Men Without Full-Time Jobs Are 33% More Likely to Divorce

| Sep 5, 2016 | Divorce |


What causes marriages to crumble in Massachusetts? Each couple is a little different of course, but are there specific work and financial pressures that seem to have a bigger effect on the soundness of any given union than another?

A spate of new research says there might be. It’s employment, specifically male employment.

One new study of 6,300 heterosexual couples found that all other factors being equal, men who were not working full time were 33% more likely to divorce in the following 12 months than husbands who did have full time jobs. “Contemporary husbands face higher risk of divorce when they do not fulfill the stereotypical breadwinner role, by being employed full-time,” said the author of the study, Alexandra Killewald, a sociology professor at Harvard University.

This has changed in the last 40 years. For couples who were married before 1975, a husband who was not employed full time was less likely to divorce.

Those with money can afford to outsource many of the more unpleasant chores of home life and have more time for bonding leisure activities and vacations. Those who have fewer resources, meanwhile, have more difficult lives and also have to deal with the stress that money worries put on a relationship.

Another theory for the uptick in divorce is that women have a lot more financial independence, with degrees and careers and wealth of their own, and thus do not feel dependent on their spouse or their marriage for financial stability. Two thirds of divorces are initiated by women, even though their chances of remarrying are slimmer than their ex-spouses’.

What made the difference was the role each spouse played in the marriage. Pre-1975 wives who did 50% the housework were more likely to get divorced than those who did 75%, but now, there’s no difference.

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