It’s unique for every couple and every individual going through it. You know that— with your head, if not with your heart. But the truth about divorce for women (and men) is painted with both broad and fine brushes. And seeing the big picture is as important as seeing the details.
Being lost in the microcosm of an unhappy marriage can be all-consuming. Little things are “everything,” and the thought of going through a divorce can seem as insurmountable as the thought of staying married.
You have friends and acquaintances—and perhaps family members—who have gone through a divorce. You see it played out on screen and in the tabloids of daily life.
And no doubt you have witnessed the full temperature spectrum of divorce, from amicable to contemptuous.
Even under the best circumstances, divorce isn’t for the faint of heart.
Nor is it for the unprepared.
Because SAS for Women is just that—for women—we will be discussing the truth about divorce for women specifically. The good. The difficult. The possible.
What Statistics Say About Women and Divorce
It’s important to revisit what you may find to be a surprising statistic: Women initiate divorce almost 70% of the time compared to men.
Add a college degree and that statistic skyrockets to 90%.
Why do women take the initiative to divorce their husbands more than the other way around? And why are the scales almost equally balanced when it comes to break-ups of non-marital relationships?
Obviously, there is something remarkable about the institution of marriage when it comes to uncovering the truth about divorce—for women, specifically.
In general, women are more vested in the expectations of marriage. Once-traditional roles are no longer applicable, especially as most women are pulling their weight both inside and outside the home.
They invest more. And they want more. The connection, the communication, the fidelity, all of it.
And education only makes them more astutely aware of what they can do and have in life and relationships.
It also makes them unwilling to tolerate less.
Education, after all, is as much about learning how to think and access resources as it is about stockpiling knowledge: a big advantage in today’s marriages.
Education is also a big advantage for women going through a divorce.
The Impacts of Divorce
When it comes to the truth about divorce for women, knowing how to create solutions and where to find help can be lifesaving.
And nowhere is that more true than in the areas of finances and single-parenting.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest shocks of divorce is what it does to women financially. All the upfront preparation often can’t prepare women for the long-term financial struggle they statistically face.
Countless factors influence this possibility, of course.
Women are far more inclined than men to sacrifice professionally in order to prepare for or raise children.
By the time they divorce, they have often lost critical years in the workforce. And they can’t make up for lost time on the earning-front—both in income and benefits.
This is why it’s essential that women have expert financial guidance and heed the most important financial steps after divorce. They have to think ahead to the unknown future in order to make wise decisions in the present.
Difficult as it is to face, the truth about divorce for women means they need to be savvy, both upfront and for the long haul. What may sound like a great settlement at divorce time may not be enough to secure even a comfortable lifestyle down the road without a struggle.
Single-parenthood can be another difficult reality check for women, especially if they’re already dealing with diminished financial status.
On top of doing everything alone, there is also the emotional component of not being part of their children’s daily lives.
And then there is the likelihood that their exes will find someone new to love and marry. And that means a new maternal influence in their children’s lives.
But the reality of divorce isn’t all bad. There is plenty of good on the other side of divorce.
Hidden Benefits of Divorce
If you’ve been trapped in a marriage that has suppressed your dreams and gifts, divorce can open the door to self-rediscovery. It can expand your consciousness of who you are and what you want in life.
Divorce can also offer exhilarating freedom. Not because marriage in and of itself is imprisoning, but because one or both partners can lose perspective of marriage’s liberating, elevating potential.
Perhaps the most positive truth about divorce for women is the sense of empowerment and independence it engenders.
Yes, you can come out of divorce struggling with your sense of self-worth, especially if your spouse was unfaithful, abusive, or neglectful.
But there is power—and potential—in knowing how long to stay and when to go. And being a steadfast advocate for your own dignity, even when it has suffered a blow, is a statement of promise for your future.
As you start to rely upon your own strength, ideas, and resources, in the context of your deepest values, your power magnifies. You realize there is more you can accomplish and dream about.
And in that reaching, stretching, and holding your own, you build resilience. You become an example, not only to your aspiring self but to your children and those who bear witness to your journey.
Divorce, even in the best circumstances, isn’t a do-over with a blank slate. What presents itself as new, free, and self-directed is still seasoned by marriage loss.
What you needn’t lose, however, are its lessons. And, out of its lessons, your resolve to rise, just as a tree adds to its rings while rising toward the sun.
The truth about divorce, for women on their way and women already there, is ultimately seeded in one unbreakable vow: to live into their highest selves for their highest good.
Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner with them through the emotional and often complicated experience of divorce. We invite you to learn what’s possible for you. Schedule your free 15-minute consultation with SAS. Whether you are coping with a divorce or are already navigating your life afterward, choose to acknowledge your vulnerability and learn from others. Choose not to go it alone.