Why women choose divorce: An evolutionary perspective

Gillian Parker, Kristina M. Durante, Sarah E. Hill, Martie G. Haselton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In Western dual-educated, male-female marriages, women who divorce face greater burdens because of decreased income and primary or sole responsibility for caring for children than men who divorce. Why, then, do these women initiate divorce more and fare better psychologically after a divorce than men? Here, we articulate an evolutionary mismatch perspective, informed by key findings in relationship science. We argue that mismatches between women's evolved preferences and configurations of modern marriage often clash, producing dissatisfaction. Women's unprecedented career ascendance also affords women ever more freedom to leave. We discuss pressures from social expectations for men and women that contribute to or compound these vulnerabilities. We conclude with key questions for future research, which can contribute to strategies for mitigating relationship dissatisfaction and the profound loss and pain that results from divorce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


  • Divorce
  • Evolutionary mismatches
  • Gender roles
  • Mate preferences
  • Unpaid labor


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