Thanks in large part to movies and TV shows, the word “divorcée” often conjures up the image of a middle-aged woman at her lawyer’s office crying about how her husband is now living in their former home with his new younger girlfriend. But a new survey of more than 2,000 adults in the U.K. reveals that that’s not how most women feel about their splits. In fact, women are twice as likely as men to feel happier after a divorce.
According to the survey, which was sponsored by Carphone Warehouse, 35 percent of women reported feeling less stressed following their splits, compared to only 17 percent of men. And while 30 percent of women experienced a boost in self-esteem, only 15 percent of men said they felt an improvement in confidence.
When asked about this gender-based discrepancy, couples consultant and coach Lesli Doares told Best Life that it may have something to do with the fact that most divorces are initiated by women.
“Women instigate about 80 percent of divorces,” she said. “Often, when women are unhappy in their marriage, they talk about it. And when that doesn’t get results, they get silent about it and start to plan their way out. So, by the time the divorce comes, they’ve already grieved the relationship and prepared for what their new life will look like. Whereas their husbands get hit upside the head because they thought everything was fine since their wives weren’t complaining anymore.”
Indeed, experts say silence tends to be the biggest sign of divorce men never see coming. So if you’re a married man who doesn’t want to end up being one of these unhappy ex-husbands, Doares suggests regularly checking in instead of always expecting your wife to air her grievances.
“One of the things that frustrates women so much is having to constantly instruct their husbands,” she says. “Pay attention and start asking questions. Don’t assume that everything is fine just because everything is fine for you. Instead of trying to talk your wife out of feeling a certain way, listen to her.” And if you don’t know where to start, check out these 22 Questions to Ask Your Spouse Once a Year.
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