Men less likely to see divorce coming

14 April 2006

A report by Emma Rodgers on the Australian Broadcasting Commission website reveals some results from April 2006 publication of Australia’s Families, Income and Jobs Report by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.  Couples chosen for the study were interviewed three times between 2001 and 2003.

‘Men are less likely to anticipate the failure of a marriage than women, reporting high levels of satisfaction in their relationship in the year before it ended’ writes Ms. Rodgers.

The study says that half the men who were about to break up with their partner rated their satisfaction in the relationship as high, at around eight on a scale of one to 10.  Only 40 per cent of women in similar situations reported the same satisfaction rating. "Especially for those who were still well satisfied in 2002, the split must have come as a considerable shock," the report said.

The report attributes the difference to its finding that almost half of divorces where children are involved are initiated by women, compared to around 20 per cent by men. Thirty per cent of those divorces are a joint decision. For couples with no children, the decision to divorce is more evenly spread.

"The survey indicates that only about 2 per cent of marriages end each year and it is likely that many are happy for years before one or both parties becomes dissatisfied and initiates separation," the report said.

"The probable, although not certain inference is that most marriages are successful for a good many years, even if they eventually terminate."

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