Women, Are You Better Off Happy & Single Than Unhappy & Married?

April 3, 2024

Women, Are You Better Off Happy & Single Than Unhappy & Married?

May 29, 2023

I’ve written before about the fact that the only age demographic showing growth in divorce rates in the U.S. is those 55 and older, as the Gray Divorce rate is double what it was in 1990.

Recently, author Lyz Lenz wrote this Washington Post piece entitled “Women are divorcing — and finally finding happiness,” which is an adaptation of her book “This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life.” So many of her observations illuminate why Gray Divorce is rising, including these gems:

  • “Studies show that when women advance in their careers, they are more likely to divorce. So are female breadwinners. One 2020 analysis specifically examined the marriages of women in Sweden, who have more income parity than American women and more of a social safety net. It wasn’t the lack of social support that made these women divorce; it was the lack of relational support.”

  • “Popular culture often suggests it’s a given that women’s careerism is what ruins marriages. In “The Devil Wears Prada,” Meryl Streep plays a successful magazine editor whose overlooked husband leaves her. As Stanley Tucci’s character, Nigel opines to Andy Streep’s beleaguered assistant, played by Anne Hathaway: “Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it’s time for a promotion.”

  • “Yet married men have careers and families all the time. They’re able to do this because they have a partner at home supporting them. Essentially, it’s not the time commitment and stress of success that break up marriages; it’s the husband’s resentment about the time commitment and stress — and his refusal or inability to step up.”

  • “These days, nearly 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women who are tired, fed up, exhausted, no longer in love. Women who are unhappy. Some of their breaking moments are quiet. Some are loud. Often, women who seek divorce are pathologized, dismissed as “crazy” or unable to cope.”

  • “Divorce is both personal and political. It is still harder to divorce in America than to marry — and lately, activists targeting no-fault divorce would make it even harder. Most states have waiting periods for divorces stipulating anywhere between 20 and 180 days before a couple can finalize a divorce. A majority don’t have a waiting period for a marriage license, and if they do, it’s not longer than three days, except in Wisconsin, where it’s five days. Most marriage licenses don’t cost more than $100; divorces can cost far more. At the same time, our governments sponsor and prop up the institution of marriage with tax breaks and incentives while making it nearly impossible to be a single parent.”

Lyz wrote that women seem to know the end of a relationship is coming, while men are often surprised. Boy, ain’t that the truth! I’ve had a few male midlife friends emotionally limp to me with lots of regret and anger about the fact that their quarter-century marriage went from seeming bliss to blister overnight. I feel bad for them in their remorseful state and wish they’d use any lessons from this marriage for their next romance.  

Lyz finishes with the following:

“Since I divorced and started making my own money, my entire relationship with relationships has changed. With economic freedom came my freedom to say no to men who offered me less than what I wanted. And the knowledge that without them, I’d be fine. Happiness is found along many different paths. So let me tell you something else that is true, that our governments, our institutions, our communities so often won’t say: You do not have to waste years of your life hoping that maybe, one day, you’ll finally get there. You can be happy now. It is your turn now.”

I know some of you will wholeheartedly agree with Lyz’s point of view, and others will disagree. I welcome you to send us a guest post on this triggering topic. 

-Chip

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