When a couple gets married, the commitment they make is “‘till death do us part” – or, at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be. A study published in 2015, however, shows that “in sickness and in health” may not apply to everyone. They found that men are six times more likely to leave their wives after a terminal diagnosis than women are. (1)
Men More Likely To Leave Their Wives During Severe Illness
If you were to receive a devastating diagnosis – for example, cancer – who would you want around you supporting you? Likely your closest friends and family, and if you’re married, your spouse, right? After all, you made a commitment to love and support each other during all the peaks and valleys of life.
A study released by the American Sociological Association in 2015, however, found that not all spouses want to stick around through the journey that is a severe illness. They found that husbands, in particular, are six times more likely to leave their wives in these cases than women are to leave their husbands.
The researchers sampled 2,107 marriages from the Health and Retirement Study for their research. They examined the role of serious physical illness onset in the breakdown of marriages. They found that only wives coming down with severe or terminal illnesses are associated with an increased risk for divorce.
Not The Only Study
This is not the first study to find the same result. A 2009 study with the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine found that when a wife receives a cancer diagnosis the couple is six times more likely to get a divorce than if the husband does. The study notes that despite the strain that often a cancer diagnosis can put on a relationship, it seems to have a bigger impact when the female half is the affected person rather than the male. (2)
The results also showed that longer relationships seemed to be more solid, however, the older the woman was in this situation, the more likely her partner would leave her after diagnosis. The study wasn’t done randomly, either. The researchers looked into it because the doctors were noticing a trend in their clinics. Divorce was occurring almost exclusively when it was the wife with the diagnosis.