Estate & Family Law Blog

Is divorce more common for successful women?


Several years ago, British Columbia fans of actress Sandra Bullock cheered for her Oscar win only to learn just weeks later that her husband was having an affair and their marriage was over. This is apparently a common theme among successful actresses, and some researchers wondered why successful women seem to be more likely to find themselves heading to divorce court. For generations, women have been encouraged to reach for success, but does that success necessarily exclude them from happy marriages?

When examining the rate of divorce for successful women, traditional thought was that men felt threatened by strong females, and a husband may resent a wife who was more successful than he. However, according a new study by behaviorists at Queen’s University, this theory may be the opposite of the true story. In fact, it seems that it is not the men who feel uncomfortable if their status does not match that of their wives; it is the apparently the women.

Women with high-status roles responded to the study by admitting they feel embarrassed by their husband’s jobs or feel their husbands hindered their career goals. Some reported that they do not like it when their husbands accompany them to work-related events. Researchers feel that this perceived loss of status successful women blame on their less successful husbands may lead to instability in the marriage, even if the husband is helpful with household chores and child care.

The researchers also believe that many of these marriages could be saved if the spouses were willing to have more honest conversations about their situations. Nevertheless, when these conversations are not fruitful, a British Columbia couple may determine their differences cannot be mended. In such cases, each spouse will certainly want to ensure his or her rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Having a lawyer to advocate will improve those chances.

Source:, “Female breadwinners pay a cost for career success — marital stress“, Darah Hansen, June 14, 2017

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