By Angelica Bottaro

There once was a time when women weren’t allowed to divorce. Then, laws changed that granted them the ability to leave their husbands, but it was a difficult process and usually only allowed in provable cases of adultery.

Even when laws had been passed allowing women to leave their partners for any reason, they were often looked at as less than valuable for being someone’s ex-wife. Thankfully, quite a lot has changed since then, but just because women have the same divorce rights as men, it doesn’t mean that the process is any easier.

There is still a huge stigma surrounding women who choose to divorce their husbands, for whatever reason the case may be. The old adage of standing by your man is still in full effect in many circles, and I, for one, can’t understand it.

Divorce Brings On Shame

People who face divorce feel as though they failed, and that feeling of inadequacy can make them feel ashamed. Did they do enough to save the marriage? Were they that bad of a spouse?

Marriage is a traditional act, and those old-world resentments towards the brutal end of a nuptial agreement seem to be going strong even in our advanced culture. A study conducted in the United Kingdom found that most tried to fix their marriages before getting divorced. Break-ups are tough, there’s no getting around that, but feeling like a failure when a bad marriage ends shouldn’t be the norm.

When bringing in the religious aspect of things, then those feelings get even worse. But why in a society where over 40% of all marriages end up in splitsville are women made to answer for their choices to leave their partner?

The Perfect Example Of A Woman At The Mercy Of Public Opinion 

Getting divorced puts women in the limelight. What did your spouse do to deserve such a horrible fate? For example, Cardi B and husband Offset were recently in the news for her decision to leave him. The glaring problem was that she was the one dealing with all the questions, concerns, and backlash from fans and the scathing online community.

She faced a lot of hate and criticism but then decided to get back with him. After publicly deciding to reconcile her marriage, she is facing even more criticism. It’s like no matter what women do, they cannot win. So this really begs the question, why are women the ones with all the divorce hate?

Old Societal Norms Are Still In Full Effect 

When a woman gets divorced, the onus is always on her to explain what happened and why she couldn’t stick it out. She’s barraged with questions and concerned looks that scream, “What are you going to do now that you’re not married?”

The whole idea that women need to marry to be valuable should have died a long time ago, but it still seems as though we’re all considered as less if we are unwed over 30. The worst part about it is that a lot of women who go through a divorce don’t even want to.  They fight tooth and nail to keep that relationship going because it’s ingrained in us to make things work no matter how challenging. You made the bed you got to lie in it, right? Wrong!

It’s Really None Of Anyone’s Business 

It seems to be a chicken or egg situation. Is society making women feel guilty and inadequate for getting divorced? And then are those personal feelings responsible for keeping the stigma alive? Personally, I still think that society is to blame. No one gets married with the intention to separate. It’s a big deal, so it’s no wonder that many people are opting out of marriage altogether.

The very obvious truth is that it’s no one’s business whether or not a woman wants to get divorced. People always seem to think that their opinion on the matter of someone else’s love life holds more weight than how that person is feeling themselves. Pressure from family, friends and acquaintances or society shouldn’t be a factor at all when it comes to deciding whether a woman wants to leave an unhappy situation.

The Bottom Line

The fact that women still have to answer to the masses for their choice to divorce is just another piece of proof that society has a long way to go before it can truly say that inequality for the sexes is a thing of the past. Being able to choose who you love, and who you don’t have to love anymore, should be a very personal and private decision.

If you’re unhappy with your marriage and have done all you can to fix the problems before throwing in the towel, there’s no shame in ending it. Starting over is a lot harder than sticking it out. Taking control of your happiness is nothing short of pure valour.