Thursday, November 21, 2013

Allan Katz: Why do women initiate divorce more than men?

Guest post by  Allan Katz  This blog post is in 2 parts .

 In the USA and UK 66% of divorces are initiated by women, (in 1975 it was 72%).In Israel  70% of divorces were filed by women, 3 times as much as men.

Marriage therapist and author Laura Doyle says that one of the reasons for these figures is that 'women are initiating divorces when the problems are not insurmountable. One might think that's because men do things to make marriage untenable -- like cheat, hit or abuse them -- but I hear about women divorcing because he didn't help with the baby, he was emotionally unavailable, or because they grew apart. Countless women tell me they divorced because their husbands weren't capable of meeting their needs. When the women I work with learn intimacy skills, it changes the way they see a previous marriage. Some women tell me that they realize they were married to a good guy, but divorced because they lacked the skills to have a happy relationship. Sometimes it causes them enormous grief.'

An Israeli Dayan , judge in a rabbinical Court = Beis Din said that in his personal experience it was the women who were initiating divorces and some often in a hasty and impulsive way and sometimes for the most trivial reasons like my husband leaves the home without saying good bye.

Laura Doyle's and the Dayan's observations about women being the ones who are initiating divorces hint that this could be part of the explanation why the Torah gave men more say about divorce than women.

The Dayan also said that ' Cohanim ' , men of priestly descent tended to get angry quickly and then sue for divorce. This explains why Cohanim are restricted to whom they can marry. They can't remarry their wives or divorcees. This is intended to slow them down and think of other solutions than divorce. Divorce is only one of the solutions for solving marriage problems.

Men are happier in their marriages and maybe it is because they have fewer expectations than women. Men also get a lot of their intellectual and social needs met outside the home -at work and when they participate in communal prayer and study. It is reported that they are happier with their intimate lives than women. Divorce for men means a new financial burden, taking on responsibilities and tasks previously done by women and not being with his children. They often are willing to sleep in another room or have a trial separation in the hope that his wife will reconsider.

Teresa Atkin, a relationship coach says that women need to learn communication skills needed in a marriage.

'All too often, women think that talking to our husbands is the way to make them see how their behavior affects us. If the behavior doesn't change when we first bring it up, we want to talk more, longer, or louder because we think maybe they didn't get it the first time. One of the biggest pet peeves for men is that feeling of being nagged or badgered, especially if they don't know what the problem really is. Also, the rules of polite, kind, nice conversation that women try to follow often come off as indirect, manipulative and mysterious to men. Women often conclude that their husbands don't care because they haven't changed after a particular conversation. '

Women also tend to give instructions to men as they would to their maids or other help. This really has the opposite effect. Instead of giving instructions women should explain what they need and want, thus giving men the space to respond in an autonomous way.

Why do Laura Doyle and Tersa Atkin focus on women alone and why doesn't Laura Doyle advocate joint therapy sessions?

Because women are initiating divorce and want change, they are the ones who should and can bring about the change. Instead of waiting for husbands to change and be responsible for their wives' happiness, women should learn intimacy and communication skills and become responsible for their own happiness. This will bring about a change in men. Women have the power to make changes in their homes as the verse in Proverbs 14:1 says –' The wisdom of women builds her home.'


  1. Nothing like a good scientific article claiming that Kohanim get angry quickly. (Even the more charitable version, that he means two thousand years ago, is pretty ridiculous in this context.)

  2. Simple. Women today are brought up to think of themselves as fairy princesses that need to be swept off their feet and worshiped by their husbands. When they find out that it doesn't really work that way, it hits them like a ton of bricks. On the other hand, men just want to have basic needs met and not be bothered too much with naarishkeit.

    Another thing is that there is a new phenomenon of "women's rabbis." These are scoundrels who ride into a situation on their white horses, providing comfort and solace to the shvurei laiv. They become the "emotional friend" and provide a shoulder to cry on. They convince the woman that she is a victim of abuse, and, rather than counsel her as to how to repair the relationship, they convince her that she needs to take control of her life by getting rid of the horrible controlling monster who is the source of all her troubles in life. And all this without once speaking to to husband. These "rabbonim" are the most cut-throat people you will ever meet, and they will literally stop at nothing to make the husband suffer. I have seen this countless times. And the relationships these phony rabbonim build with their married emotional friends is creepy, to say the least. I can name at least 12 of these guys off the top of my head.

    Now, on the man's side, there are very people to whom a man may turn when he is down and out. To my knowledge the only ones out there that are willing to go to bat for men are Blumenkrantz and Charnowitz, and they are almost universally bashmutzed by the hamon am because of their tough tactics. But what they do is actually no less distasteful than what countless "rabbonim" do for women.

    Rabbi David Greenblatt once told me that on a purely societal level, men are affected much more deeply by divorce than women. They are treated as second class in shul, and other social settings. But the women get the "oy nebech" reaction from folks and the men do not. Rabbi YY Rubinstein is trying to change that, by the way, by working with divorced men. But he only works with post-divorce men, not men actually going through the refesh vo'tit of divorce.

    So, basically, divorce is encouraged and facilitated by creeps on the woman's side and not on the man's side.

    1. @Michelob - "Blumenkrantz and Charnowitz, and they are almost universally bashmutzed by the hamon am because of their tough tactics. But what they do is actually no less distasteful than what countless "rabbonim" do for women"

      Your statement about the two individuals who allegedly use tough tactics is utter nonsense. Those two individuals simply adhere to traditional HALACHA which does not accept divorce on demand, GET MEUSAH, HETER ARCHAOS for MOREDES', and MESIRAH. As a result they are terribly slandered by the feminist ORA BIRYONIM.

      In contrast the "women's rabbis" you referred to commit some of the worst transgressions possible, these "women's rabbis" destroy marriages that can be saved, they provide HETER ARCHAOS to MOREDES women, and then engage in vicious campaigns to force PASUL GITTIN from the husbands.

  3. I think many of the points made in this article have a lot of merit. Still, if a wife has made up her mind that she wants out, even for the wrong reasons, it is wrong for the husband to keep her chained to a marriage she doesn't want.

    1. I have the opposite reaction. Of course there are some women who take marriage too lightly, as of course there are some men who take marriage too lightly. It is silly to generalize based on the numbers among each sex who initiate divorce, because it's just as likely that some other cause leads to women having legitimate complaints or men failing to react to legitimate complaints.

      But what is 100% clear is that the Torah believes it is right for marriage to continue until both parties want it to end.

  4. Not sure I agree with the reasoning, that this is why the Torah gave men the power of a get. You are claiming that 3300 years ago tings were the same as they are now. That is ridiculous. Even 100 years ago it was not the same.
    Chazal made a chazakah that a woman would rather be married in an imperfect situation, than to not be married at all. This was around 1500 years ago. In the famous debate between R' Rackman, and his Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik, R' Rackman pointed out that this chazakah has changed, and hence halacha must adapt. To which Rav Soloveitchik - on a rare occasion - got angry, and said that Chazal's chazakah was an ontological truth, which does not change. without getting too deep into that story, it shows that 45 years ago, the effects of feminism, modern life and freedom was beginning to cause havoc in married life.
    I don't have a solution, but in ancient times, women did not have the liberation and freedom , or the women's magazines and TV soap operas to teach them about the so-called better life they can find.

  5. If a man feels unfulfilled in his marriage, he goes elsewhere. If his wife does not satisfy his needs, he uses that fact as a justification for cheating. Women (secular and religious) have higher expectations for their marriage. They demand intimacy and emotional satisfaction AT HOME. The woman above that filed for divorce because her husband "leaves the home without saying good bye" is really upset because her husband doesn't value their relationship. I'll bet he never walks away from his boss without saying goodby. It is not trivial if a woman wants to divorce a husband who is "emotionally unavailable." Surprise surprise! Not all women perceive of their husbands as walking wallets or baby-makers. The article assumes that all women who want divorce just need to learn communication skills. Really. And those who already read Men are from Mars and still have husbands who see wives as hoteliers? Where should they go for emotional fulfillment? Should they look outside the marriage just as long as they don't sue for divorce???

  6. Divorced Women Love LakewoodNovember 22, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Lakewood N.J. Is a Very Pro Divorce town, The Women Love it Here Because The Courts usually always Take The Womens side and The Rabbonim allow the Women To Do whatever They want in The Court System without Going To Bais Din,

    The Famous Pearl Perry Reich, when asked Why She Chose To Live in Lakewood as opposed To Brooklyn N.Y. Answered, Because Lakewood is a Much More Liberal Town

  7. well, did you know that even wives who are beaten up regularly by their husbands tend to go back to them? Ask any women's shelter, they will tell you.

    So what a heart-warming tale that to save a marriage, it is enough to explain to the wife that SHE has to change, and they will live happily ever after. If he beats her - she provoked it. If he gives her the silent treatment - she did not recognise his authority.

    Hareidim truly live in the best of all imaginable worlds, where harm does not exist. Sorry, if there is harm, it is the wife's fault. So as soon as she changes, harm will cease to exist.

  8. How to solve the divorce problem using the perverse, anti-family, anti-Torah methodologies of the YU ORA (OH-RAH) activists:

    Step A: Falsely Claim that Bais Din arbitration rulings are unenforceable in family courts.

    Step B: Falsely Claim that MOREDES Jewish women have no choice but to MOSER their husbands in family courts, since Bais Din is unenforceable. Or as I've heard rabbinic ORA supporters state, "I don't believe in Bais Din".

    Step C: Wait until the civil divorces are granted, and (most likely) the wife has full custody of the children, while the husband has become an alimony/child support slave and AGUN whose financial distress prevents him from remarrying.

    Step D: The only problem remaining is the GET. Two methods are available -
    1) FALSELY claim that the Jewish husband living apart from his "ex" wife is not performing his MITZVOS of supporting and living with his wife, therefore he's a MORED and a GET can be forced from him using harassment, humiliation and force, including the baseball bat methodologies mentioned in Hershel Schachter's online lectures.
    2) Enslave the husband using the $150/day YU prenup agreement until he gives a PASUL GET.

    Presto! The OH-RAH dream of feminist divorce on demand has been achieved, with the "ex" husband turned in to an alimony/child support AGUN.

  9. The Lakewood Rabbonim (Like Reb Malkiels Uncle Gavriel Finkel) Do Not Just allow Women To Go To secular Court, They actually encourage Women to go to the police and secular court and will give them a Heter Arkoyos No Questions asked

  10. This why Torah Law denies a wife the right to divorce. Because the Torah long recognized they are hasty divorcers. Thus only the husband can divorce. And the wife cannot, under Halacha, demand a divorce against her husband's will under general circumstances. The only exceptions are if he wronged her in one of the very limited ways that the Torah recognizes gives her the right to demand a divorce. In the absence of such cause, he is completely within his halachic and moral rights to deny her request for a divorce. And, indeed, husbands should be encouraged to not readily agree to a wife's demand for divorce.

    1. "And, indeed, husbands should be encouraged to not readily agree to a wife's demand for divorce."
      But then he'd best be prepared to make changes. Even, yes, put himself out to make himself more pleasing. If a woman demands a divorce she's either: miserably unhappy and wants him to fix it or miserably unhappy and doesn't want to live with him. To force her to stay married to him without demanding that he do his part to improve the marriage is incredibly cruel. The Rambam said that a Jewish wife is not a captive. If she hates him, she cannot be forced to be with him. And the kind of man who knows his wife hates him, refuses to make himself agreeable, but forces her to live with him is a barbaric megalomaniac who deserves to live alone in a cave.

    2. @Observer - "If a woman demands a divorce she's either: miserably unhappy and wants him to fix it" - Due to your political correctness, you've ignored the primary causes of divorces in the Orthodox community:
      1) A feminist divorce culture, very prevalent in the MO communities, that convinces married women they are oppressed victims and should divorce their husbands.
      2) A feminist family court system that typically hands over to wives everything they demand on a silver platter, while destroying the husband.
      3) Feminist "rabbis" who encourage women to divorce their husbands and give them HETER ARCHAOS.
      4) Feminist thugs like ORA (OH-RAH) who are readily available to force a PASUL GET from the hapless husband.

    3. Wow. Where do you live? I need to find all these wonderful men who will make excellent, no-fault, faithful, and considerate husbands for my daughters. How kind of Hashem to create perfect men who make perfect husbands. If only He would have made perfect women!

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