Why does illness increase the odds of divorce?

A serious illness, such as cancer or a stroke, could lead to a divorce. It doesn’t happen in all cases, of course, but studies have found that there is a particular increase in the risk of divorce, especially when women are the ones who are sick. This is not always mirrored when men are the ones who are sick.

You can infer from this that it is more likely that men will leave their wives when they become ill. At the root of the matter, that is why illness increases the odds of divorce. But why does this happen?

The dynamics in the relationship change

A big part of it is just that the relationship dynamics change. Rather than feeling like a couple who is there to support one another, the healthy spouse may start to feel like they are just a caretaker for the sick spouse. And, even though the marriage vows tend to say that they’ll stay together in sickness and in health, what this shows is that staying together through a serious illness is not always that easy.

Although relationship roles have changed a bit in modern times, the traditional view has been that women tend to take care of the home and take care of children. Men, on the other hand, tend to spend their time working and financially supporting the family.

Now, this is not to say that all relationships should have this structure, but just that some men may be more likely to expect that type of relationship. An illness can change the roles so that they don’t feel like they are in the type of relationship they originally planned for, and that may make them more likely to file for divorce, whereas women do not see the same change.

In any case, if your spouse does file for divorce, be very sure you know about all of the legal options at your disposal.