Men and women experience divorce differently. Understanding these differences can help reduce the negative toll it can take.

No one gets married expecting to divorce. It’s a sad and painful way for a marriage to end. Nonetheless, many marriages end in divorce, and facing the effects is almost always difficult.

Complicating matters more is that divorce can affect both people differently.

While neither escapes the pain and challenges, there are distinct differences between how a man typically manages his way through a divorce and how a woman does.

These differences can cause many problems when it comes to getting a divorce.

Both partners’ perspectives and feelings about divorce impact communication and resolution negatively in some cases. This can lead to conflict and resistance from either or both partners.

If you’re in the middle of a divorce or have gone through one, having a clearer understanding of these differences can help you manage them.

Language matters

Sex and gender exist on a spectrum. We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms assigned at birth. But gender is solely about how you identify yourself, independent of your physical body.

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Both people involved in a divorce can experience it differently. But most notable is the differing impact it can have on daily living.

Economic stability

Despite dual-income households having become standard, it’s still more likely for a woman to be financially dependent (at least to some degree) on her husband.

This circumstance may work in a functioning marriage where household responsibilities are split between two partners.

But during a divorce, household income takes center stage, and the stress of financial uncertainty can usually be felt more greatly by women.


Despite having more stay-at-home dads than ever before, the responsibility of childcare and child-rearing still falls primarily on women. This isn’t to say that all fathers are falling down on the job.

It’s still common for mothers to be more highly considered for child custody during divorce proceedings.

This fact can weigh heavily on financial stability and daily logistical considerations.

For example, during the pandemic, when children needed more supervision due to schools being closed, it was predominately women who left the workplace or reduced their work hours to attend to childcare needs.

This left many single mothers in a challenging situation.

Future relationships

Although both men and women are likely to date, during, or after a divorce, men are far more likely to remarry.

Empathy and social support

While women are up to 69% more likely to initiate divorce than men (31%), they’re still more likely to have more support and greater empathy when going through a divorce.

This can leave some men at a disadvantage regarding the psychological effects of divorce — they can be separated from family and friend relationships in some cases.

The state of each partner’s pre-divorce life will play a significant part in how each one experiences lifestyle changes.

If you’re facing or going through a divorce, you may be experiencing various emotions that seem to change minute by minute. For example, you might be angry one minute and have feelings of sadness the next.

Other common emotions you might be feeling include:

Though the emotions you feel might be the same, the way you feel them can be different. You might experience delayed emotions, whereas your partner might be immediately thrown into emotional turmoil.

Men might be more hesitant to seek counseling, but women might be more open to the idea. Still, this isn’t always the case. The reverse might also be true for some.

Every couple is different. What might be challenges for one couple might look different for another.

The emotional effects are often more talked about, but physical effects can go unrecognized and unaddressed.

  • Quality diet. Issues with nutrition aren’t uncommon, particularly if your partner was the one preparing and providing healthy meals. A 2016 study found that this was more common in men than women. This change in diet might also be the result of depression.
  • Lowered immune response. Stress can affect the body in several ways, including lowering your immune system. This can make you more susceptible to illness and harder for you to recover. A 2018 study found that because women initiated divorce more than men, men were more surprised with the decision, leading to more stress when the marriage dissolved.
  • Substance use. Self-medication with alcohol or other substances isn’t uncommon for people going through divorce. Men are more likely to use substances such as alcohol, in general. The stress of a divorce might increase this tendency. A 2018 study found there was a link between substance use and divorce. The chances were higher in men, but more research is needed.
  • Cardiac issues. Studies have supported the correlation between coronary artery disease and divorce in men and women. The rate of heart problems appears to increase in women who’ve had multiple divorces, but not men, according to a 2017 study.

Going through a divorce can be challenging. But it can also be an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow in how you manage your emotions and relationships.

If you’re going through a divorce or contemplating one, talking with a mental health professional can help you work through any challenges and help you learn how to manage your emotions during and after the divorce.

You can find love again. Learning and understanding how you manage relationships, communicate with others, and cope with conflicts can help.