More lesbians get divorced than gay men but we have no idea why

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Lesbians are almost five times more likely to get divorced than gay men according to new statistics.

Official figures from The Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that 112 same-sex couples separated last year, in comparison to more than 100,000 straight couples.

Of those 112, more than three quarters were among female couples – meaning women were five times more likely to end up splitting.

However, while male couples were more likely to stick it out, there was still a rise in divorces, with the total number up from 22 in 2015, to 112 last year.

Same-sex marriage was only legalised in the United Kingdom in 2014, though couples in Nothern Ireland still can’t legally tie the knot. For this reason, it was only the second year stats on same-sex marriages had been included.

Civil partnerships had been introduced in 2004, but many protested against the weaker protections and differences to marriage.

The analysis included those who had converted civil partnerships to marriages, as well as those who’d said their vows abroad.

The average age for gay couples divorcing last year was just over 40 for men and 38 for women, with men who divorced having been married for 4.6 years and women 2.2.

The most common grounds for divorce was ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

Couples kiss at the conclusion of an Illegal Wedding

Couples kiss at the conclusion of an Illegal Wedding at the State Library of Victoria during a Rally For Marriage Equality on August 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

“This is the second year that divorces among same-sex couples have been possible since the introduction of marriages of same-sex couples in March 2014,” explained Nicola Haines of the ONS.

“Our latest marriage figures show that of the 4,850 marriages formed between same-sex couples in 2014, 56% were female couples.

“In 2016, there were 112 divorces among same-sex couples, with female couples accounting for 78% of these.”

While many countries across the globe have now moved in the direction of progress, many are still to legalise same-sex unions.

Australia, for example, is currently holding a non-binding postal vote on whether to introduce the unions.

More than two-thirds of the country is thought to have voted so far, with the yes campaign though to be winning.


Other countries which have legalised same-sex marriage include Canada, Belgium, and Finland.