According to recent research women who received big promotions were more likely to get divorced. Researchers examined men and women employed by private businesses with 100 employees or more and found that married women were twice as likely to divorce three years after a CEO-level promotion when compared to male colleagues.
Additionally, researchers examined three decades of worker records in the public sector and found women elected to public office were almost twice as likely to divorce following a successful election. Female physicians, members of law enforcement, and clergy who earned major promotions also followed the trend.
Researchers believe post-promotion tension and conflict could be to blame. When couples experience a radical shift in roles, it could cause problems. From a decrease in time spent together to a change in division of household tasks, promotions can introduce stress, especially where gender norms are involved.
It is still seen as quite unusual for men to be the main supportive spouse in someone else's career. Typically husbands find the transition more difficult than their wives, and that the labor market has traditionally lagged behind gender equality. And unfortunately, this norm changing is pretty far off.
Things that come part and parcel with CEO status can put a strain on relationships as well. Long hours in the office, a high profile in the community, and constant travel might make it difficult for some couples to manage. Other times, husbands may become concerned about the perceived power balance in their relationship.
Men today often find it intriguing in the beginning and want to be seen to support you and root for you which is a very positive thing but a few steps down the line, when reality kicks in, it can be more difficult for men to deal with.
The joke amongst successful women is: "The better you do at work, the more likely you are going to get a divorce."
But luckily, women can decrease the chance of this occurring at the height of their career - they must simply choose the right partner. For centuries, American women have lived in a society where their best route to the top 1% is to marry rich, according to 2019 research published in the American Sociological Review. And because the gap hasn't narrowed in over 20 years, we've taught women to find the most successful husband possible. But for high-status women, other prerequisites might be more optimal, such as seeking out a partner closer in age for a more egalitarian relationship.
This idea is supported by the researchers, which found divorces following career boosts were most common in marriages where the wife was younger by a large margin and took a larger amount of maternity leave. Couples similar in age are actually much less likely to get divorced and enjoy a more egalitarian outlook on spousal roles. As a result, these couples were less likely to seek a divorce post-promotion.
Creating long-term goals and expectations is another good way to avoid potential marriage problems post-promotion. Men should discuss their own long-term career goals with their spouse and go over any issues with a marriage counselor. This can help couples troubleshoot common challenges that arise after women are promoted. Sometimes, simply being aware of these issues can save a marriage.
Other times, a relationship has legitimately failed and divorce becomes absolutely necessary. After all, according to another study, divorce is more common in parts of the world with a higher degree of gender equality. Custody arrangements and shifting social norms have made divorce a more viable option for working women, and it is often for the best. While it can be a long, difficult process, in these cases divorce is often the only option for both parties to achieve happiness.
And if you do choose divorce, you should know you're not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, about 40 to 50% of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.
Society has grown to become more accepting of divorce because it can indeed be a positive experience. Most divorcees never regret getting a divorce, and the vast majority describe the experience as "liberating."
Regardless, it's good to have a plan for coping with the divorce process. Create a daily schedule for yourself and sticking to it. This will help provide a sense of consistency that is key during stressful and uncertain times. Also, consulting with a licensed mental healthcare provider as soon as possible to explore your options. Keeping a level head during this highly emotional and personal time will help you get the best results out of your divorce.
Know your options, and no matter what you decide, be sure to consult with a legal and mental health professional, practice self-care, and don't look back.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.