Marriage can be hard, and military life can be even harder. Put them together, and things can get really tough. Eventually, the strains mean that something has got to give, and frequently that means that a military marriage ends. But for women in the military, it gets even worse: they are more than twice as likely to divorce as men in the military.
Enlisted women are closer to three times more likely to divorce than enlisted men, and female service members divorce at a higher rate than civilian women.
Approximately 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in roles ranging from helicopter pilots to police officers. Last year, 7.8% of women in the military got a divorce, compared with 3% of military men, according to Pentagon statistics. Among the military’s enlisted corps, nearly 9% of women saw their marriages end, compared with a little more than 3% of the men.
Divorce always has negative consequences, but for military women, a divorce often represents a breaking point. It may even put them at greater risk for homelessness when they leave the military.
Military kids suffer too. Florida military divorce attorneys note that there have been thirty thousand single mothers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
So why are military women more prone to divorce? Some observers believe that even thought there is a fair amount of equality in their military roles, women are still facing very high expectations when it comes to their family roles. In most situations, men do not face the same expectations.
Another analysis, though, says that more traditional men join the military, whereas women who go the military route are less conventional, and may be less willing to stay in a bad marriage.
There is another factor at work: half of the married women in the military are married to a fellow service member, but only ten percent of the married men are married to fellow service members. The strains of military life are twice as strong in marriages with both spouses serving. Since women are more frequently in this situation, women are more frequently divorced.