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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Men and women: opposites in marriage and all other things


How do you keep a relationship exciting and fulfilling? If I could answer that question, I would be very comfortably off indeed and probably writing this on my own island, sipping a glass of wine from my own French vineyard.

I don’t know how many times I have spoken to a man or woman going through a divorce who can’t really put their finger on what is wrong, just that they don’t want to be with their other half any more. They struggle to come up with issues to include in the divorce petition. Unreasonable behaviour may be the core ground for divorce, but allegations to back it up can be thin to say the least, anything from “leaving the toilet seat up” to “she never walks the dog”.

However, in my experience, there has not been a clear distinction between men and women around who is more likely to get bored first, so I was interested to read the findings of a study out last week. It showed women are more likely to become bored in a marriage than men – but men are quicker to tire out of wedlock. Just think about that for a minute. Is that telling us then that men are the more committed partners? Or that women are more content to stay out of wedlock? Or both, and many other things besides? I think you could probably spin it any way you want.

The Daily Mail reports that for the study, 88 couples – including one who had been married for 36 years – were asked about their relationship. The answers included nearly 70 varying descriptions of boredom. A second group was then asked to pick from the list of descriptions with “dull” being the most common answer picked to describe their own relationships.

Another unsurprising result from researcher Beverley Fehr, of the University of Winnipeg in Canada, was that in many cases marriage was seen as more boring than dating. The report doesn’t give too much more detail so I cannot drill down into the intricacies of different answers between men and women, and substantiate the claim made at the start that men are more bored outside of marriage, but it is food for thought isn’t it?. Traditional stereotypes might suggest women are more disposed towards marriage than men (sweeping generalisation, I know, but would you disagree?) Men would tend to be happier to go with the flow and co-habit without feeling the need to go further. This study would seem to fly in the face of this, with men bored in open-ended relationships while women feel life becomes more dull in a marriage.

Does this give us any pointers on how we can help couples be happier, whether they are married or cohabiting? I don’t think so. It just highlights again that men are in one place and women in another.

Andrew Woolley
Family Solicitor

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