Filed under: Psychology — posted by Rose @ 12:31 pm
Loads of props to Psychology Today’s Living Single blog, an excellent source of pro-single advocacy courtesy of perennial BG faveBella DePaulo, Ph.D. One of their trusty commenters picked up on the singles-bashing embedded in this recent New York Times article about research out of Australia suggesting that married women may gain more weight than single women. The study in question, conducted over a ten-year period, found that whether or not they bear children, married women tend to pack on more pounds than their never-married counterparts.
It’s not the findings themselves that slant anti-single; it’s the totally facile, clueless quote that another (female) egghead, asked to comment on the study, got away with. I’ll let DePaulo sum up what sucks about it:
“Before I tell you her answer — which was just a guess — imagine what answer would have been proffered if it were the single women who got fatter. Probably that they are home alone sitting on their couches eating ice cream, in a desperate attempt to sugar-coat that bitter man-less taste in their mouths.”
Buh-zing, DePaulo. Here’s the real quote:
“‘It’s interesting and brings out some important points,’ said Maureen A. Murtaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah, who has published widely on weight gain in women. Perhaps, she suggested, a more active social life may help explain why women with partners gain more weight.”
Marrieds have more active social lives? Don’t people usually assume the other way around? Oh wait, I get it… because singles, mortified of revealing their grotesque, table-for-one faces in public, eat tear-soggy dinners under the covers of their twin-sized Murphy beds.
“‘Think of going to a restaurant,’ Dr. Murtaugh said. ‘They serve a 6-foot man the same amount as they serve me, even though I’m 5 feet 5 inches and 60 pounds lighter.’”
Okay, I’m thinking of that… that has nothing to do with being married. And btw, way to sneak in an elbow jab toward us glamazonly-tall girls. And also btw, I’m married, not incapable of asking for a doggie bag when I judge that titanic slab of man-meat I’ve just been served too much for my delicate belly.
As the blog entry notes about studies of marriage in general: “Even when marrying has a bad* effect, it will be attributed to something good.” Lots more juicy stuff here.
*Ever non-fat-phobic, we’d stop short of saying that gaining weight always = “bad.” But point still taken.
Used to be that when the issue of “green” came up in a relationship, someone had a jealousy problem. But now the New York Times reports that therapists are seeing a growing number of couples with serious disagreements about how far they should go to save the environment. What’s a couple to do when one wants to consume, consume, consume and the other wants to reduce, reuse and recycle?
In my own life, I’ve found myself too environmentally conscious for some and not enough for others. What it really comes down to is clear communication and the ability to gauge whether or not different values equal dealbreakers. Since I am not married, the extent to which I choose to be environmentally conscious is already a part of the whole package; slight variations in the size of our collective footprint are negotiable. Basically, I choose my battles if I really like someone.
As family and marriage therapist Linda Buzzell tells the Times, “The danger arises when one partner undergoes an environmental ‘waking up’ process way before the other, leaving a new values gap between them.” The article makes it sound as if for those already married, this is akin to someone suddenly finding God (and being married to a heathen). While it can be that dramatic in terms of thought process and lifestyle, it can also be explained as just an aspect of personal growth — which is natural over time and especially over the course of a marriage. My question is whether the problems couples are experiencing stem more from an inability to stay connected and cope with personal growth on any level (whether that takes the form of a new environmental consciousness or an interest in hot rods) or if we are looking to scapegoat Mother Nature?
Robert Brulle, a professor of environment and sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said that he himself has seen this issue break up a marriage. Typically, “One still wants to live the American dream with all that means, and the other wants to give up on big materialistic consumption, “ he says. “Those may not be compatible.” Maybe it’s time to find a new American Dream and give healthy marriages and a healthy environment a place to grow within it.
Coda: Have you ever grappled over greenness? Share or opine in the comments!
Through the insights gleaned from these candid chats, Greenwald, a professional yenta and dating coach, became a staunch advocate of third-party “exit interviews” for both men and women who have been blown off after one or two dates and desire some useful info about what might have gone wrong. She likens these post-mortems to performance reviews at work, and thinks they are the key to discovering potentially stymieng blind spots about one’s own dating behavior. Recently Greenwald has begun training others to become professional“exit interviewers.” Here’s what she had to say in an INTERVIEWinterview with BreakupGirl.net:
Why do you think it’s helpful to know why someone didn’t call you back, as opposed to just letting go and moving on?
Rachel Greenwald: Well, it’s like anything in life. Feedback improves your performance going forward. It’s a tool. You could be doing something like sending the wrong signal, or giving the wrong impression, and…not getting the results that you want. If only someone could coach you about how you were perceived and what went wrong, you could use that information to change things and get better results next time.
Do you think most people being “exit interviewed” are going to be honest?
The joke used to be that some women went to college to get their M.R.S. — that is, a husband. In sheer economic terms, marriage was long the best way for a woman to get ahead. But a study by the Pew Research Center finds that there’s been a role reversal when it comes to men, women and the economics of marriage.[Emphasis added by fascinated superhero.]
The study compares marriages in 2007 with those in 1970, when few wives worked — and it’s no wonder why. Until 1964, a woman could legally be fired when she got married. Even a woman with a college degree likely made less than a man with a high-school diploma.
“When you think about it from a guy’s perspective, marriage wasn’t such a great deal,” says Richard Fry of the Pew Research Center. “It raised a household size, but it didn’t bring in a lot more income.”
Four decades later, it’s men who are reaping rewards from a stroll down the aisle. Many more women are now working, and in a greater variety of jobs. Add to that the decline of gender discrimination, and women’s median wages have risen sharply in recent decades* even as men’s have remained stagnant or fallen.
On top of this — for the first time ever among those age 44 and younger —- more women than men have college degrees.
The Pew study also finds that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be married. It didn’t used to be that way.
It’s all turned the marriage market on its head.
“We found that increasingly, women are more likely to marry husbands who have lower education levels than they do, and lower income levels than they do,” says D’Vera Cohn of the Pew Research Center. From 1970 to 2007, husbands whose wives earned more than they did jumped from 4 percent to 22 percent.
/snip/ “I think [the notion that men "should" earn more] is really an example of an outdated idea,” says Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. Coontz says that in a 1967 poll, two-thirds of women said they’d consider marrying a man they did not love if he had good earnings potential.
“Now, women have a completely different point of view,” Coontz says. “They say overwhelmingly — 87 percent — that it’s more important to have a man who can communicate well, who can be intimate and who will share the housework than to have someone who makes more money than you do.”
The numbers might be there, but the man-earn-money culture isn’t yet.
“The tension really surrounds this notion of, ‘I’m the man, so I should be providing,’ ” says Steven Holmes, a freelance photographer in Northern California. He makes far less than his wife, a business adviser for IBM, and often finds himself holding back in discussions about spending money.
“Because I have this guilt that I feel like I am not an equal partner,” Holmes says, “I will let her make the decision, even though I might have had a different opinion.”
While some still wonder how anyone (especially perhaps a feminist) could still, um, buy into such an outmoded patriarchal model in which women are basically property, well, look how — measurably — far we’ve come. But on an individual-couple level, it’s fascinating to me that what seems to persist is this pay-to-play notion that one’s say in the relationship is weighted by income. Tell me, readers: to what degree has this been your experience? And, bonus question, how much does it annoy you that even NPR calls higher-earning women Sugar Mamas?
* Of course, women still make only 77 cents to a man’s dollar and are more likely to take time off from or cut back on work to take care of children.
Increased focus on–and longer trajectories of–career development
It’s an interesting topic. Among my own friends–many of whom have been married and divorced at least once–the major obstacle to marriage seems to be disenchantment with the institution itself, although I’ve also noticed that even the vehement nay-sayers seem to soften around the issue when their partners want to get hitched. It seems that, even if individuals are ambivalent about making it legal, our society as a whole is still pretty fixated on the idea–or else books like Ms Seligson’s would not exist.
I turn to you, reader: Is there a real difference between living together (or dating someone long-term without cohabitating) and getting married? If so, what do you think it is? And has that made you more, or less, interested in marriage?
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:34 am
MSN.com, Match.com, HappenMagazine.com: they’re in a healthy and satisfying 3-way relationship. Meaning that you can find MSN/Match.com’s “Ask Lynn” columns –penned by BG’s alter ego — over at Happen now as well.
This week Lynn answers a gal who Needs a European Vacation because she’s crushing hard on a German athlete who was only in town for a few weeks.
He’s a professional European basketball star — 6’5”, 8-pack — with an MBA in business finance. I shouldn’t need to get over him, because technically, I’ve never been under him. But I still can’t seem to shake the fantasy, and it’s driving me nuts.
Filed under: Advice, News — posted by Chris @ 3:21 pm
Have you ever lied that you have cancer to get out of a relationship? What if the relationship is already pretty out-there, as in the case of the 19-year-old lad dating the wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister? Young Kirk McCambley told Mrs. Robinson (yep, that’s her name!) he had testicular cancer to end the affair.
“A white lie that is okay to tell is one where what you are really doing is trying to preserve the other person’s feelings. A whopper is where you’re just trying to not even deal with this at all. You’re trying to save yourself,” says Lynn Harris, co-founder of the relationship advice website BreakupGirl.net.
Read the article here and tell us your own breakup whoppers!