Ever since an economic study in 2003 revealed that couples with a daughter are five percent more likely to divorce – and that the risk for divorce goes up with each additional daughter – psychologists have been trying to explain the reason for the phenomenon. Now, one expert says the question being asked has been the wrong one.
According to University of Notre Dame psychology professor Anita E. Kelly, the question is not why men stay in marriages with sons, which has been the way many researchers have approached the “why” behind the statistic. It’s why do women with daughters leave marriages more than women with sons?
After all, Kelly says, divorce statistics show that in 73 percent of failed marriages, it is the wife who leaves the husband. She also said studies have shown that adult sons add more to the daily workload of their parents, while adult daughters lessen the workload.
So her take on the statistic, as outlined in an article in Psychology Today, is that daughters provide their mothers with more and better social and emotional support than sons. In other words, women may be less likely to stay with their husbands because they know that with a girl, they will not be lonely and will have help around the house and decide they do not need their husbands as much.