminism decades ago, divorced mothers often find themselves able to support themselves financially without needing assistance from exes who may not even care about providing such support anyway. BAM!
"More people are getting married later in life." True, more people are indeed getting married later in life. According to the census bureau, the estimated median age to marry for the first time was 30.4 for men and 28.6 for women in early 2021, up from ages 23.7 and 20.5, respectively, in 1947.
Nevertheless, the reason for this trend is simple: More people are finishing their educations and establishing themselves professionally before they settle down with someone and start a family. And once you've done all those things and saved enough money to support your future spouse, you'll feel ready for marriage!
"Divorce is more common among people with college degrees than people who haven't attended college." As you may have heard, divorce is more common among people with college degrees than people who haven't gone to college. This trend has been around for decades, and it continues today. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, 50% of marriages end in divorce if they last ten years or more. The same study found that college graduates are less likely to get divorced than their non-graduate counterparts: only 24% do so after ten years of marriage. How about that for education?
"Women initiate three out of five divorces." Yes, women are indeed more likely to initiate divorce than men. For example, three out of five divorces are started by women in the U.S. Why? The gender gap is even more pronounced in countries where women have more rights and opportunities. For instance, in Sweden and Norway - where there's been a sharp increase in female-initiated divorces- 70 % of all splits were instigated by wives. In Germany and France, it was 66%; in England, it was 60%; and in Japan, 49% were initiated by females (with the rest being mutual decisions).
In addition to being older and having children, another factor that increases the odds of your ending up single maybe your personality type. Did you know that according to some experts' research on why people are more likely to get divorced, neuroticism (a tendency toward mood swings) has been linked with higher rates among both men and women alike? Especially among men who are "sensitive" or "softer-hearted." Certain personality types may have less tolerance when married life starts feeling stale after years together.
These are some fascinating takes on what divorce means in our society today. Perhaps it all boils down to this: As the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, sang Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves, Bruno Mars crooned When I Was Your Man on the flip side.
What's your take?
Until next time,