THE DIVORCE EXPERIENCES OF WOMEN AND MEN IN ISTANBUL

Abstract

Author(s): Tebrike KAYA

This study focuses on the reasons for divorce among men and women in Istanbul, using qualitative research methods, particularly in-depth interviews. I examine the divorce experiences of women and men in terms of economics and gender and explain how financial conditions, gender roles and individual differences affected their divorce. My findings show that what was described with the legal term “irreconcilable differences” by divorced men and women was a result of accumulated problems in different areas. One of the findings of my study was that the financial situation of men in particular played an important role in both the beginning and break-up of marriages. In addition, when my male and female interlocutors were ranked according to income at the time of their marriage, similarities in the reasons for divorce emerged in all income groups: financial problems, family-related problems and sexual issues. However, the women and men in the different income groups were affected by these issues in different ways; they also discussed and interpreted them differently. Differences in gender roles led to different reasons for divorce given. For instance, only women cited being cheated on and/or irresponsibility as a reason for divorce, while only men said they got divorced because their wives “tried to change” them or were jealous, or because there was no more “excitement” in the marriage.

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