Woman over 40 in a car wearing a chic neck scarf
Woman over 40 in a car wearing a chic neck scarf© Photo: KIRAYONAK YULIYA / shutterstock 

According to statistics from Divorce.com, 69% of all divorces are filed by women. That is more than double the number of divorces filed by men.

Furthermore, for every 1000 people married in their 40s, 24 of them file for divorce. In their 50s, 12 out of 1000 file, and in their 60s, 10 out of 1000.

For people over 50, the divorce rate has doubled since 1990. But why does this happen? What causes those women over 40 to leave their husbands?

There are many reasons, but one particularly harsh reason I'd like to spend some time with:

Men and women evolve emotionally in ways that ultimately make them incompatible. 

I'm sure this feels harsh, so before we continue, I want to note that nothing in this article is a generalized indictment of men. It is my perspective on why this phenomenon happens, backed by facts so that people can find awareness before they make big changes. 

I know that sometimes this is not a popular opinion, but I believe that men and women fundamentally different in how they interact with the world. This is not to say that anyone should be held back due to these differences, or that there aren't men and women who break the mold. These are generalizaitons, but generalizing can often be helpful when we're talking about tough societal and relational issues — as long as we recognize that these observations are not a rule that applies to all individuals.

In general, women tend to be more emotionally interactive from a young age than men. An article from the Conversation.com states the following:

"Recent research suggests that these differences are not just social but also in the brain. In numerous studies, females score higher than males in standard emotion recognition, social sensitivity, and empathy tests.

Neuroimaging studies have investigated these findings further and discovered that females utilize more areas of the brain containing mirror neurons than males when they process emotions. Mirror neurons allow us to experience the world from other people’s perspectives and to understand their actions and intentions."

Throughout their lives, I believe that women exercise those parts of their brain that make them more easily able to process their emotions and those of others regularly. Conversely, men don’t regularly use that part of their brain, and, as a result, their ability to process emotions is stunted in many ways.

As the years pass, these differences can significantly affect any relationship. A couple's inability to communicate their emotions with themselves and others lead to women evolving in one direction and men in another.

So how does this difference in emotional evolution lead to divorce? There are a few reasons.

RELATED: 4 Signs It's High Time To Get Out Of Your Relationship — And Fast

Here are five harsh, emotional reasons women over 40 leave their husbands

1. Disconnection.

Men and women process their emotions differently, leading to disconnection. For women, processing emotions is very important and is something they are very good at doing.

However, men aren’t as good at it, so they often shy away from emotional processing, leaving their wives feeling abandoned. As a result, women often turn away from their husbands and toward other women to process what is happening in their lives.

I know that when I was married, my friends had a lot more awareness about the struggles in our marriage than my husband did. They were open to listening to what I was dealing with and helping me to understand why. They even helped me recognize how I might be able to change things, a plan that I, unfortunately, never implemented.

Instead of connecting with what was going on in our marriage, my husband and I ran our family. We took care of the kids, worked, did chores and errands, and had occasional date nights and occasional sex. We didn’t address what was happening in our marriage.

And that, for me, was the kiss of death. Being unable to process with my husband caused a disconnect we could never overcome.

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Marriage (Before It Leads To Divorce)

2. Breakdown of communication

Communication is the foundation on which a marriage is built. When communication breaks down, a marriage can fall apart. And I believe the difference in emotional evolution between men and women can destroy that breakdown.

Women, mostly, love to communicate. They like to talk about their hopes and dreams, live events, children, things they see and feel, and whatever else pops into their heads.

Men, mostly, find communication more difficult. While they have hopes and dreams, they don’t often verbalize them. They can talk about any sports statistic with expertise, but sharing how they feel about anything is more challenging.

As a result, it seems that men and women speak two different languages in many ways. And if one person speaks in Italian and another in French, the chances of being misunderstood are significant.

The key to preventing these misunderstandings is learning to speak each other’s language, which is often difficult and something that many men are very hesitant to do. I believe not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know how.

RELATED: What Do Women Crave? A Couple's Therapist Tells All

3. Fear of change

This is, I believe, a huge part of why the different emotional evolutions of men and women lead women over 40 to tend to leave their husbands. Because if they are at different stages of emotional development, their interests diverge.

If there is one trend that I have noticed with my women friends and clients, it’s that, at this age, they are very curious about the world. For them, after many years of being focused on raising a family and running a household, now being given the freedom to pick up their heads and look around that make this happen is a gift.

Women in their 40s tend to try new things. They take pottery classes or take up running or dye their hair red. They make new friends, maybe switch careers, wanting to shake things up and make things interesting. They are looking forward to and leaning into this next stage of their lives.

In her 1998 book “Understanding Men’s Passages: Discovering the New Map of Men’s Lives,” Gaily Sheehy posits:

Many men 40 and over are having a harder time today making a satisfying passage into the second half of their lives than are most women. Why? Women feel pangs over losing their youth. Men feel dread.”

She says many men may not equate change with growth but with loss, giving up, and failing.

In an article on CNN, Patrick Wanis, a human behavior expert and relationship expert, theorizes “that men and women have different comfort levels with change and aging in part because of biology.”

“A female starts facing change from a very young age; men have a lot less change in their body,” said Wanis. “That, therefore, changes the way women perceive life because they see things in cycles, they see things as changing, they expect change, and then they embrace change.”

When one partner is stuck and scared of change, and the other embraces change and wants to fly, a relationship can be seriously damaged, and a marriage can end.

RELATED: 4 Brave Women Revel the Real Reason They Left Their Husbands

4. Discomfort with seeking help

Because men are uncomfortable with change, they are often uncomfortable getting help.

Research shows that women are way more likely than men to get help around any issues they might struggle with. As a result, these issues can become increasingly destructive for him as an individual and in his marriage. Unfortunately, this disinterest in seeking help to make the change and to deal with issues can be the death knell of any marriage.

Most women actively seek to deal with their personal issues, and many want professional couples counseling before they walk away from their marriage. Because many men are uncomfortable seeking help, destructive issues won’t be addressed and sometimes forces a woman to leave.

5. Divergence of interests

Because of the fact that men and women evolve emotionally as they age, many couples find that their interests diverge. Things they might have shared as interests when they were young aren’t necessarily those they share after 40.

A specific example of this is travel. I can’t tell you how many women I know who are over 40 want to travel. They want to escape their mundane life, get out there, and see and experience new things.

I can’t tell you how many men I know who are over 40 and have no interest in traveling. Many of them tell me that they have spent their lives outside of their homes, providing financially for their families, giving up their hobbies because of their chaotic lives, and losing touch with what they have always wanted to do.

As a result, many want to stay close to home, doing the things they love, often with no interest in doing new and different things.

For women, travel can represent transformation. They travel to reflect on who they are in the world, to consider how to make a change, and on how to live their best lives. Authors Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert shared their life-changing travels with millions of women, inspiring many to embark on their adventures.

Unfortunately, these divergent interests can make it hard for a couple to stay in a relationship.

A client of mine recently got married and learned that her new husband was willing to travel but would do so grudgingly. She is trying to figure out if she can do this, stay married to a man who doesn’t have the same passion as she does.

How do we change this dynamic? How do we not let the differences in emotional evolution destroy a marriage? Marriage might be saved if both couple members accept and embrace their differences and work together to make a change.

It might not be easy, but I believe it is possible! You can do it!