There’s a myth going around that women are fond of commitment and that men are beastly commitment-phobes. But what does science say?
Lesbian couples are nearly twice as likely as gay men to end a civil partnership, according to the latest government figures.
The number of same-sex couples ending their civil unions leapt by 20 per cent last year, seven years after their introduction in 2005. Overall there were 794 dissolutions in 2012, almost 60 per cent of which were female couples, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
In the seven years since gay couples were able to have civil partnerships, 3.2 per cent of male unions ended in dissolution, compared to 6.1 per cent of female couples.
Sociologists believe the lower rates of ‘divorces’ among gay men may reflect a trend of women committing sooner and having higher expectations for a relationship. Women in civil partnerships tie the knot at an average age of 37.6, compared to men, for whom the average age is 40. Erzsebet Bukodim, sociologist at the University of Oxford, said: “In heterosexual marriage the divorce rate is higher if you enter marriage at a very young age. That might be one of the reasons we’re seeing this [high dissolution rate for women] in civil partnerships.”
Gunnar Andersson, professor of demography at Stockholm University, has found in successive studies that women in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are twice as likely to dissolve their civil partnerships than men. He said: “This reflects trends in a heterosexual marriage because women are more prone to say they want to marry – but they’re also more likely to initiate a divorce. Women usually have higher demands on relationship quality, that’s often been said in studies. Even if you control for age there is still a trend of more women ending partnerships than men.”
Previous figures show British women in heterosexual relationships are more likely to file for divorce than men. Women initiated the divorce in two thirds of cases in the UK in 2011.
The Elusive Wapiti comments on the new study:
I used to frequent the once-defunct-now-rebooted “Family Scholars” blog ten years ago. In that forum, whenever I mentioned the now well-accepted fact of a 2:1 ratio of female/male initiation in divorce, I was repeatedly, reliably, and indignantly informed by the liberalists and anti-traditionalists in the crowd that the problem wasn’t with women’s trigger-happy dissolutive behaviors, but with straight men, whose insufferable and abusive natures all but forced their women to divorce them and take their kids, half their stuff, and 1/3 of their paycheck for 20 years. Men sucked so bad at being husbands, it was contended, that women had little choice but to kick them to the curb. They deserved all the divorce-rape they got, the bastards.
So imagine my surprise to see the same ratio between female and male divorce initiation that we’ve observed in straights for decades now, mirrored in the homosexual community. This has gotta be bad news for the fish-bicycle set that loves to blame masculine misbehavior for, well, everything, including female-initiated divorce. Instead, we now see that when woman is paired with woman, the dissolution rate is twice that of male-male couplings, just like it is with straight couples.
Just to support his assertions, here is a quotation from p. 340 of “Handbook of Interpersonal Commitment and Relationship Stability”, edited by Jeffrey M. Adams and Warren H. Jones, published by the academic press Springer in 1999:
The differential breakup rates of married versus same-sex couples point to the role of marital institutions, but male and female couples exhibit differences in stability as well, suggesting that the influence of gender needs to be explained. With a small cross-sectional sample of 25 gay men and lesbians each, Duffy and Rusbult (1986) found that lesbians had longer relationships. But in the only two studies ever conducted with large samples of same-sex relationships (over 1,000 couples in each), consistent differences have been found between gay men and lesbians in breakup rates, both in the late 1970s and the late 1980s: Lesbian relationships, whether measured longitudinally (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983) or retrospectively (Bryant & Demian, 1994), were of shorter duration than gay male relationships. The gay men in couples surveyed by Bryant and Demian (1994) reported a mean duration of their current relationships of 6.9 years, compared to 4.9 years for lesbians (p. 104). Furthermore, though both gay men and lesbians reported spending roughly the same total amount of time in their lives in major same-sex relationships, the women reported more past relationships, suggesting that those relationships as well had been of shorter duration. Finally, there was a small but potentially meaningful difference in the proportion of lesbians (92%) as opposed to the pro-portion of gay men (96%) reporting commitment to their current partner for a lifetime or “a long time.” These findings run counter to general expectations (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983; Eskridge, 1996) based on beliefs about women’s greater desires and capabilities compared to men in creating and maintaining intimacy and connection in intimate relationships.
Lesbian couples also have the highest rates of domestic violence. Higher than gay males, and much higher than married couples.
- A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.
- In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that slightly more than half of the lesbians reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner. The researchers found that “the most frequently indicated forms of abuse were verbal/emotional/psychological abuse and combined physical-psychological abuse.”
- A study of lesbian couples reported in the Handbook of Family Development and Intervention“indicates that 54 percent had experienced 10 or more abusive incidents, 74 percent had experienced six or more incidents, 60 percent reported a pattern to the abuse, and 71 percent said it grew worse over time.”
Liberal women and fear of commitment
So what causes liberal women do break commitments more than men, whether they are straight or gay? I think there is a reason and it is gender-specific, but it can be mitigated by male leadership and influence in the relationship. And here it is: liberal women think of relationships as being more about emotions and peer-approval than about planning, hard work and results. Liberal women have a notion about marriage being something that will allow them to live happily ever after – and be approved of (or envied) by their peers. Liberal women believe that it is their partner’s job to give them that, and if they don’t get it, then the relationship isn’t working, and can get jettisoned.
Studies have shown that liberal women have difficulty evaluating men to see if a man is suitable to perform traditional male duties in marriage. Typically, liberal women try to judge men based on how the man makes them feel. Having been raised to be feminists, they just don’t believe that men have any distinct “male” capabilities that they need to evaluate. Liberal women tend to believe that they can tell a man’s suitability for marriage by looking at his appearance, or by asking their liberal female friends what they think of the man. These standards are heavily influenced by the culture, as well – movies, TV, music, and so on.
Liberal women also don’t generally view marriage as a long-term enterprise that has definite goals that may differ from their own personal goals. Liberal women tend to rebel against strict moral boundaries and exclusive religious truth claims, because they restrain them from making relationships (with men or children) all about themselves. They have to be convinced to see the value of moral boundaries and religious truth claims, and they usually haven’t done the work themselves to have that capability. A strong male leader who is focused on moral and religious issues can mitigate the liberal female tendency towards narcissism, but liberal women tend to avoid such men as being “too strict” or “too controlling” – even if the leadership is to make the woman grow and get better.
Any structure or plan to the relationship is viewed with suspicion because it distracts from the goals of liberal women: feeling good and having social acceptance. That’s why young, unmarried liberal women marry people like Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Tiger Woods who know nothing about morality and religion. It’s not rational, but the lack of moral standards and religious truth claims makes them feel safe and autonomous. And that is more important than being led and having the safety of a man who takes morality and religion seriously. One lesbian I know recently told me that discussing morality and religion objectively should not be done because people with strong views on morality and religion are “too mean”.
It’s up to sensible, moral, religious men to come along and civilize these young, unmarried feminist-influenced liberal women. We need to cause them to think about what marriage really is, what marriage really requires from each partner, and what children really require from marriage. We need to push the engineering approach to marriage during the courtship phase, and wean them off of the crazy emotional vain selfish view of marriage. If men don’t lead liberal women during the courtship to think deeply and rationally about marriage, then liberal women will not be prepared or capable of commitment over the long-term. If a man doesn’t take the time during the courtship to lead and grow a woman before the wedding, he is taking chances with his future and the future of his children. Not to mention his service to God, which will be negatively impacted by a divorce. At the very least, there will be a financial loss that cuts off charitable giving. At the worst, the potential impact that a good marriage and good Christian children have for the Kingdom will be lost.