Are Women Who Earn More than Men More Likely to Seek a Divorce?

There is no question that traditional American gender roles have changed considerably over the past several decades. It is no longer the norm for men to act as the sole income-earning spouse and women to act as homemakers. In today’s diverse society, it is common for a husband to stay at home while his wife acts as the sole income-earning spouse, or for both parents to act as income earners. Interestingly enough, however, these new American gender roles have also led to a shift in the traditional patterns of divorce.

According to the Journal of Family Issues, women who act as sole income-earning spouses are more likely to pursue a divorce than women who are either unemployed or who function as secondary income earning spouses.

Specifically, the journal the found that over a 25-year period, marriages in which the wife earned at least 60 percent of the household income were 38 percent more likely to end in a dissolution of marriage (regardless of annual income).

According to the study’s director, sociologist Jay Teachman of Western Washington University, one of the reasons that these wives are choosing to end their marriages is generational expectations.

Many women are accustomed to older generational expectations that the husband is to function as the sole income-earning spouse. Consequently, if he fails to fulfill these expectations, it can create bitterness for the wife, a feeling of inadequacy for the husband and increased marital tension.

“When marriages form, there’s expectations. So, if you get new information about the relationship, you’re likely to think, ‘This isn’t what I bargained for.’ There’s some wounded egos, too. The man is going to expect he’ll make more money, and the wife is going to expect she’s not,” said Teachman.

Teachman also attributed some of this phenomenon to both economic autonomy and latent resentment on the part of income-earning wives who work all day while husbands are free to relax.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

To learn more about divorce or life after divorce, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

Related Resources:

Women’s Divorce ‘Cur$e’ (The New York Post)