Essay: Author Christine Wicker asks why so many women are walking away from marriage

From The Dallas Morning News:

10:45 AM CDT on Sunday, August 15, 2010

By CHRISTINE WICKER / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Why are women walking away from marriage? Author and journalist Christine Wicker looks for the reasons behind a surprising trend.

A lot of midlife women in my acquaintance are leaving what appear to be perfectly good and loving husbands. Or thinking about it. Or cheating on them. Or wanting to. Or staying married and faithful but buying their own houses, which they either live in or keep as a bolt hole.

This astonishes me. I grew up believing it was men who had midlife crises that threatened marriage.

I decided one recent morning to list women I knew who fit the profile. In 15 minutes, I came up with 30 names. Some families on my list have more than one walk-away wife.

One Texas friend’s 40-something daughter is divorcing her husband. His son’s wife had an affair and they’re also divorcing. In another family, an uncle and nephew are both being divorced by their wives. These women had once been renowned for their utter, perhaps excessive devotion to family. The men are both handsome, kind, good fathers. Great catches. Both women have new boyfriends, while the men are still too broken-hearted to date again.

You may be thinking I have lowlife friends. Not so. Or if so, irrelevant, because I also have stats.

In a 2004 AARP survey of divorced people 40 and older, 66 percent of wives said they had requested the divorce, and 26 percent had surprised their husbands, often after planning for years. Women were especially likely to have no regrets, and 43 percent did not want to remarry. In another national study that year, ex-wives were three times more likely to say that they wanted the divorce, rather than their husbands wanting it. Fewer than 40 percent of marriages of more than 15 years were rated as successful by respondents.

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One Response to “Essay: Author Christine Wicker asks why so many women are walking away from marriage”

  1. tinagrrl Says:

    Perhaps the reason women are walking away from marriage is very simple — in the last 30 -35 years men have been taught to be the exact opposite of the “touchy feely” ideal of the 60’s.

    Men are being taught — through advertising, sports, music, movies — that women mean little, that their “bros” are everything.

    Men are taught to stay in a state of permanent adolescence. Becoming a man, in the traditional sense means these boys won’t be as involved with their toys, with their beer, with their nights out — they won’t be the CONSUMERS they are now.

    In that world, women are of little importance. That was fine when women had no options. Today, many women do have options. Why stick around with a permanent child after your children grow up? Especially when you can be better off ALONE.

    By the way, even those in “traditional marriage”, where they follow “traditional roles”, like, let us say, the Evangelicals, have divorce rates that are higher than they are in the supposedly libertine Northeast, where some claim “morals” are “looser”.

    I guess in those religious strongholds it’s the men leaving women — the “traditional” way.

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