Women happier than men after divorce, study shows

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Rather than feeling devastated at the end of their marriage, women are more likely to see the split as a fresh start but their former husbands remain stressed and unhappy even years after they receive their decree absolute.

Men are twice as likely as women to feel suicidal about their divorce, the survey of more than 3,000 people for the Yorkshire Building Society found.

More than 150,000 couples divorce every year in Britain, and two out of three marriages fail. The people in the survey were divided into two groups, those who had divorced in the past two years and those who had been divorced longer.

More than half (53 per cent) of the women who had divorced in the past two years said they were relieved, compared to only 46 per cent of the men. Four out of 10 women said they felt liberated, but only a third of men eperienced the similar emotion.

Men had double the level of suicidal feelings, with 7 per cent saying they had considered taking their own lives. Former husbands were also far more likely than former wives to experience feelings of sadness, confusion and betrayal.

More than half the men (56 per cent) said they felt sad at the failure of their union but only 45 per cent of women felt that way.

Even years after divorce, men were still more likely than women to feel unhappy, with 41 per cent of long-time divorced males saying they felt sad compared to a third of their female counterparts. A quarter of the longer-term ex-husbands retained a sense of betrayal, but 80 per cent of women felt no such emotion.

Six out of 10 women spent more time with their friends and family, but men were twice as likely to have casual sex, call an old flame or join a dating agency.

Rachel Court, head of mortgages at the Yorkshire Building Society, said: "The differences are startling. Women simply appear to be stronger than men through a break-up and after." The building society is offering a "Fresh Start" mortgage tailored to people coming out of a messy break-up or divorce.