Career Women Beware!

The recent flurry of blogs, online magazine articles, tv and radio rants, and the rewriting of research statistics and history prompted by Forbes.com's Tuesday column originally titled "Don't Marry Career Women" has been so enthralling that Brian Reid and I both had to weigh in for today's Free For All.

Leslie:

The bad news: a smart, well-educated senior editor (Michael Noer) at a prestigious national magazine (Forbes) is so utterly out-of-touch with the 80 million moms and 63 million working women in the United States that he wrote an article titled "Don't Marry Career Women" for Forbes.com. A few choice phrases: "Guys: a word of advice...whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career. ... Recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it."

By the way, Noer defines "a career girl" (his term) as anyone making more than $30,000 a year and working more than 35 hours a week. He goes on to cherry-pick and rephrase findings from various studies, some credible and some not, to support his opinion that "wives' employment does correlate positively to divorce rates" and that you should not let your wife work because "when your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they'll meet someone they like more than you."

Apparently we've boomeranged back to Donna Reed's time in history.

The good news: Women (and at least a couple men) across the country howled on blogs and online magazines like Salon.com about how retro and ridiculous the article was. And Forbes heard us roar: They took down the article almost immediately, lowered the prominence of the obnoxious headline and added a woman's counterpoint. Maybe not quite enough punishment for Noer (who, in February, also wrote a lovely Forbes piece comparing wives and prostitutes as economic substitues akin to Coke and Pepsi in The Economics of Prostitution) but it's a start.

Brian:

Give Michael Noer credit: He is concise. In the span of only a few hundred words, he demonizes career women as marriage-wreckers, claims women are better suited to "specialize" in household work and leaves readers with the impression that Forbes-reading career men are retrograde clods. No one is left unscathed And that's in the watered-down version. The original piece that Forbes pulled down was even more can't-look awful.

It's almost impossible to know where to start -- I could fill the page just ranting against Noer's insulting misuse of statistics, but let me instead apologize on behalf of my gender and assure you that we don't think that way. Noer's argument rests on the assumption that guys don't actually want balance. They want to do "market work" and leave all of the "non-market work" to the ladies. But this doesn't reflect what new fathers believe anymore. If you look at any analysis of Gen X and Gen Y workers and fathers (the ones getting married and having babies nowadays), they are much more interested in getting family and work time in the right proportions. Getting that balance involves doing what Noer calls "non-market work." I call it "playground time." And don't tell Noer, but it's a blast.

So the topic for today: Are some people simply clueless? Or do you see collusion in high-profile "studies" that chastize women who step out -- in any way -- from the traditional financially-dependent-on-someone stereotype of American womanhood? How have you been impacted by men or women in various positions of power who had no idea about the problems you face in your attempts to juggle work and family? And, of course, add your comments to ours on the Forbes package.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  August 25, 2006; 6:40 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts , Division of Labor , Free-for-All
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The main fault of his article is that it assumes men want a woman who doesn't cheat, who won't divorce him, who likes to raise kids, etc. My what crazy assumptions!!! (tongue in cheek) And just what was wrong with his statistics? Not all career women cheat, divorce, etc, but the probablities are higher for career vs noncareer women. Please stop hanging the man for looking at statistics and stating a few correlations. Maybe the offended career women speaking out are the ones who feel guilt.

Posted by: Realitycheck | August 25, 2006 7:33 AM

Noer's article is ridiculous. Although I do find humor in his last paragraph caveat of correlation and causation even if it is too little too late. I wonder if that was in the first printing??
I really don't know what era he thinks we live in. I'm recently married, my wife makes nearly twice what I do in salary and neither of us could care less because when we said "I do" a little less than a month ago, everything each of us had ceased to be mine or hers and became ours.
Who knows what life will bring for us in the long term. I'd love to have her career skyrocket and I'll be the stay at home dad. I'd love for both our careers to skyrocket and figure out how to raise kids when we have them if that is how it happens. It doesn't matter. I'm in love with her as my equal and as my partner.
Noer seems to want a subservient 19th century wife. I'm sure he'd argue that he's being a bit misconstrued, but I can't imagine one woman with an ounce of self-respect reading that article and not feel like Noer is overtly condescending. Even in my limited marital experience I know that is not a path to a happy marriage. Of course the ultimate irony should be that all the career women Noer speaks of are educated enough to simply get a good chuckle from this article while they sip their morning coffee, then kiss their kids and husband goodbye and head off to work after exchanging, "I love yous"

Posted by: Ryan | August 25, 2006 7:35 AM

What a tempest in a teapot. The world is full of sexist pigs, and some of them write for major magazines. It is so easy to get attention these days -- all you have to do is stand up and make an extreme statement, and then the American public does the rest for you.

Posted by: Hmmm | August 25, 2006 7:36 AM

Sounds like Noer wants women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, instead of as equals in both their private and professional lives.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 7:38 AM

Re the article and such purveyors, the _Sixth Sense_ modified quote applies.

I see STUPID PEOPLE.......they are out there, every day...walking around....like real people....they don't know they are STUPID PEOPLE.......


Ignore them.
Be glad for the contrast, meaning YOU ARE NOT THEM. Reminds of FO3's list of opposites and the Kung-Fu moments in response)

But, be aware of your own stupidness, and work to check that at the door.

Brian is right (and as evidence would have it, not STUPID): the pricelessness of "work" not measured in the marketplace.


Posted by: College Parkian | August 25, 2006 7:43 AM

ok.

a. how is a woman supposed to support HERSELF without a career? In my world, working usually comes before marriage, there aren't many 18 year olds getting married these days.

b. aren't two salaries better than one anyways?

c. maybe the reason career women divorce at greater rates is that we have the resources to do so. its not as scary to leave a bad relationship if you can support yourself, afford a lawyer etc. maybe those non career women are stuck because of circumstance, and not choice.

Posted by: for the love of.... | August 25, 2006 7:47 AM

I'm not sure that Noer should be the one being attacked her - like the above poster said, all he did was present the statistics uncovered by the studies.

" All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases--if, for example, both spouses have careers--the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. "

This makes a lot of sense, I think.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 7:55 AM

I read this article expecting to hate it and instead found it very interesting. But then again, I've never been someone to shy away from a differing opinion or to reject ideas solely because they differ from my preconceived notions.

It's obvious that the title of Noer's article is purposely inflammatory, though.

"He goes on to cherry-pick and rephrase findings from various studies, some credible and some not..."

"I could fill the page just ranting against Noer's insulting misuse of statistics..."

Leslie and Brian, I'm very interested in the reasons behind your claims of lack of credibility and misuse of statistics. Accusations are much more credible when presented with evidence.

Posted by: MBA Mom | August 25, 2006 8:01 AM

How have you been impacted by men or women in various positions of power who had no idea about the problems you face in your attempts to juggle work and family?

A very senior person (man) in my office jokingly commented that myself and another woman should coordinate our family planning so as to not disrupt the management of the office. While I understand his perspective as a manager, his comment really riled me. Currently my salary supports my entire household while my husband pursues a career change. The stress of making ends meet on one salary, spending enough time with the kids, maintaining a healthy marriage, and working a job I really don't like very much are all enough to deal with. Having supervisors butt into my family planning is over the line. If he knew enough about my personal life, he'd know expanding our family isn't even an option for the time being. If he was a better manager, he'd know how inappropriate his comment was. I can't believe a man would ever have to deal with such nonsense.

I recall someone on this blog experiencing similar comments. Any others out there?

Posted by: HoH | August 25, 2006 8:02 AM

I want to know if Noer is married and, if so, what his wife does for a living? Is she barefoot and pregnant, stay-at-home mom Caitlan Flanagan-style or trudging off to her office everyday? Once we get that question answered, then I think we can better assess Noer's comments (which are, of course, ridiculous).

http://punditmom1.blogspot.com

Posted by: PunditMom | August 25, 2006 8:19 AM

"Leslie and Brian, I'm very interested in the reasons behind your claims of lack of credibility and misuse of statistics. Accusations are much more credible when presented with evidence."

First of all, the writer (Noer) did not present any statistics. He only cited the "conclusions" of the studies. How can anyone make any judgements about whether or not the statistical methods are appropriate, whether there was really any statistical significance and whether the conclusions made by Noer or the study authors are accurate.

Noer writes in his last paragraph that there may be confounders to the conclusion that marriage is better for one's health. I am betting there are plenty of confounding factors in the studies he cites, but doesn't reveal. Shady journalism if you ask me.

And let's say that the conclusions cited by the authors of the papers are fairly accurate (I'm doubting there is really statistical significance and that confounding variables are properly accounted for). So what? Is he promulgating that women should stay at home and not work?

I've got a hot one--getting married puts you at risk of divorce! So I conclude that no one should get married.

Posted by: working mother | August 25, 2006 8:22 AM

To MBA Mom:

Noer: "... highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex."

But ... what does this have to do with career *women*? It's not the cheating of career women alone that leads to divorce -- educated guys do plenty, too. Laying it all on wives is misleading.

Noer: ""Marriage and Divorce's Impact on Wealth," published in The Journal of Sociology, divorced people see their overall net worth drop an average of 77%."

But ... I'd like to see that broken out by sex. Past research has shown pretty consistantly that women's income is devastated after divorce, which men's income increases. The risk in marriage now falls primarily on women, particularly women doing "non-market" work. Ann Crittenden's "The Price of Motherhood" goes into even more detail.

Many of the stats in the original piece have been left out of what's up now, but the Salon piece on the subject, among others, discusses the weakness of much of the data underpinning the analysis ...

Posted by: Brian Reid | August 25, 2006 8:29 AM

Wasn't this already obvious though? The reason divorce rates have sky rocketed is because women have options, now that they have careers. In the past, if a woman wasn't happy in a marraige, she would rarely divorce - she had no job and no other resources, so for the most part couples would have to work things out. Same for men, who when tempted by another woman would realize that he had a wife and kids who are totally dependant on him, and think twice about taking that leap. Now that everyone has a career, it's easier to treat marraige as a relationship, and end it when things don't go so well, or when other options open up. And this goes for both sides - it's not just women doing the splitting. The Forbes article does make a good point, but I agree that it takes the wrong angle on the subject

Posted by: Doug | August 25, 2006 8:35 AM

He didn't just present statistics, he argued that they indicate that men would be better off marrying non-career women. If you want a wife to take care of hearth and home so you can have a career, he's probably right. But I think most people have evolved beyond the straight division-of-labor arrangement in marriage and want a lot more in a spouse (starting with love).

Also, there's no question that career women expect more of their husbands (e.g., to SHARE in the responsibilities of hearth and home, child rearing, etc.). And it is easier for us to leave if we have our own money and you aren't doing anything to support us. I loved the rebuttal they posted on Forbes--"Don't Marry a Lazy Man." Exactly.

Posted by: Arlmom | August 25, 2006 8:35 AM

I can agree that a career woman is more likely to leave a spouse than a a SAH as she has the means to do so. But, I would argue that women are not leaving because they are finding men in the workplace. I am sure some do, but I am sure others leave based on the relationship she has with her husband. Maybe if Noer worked on his relationship (assuming he is married), he wouldn't be so insecure about her leaving.

I am sure my husband was happy I worked when his company went under last year. He was out of work for several months, but was able to enjoy his time off since I could support the household and some travel plans for him. (Hey, if you are unemployed you might as well use some of the time to visit friends and family). It was a nice feeling to know we didn't have to worry about the mortgage.

I would argue that the statement "if, for example, both spouses have careers--the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. " is incorrect. My husband and I work 50-60 hours per week right now. We volunteer and do things with our friends. But, we make sure there is time with just us. And, I think because we do so many other things in our lives, we have much to share with one another. We can understand each other's hard days at work and give advice for work related situations. We are very close even though we are both very career minded. And, we both value marriage VERY highly. I know that my career would come second if we hit a bump in the road and needed to work things out, or seek counseling, together. It really is the most important thing.

Posted by: Thought | August 25, 2006 8:38 AM

Examples of Michael Noer's misrepresentation of research:

"wives' employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the marriage is of low marital quality." What this really means is that in troubled marriages, wives with their own incomes are more likely to leave the marriage. What Noer doesn't bother to point out is that this kind of freedom to leave a bad, or abusive or otherwise destructive union is GOOD for women and children, and for our society.

"If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy (Journal of Marriage and Family 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do (Social Forces 2006)...Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research).

The main problem is that Michael Noer presents his "findings" as facts when these summaries are only his skewed take. If we probe these studies, they paint a far more complex and at times contradictory picture. As a journalist -- especially one at a prestigious national magazine -- he should be held to a higher standard. He doesn't offer any kind of disclaimer or caveat along the lines of "hey, I'm really biased, I'm trying to be inflammatory and I'm using research to present my biases as facts."

Posted by: Leslie | August 25, 2006 8:39 AM

I hate to admit this, but I'm not at all shocked. All of the men in my law school class that were married or got married in law school were with non-career women. Or women who had careers that they fully intended to quit when their husband graduated. Some of the men basically said they just wanted to be taken care of b/c their work schedules would be so trying.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 8:43 AM

>>As a journalist -- especially one at a prestigious national magazine -- he should be held to a higher standard.>>

Worse, he's an EDITOR!

Posted by: More about Noer | August 25, 2006 8:45 AM

Leslie and Brian, thank you for your responses. Very helpful.

Posted by: MBA Mom | August 25, 2006 8:49 AM

Noer does us all a favor in writing that so-called retro article. He reminds us that this is the age we live in, and this is how many men still feel. The message? Let's not pat ourselves on our backs for being an enlightened culture just yet; there's still work to be done.

Posted by: Josh | August 25, 2006 9:02 AM

Let's not flip out over the hyperbole. What's the real issue here? Balancing home life and work, the relative importance a potential spouse (wife or husband) places on each, and the likely impact of those personal decisions on the desirability and success of a relationship with them.

Women have, for years, have wanted to know if the men they are interested in are "married" to their careers, and whether they would be willing to put family first. Men - quite understandably - have the same concerns. Like it or not, this is rational behavior in someone seeking a mate, and will not change.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:03 AM

OK, this could take a while.

1."While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it." More likely than WHOM? More likely than women who don't work? Of course - those women have no other options for financial support so they aren't going anywhere. But here's the kicker - are career women more likely than their career male counterparts to cheat? I bet career women STILL cheat much LESS than their male counterparts - so if the overall cheating and related bad behavior that leads to divorce is mostly done by men, who cares?

2."If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble...Even your house will be dirtier (Institute for Social Research)." So why don't YOU clean it, Michael?

3. "Traditionally men have tended to do "market" or paid work outside the home and women have tended to do "non-market" or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal." It's nice how he switches here from "traditionally" to "someone" has to do it - in this day & age, especially in professional classes where women have the same education and work background as their male counterparts, why is it assumed the woman do it?

4. "Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases--if, for example, both spouses have careers--the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely." Problem easily solved - the man can stay home.

5."I also find that the incidence in divorce is far higher in couples where both spouses are working than in couples where only one spouse is employed." (Johnson). Fine, so why not have the Dad stay home and not be a career man?

6."The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker." I know personally of 2 men who have run off with co-workers on their wives. Unless career women do this significantly in excess of their male counterparts, it is insignificant.

7."According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat." What does this have to do with career WOMEN? Why don't we all just stop our educational tracks after high school and go to work at Wal-Mart? Then we'd definetely have a hard time finding someone to cheat with at work.....

This guy just sounds like he's gotten a taste of the medicine women have had to for years, and instead of indicating how much men do it, and that maybe they should stop - his solution is just to marry a doormat.

Posted by: JAT | August 25, 2006 9:04 AM

Though the author's tenor was quite harsh, I think he was making a fair sort of consumerist analogy.

Like it or not, marriage has historically been an economic transaction in which people make lists of their likes and dislikes and then go out in search of what they desire. What the author is saying that that for many men, the woman's enhanced earning power is NOT a desirable asset for the marriage. The additional money brought into the household doesn't cancel out all of the increased RISK -- of divorce, infidelity and well, yes, having a dirty house. I think that's probably a fair statement. And many people might prefer less money in trade for less risk.

You'll notice -- he didn't really say ANYTHING about the quality of the marriage relationship. He didn't say that career women were more or less fun to talk to, more or less fun to look at, or even 'smarter'. He just said your marriage has a higher likelihood of being successful (depending on how you define success) when it's not composed of two people who basically have the same goals, rather than complementary goals. In biological terms, you'd say that not all the animals living in the same environment should share the same niche. Diversification is good for the species and good for the marriage.

And how come when LInda Hirschman said "women whould marry down" it was greated as a grandiose feminist statement, and when this man says the same thing, he's regarded as a toad?

Posted by: My Thoughts | August 25, 2006 9:08 AM

Interesting article. I tend to think Mr. Noer is a knuckle-dragger but I would love to actually read all the article he mentions. I would think that the divorce rate today has a lot to do with people getting married too young. Adolescence has stretched into the 20s these days. I think this has more to do with the divorce rates of GenX & Yers than women having careers.

I would also tend to think that most men like when their wives work since it help to relieve a lot of financial burdens placed on them. (My husband and a couple of his friends feel this way.) What about the rest of the guys posting today?

Posted by: Alex. Mom | August 25, 2006 9:11 AM

Neither my mother nor my mother-in-law is a career woman. Both have always been stay-at-home wives. My in-laws have been married for 42 years. When my MIL's parents died, she kept her inheiritance in a special account, in case my FIL ever divorced her. Their marriage hasn't been happy in decades, but where would she go, what would she do, plus her religion teaches her that divorce is forbidden. My mother divorced her first husband. They were only together for 2 years, but she had to wait 10 years until he paid for the divorce because she couldn't afford it. She was supporting herself and their child in a mobile home and working a minimum-wage job and collecting welfare until she met my father. When she married my father, she became a stay-at-home wife again. They were married for 35 years when my father died. I now take care of my mother because she does not have the skills or income to care for herself.

I am a career woman. The choices women had in previous generations were few and I am lucky I was born in a time when I could make a choice to be who I am and not face the risks my mother and my MIL faced.

I have been married for 15 years. I've never cheated. We have 2 children. Sure, our house isn't the cleanest, but we are happy.

Noer's article is awful in my opinion. "Don't marry a career woman!" Why - so you can control your wife????

People can use statistics to prove the point they've preselected, which is what Noer has done.

Posted by: No name given | August 25, 2006 9:11 AM

"6."The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker." I know personally of 2 men who have run off with co-workers on their wives. Unless career women do this significantly in excess of their male counterparts, it is insignificant."

In my experience, this largely depends on why a person is working. Most men work because they must - it's necessary to support themselves or their families. In today's world, many married women work for the same reason - it's financially necessary. Some, however, are in a possition where there is no pressing financial need, but they work primarily for personal contact and satisfaction. In some cases they're looking for something they don't have, or don't think they have, staying at home. In those circumstances affairs seem much more common.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:12 AM

Oh and I suppose career men do not cheat, lie, and resent being parents, according to Noer's philosophy. And of course, they NEVER run off with their secretaries. What's the matter Noer? Afraid women with choices might act like some men you know? And if the word gets out? Oh my. There might actually be some acccountability for these men, now, wouldn't there? THAT would be TERRIBLE, wouldn't it?

Posted by: kgotthardt | August 25, 2006 9:21 AM

The affairs concern is the funniest to me. We have blog after blog about how to balance work, home, kids, marriage, activities, extended family, pets, and on and on and on. What working mother has time for an affair?! (The NYTimes had an article recently about the attractiveness of contractors to women who are home all day and bored.) I don't know about the rest of you, but as a working mother I don't have time to sleep, let alone sleep with anyone else.

Posted by: Arlmom | August 25, 2006 9:22 AM

"I would also tend to think that most men like when their wives work since it help to relieve a lot of financial burdens placed on them. (My husband and a couple of his friends feel this way.) What about the rest of the guys posting today?"

Depends. My wife has worked in the past, but chose to stay home when we had kids. (And yes, it was entirely her choice - I didn't express any preference either way.)

I've been very blessed in my career, and we can afford for her to stay home. For me, personally, her being home is worth more than the extra income she's forgoing. It's amazing how much it simplifies life when one spouse is home. You don't have to worry about getting off work to meet the plumber, electrician, etc. She can buy groceries in the middle of the day when the stores aren't insanely busy. If one of the kids is sick, we don't have to scramble to set up day care, or worry about how we'll get them to the pediatrician. It's incredible how much her being home has reduced some of the day to day aggravations of life that you have to deal with when you both work full time. Not all burdens are financial.

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 9:22 AM

My first reaction to the article: I cancelled my subscription to Forbes. My second: it isn't worth any more of my time.

Posted by: JFK | August 25, 2006 9:23 AM

My father was an attorney. He passed away when my brother was 14 and I was 17. If it hadn't been for the fact that my mother had her own career (and a master's degree), our family would have had to sell everything and move to a tiny apartment to survive. Even as it was, my father's life insurance was tied up for years in his estate and my mother's income was substantially less than my father's. I had jobs the entire way through college and put myself through law school working full time and going to school at night.

I'm in my last year of law school, am married, have a 2 year old, and work full time. And if anyone were to suggest to me or my husband that I should not be an attorney, not work full time, simply because I'm female, I would laugh in that person's face. I know what happens when a woman depends on her husband entirely, and that will never be me.

Posted by: P | August 25, 2006 9:24 AM

Women wrote the study mentioned in the Economics of Prostitution, Noer reported on it.

In order of validity: Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, Statitistics cited by a biased Editor or jilted Economist

The Oedipal and Electric vitriol just spews acidic waves of disturbing angst. Noer and blog commentators on these articles in Forbes make an interesting read. "All wives are oppressed," and "Marriage is an institution that must be destroyed" as justification for agreeing with the flawed conclusions of an intimidated apparent chauvanist.

Coulter must make Noer want to wet himself.

Wuss. But, were I single, I would have no interest in marrying Coulter.

These people got issues.

Posted by: Fo3 | August 25, 2006 9:24 AM

So those making over $30,000 are more likely to cheat on their spouses? That salary is hardly what I would consider "career level". Besides, more likely to cheat compared to who? People living in poverty?

As for the "if they work they might run off with a coworker" comment. Well duh; if someone stays home they might run off with a friend or a neighbor. I guess the solution is to keep them isolated so they won't meet someone possibly better than you.

Or perhaps you could treat them with respect and compassion, support them in what they want to do (SAH or work), and don't take them for granted. Nah, that seems like too much work; just keep them isolated.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 9:25 AM

Seems that by giving attention to the article you also lend some credence to his words. With articles like the one cited, the best way to treat it likes it does not exist. Let someone hollar from the top of the mountain, if no one listens, does it matter what they say?

Posted by: Joe D. | August 25, 2006 9:28 AM

Any man that wants to marry Ann Coulter needs to have his head examined. I'd rather swim with a shark, or sleep with a rattlesnake!

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 9:31 AM

The guy who wrote this article is just trying to get people to talk about him and ask him to be on talk shows so he can get an advance to write a book.

My husband and I are both lawyers. I work for the feds 4 days a week and he is in private practice. We have 2 kids under 3 and are about to try for # 3. We were laughing about this article this morning. We agreed that daily life is more difficult when both parents work, but he noted that my stress level was in direct proportion with the number of full days I spend alone with the kids. He was teasing me about who in my office I would be having an affair with and wondered where I would find the time to have an affair. He commented that if I had free time I'd never choose an affair over the chance to take a nap. He is completely right -- having an affair would mean just one more person I'd have to pay attention to and take care of. If I wasn't working I'd probably be more likely to have an affair simply because I'd be desperate for an adult to talk to. When my husband noted this morning that he'd been out of shaving cream for a week I asked whether he'd like a regular supply of shaving cream or $100,000. He voted for the money and a sane wife.

Bottom line -- you can't help who you fall in love with and each couple has to work to find the mix that works for their family at any given stage in life.

Posted by: lawyerwith2 | August 25, 2006 9:32 AM

I think that both Noer and his attackers are trying to reduce a gray world to a black and white world. Noer's point seems to be, "Career women always make worse wives." His attackers call him a sexist pig and retrograde. But a correlation is only a correlation, it is not something absolute. Noer may be partly right but overstating his point.

I think it is good if women who want careers can pursue them without a strong fear of remaining single. It is also good if we make, being a housewife a REAL choice, including psychologically. A man who prefers to marry a housewife is not necessarily a sexist pig - maybe that is what he wants, and that is OK too. Ditto for a woman who wants to BE a housewife.

Posted by: Rohit | August 25, 2006 9:33 AM

I firmly believe that this dated sentiment is alive and well in our society--this article proves it. And it shared by both men and women. So guys like Noer will find a woman who totally agrees with him and they will live happily ever after. Luckily for me and lots of other women, there are guys out there who agree with us that men and women are partners in and out of the home.

As far as the statistics, I don't know if they're correct. It is very likely, though, that there are many other factors contributing to the statistics, of which only one is that the woman has a career. For example, what races are the couples? What are the professions? Are the men cheating as well?

I echo the previous posters who said that women with careers are more likely to divorce because they have the means to do it--women without careers probably want to divorce in the same numbers but cannot for financial reasons.

Articles like this are like the whining of religious right jokers who try to force their morals on people: Of course there are people who agree, but the rest of us (dare I say "normal") folks will not be swayed by it in the least.

Posted by: Meesh | August 25, 2006 9:34 AM

Isn't Ann Coulter a man? She has quite the Adam's apple. I didn't think any state allows gay marriage?

Posted by: Alex. Mom | August 25, 2006 9:38 AM

Let's get a grip on this "more likely to cheat than who?" issue. The author's claim isn't that hard to understand - nor is it completely absurd. He's arguing that a woman who wants to maintain a full time career as well as a marriage is likely to have divided priorities and commitments and be less invested in the marriage.

His advice, for a man considering who to marry, is to recognize that this may mean she's less likely to be as fully committed to the marriage - and, given how difficult it can be to make a marriage work, this can make it more likely that a marriage to her would fail.

Marriage is tough. Parenting is tough Adding a full time job to it makes things even tougher (see Arlmom's quote above about lack of sleep). Some men considering marriage have noticed this. 60 hour a week workaholics don't make good husbands. I strongly suspect they don't make good wives either.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:38 AM

Meesh's first paragraph is 100% correct; there are LOTS of people out there (men and women) who still want someone to take care of them and don't realize that not everyone thinks like that any longer.

My neighbor (a part owner of a private engineering firm) married a woman in a law firm. He told me privately he wanted children; she told me privately she wanted a full time career negotiating contracts for celebrities and athletes. Guess what; they ended up divorced after just over a year of marriage.

When I asked my neighbor didn't he know what his wife wanted to do career-wise, he told me he had hoped to "change her mind" after she married him.

It's all about communication, respect, consideration and compassion. If you've got that you can make a marriage work no matter if you are a laborer and your wife is an attorney, or she stays at home and you are a CEO.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 9:41 AM

If a woman having a full time career and a marriage has divided loyalties, then wouldn't men face that, too?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:44 AM

"It's all about communication, respect, consideration and compassion. If you've got that you can make a marriage work no matter if you are a laborer and your wife is an attorney, or she stays at home and you are a CEO."

And common goals. The example of a couple where one wanted children, and the other wanted an exciting career, illustrates this perfectly. The time to find out whether your goals are compatable is BEFORE you marry - not after. If they are, with love and compassion you can work out a way to achieve them. If not, you can still make the marriage work - but it's going to be a long, slow, very difficult process.

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 9:50 AM

Many years ago, my mother wanted me to marry a girl she liked, but the girl was a doctor and I said I would not marry a doctor.

Eventually I married a professor who immediately proceeded to give up her teaching and became a housewife for 20 years.

Eventually she has gone back to teaching.

What does this tell us? What is the moral? There isn't one, and it is important that there isn't one because the world is not simple.

Recently a grandmother took a course with me. Her first grade was an A+ (I give about one A+ every two years). She is now teaching but also believes that it is better for women to be housewives.

Human beings are complex and hopefully we will work out some way to happiness, taking into account both the similarities between men and women and the difference. To deny the one or the other is to live in la-la land.

Posted by: Rohit | August 25, 2006 9:51 AM

Noer seems to ignore the fact that men are more likely to cheat on their spouse than women.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:51 AM

"If a woman having a full time career and a marriage has divided loyalties, then wouldn't men face that, too?"

Yes, they can and do. And sometimes it leads to neglected wives, neglected children, and ultimately divorce. It's just as important for a woman to ask "is this guy really going to be committed to our marriage, or is he going to neglect our family for the sake of his job." If the answer is "he's going to neglect me for the job," she should run, not walk, away from him.

It's the same issue on both sides. A large part of the mating dance is trying to figure out just how much love, commitment and faithful effort a potential spouse will bring to a relationship. Men and women both want the same thing - to know that their spouse is committed, and will put them first in their lives.

And yes - someone has to work to put food on the table. In the D.C. area, sometimes EVERYONE has to work to put food on the table. (You can still put family first. Work to live - don't live to work.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:52 AM

"Noer seems to ignore the fact that men are more likely to cheat on their spouse than women."

So do most men who're deciding which woman to ask out - it simply isn't relevant to their immediate situation.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 9:54 AM

This whole article seems rather unsupportable. Like the witches of Salem being tried by water. If they were witches, they could save themselves,but if they weren't, they would drown and get a nice tombstone.

I am a part-time sahm. I have much more opportunity to have an affair than my husband does. I have the whole house to myself for hours a day, live in a quiet neighborhood (not many prying eyes), and know lots of people. I don't know if you would consider me a career woman, though, as I do not make over the threshhold that the article states from my job. I do, however, make it if you count other income. There was an article last year either in the post of on wtop about single mothers of low economic status and marriage. They all wanted to get married someday, although had never been married. This group had low paying jobs, basic educations (h.s. diploma, ged, or nothing). Based on the research presented in that article one could easily conclude that education and better paying jobs are the road to marriage. Anyone who works in a research field and writes about it--i.e. psychologists, scientists, etc.--knows that there are so many studies that you can find one to support your theory. You can use smoke and mirrors to distract people from your methodology (if you had one). For example, the clean house. Allow me to wipe my eyes from crying! The house is usually cleaner if mom works. Then they get a housecleaner twice a week. Lots of sahm's, myself included once upon a time, have messier houses because they are IN them all day, the kids have friends over, and you would kill yourself trying to keep it clean all of the time. Most of the dual career couples with kids are forced to come up with strict routines in order to NOT have chaos. They can't take Johnny's musical instrument to school if he forgets it! It has to be by the front door at night, along with the signed notes, lunch money, etc. I would say that women who are independent and could survive or thrive outside a marriage are less likely to stay in a bad one, true. Do career women love their husbands less than noncareer women? I would like to see the study that measues THAT. But that is just smoke. Does the author say that it is more often that it is the women who file? Or is is just divorced? FYI, and I swear I am not making this up, my neighbor is a sahm and her husband left her for a younger, child-free woman. In addition, my aunt had a 20 year affair with a man while married to my uncle. He worked long hours, was actually not a very nice man, while she stayed home. She was lonely, had a husband who was less than loving. They are actually still married, though, so I guess they couldn't be used in any study. I wonder how honest people are in these kinds of studies. I think it would be embarrassing to admit you had cheated,especially if you were a sahm.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 9:58 AM

Its nice for Noer that he can presumably support his family living off one salary. The average American family need two incomes to support themselves. Lets not forget the shortage of affordable homes, costs of living increasing at a rate higher than the average salary increase, baby boomers soon becoming dependent a crumbling social security program, the lack of savings and the increase in personal debt. Fiancial woes are the main cause for divorce rates. Forget the compairison of career women stay at home mothers (which in my book is a full time JOB) - let's focus on the real causes for divorce and ignore this noise.

Posted by: Happily Married with a Career | August 25, 2006 10:00 AM

Older dad:

That's where the communication part comes in. If you don't articulate to your potential partner what you want to do and what expectations you've got for your partner, you're setting up a situation for failure. My neighbor thought he could change his partner's mind; she thought he understood what her goals were. Lack of communication.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 10:02 AM

I would also advise women to avoid marrying men who work full time, since they are more likely to have affairs, are less likely to help with child rearing and household tasks, and more likely to dump you for some young cookie as soon as you start to sag here and there. Sheesh.

My first question was: How old is this guy? My dad is pushing 80, and he would consider that old-fashioned thinking.

Posted by: E in DC | August 25, 2006 10:06 AM

There are three types of lies in the world- "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" Ask ANY statistican and they will tell you this with a chuckle. Everyone who buys into assinine articles citing XYZ statistic-of-the-moment needs to remember this. Noer is not a scientist or a statistician... Remember, statistics can always be bent to suit the agenda of whomever is the author (that's why peer reviewed articles are so important).

Please don't give this man any more attention- he's getting exactly what he wants. He's like annoying little Johnny on the play ground who torments the girls just so they'll tell him to stop...

Posted by: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics | August 25, 2006 10:10 AM

I still can't get over the use of the term "career girls" in the article. What is this, an early-'80s "9 to 5" revival? Where's Dolly Parton and her lasso when I need her?! Truly, it was eye-opening for me to realize how out-of-touch some people still are.

Posted by: Vienna mom | August 25, 2006 10:13 AM

To Alex. Mom
I'm in full agreement with your husband. I make an excellent salary, but so too does my wife (she's another dreaded attorney, and a divorce one no less!). It takes BOTH of our salaries to have all the VLI in life.

Posted by: Michael | August 25, 2006 10:13 AM

"Juggling Work & Family" is the SYMPTOM, not the Cause

I believe the concept of "juggling work and family" is merely a symptom of the greater disease attacking the American family today. The problem is not which spouse works and which spouse shuttles the kids to lessons. The problem is how many hours a couple spends separately. Psychiatrist Murray Bowen called it Distancing, and I consider it the silent killer of marriage, which we ignore at our peril.

We humans would do well to remember that we share more instincts with our animal cousins than we care to admit. The fight-or-flight response is one of them.

We human animals are in fight-or-flight mode dozens of times each day. It's easy to recognize our "fight" mode when we snap at our spouse, or honk at the jerk on the freeway. However, we don't even realize we're in "flight" mode from our spouses when we switch on the TV, pour that extra drink, or shuttle the kids to yet another lesson. Our two favorite avoidance behaviors are:
a) More time at work, and
b) More time with the kids.
We're experts at justifying both, but then years later we wake up next to our spouse and realize the flame has long since died. You see, it's seldom our "fight" mode that kills marriages. When we distance from each other in order to "keep the peace," that's the REAL silent killer.

Divorce is an extreme example of distancing. However, aside from legal divorce, there are many subtle ways that we commit "emotional divorce" from spouses every day. We avoid emotional topics that make one or both parties uncomfortable. We avoid making important decisions because we know that discussing them is likely to end in an argument. We avoid sharing our thoughts, feelings, or dreams with our spouse, because it may make us vulnerable to attack or ridicule. We retreat into TV, working overtime, alcohol or an extra-marital affair. Distancing is a silent killer because each avoidance of one's spouse is a move away from him or her, one millimeter at a time. It's hard to notice how far a couple has grown apart until some crisis knocks aside their chronic denial.

It doesn't have to be that way. Building a family may be difficult, but it IS simple. We yearn for the same things we want to teach our kids: how to be in a committed relationship, how to raise great kids, and how to make a contribution to society.

I have created an online community entitled, "How to Stay Married and Raise Great Kids." I describe how a psychological theory known as Family Systems Theory has brought order to the chaos of my family. I have begun to wean myself from my addiction to Distancing and Passing On My Baggage To My Kids.

Less is indeed more. As my wife and I practice these new rules for families, we have found a new simplicity, integrity, and (dare I say it) joy in our family.

Please check out http://DavidArthurCode.com . Our children's children will reap what we sow. Let's swallow some preventive medicine, and stop distancing from our spouse before it's too late.

Posted by: David Arthur Code | August 25, 2006 10:17 AM

As a young career wife, I promise you that Noer is right. My career adds tremendously to our stress, exhaustion, aggravation, household disorder, and general martial strife. My husband wants to start a family; I'm relucant because it would negatively affect my work.

No man should marry a carrer woman unless he wants to constantly compete with her pantsuits and powerpoint presenations, and doesn't mind a cold house, microwave dinners, and a worn-out wife. He'll also be at a disadvantage at work, where he'll be competing with men who have SAH wives to take care of their home and children for them.

Noer fails to point out that men who marry carreer women can end up with a sweet SAHD gig (where, as studies have shown, they still won't do as much housework as a SAHM) -- or better yet, he could join the ranks of the thousands of U.S. men ages 35-50 who (according to the recent NYT article) do not work OR care for children.

Posted by: Honest career wife | August 25, 2006 10:21 AM

These "studies" are a perfect example of why microeconomic theory never made much sense to me. Economic models, set up to try to predict human behavior, have to make so many assumptions (such as everyone always making logical choices or always wanting to maximise the utility of a given trnsaction) that the actors in the model aren't really what any of us would think of as human any more. "Love" is a concept that has to be omitted from economic models (except to admit its existence) because it is essentially irrational and unquantifiable. Like I said, that's why I didn't get good grades in econ.

Posted by: wihntr | August 25, 2006 10:23 AM

If you look at Noer's argument - basically, even though he's not stating this clearly, he's advocating that for the most stable marriage men should either marry a college educated woman within 1-2 years after she gets out of college, a college educated woman who is living at home supported by her parents (a failure to launch type), or a woman who didn't go to college and hasn't found many decent-paying career opportunities (and he specifically said that he wasn't talking about high school drop outs manning a cash register at Wal-mart). Most college educated people working full-time are earning at least 30k within a couple of years after school; even occupations such as teaching, nursing, and being an administrative assistant, that aren't normally thought of as high octane career paths normally make at least 30k within a couple of years, especially in metropolitan areas. Basically the 'career girl' label as defined by Noer applies to most everyone over the age of 25. The article stated that the danger was in just marrying a career woman, even if she does intend to drop out of the work force to raise children; he was going at a totally different issue than the post-marriage/children decision of whether to stay at home full time or work (or maybe he was trying to get at both, but if so, his definitions were very sloppy). Now, I thought that there were other studies out there that found that it's generally statistically better to get married somewhat later rather than very young, but I don't have them on-hand to cite...and I know that personally I am much better suited for the commitment and give-and-take of a marital relationship than I was at age 23, though certainly there are lots of people who get married that young who have very successful relationships.

Posted by: notyetamom | August 25, 2006 10:26 AM

>>As a young career wife, I promise you that Noer is right. My career adds tremendously to our stress, exhaustion, aggravation, household disorder, and general martial strife.>>

You know what else causes "stress, exhaustion, aggravation, household disorder, and general martial strife"? Poverty. Illness. Extended family issues. Remodeling. Hurricanes.

Life.

So you have to pick the best partner you can and go with it. Not marrying a career woman doesn't promise you a happy spouse, warm house, and hot dinner every night. If his stats are right it might raise your chances a little, but over a lifetime any couple is going to have to deal with so many unknowns, seems like work status of your potential bride should be pretty far down the list (I'd look at overall resiliency, desire for approx. same number of kids, compatibility in financial approaches, etc.)

Posted by: To young career wife | August 25, 2006 10:31 AM

"The guy who wrote this article is just trying to get people to talk about him and ask him to be on talk shows so he can get an advance to write a book."

Amen. I know several people in the DC area who are making careers from being writers or TV commentators. They specialize in one area and then put themselves out there with far-out opinions to get noticed. That leads to more appearances, perhaps a book deal, and more appearances. They all get their "sound bites" in order because they know this is what gets noticed and repeated. Controversy works.

Yuck. There's very little honest effort to spread good information or promote real discussion. It's all self-promotion these days and I hate it.

Posted by: Eye on DC | August 25, 2006 10:31 AM

Here's what strikes me as odd.

For the target audience (traditional old fogey-type guys?) they already "knew" all the stuff Noer is preaching. If you are a controlling-type guy, you'd want someone whom you could control, and so you should then seek out someone with no ambition to be as smart or accomplished (in the 'market-work' sense).

I should also point out that there is an inverse, where I have good female friends who seem to prefer dating men whose mommies have cooked and done their laundry all their lives, ensuring that if they married these men they would have full control of the domestic arena.

But, back to my point... I have no idea why he'd write this article. He's not converting any of us younger types. Perhaps he thought he was preaching to the choir in Forbes, but that seems like an odd reason. Perhaps he's trying to justify his own lifestyle? Maybe he's trying to blame women for the increase in divorce? I guess that could be it, but to what end?

I'm seeking motive...

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 25, 2006 10:32 AM

Alex Mom writes:

"Isn't Ann Coulter a man? She has quite the Adam's apple. I didn't think any state allows gay marriage?"

First, Massachusetts does, although it's not recognized outside of the state. Second, please don't be a jerk. This fact makes it harder for me to support my wife and baby. To some of us, it's not funny.

Posted by: GayMom | August 25, 2006 10:34 AM

"For the target audience (traditional old fogey-type guys?) they already "knew" all the stuff Noer is preaching. If you are a controlling-type guy, you'd want someone whom you could control, and so you should then seek out someone with no ambition to be as smart or accomplished (in the 'market-work' sense)."

We seem to have assumed that men in prior generations were all control freaks. Social mores were different, and most families were structured somewhat differently. There were a variety of historical, cultural, and economic reasons for this. That does not mean that all 1950's era dads were domestic dictators, nor that they were all unconcerned about and insensitive to their wives and children.

Times have changes, and the way people live has changed too. But let's not be too condescending to prior generations. We still have control freaks (of both genders), and insensitive, inconsiderate jerks (again, of both genders). Honestly, the tendency towards being a control freak (or intolerant, or tolerant, or insensitive, or caring, or . . .) seems to have as much to do with personality as anything else. You find that among conservatives, liberals, deeply religious people, atheists, men, women, laborers, college professors, and pretty much any other walk of life you look at.

Yeah - some things are better. We've addressed some important injustices in our society. Some things are worse - both parents generally HAVE to work to keep up. But people are still people.

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 10:38 AM

>>No man should marry a carrer woman unless he wants to constantly compete with her pantsuits and powerpoint presenations, and doesn't mind a cold house, microwave dinners, and a worn-out wife.<<

A "cold house"? ... beeecause his wife wasn't home to turn up the thermostat at 3 p.m., and he's too stupid to figure out how that thingamagig works all by himself? I don't understand.

And the "microwave dinners" comment is also insulting to men. What, they don't know how to read a recipe? My husband and most of our male friends are actually quite talented in the kitchen.

Posted by: Vienna mom | August 25, 2006 10:47 AM

Won't the house stay cleaner if both spouses are working 60 hrs per week?

I mean, it's not like they're ever IN the house.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 10:48 AM

To GayMom:

I am sorry if I offended you. I was making a joke about Ann Coulter, whom I despise. I fully support gay marriage and am happy that MA passed it for its citizens. I feel it is illegal for the government to deny rights to some couples, yet honor them for others (unequal application of the law). Again, I apologize.

Posted by: Alex. Mom | August 25, 2006 10:49 AM

This article deserves all the attention it is getting because it is an article in a very reputable corporate focused magazine. Of all the magazines for such a load of crap to come from - Forbes! Are they unaware that a large part of their subscriber base are indeed these "career women" the Noer derides??? I'm very puzzled as to the motivation behind the article.

First of all as others have stated, the definition of "career woman" is laughable and probably applies to most college graduates. So is he saying women should not go to college?

Second of all, he states that increases in women's working hours increase the rate of divorce while the increase in men's working hours doesn't - couldn't this be because many of these men are married to women who don't work and therefore don't have any option but to stay even in a bad marriage. A corollary point - he says that women in "low quality marriages" who work are more likely to divorce than women who don't work - obviously women who work find it easier to leave and fend for themselves.
The statistics he cites on extramarital affairs higher for those with college degrees apply to both genders so why is he faulting women for this?

The bottom line is - this was such a poorly done article that regardless of the topic I can't believe passed through Forbes' editorial staff!!

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 25, 2006 10:49 AM

Hey, I wonder - could it just be possible that men and women aren't always looking for the same things?

Might that sometimes affect how they relate to each other?

Could it even, sometimes, have an effect on how they pair up (or choose not to pair up)?

And once they do, how happy they are - and how long the pairings last?

How are these speculations a threat? And who do they threaten?

The only real threat I see is the step where the author says "hey, guys, maybe you don't want to pair up with women who want X." How many men do we really think are going to change their behavior based on this advice?

Is the concern more that we wonder "hey, maybe men do think that way?"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 10:51 AM

what are the legal problems?

Medical, PoA type decisions, health insurance?

I would think adoption would solve most issues.

Am I naive?

Posted by: Fo3 | August 25, 2006 10:51 AM

Sorry 'bout that Older Dad. Meant no offense.

Posted by: Proud Papa | August 25, 2006 10:54 AM

These statistics are igorning what else goes into marriages. Communication, compromise, sacrifice and support.
I make more then my husband currently does because he initited a career change into IT and found himself on the bottom of the barrel with the rest of the entry level people. Our combined income is well within the median for a middle class family, BUT we BARELY scrape by! (thanks Housing Bubble!*snark*)
He does, however, have the potential to rake in some serious cash in a very short amount of time. When the day comes that he makes more then me and we have adequate savings, I might quit my job so I can own/work in a comic book shop in Baltimore. I'm serious. Why? Cuz I *LOVE* cartoons, comics, Anime and pop culture.
He knows this and supports this career path simply because he visualizes this as a goal for BOTH of us. At that time, we hope to have fullfilled our goals enough that his business can be homebased as well.
We've been together for nearly 4 years now and the accomplishments in our relationship are pretty amazing. Neither of us like what we do. I hate what I do---Love my job, but hate what I do. I wish I could be pursuing a career in the Arts (Fine Art Education) or sitting behind a counter in a comic book shop, but our current jobs are tools in which we use to get to a shared goal together. That is a successful marriage. Discussing goals, setting them and getting there by any means necessary.

Posted by: MomOfAPreteen | August 25, 2006 10:54 AM

A well written article that is clear and concise although I don't agree with it and here is why. I was born and raised in an African country where there is a very low rate of divorce. The reasons for such a low rate of divorce is because most men do marry non-career women (because the large portion of women are uneducated or only have limited education). However most of these are unhappy marriages but because these women have no other alternative i.e if they leave their husbands they leave their children (most courts will award children to the father) and will not be able to support themselves so they stay hence low divorce rates. The men cheat, neglect & abuse their wives and have multiple wives knowing full well that their spouses have no control over the situation and will not be going anywhere!
And it is true that as more women become more educated and have careers the rate of divorce among these types of women is increasing - because they will not stand for this type of treatment and have the an alternative and are exercising that alternative.
This has actual been a huge wake up call for many men in my country!

Posted by: Ana | August 25, 2006 10:54 AM

Dear Michael,
I have better advice, this time for the women out there. Be a career woman and leave your husband at home to be the homemaker. Otherwise he will hide money, evade taxes, and cheat on you with his co-workers. He may even divorce you and marry his dumb blonde secretary, leaving you with kids and debts, and spend all his money on her and her kids.
My ex did all of the above, so be warned my sisters!! Get out there and WORK and leave him at home! Ha ha.

Posted by: lady laughs | August 25, 2006 10:59 AM

To honest career wife: hang in there--it gets easier. Since you say you are young, I am going to imagine that you are also not too far out of college, possibly not long gone from your honeymoon, and trying to establish yourself at work. Things get better! You learn how to be efficient at household chores (if you choose--I know women who stay at home FULLTIME who say they can't handle it). Worklife gets easier. At some point you could go parttime (like me!). Program your thermostat so it is toasty when DH walks in an hour or two before you. Learn to cook so microwave meals aren't the only option: the crock pot is your friend! And when you walk in it just smells so darn good. He could also learn to cook. I know people say cooking is hard, but if you can handle a power point presentation, cooking is a breeze. Let peapod take care of the shopping. There are so many reasons TO WORK, so many aides in helping you balance your working life with home (freshly delivered dry-cleaning and pick-up, house cleaning services, pre-chopped foods for cooking--I have to say, I do occassionaly splurge here. Prechopped onions in a little plastic bin. I have time to do it, but I just really like that.).

To the poster who said that teachers/nurses are not high occtane has never spent a day in their shoes! They may not be making big bucks, but their decisions have life (and death) long impacts. Besides, my best friend was making 75K a month out of nursing school. That is average for here, but not bad, especially when combined with another full-time income. In Montgomery county, MD, my daughters' first year kindergarten teacher was making over 40K, and that was just for 10 months!

OK--I really am going to get off the computer now and get someproductive work done. Bye.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 10:59 AM

Let's assume a common analogy these days, and compare "The Family" to a corporation. (We seem to try to run more and more parts of life like we would a business). In the mini-corporation of the family, wouldn't it actually be better to "divide and conquer" tasks? Again, assuming the ultimate goal of the family is to provide a loving and supportive environment for both parents as well as bring up smart, considerate, secure and law-abiding children - No Fortune 500 company would give all executives the exact same job description and expect to reach the goal of accountability to shareholders.

Also, if more households in the DC area brought mom home and went to only one inflated salary per household, perhaps college educated single 30yr. old women like myself might actually hope to afford the housing market someday.

Posted by: Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:01 AM

I agree with Ana. In countries that boast of low divorce rates due to "traditional" values, the majority of marriages are not happy, by western standards. Not to say that no marriage is happy with a SAHP. It all boils down to how lucky you were in finding your mate. Like Older Dad said, people will be people. Categorizing them as SAHP, career, by race or profession will not make a whit of a difference.

Posted by: AnotherRockvilleMom | August 25, 2006 11:02 AM

I read this article and I thought "he cannot be serious, nobody thinks this way, maybe he was trying to be funny but he found out the hard way that he is not." I checked the calendar, it is not April 1. I think if it were tightened up a bit and edited by someone with an actual sense of humor it could be published in the Onion.

Umm, big picture - good communication, a sense of humor and a willingness to compromise make marriages work. Know who you are marrying before you marry and do not marry too young. Be brave enough to talk about difficult subjects with your spouse. Don't let yourself go and appreciate and show affection for your spouse on a regular basis.

Many marriages that do not work never end in divorce, possibly due to the inability of one or both partners to leave for financial reasons. This could account for statistical differences. How sad is that.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:02 AM

Looks like the time stamp is off again today.

This does seem to clarify the previously inexplicable finding that although married men live longer, there is no corresponding benefit to women to marry. Oh - as long as men marry wives who don't work!

Posted by: SS | August 25, 2006 11:03 AM

parttimer, $75k per month for nurses? I am in the wrong business.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:04 AM

>>>Also, if more households in the DC area brought mom home and went to only one inflated salary per household, perhaps college educated single 30yr. old women like myself might actually hope to afford the housing market someday.>>>

Melissa, I don't understand the connection you are making here. Can you elaborate?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:06 AM

I hate the argument that women should devote themselves to stay-at-home intensive mothering and housework because we're "better suited for it." Better suited to clean toilets and wipe up baby barf all day long? All with a happy smile? Insulting. A marriage lasts when both partners respect the other. Not when one partner is a total pig and one parter is enslaved by fear and housework.

Posted by: NoToNoer | August 25, 2006 11:13 AM

Melissa is pointing out that it is hard for single income single people to compete in the housing market against double income families. If more marriages were single income, the price of housing would come down because there is actually a limit, often linked to salary, to how much consumers can afford to pay for a house. It is true that if our house cost half as much as it did, I would probably be a SAHM, or at least part-time.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:15 AM

The Forbes article discusses probabilities, and in that regard is 100% accurate. Any normative judgment that can be made from this information, is of course debateable.

Posted by: bkp | August 25, 2006 11:17 AM

You wrote: >>>Also, if more households in the DC area brought mom home and went to only one inflated salary per household, perhaps college educated single 30yr. old women like myself might actually hope to afford the housing market someday.>>>

My husband and I cannot afford a house in the area right now either. It isn't because I work but rather the speculators and hopeful flippers, who drove up housing prices with interest only loans (which are from the depression era). But Melissa, would you want to buy right now anyway? You run the risk of losing a lot of money due to over-inflated housing prices. Relax, the prices are dropping. Let's just hope the banking industry doesn't have huge problems from all the questionable loans out there or else a lot of us will be out of work.

Posted by: To Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:17 AM

Well the fact is that most relationships break up due to a 3rd party. As a friend of mine once said 'you don't leave somebody for nobody'. Having said that, 50 years ago the office consisted of a bunch of men and a few secretaries to have affairs with. Nowadays, there is the opportunity for men to interact with many women at the office increasing the possibility of affairs and subsequent divorces. The many people I know who got divorced did so due to affairs at work...

Posted by: female and single | August 25, 2006 11:20 AM

Elaborate? Gladly.

Let me also throw in the caveat that I don't mean to offend 2 working-parent families that live in modest homes and struggle to make ends meet each month.

What I mean is: It is only logical that you will qualify for a larger mortgage when you combine incomes. (Something I don't have the luxury of doing). I don't have stats, but I think we would all agree that there is a large number of families in the Metro area that bill could fit. (even higher in North Arlington, McLean, Montgomery Co., etc.)

I'm all for capitalism. But, I think the inflated incomes of two-parent working families (who work to afford nannies, 3 bmws for the household, and a 6000 sq. foot home) are a detriment to those of us who make over $50K here, but still can't afford a condo at the far edge of Fairfax.

I do hope to get married someday. And, (speaking only for myself) the time with my kids will be worth more to me than an extra luxury car and granite counter tops.

Posted by: Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:22 AM

So today on the On Balance blog, we have accused working women of potentially cheating on their spouses and driving up housing costs in the MetroDC area. Hilarious!! LOL....

Posted by: To Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:24 AM

>>I'm all for capitalism.<<

But only for men, apparently. In your earlier post, you said you wished more moms would quit their jobs and drop out of the workforce, so that you could magically afford a house. Newsflash: housing prices in this region are ridiculous. It'll change. You aren't owed a house, no matter how hard you work. Sorry, but life's not fair. As another poster said, rather than blame people (actually, you seem to be blaming just married women) who work, blame the mortgage industry for coming up with such shady loan products, or blame the people who are buying more house than they can reasonably afford without the use of such shady loan products. Don't blame the people who work and then wish to spend their earned salaries on a house in a neighbhorhood they like.

Posted by: To Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:26 AM

From an economic standpoint I agree that if their were less 2 income couples housing prices would probably be less, but why did you have to say "mom at home"

Posted by: To Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:26 AM

I knew a woman who ran a major performing arts org (not in DC) and expected everyone available 24/7 even in the slow season. She kept losing capable women who had families and just could not meet her insane demands. Finally, boss woman got married, adopted kids and SUDDENLY SAW THE LIGHT and realized that everyone has to have a life outside of work. Too late for the women whose careers she hurt, but better late than never, I guess.

BTW I am a happily single, childless woman so this is not a dis of same.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:26 AM

>>>>Melissa is pointing out that it is hard for single income single people to compete in the housing market against double income families. If more marriages were single income, the price of housing would come down because there is actually a limit, often linked to salary, to how much consumers can afford to pay for a house. It is true that if our house cost half as much as it did, I would probably be a SAHM, or at least part-time. >>>>

I don't think that's an accurate view. One could argue that if there were less Disposable Income (DI) in the DC-area that fewer houses would be built, therefore curtailing Supply (S), therefore stabilizing Price (P), but not decreasing it. There are many other factors that will affect (P) in a real-world scenario, so we can't isolate (DI) as the sole driver.

Hey, I feel like I just got some value from my freshman Econ101 class. Now the loans don't hurt so much. OK, that feeling passed...

Posted by: A different - To Melissa: | August 25, 2006 11:28 AM

There are too many posts to read so apologies if someone has pointed this out already. Read Carolyn See's review of CUT LOOSE in today's Post to see what happens to women who agree with Noer. Women HAVE to be able to take care of themselves in this world. There is no excuse for not knowing this anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:30 AM

This article shows why woman should not give up their power and voice in society and the workplace by exercising their choice to become a sahm. There is a long ways woman have to go...limiting your influence to just your children slows down the progress women have made in demanding equal rights.

Posted by: a career woman | August 25, 2006 11:31 AM

I didn't expect to garner so much attention. Thanks, guys!

"Mom at home" rolled off my fingers. I don't make apologies for it, but I will say that my Dad was the one at home with me when I grew up. He is a disabled Veteran, and was no longer able to work in the trade he was trained in. So... mom was at work.

We had a small house and drove domestic cars. But, we were dang happy.

Posted by: Melissa | August 25, 2006 11:31 AM

". . . Better suited to clean toilets and wipe up baby barf all day long?"

I am a working mom with a good job, but being a SAHP, mother or father, is more than cleaning toilets and wiping up barf (in fact, many SAHPs have a cleaning person to do the toilet clenaing and many children do not barf on a regular basis - at least mine rarely has). If that is what you think parenting is, please do not have children. Instead, read the article from earlier this week about how children are boring and make an informed decision not to procreate.

There are differences between men and women that make some (not all) women more interested in staying home and raising children than most men. No one who does not want to "should" stay at home because of gender or any other reason. It is not for everyone, but it is a legitimate and fulfulling choice for many, please do not belittle what the job is.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:33 AM

I just got out of a meeting and here are the stats of the women who attended:
2 divorced, no children
1 divorced, currently 2 children
2 married, no children
1 married, 2 kids, (next week, she's leving the workforce pregnant with her 3rd)
Oh, well, I know these stats mean nothing relevant.

In my dating years, I have to admit that I was specifically seeking a girl that was attracted to traditional family values that also like to cook, bake, and sew.

And I found one. We married, and I put her through nursing school not only because she dreamed of becoming a nurse, but the financial support was necessary for all the babies we wanted to have. She works about 13 hours a week and doesn't like her job. but, hey, we need the money!

I mentioned yesterday that my daughter flunked the reading portion of Virginia's standardized tests (SOL), but at least she can read a cookbook and follow directions. If she works it right, this may be all she needs for a happy marriage...

She wants to be a marriage planner when she grows up. Imagine that!

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 25, 2006 11:35 AM

Try reversing the gender, and consider the reality of the situation. Should an executive woman not marry a house painter, or retail salesman? Wouldn't that make life easier in a lot of ways? It should be obvious that two assertive ambitious careerists are going to have more friction as they attempt to reconcile their careers. The article may have been a gross ham-handed literary effort, but there is a valid point.

Posted by: asdg | August 25, 2006 11:37 AM

Perhaps Forbes will be publishing Howard Stern and Tom Leykis next? Was the editor on crack?

Posted by: single western mom | August 25, 2006 11:39 AM

I've known one man who left his wife for an older woman.

Both were fairly high-powered professional types. He had retired from congress, and applied for a job leading a trade association (not an atypical career move). She then applied for the exact same job with the same organization (she was a lawyer). He had much more potential value to the organization, due to his very current political connections, and got the job.

The marriage lasted about another year.

Yes, she had just as much right to seek the job as he did. And I don't know what private conversations the two had. But in any event, their careers came into direct conflict, and the marriage did not long survive it.

Posted by: Anecdote | August 25, 2006 11:39 AM

"Should an executive woman not marry a house painter, or retail salesman? Wouldn't that make life easier in a lot of ways?"

Maybe so. Are you suggesting that it would be a poor choice?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 11:41 AM

I have just read the Noer piece and the rebuttal on Forbes web site. I think that perhaps Noer piece is offensive but it is a very cold blooded way of looking at things and IMHO not totally inaccurate. In my own marriage I sacrificed my career by moving from the prestigious high profile exiting job to a stable and predictable employment. My husband did not and not for sexist reasons but simply because in his field he does not have to make these kind of choices. I did this for myself more than for our family because I wanted to be there for my kids and not in meetings. I consider myself lucky that I was able to do this in a way that would allow me (hopefully) return to my chosen career when the kids are in college. Some fields/careers are just not compatible with having family life, and that goes for men and women. I am one of those "career women" who always put personal and social life before my career even when I was young and single. In this workaholic society of ours, some people work so much they don't have time to date or meet people, much less to have a relationship. As for affairs, when would I have time to have one? At lunch, when I do errands, or maybe after the kids are asleep when I am preparing lunches for the next day? Plus I still haven't lost all the weight from my 2nd child so exposing this body to a 3rd person would be somewhat nerve racking. A sure recepie for a husband to have an affair (if he has the energy that is) is to stop taking care of yourself and let him take you for granted. Of course, I would love to be one of those SAHM who look great, exercise, have lunches with friends, and have beautiful unstained designer clothes but we are not in that income category.

Posted by: name withheld | August 25, 2006 11:45 AM

to parttimer - when I stated that nursing and teaching aren't normally thought of as 'high octane careers,' I certainly didn't mean to imply that these aren't jobs that require a high degree of skill and dedication, and I apologize if it came out that way....I totally respect these professions and didn't mean to demean them in any way (my best friend is also a teacher - her job is incredibly challenging and important).

What I meant is that these are generally jobs that tend to be on the lower end of the pay scale/salary possibilities (perhaps I was incorrect about nursing though) as compared to many other career paths that require a post-high school education, and that young women starting out in even relatively lower paying professions soon tend to make more than the 30k minimum that Noer seemed to think was the threshold for being a high marriage risk - he really isn't just addressing women who aim to climb to the highest pinacle of the corporate world; his 30k pre-marital threshhold means he considers any woman who has the work skills to financially support herself (at even the most basic level) to be a bad marriage risk, which supports some of the previous poster's point that maybe some of the other marriages stay intact because the women don't have much choice.

Posted by: notyetamom | August 25, 2006 11:46 AM

"In my experience, this largely depends on why a person is working. Most men work because they must - it's necessary to support themselves or their families. In today's world, many married women work for the same reason - it's financially necessary. Some, however, are in a possition where there is no pressing financial need, but they work primarily for personal contact and satisfaction."

I think it's so interesting that so many people maintain that only the woman has a choice whether to work, not the man. Why is this? I can understand it in relationships where the man's salary is much higher, but it seems to me that there as many marriages where the earning potentials are similar or the woman's is higher, so why wouldn't it be an even choice as to who works or who stays home?

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 11:48 AM

My reaction to this article is "Leave the self-absorbed Forbes men to the doormats, we career ladies are better off without them!" Who do you think all those career women are out there having affairs with anyway? Obviously, its those self-same Forbes guys that are bored to death with their bored and shelterd at-home wives. I can't even begin to count the number of women I know that have devoted themselves to being good wives to traditional men only to find themselves divorced at fifty and replaced by a younger and prettier doormat. There's nothing wrong with staying at home if that's what you really want to do, but understand the risk you put yourself at, and never, ever marry a guy who expect it from you. Because deep down he's not really interested in what's good for you, he's only interested in himself, and you deserve better.

What women really need are true companions, not controlling, jealous father-figures or additional children to take care of. The most important thing my husband and I will ever do for our daughter is to teach her to recognize true friendship and companionship, and to reject anything else from the future man in her life

Posted by: rumicat | August 25, 2006 11:52 AM

"Should an executive woman not marry a house painter, or retail salesman? Wouldn't that make life easier in a lot of ways?"

An exective, man or woman, should marry the person he or she loves AND that loves him/her back. If both *careerists* have an actual love for one another that is deeper than the love of career, they will make an effort to make the marriage work, regardless of chosen careers.

My husband knows he comes before my career and child. I know he feels the same way. It really makes no difference what our career or incomes are. In the end, it is in both of our best interests that the other is happy.

Posted by: whatever... | August 25, 2006 11:55 AM

The real problem for me here is the emphasis on gender-specific roles. I can buy the statement that a marriage *might* be more successful if only one person is working in a high-powered, time consuming job. But why does it have to be the woman at home and the man working? I'm much more career-focused than my husband, so I work late and handle the finances, and he does the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. (We both work full-time, though, because honestly we really couldn't afford to live on just one of our salaries).

And if you are both career-focused as long as you are aware that you'll have to compromise with each other and split the responsibilities, that is fine too.

Communication is key, and realizing that just because you're male (or just because your female) doesn't mean you have to fall into the "traditional" roles.

Posted by: ArlingtonWorker | August 25, 2006 11:56 AM

"No man should marry a carrer woman unless he wants to constantly compete with her pantsuits and powerpoint presenations, and doesn't mind a cold house, microwave dinners, and a worn-out wife."

Ha ha ha ha ha. I make twice as much as my husband does and work shorter hours. My job is about 10 times easier than his, and I don't think I've cooked a dinner with fewer than 3 courses, accompanied by two wines and port to finish, for the past two years. Frequently, when he comes home from work, he finds me napping on the couch with the dogs.

My husband's life would be considerably less chush if he were not married to me.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 25, 2006 11:57 AM

What I don't understand is why it is "clueless" to say that men shouldn't marry career women and that it's "courageous" for a woman to say that raising kids is boring (look back a couple of days).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 12:07 PM

Dang, Lizzie, I think I want to be married to you!

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 12:08 PM

He just presented statistics. Don't hate his research. One fact is a fact. As the 20th Century evolved, more women worked...and divorce increased statistically with it. The man became less of a priority and families have suffered. The career gal often reflects an 'I don't need you (just your child support/alimony'; thus, they get just that in many cases. See Hollywood as Exhibit A.

Posted by: john doe jr. | August 25, 2006 12:11 PM

"I think it's so interesting that so many people maintain that only the woman has a choice whether to work, not the man. Why is this? I can understand it in relationships where the man's salary is much higher, but it seems to me that there as many marriages where the earning potentials are similar or the woman's is higher, so why wouldn't it be an even choice as to who works or who stays home?"

Point well taken - perhaps it should be. My impression is that in most cases it still is not - perhaps it's somehow tied to the fact that biology dictates that the woman has to handle the pregnancy and delivery, and so is going to have some degree of work interruption to begin with.

Either way, it does seem that the reason you work affects what happens. If you work not because you need the money, but because you're looking for some sort of fulfillment that you aren't finding at home, you're more likely to find something in addition to a paycheck at work.

Posted by: To Megan | August 25, 2006 12:16 PM

John Doe Jr - actually the "career gal" could end up paying the alimony. Who pays and who recieves is determined by the difference in income levels not gender

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | August 25, 2006 12:17 PM

"Well the fact is that most relationships break up due to a 3rd party. As a friend of mine once said 'you don't leave somebody for nobody'."

That's true. There was (1) my ex, (2) the person he wanted me to be and (3) the person I wanted to be.

Posted by: B | August 25, 2006 12:19 PM

And I did wind up paying the alimony because he never held a steady job while we were married.

Posted by: B | August 25, 2006 12:20 PM

(no I haven't read all the other comments yet)

So, in other words, women with careers act like men with careers?

This is surprising? Women with careers already are more financially stable, so they feel more freedom to take the risks that women who are not financially dependent generally do.

As they are out in the career force, they are also presented with far more opportunities and possible ways to behave badly...just like males with careers always have.

So the point makes sense- don't marry a career woman who will tend to act like a career woman (who acts like a career man).

The article would be just as lambasted if he'd said "Don't marry fat women because they won't be as likely to go hiking and will have more health problems."

To me it's a "duh" and just happens to be a sensitive issue that no one can look beyond their own emotional screens and just move on from the very obvious point.

Posted by: Liz | August 25, 2006 12:22 PM

(no I haven't read all the other comments yet)

So, in other words, women with careers act like men with careers?

This is surprising? Women with careers already are more financially stable, so they feel more freedom to take the risks that women who are not financially dependent generally do.

As they are out in the career force, they are also presented with far more opportunities and possible ways to behave badly...just like males with careers always have.

So the point makes sense- don't marry a career woman who will tend to act like a career woman (who acts like a career man).

The article would be just as lambasted if he'd said "Don't marry fat women because they won't be as likely to go hiking and will have more health problems."

To me it's a "duh" and just happens to be a sensitive issue that no one can look beyond their own emotional screens and just move on from the very obvious point.

Posted by: Liz | August 25, 2006 12:22 PM

John Doe Jr.:

Noer had no "research"; he presetned a string of stats with no real correlation as the rebuttal noted (cause and effect, and even Noer noted this at the end of his column). I work with crime statisticians and analysts. They would laugh at this guy's conclusions: there was no scientific methodology here.

Yes, the divorce rate is higher now than it was 30 years ago. Women are no longer trapped in abusive marriages; they have a choice. Just because the divorce rate was lower 30 years ago doesn't mean these were happy marriages. Women simply had no choice but to endure the humility of a philandering husband or hide the bruises inflicted by a wife beater (less than 40 years ago, a man could beat his wife with impunity and not be arrested).

BTW: This divorced career gal receives no alimony, and my ex-husband has never contributed to the support of our child.

Could you imagine where my daughter might be if she did not have a strong working mother? Hint: she would be in subsidized housing, on welfare, etc.

Posted by: single western mom | August 25, 2006 12:23 PM

*gargh, first post was eaten and I haven't read other comments yet

So, in other words, women with careers tend to act like men with careers?

I'm not getting the problem with the point? Women who have careers are generally more financially capable, and are thus more open to taking risks than women who are not as financially capable.

In the workforce, they are also presented with a far greater variety of opportunities to be naughty girls.

I didn't see that the article made any universal statements. People just can't look past their emotional screens to say "Yes, career women have a higher likelihood of X behavior than non-career women do. If you're talking basic statistics, don't marry a career woman if you want to avoid X behavior."

It would be just like saying "Don't marry fat women because they are more likely to have health problems and not be as active."

It's a "duh" to me. But people have emotional hot buttons and let others push them all over the place.

Posted by: Liz | August 25, 2006 12:24 PM

"My reaction to this article is "Leave the self-absorbed Forbes men to the doormats, we career ladies are better off without them!""

Interesting. That's exactly what this guy is saying about self-absorbed career women. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 12:26 PM

Fof3 Asked:

"what are the legal problems?

Medical, PoA type decisions, health insurance?

I would think adoption would solve most issues.

Am I naive?

Posted by: Fo3 | August 25, 2006 10:51 AM "

Sadly, if you're referring to GayMom's post, yes you are naive. www.hrc.org has some great resources on what it means for GLBT Americans to not be able to marry - there are something like 1000+ (yes, that's over one thousand) things that GLBT Americans miss out on at the federal level by not being married (as calculated by the Congressional Budget office, no less). Not to mention the state level. Not being able to legally marry my partner means I can't provide health care for my step-daughter or my partner from my job - meaning that one of them may end up on state rolls as uninsured and needing public health assistance at some point, even though I could add them if I was a man to my private insurance. That's just the first example - I've got a thousand others I could give you, too.

Sadly, unless you've thought about it a lot, you don't realize how much privilege it is to be able to get married in the first place. Must be nice....

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 25, 2006 12:31 PM

Sorry guys- TWP is apparently having fun with me today.

Posted by: Liz | August 25, 2006 12:32 PM

Noer is right. I married two career women. The first one I put through college because she was younger. The second one I watched as she clibed the ladder to success and then she went out on me with a co-worker in her business. Nobody gave me kids, or happiness. Now I just date and have a good time because I'm too old for kids. To all you career women just realize that all your reports, your success, your money becomes meaningless when you get older. Sure, it's nice to have a nice place to live--a nice car--I have all that and enjoy it. But to have someone that cares more about you than their career and to raise children together is the greatest gift. I didn't get that. Ladies, Noer isn't telling you not to have careers. He's warning you that careers are not more important than the marriage or family. Gloria Steinem said "A woman needs a man like a Fish needs a bicycle." Would you agree with that? Even she finally got married.

Posted by: Noer's right | August 25, 2006 12:33 PM

To people who don't understand why Noer's is an asnine stance:

The whole article assumes that women with careers are oddities and should be avoided. That was a popular view a long time ago. However, in our society today, women compose a huge part of the workforce. The majority of women in our society HAVE to and DO work.

Noer did not write "Do not marry a person with a career," he wrote "Do not marry a career woman." He did not write "You'll have to help clean the house," he wrote "the house will be dirty." He did not write "you'll have to work harder to stay together," he wrote "career women will cheat on you at work." Essentially, the blame for these statistics, which have many causes and therefore apply to men and women, is squarely on the shoulders of women BECAUSE they're working and NOT on the shoulders of men who are too inflexible to compromise and make their wives happy. He could have written "one partner should not have a career focus," but he wrote "wives should not have careers."

Posted by: Meesh | August 25, 2006 12:34 PM

two failed marriages and it was all because the women had careers?

Posted by: To noer's right | August 25, 2006 12:44 PM

You wrote "A sure recepie for a husband to have an affair (if he has the energy that is) is to stop taking care of yourself and let him take you for granted". Please tell me you're 22 yrs old and still believe that incredibly sexist viewpoint. If he stayed home and his wife worked, would you still say to her - go ahead and have an affair; your husband has a pot belly and takes your income for granted.
Sorry, but I don't buy it. For 1,000 reasons.
MY vows meant what they said: til death do us part, not til 30 lbs. and an always clean house do us part.....whether wives or husbands work or stay home isn't relevant. Their integrity is.

Posted by: lady laughs | August 25, 2006 12:46 PM

"One fact is a fact. As the 20th Century evolved, more women worked...and divorce increased statistically with it."

As the numbers people always point out, correlation does not equal causation. Noer takes this statistic and assumes one particular causation and one particular meaning, when in fact, there could be many of both.

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 12:49 PM

What I find ironic (is that the right term?) is that the women's movement said that when women were running things, everything would be better because of the nurturing nature of women. I heard that many times growing up. Now that women are fully in the workforce, and often in leadership positions, they seem to be no better or worse than the men are.

Posted by: Working Dad | August 25, 2006 12:52 PM

Lizzie, can we come over?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 12:53 PM

A possible solution for your health insurance issue is you might want to look around for another company to work for. I don't know what field you are in but I am in the software field/computer field. I have worked for both privately held companies and mega-corporations. The privately owned companies I worked for provided healthcare to partners (regardless of marriage or sexual orientation). In general, I feel private companies, which might pay less than the mega-corp, are far more helpful to employees with health insurance, time off and working from home. While I know this isn't much help to say look for a new job, I just wanted to say that there are some progressive companies out there who appreciate *all* their employees and provide health insurance all partnerships.

Posted by: To RebeccainAR | August 25, 2006 12:55 PM

Amen "lady laughs"!

I would not divorce my husband for gaining weight. He would not divorce me for that either. We married because we love each others' minds and hearts, not bodies (although we stay in shape for our health).

Of all the things I could do to him (be unfaithful, gamble away our money, become an alcoholic), gaining weight is a very trivial matter.

The best thing you can do for your spouse is maintain your own personality, work on your faults, and cut him or her some slack for their own failings.

Posted by: Meesh | August 25, 2006 12:56 PM

"Lizzie, can we come over?"

Absolutely. Not only do I cook three courses, I cook enough for 6 people to eat three courses.

We're out of port right now, though.

"To all you career women just realize that all your reports, your success, your money becomes meaningless when you get older."

Is success comparably meaningless to older men? Also, I wouldn't say that anyone's success is entirely meaningless. They might have things that mean more to them, or things that mean as much, but I don't think that anyone would expend that much sustained energy on anything that didn't have at least some meaning to them.

Also, my husband sure doesn't think my career - or the money it brings in - is meaningless. On the contrary, it's what has allowed him to pursue the low-paid field (teaching) that he inexplicably loves so much.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 25, 2006 12:56 PM

Meesh, no part of your decision to marry was based upon finding your husband attractive? I don't disagree with your overall point, just finding that part curious.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 12:57 PM

Thanks Meesh.
I'm a VERY successful career woman now, after 16 yrs at home with 4 kids (who are superstars and genuinely wonderful human beings - see, I did my 'job' during those 16 yrs, tho there were definitely tough times with all of them). I'm in my early 60's, so there's hope for a second marriage. Your 'best thing you can do' list is FABULOUS. Thx for that.
I've been a working single, working married/no kids, at home married/kids; working married/kids and single working/kids. So I've been in almost every possible situation for a woman (soon, maybe retired w/ grandkids!) and I can honestly say: Raising kids is the hardest thing I've even done with the smallest SHORT term reward, but the highest LONG term reward. My job is demanding and the opposite.
So ladies, take your pick, but if you stay at home, do a good job and stay marketable; if you work, do a good job and make plenty ot time for the kids because the LONG term reward is THERE. Trust me.

Posted by: lady laughs | August 25, 2006 1:00 PM

I found your comment odd too. I totally married my husband for his body. He's smart and funny too. But mainly, he's hot and really good at "wink, wink. nudge, nudge."

Posted by: To Meesh | August 25, 2006 1:01 PM

To Alex.Mom--thanks. This is an issue causing us some frustration right now.

Posted by: GayMom | August 25, 2006 1:04 PM

You "totally" married your husband for his body and the xxxxx......?????
Uh, bodies don't last; when his/yours goes as almost every body does (ever seen a sexy 70 yr old outside of H'wood?), will you still love him and will the xxxx still be great?
Let me know in about 30 yrs.....tehe.
Look at the stats - shared values and outlook are what make a marriage LAST....and Meesh's perspective, which works no matter who's employed or not....

Posted by: lady laughs | August 25, 2006 1:06 PM

"a. how is a woman supposed to support HERSELF without a career? In my world, working usually comes before marriage, there aren't many 18 year olds getting married these days"

In some other parts of the world, there are many married at 18 or even younger...

"maybe those non career women are stuck because of circumstance, and not choice."

Exactly.

"I was born and raised in an African country where there is a very low rate of divorce. The reasons for such a low rate of divorce is because most men do marry non-career women (because the large portion of women are uneducated or only have limited education). However most of these are unhappy marriages but because these women have no other alternative i.e if they leave their husbands they leave their children (most courts will award children to the father) and will not be able to support themselves so they stay hence low divorce rates. The men cheat, neglect & abuse their wives and have multiple wives knowing full well that their spouses have no control over the situation and will not be going anywhere!"

Isn't that also how a lot of women and girls get infected with HIV and die of AIDS?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23730-2004Nov30.html

"...In many poor societies, teenage brides are married off to older men who promptly infect them: Surveys in African cities find that HIV infection rates are higher among married females between the ages of 15 and 19 than among sexually active singles of the same age. Because of these horrifying data, AIDS groups are right to point out that the Bush administration's [and Uganda's] "ABC strategy" (Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms) has limits. Most vulnerable teenage brides are faithful, but they cannot abstain or negotiate condoms, particularly since they want or are expected to have children..."

It's not just in Africa either:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3872773.stm

"The greatest risk [of HIV infection] for women in South-East Asia is being married, because husbands are bringing the disease home to their wives"

"Now that women are fully in the workforce, and often in leadership positions, they seem to be no better or worse than the men are."

Yep, we're just people.

Posted by: Maria | August 25, 2006 1:22 PM

Gotta agree with lady laughs...

It was physical attraction that drew me to my husband (I was 22 when we met; he had just turned 18 when we started dating). And 14 years later, great sex was not enough to keep a bad marriage together...I definitely outgrew him.

Yep, shared values (as FO4 also mentioned) and common goals are the key to a long-lasting marriage...hindsight is 20/20. It stinks to learn these lessons when you are in your late 30s, facing divorce and raising a child on your own. Some poor choices have life-long implications.

Posted by: single western mom | August 25, 2006 1:22 PM

"You "totally" married your husband for his body and the xxxxx......?????
Uh, bodies don't last; when his/yours goes as almost every body does (ever seen a sexy 70 yr old outside of H'wood?), will you still love him and will the xxxx still be great?
Let me know in about 30 yrs.....tehe.
Look at the stats - shared values and outlook are what make a marriage"

If it's all about the shared values and outloook, and physical and sexual attraction have nothing to do with a lasting marriage, then why does same-sex marriage have anything to do with homosexuality?

Posted by: Maria | August 25, 2006 1:26 PM

I didn't say physical & sexual attraction have 'nothing' to do w/ a lasting marriage - au contraire. But neither lasts (bold, underline)......and I'm the first to say bawwwwww. What KEEPS you together is the rest.....just watch any program or read any survey about olderh couples in happy marriages. My comments above are the first things they say.

Posted by: lady laughs | August 25, 2006 1:28 PM

As other commenters have commented
on other boards 'round the USA,
Noer's "facts" apply to men, as well: career men cheat more, are
more likely to divorce, and so on.
So, all of us females should
give careful thought to marrying
career men. Right? : )

Posted by: SF Mom | August 25, 2006 1:33 PM

I'm posting before readign the comments because I have some thoughts and I don't want to forget them while I read all 127 comments.

First, I actually liked the article, though I am apparently reading the toned-down version (i also liked the prostitution article). I thought it was very funny, almost tongue-in-cheek. However, I thought it was too narrowly focused on men's own welfare as the driver of couple formation. The article assumed that males have total control of the market for mates. It ignored the fact that women are also choosing mates, and that career women will naturally select against men who agree with the article's conclusion. In other words, so your wife works? Bummer, but, if you could have found someone better, then why didn't you? Basic answer: men marry the best choice available to them, and so do women (career women included).

Second, career women were defined with an income starting from $30 000. When taxes are incorporated, guess how much daycare for two or three kids costs? So guess how much a woman making $30 000 is bringing home? Yeah, not that much. So, moron, of course their house is dirty, because they can't afford a cleaner. If they upped the definition to 60 000, I think the analysis would produce a different outcome.

Third, I think the findings about higher female incomes correlating with higher divorce rates were argued incorrectly. The writer implies that since marriages result in divorce more frequently when women make more money, that marriages are unhappier when women make more money. But what if both types of marriage were equally unhappy? When women make more money, they have the resources to divorce crappy husbands. When they make less money, they don't. So, yes, from the male's point of view, it makes sense to marry a non-working woman, because you can trap her in a bad marriage, but if your working wife leaves you, don't blame her career. Blame your crummy behavior.

Posted by: m | August 25, 2006 1:37 PM

Pundits, perverts, and fundamentalists. They're messing with my space. It's the new oppression. Is there too much freedom because every idiot is able to chunk numbers the way they want them to perform? Too much freedom because half the idiots with an academic degree purport to be experts when all they did was jump through some academic hoops? Take your opinions and agendas and just leave the room! There are so few things that really matter (and that's true physics). (This comment by a single mom with 14 years of career and child rearing -- I'll steer my own ship, thank you.)

Posted by: jkey | August 25, 2006 1:38 PM

I'd say that ideally you find someone who shares your values and whom you also find to be totally delectable. Yeah, we all sag as we get older, but a bit of sagging doesn't mean that you can't find your partner totally delectable.

Fo3, I guess you were addressing me with your question about whether you were naive. I'm afraid so. Second-parent adoption is not always an option. I can't transfer my health insurance to include people who are not legally my family and I am a contractor so I don't have any through my job (long story about I have it anyway). Believe it or not, it is illegal in Virginia for us to set up a legal arrangement that gives the benefits of marriage without being married (which we can't be):

"A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable."

Incredible, isn't it? I'm debating now whether to talk to my employer about making family health insurance part of my contract. Of course, by doing so I take the chance of being fired for being gay--which is legal. For now, we're sucking it up.

Posted by: GayMom | August 25, 2006 1:39 PM

Noer suffers from what we call
LDS syndrome............little d*(k syndrome. Enough said.

Posted by: lizB | August 25, 2006 1:42 PM

To the anonymous questioner:

We met in college and did homework together. I was not physically attracted to him at first. But things changed, we fell in love, and now I think he's the sexiest man alive (okay, besides Josh Hartnett, Jared Leto, and Harrison Ford). Could we both stand to lose 10 pounds? Sure. Would I trade him for any of the hot guys I "dated" in college? No.

Posted by: Meesh | August 25, 2006 1:44 PM

correction
LD syndrome
Little D*(k syndrome.
I feel sorry for him.

Posted by: LizB | August 25, 2006 1:44 PM

Aak! I forgot my most important point. Many people see child raising as an important part of marriage. There's no question that (apart from inherited wealth) a career wife is the most reliable way for a man to ensure a good outcome for his kids in the event of his unemployment, disablement, or death. Thus, a career wife has great utility for his goal of raising offspring, even if not for his own personal wellbeing.

Posted by: m | August 25, 2006 1:49 PM

GayMom, did you read the article in... I think it was the Post but it could have been the Times? It was about the exodus of gay families from Virginia because of the recent tightening of the marriage ban. I don't live in VA, but I would think about moving if the lawmakers essentially told me that gay people were not afforded the rights as non-gay people. I don't know if you've considered moving, but maybe you should try to spend all your money in D.C. or Maryland--no sense in giving it to those conservative nutjobs and thier backwards state!

Posted by: Meesh | August 25, 2006 1:55 PM

"MY vows meant what they said: til death do us part, not til 30 lbs. and an always clean house do us part.....whether wives or husbands work or stay home isn't relevant. Their integrity is."

Well, yeah - all of us who're married made vows, and we should keep them. But it's plain common sense to try and make it easier for our spouses to keep their vows, rather than harder.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 1:57 PM

"Is success comparably meaningless to older men?"

Yes, it is. The older I get, the more important family becomes, and the less important my career becomes. I'm going to retire some day, and the career will end. I hope and pray that I will have my family for the rest of my life. To make it very concrete - I'm looking forward to grandkids much more than I am to the next raise or promotion. (Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt while out of town speaking at a convention, and you know what? Kids are better!)

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 2:00 PM

To the anon at 1:57,

You have to be secure enough to know that you are not reponsible for your SO's cheating. If your spouse habituually lies, cheats and you work away from home, do I conclude that because you have a career where you may meet other attractive men/women, you are responsible for your spouse's moral failings.

Posted by: AnotherRockvilleMom | August 25, 2006 2:06 PM

"Pundits, perverts, and fundamentalists. They're messing with my space."

So, if a man thinks that a woman who wants to have kids and stay at home would make a better wife for him, he's per se a pervert or fundamentalist? (Or pundit? What's with that?) And what is this space he's messing with?

Some guys may not want the same kind of marriage you want. Get over it.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 2:08 PM

"I'm looking forward to grandkids much more than I am to the next raise or promotion."

Of course you are. But what the original poster said was that once women get older, they will find that their career is completely meaningless - not meaningless in comparison with friends or family or skeet shooting or whatever. So, would you say that your career is completely meaningless? After all, it provided you with at least some of the financial means to support the family that means so much to you.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 25, 2006 2:08 PM

Re: "My husband knows he comes before my career and child. I know he feels the same way."

I would hope that most parents aren't so needy that they would need more of their spouses time than a growing child does(who doesn't have a lot of other resources to draw on than parents!) Though Noer does sounds pretty needy ...

Posted by: Kids matter too! | August 25, 2006 2:17 PM

"So, would you say that your career is completely meaningless?"

Not now - I have college tuition bills to pay! But yeah, in the long term it's going to become relatively unimportant. I'm good at it, I enjoy it, I've been successful at it, but the stuff that really lasts all comes outside of work. Once I retire it'll be good for a) a pension check, and b) providing some anecdotes to bore my grandkids with. I'll be replaced, and other people will do what I'm doing now. The world will go on.

And when they bury me, no one will really care what I did for a living (it'll probably get a line or two in my obituary, but what I really hope the obit and eulogy focus on is my kids - they're what I'm really proud of).

I don't want to be one of those sad old men who basically give up and die when they retire, because they were defined by their jobs. I've seen it, and it scares me. If women want to learn from men, for goodness sake, take us as a cautionary tale and avoid making your job your life.

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 2:17 PM

I know it is not politically correct to say that your partner comes before your child(ren) but I admit it. It makes us happy.

Posted by: To Kids Matter Too! | August 25, 2006 2:29 PM

Hmmmm, working women are responsible for all the woes in a marriage? Fabulous, now me and my husband can stop fighting about whose fault it is. Seriously though, I felt this article is yet another way to make working women feel bad. Who cares what he thinks anyway, everyone has to live their life the way the want to.

Gaymom,

You can be fired for being gay? Are you serious? That is very sad, but it doesn't surprise me. When I was going to school in Utah for gay pride week, the activists put up a small wall with pictures of gay families on it. (hoping to raise awareness that bigotry hurts children too) The school cashiers became so upset that one of them went over and took it down. This let off a firestorm of debate and complaints that lead to one of the cahiers being fired and the other ones taking diversity training. I just don't understand why people can't leave other people alone and let them live their lives. Hopefully, things will change and all families will be accepted.

Posted by: scarry | August 25, 2006 2:29 PM

hey, another rockville mom -- I think he/she wanted to say that the physical aspect of the relationship matters.

Posted by: another anon poster | August 25, 2006 2:30 PM

Re: "I know it is not politically correct to say that your partner comes before your child(ren) but I admit it. It makes us happy."

I could care less about politically correct. But everyone should care about children. And I suspect that it's making you and your partner much happier than your child.

Posted by: Kids Matter Too | August 25, 2006 2:31 PM

"the stuff that really lasts all comes outside of work."

I understand what you mean, but I'd say this would vary by career. As I mentioned earlier, my husband is a teacher. There are some kids whose lives he has already had a long-term impact on; several kids have told him that he's the only reason they went to college. Part of the reason he quit sales was that it felt meaningless to him, but there are obviously people who derive great satisfaction from that.

One of my college professors was a woman who never married or had children, but who did groundbreaking work on Nazi Germany. Her contributions are crucial to that field's scholarship, and will be consulted long after she's dead. The same goes for a friend of hers who commited suicide, leaving no children, but an enviable body of work.

Of course, if you're not a historian, you wouldn't think that either of them had left much of a legacy.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 25, 2006 2:31 PM

Disclaimer:I need to preface this blog as I no longer work for the Bureau and my opinions are my own and do not represent the opinions of my current employer or the US Census Bureau. The Bureau is not held liable for anything set in this statement. I actually found his article from a statisitcal stand point funny. I actually worked on the SIPP survey about 6 or 7 years ago. I can tell you two things about that survey. The survey was designed to study program participation (welfare, medicaid, food stamps etc...) and the people that use those services and how they effect income. In short, the survey over samples people in poverty. Secondly, unless things have changed, the Bureau does not put out probabilities of the kind his stating. This must be his own conclusions or a misunderstanding of the results. Of course any statistics 101 student will tell you that correlation does not mean causation. So for SIPP to say that the numbers of hours worked by a female is positively correlated to marital status does not mean that work was the cause of divorce. What you would need to do to answer that question is a series of propensity models where the dependent variable is yes (stay married) or no (got divorced )( a typical 0,1 binary variable) while the dependent variables would be things like hours worked etc... Then you could actually see if the propensity or probability to get divorced increases given certain work or career choices were made. As far as I know, SIPP has never published this information. Also SIPP does not make publications of such. It puts out a public use data set with weights and standard errors. How people use or misuse the data is clearly not known or the responsibility of the Bureau. I would also say his definition of career is really not what I would consider a career per se. So in short, his assumptions are wrong and a bit misguided.

Posted by: Lieu | August 25, 2006 2:31 PM

to not yet a mom--ok. i realize they aren't investment banking. but the pay is reasnable.

i know -- 75K for nursing is awesome. However she does work for it, trust me. that also includes her signing bonus.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 2:34 PM

as 'noer's right' indicated earlier, many successful got-it-goin on sistas place career be4 hubby. Thus, end up with nice careers and manless or mansharing later on. Thus, life isn't that great after all. Oprah, Halle Berry, Janet, many others have careers...And men that didn't marry them or didn't stay long after sex/financial opportunities, etc... Hard to accept, that having both isn't reality. And the kids are greatly negatively affected unlike many years ago...

Posted by: john doe, jr. | August 25, 2006 2:39 PM

Meesh, I don't know if I read the same article you're talking about but I've certainly read similar articles. They tend to get my attention. ;)

I can't really spend my money in DC and MD, as I do not live in NoVA but in a different part of the state. We have discussed moving and eventually probably will. It's hard, though: we've got friends and family here and it angers me to have to leave because someone else is stupid. My sole comfort is that I have a much higher income than average and moving would mean no longer contributing to the tax rolls here. That's not much comfort, though. How'd you feel about living in exile?

Posted by: GayMom | August 25, 2006 2:47 PM

Lizzie,

Clearly, your husband has a worthwhile and meaningful career. I suspect the professors you mention did also.

I'd suggest that they are a more general case of what I'm talking about, though. It isn't the career that's important - it's the people whose lives you touch on a personal level.

For a dad or mom, these are your spouse, children, grandchildren . . . If you choose to marry and have kids, they have the first call on your love, attention and allegience. Of course, many professions give you the opportunity to touch people. Teachers can have a tremendous influence on a child's life.

I would suggest that it's the personal connection, rather than the "career accomplishments" that are important. Many people can write a textbook or research paper - and will after we're gone. But it takes a particular person at a particular place and time to touch a student. The body of work can be replaced - the personal relationships can't.

I do think it's fair to do some generalizing. At the end of our lives, the people will matter, rather than the titles, paychecks and publications. For those of us who've married, our families should be at the top of the list. With a really rich life, there will be other people as well. For some of us, it may be students or patients rather than kids.

But in the end, people are more important than things. The odds are that more than half my life is over now. I have a lot more things than I used to - but they're getting less important every day.

My wife recently lost an elderly relative - one of two sisters who never married. The other had already died. My wife is the last one on that side of the family, so we had to clean out the house and sell it. The house was full of the residue from two lives. We rented a dumpster and filled it up over the course of a week. In the end, it was all just old furniture and out-of-date clothes.

Now I'm depressing even myself - sorry! Just trying to learn the right lessons from what I've seen and done. And none of it suggests I should spend more time at work and less time with my wife or kids!

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 2:50 PM

crud, I meant a year. If I made 75k a month I would work for a couple of years and then retire to costa rica.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 2:54 PM

Yes, Scarry, you can, depending on the state. In 34 states (VA is one of them) you can be fired for your sexual orientation and you have no legal protection, as you would if fired for being the "wrong" gender, the "wrong" race, or the "wrong" religion.

I consider it not sad but insane.

I've answered a few questions today but anyone else wondering what gay rights in the US looks like (many people are not well-informed on this issue) should check out www.hrc.org. You can look at the various states to see the state of affairs.

Posted by: GayMom | August 25, 2006 2:56 PM

Three cheers for Older Dad and Lieu - I'm really enjoying your contributions today - thank you for sharing with the rest of us. GayMom, good luck with your situation. I was sickened by the attitude Virginia insists on taking and am glad to be out of the state (while it doesn't immediately affect me, it offends what I consider basic respect for people and I don't want to support it). How would you say the state's laws and people's attitudes affect your kid(s)?

Posted by: SEP | August 25, 2006 2:59 PM

I think that Michael Noer made several valid points in his Forbes article "Don't Marry Career Women." It's refreshing when someone dares to challenge political correctness. What's not refreshing, however, is the tired, oh-so-typical female backlash. Just deal with it, ladies.

Also, based on some of the other comments I've seen posted here, I'd like to clear up a few misconceptions:

1) "Men are pigs." Not entirely true. Women can be pigs, too! I happen to be the only man in a department of 10 women. The behavior of some of the career girls is often appalling: crude, sexist jokes about men; hurtful gossip, etc. Am I sometimes stunned? Yes. Do I whine about it? No, I just deal and move on.

2) "Secretaries are young and blond." Absolutely untrue. Most of the secretaries where I work (about 146 of the 150 on staff) are over 45 years old. Hair color does vary, however.

Yawn.

Posted by: A Politically-Correct Liberal No More | August 25, 2006 3:00 PM

Now I'm depressing even myself - sorry! Just trying to learn the right lessons from what I've seen and done. And none of it suggests I should spend more time at work and less time with my wife or kids!

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 02:50 PM

Right on, Older Dad! I think Lizzie's point (in part at least), is that this lesson applies equally to men as to women (whereas the poster she was responding to seemed to imply that only women will later regret focusing too much on their careers). Seems to me that men and women in equal proportions can reap huge rewards through work and accomplish things that will outlive them, but that most won't wish they spent more time on it at the end of their lives, regardless of gender.

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 3:03 PM

Men should not marry career women and women should not marry career men. That's a simple solution. Let's let the single people work and we can be unemployed and happily married forever (with hundreds of kids).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 3:05 PM

"Just deal with it, ladies."

Wow, what a thoughtful response to the many well-worded and insightful critiques of Noer's article.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 3:08 PM

To the "Politically-Correct Liberal No More":

You say you want to clear up some misconceptions "based on some of the other comments I've seen posted here," the first one of which is "men are pigs."

I did a CTRL-F, and the only reference on this whole hundred-some-comment page to "men are pigs" is yours. Insecure much?

(There was a comment about "sexist pigs" in an earlier comment, but it wasn't directed solely at men, thereby acknowledging that people of both sexes can be, well, sexist.)

Posted by: Vienna Mom | August 25, 2006 3:10 PM

Isn't the point at the end of the day that family should come before work and we (both men and women) should not be required to pour so much of ourselves into work that we don't have enough to give our family?
Work to live and not live to work?

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 25, 2006 3:12 PM

Thanks Leslie and Brian for posting this. I thought the Forbes article was an Onion/junk mail joke when I saw the article online. Its horrifying for a young professional to have so many negative outcomes attributed to our decision to work and enjoy a career.

I had a class in college where my (female) professor spent a lecture outlining the same ideas that the Forbes article does.

It would be so much more productive if time was spent on brainstorming solutions to these concerns (dividing house work) rather than vilifying female professionals.

Posted by: Marie | August 25, 2006 3:13 PM

Exactly right Marie! The conclusion should be that we need to do something to modify expectations in the workplace. People should be able to be ambitious and still have a decent homelife and should not have to leave all the household work to the other spouse because that leads to an unequal relationship.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | August 25, 2006 3:14 PM

To Gaymom: exile isn't always exile. Alexander the Great was a hostage in Greece during his childhood, and grew to love the people and culture. You might find a fast network of friends in Frederick or other nice town in Md. Actually, I am not sure if Frederick is a nice town. I don't know if I have ever been there. But things can always get better.


And another thing: if all the men in America only marry the 'non' career women in the country, then there will be a immediate drop in the birth rate of children born inside marriage. If there are 80 million women and 69 million working women, then the men are going to have to fight tooth and nail to find a mate. Some are going to be left out in the cold. The main thing people have to remember is that marriage is hard. Once the kids have left the nest, you better have something to fall back on, cause it won't be sex for long. In my case, my husband's job affords me the luxury of taking a parttime job doing something I love. At some point I will return the favor.

One of my friends is tired of the juggling she and her husband have to do to keep their heads above water, so they are selling their house and moving to the Midwest. They have some decent equity, and despite the recent downturn in the economy, they will make a profit on their house. 12 hours from here there are jobs that pay less, but also affordable housing.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 3:15 PM

You know, most men don't manage to "have it all." Life stinks, but sometimes we just have to choose between family time and work time, what's best for our careers and what's best for our marriages, moving to make more money and staying where we are so the kids don't have to change schools, etc. That's one reason the distant, uninvolved dad is a cultural cliche.

The basic problem isn't that our society is corrupt, employers are evil, or our political system is fundamentally screwed up - it's that we're finite creatures with a finite amount of time, and our lives by their very nature have limits.

We can have a lot, more choices are better than fewer, and if we're wise we'll choose good things - but "having it all" just isn't in the cards (for men or women).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 3:26 PM

To GayMom - GLBT folks just have to keep raising awreness, don't we? Virginia is about 1/2 step away from Arkansas - we have to have an unlisted number due to my partner having been threatened one time too many by the Klan. Our daughter has been lucky to have avoided all this mess - but then, the younger generation always seems to be a few steps ahead in tolerance and acceptance of diversity.


To everyone else that has expressed shock about GLBT rights (that's Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgendered for those who don't know what I mean), believe it. Think Jim Crow laws, etc. based on what the person that you love. Think about threats, lack of rights, exclusion from lots of public functions, not being able to go to your child's school (I'm an aunt as far as the school goes), etc. Talk about finding balance where you can.... And yes, you can lose your job for being gay. I've lost one, my partner has lost several.

Posted by: RebeccainAR | August 25, 2006 3:28 PM

Olderdad - I'll need to cut and paste your post and keep it. I'm getting married soon and your insights are very helpful to me (and I'm sure many others) as I start my new life. I'm a so-called "career woman" though I'm not exactly married to my career and am open to new things. My philosophy is work for the weekend. My fiance believes the same. When I start my family, I'll keep your words of wisdom in mind. In the end, these nice items and luxuries that we work so hard for will be thrown in some dumpster somewhere or sold at an estate sale. What really matters is the impact you've left on people's lives. Thanks for that!

Posted by: Kiki | August 25, 2006 3:34 PM

To Vienna Mom:

"Insecure much?" Puh-leaze. Spare me the cliche pop-psychology! Whatever. But, anyway, you were right, it was "sexist pigs... ." Nevertheless, the "men are pigs, men are pigs" cry of so many women is tiresome at best.

Posted by: A Politically-Correct Liberal No More | August 25, 2006 3:35 PM

Here we go again. Policital correctness gone amuck. He stated an argument that people might disagree with, but instead of reasoned debate, we get a lot of sloganneering among his critics. A lot of perjoritives and nasty remarks. It simply doesnt fit into a society that makes woman feel they have no life unless they work.

Posted by: niceday | August 25, 2006 3:37 PM

Kiki - congratulations, and good luck! Marrying my wife is perhaps the single best thing I've ever done.

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 3:41 PM

Kiki - my last message didn't sound right. What I meant to convey is that marriage can be wonderful. As my father once said, "every truly good thing in my life has come to me though my wife."

Posted by: Older Dad | August 25, 2006 3:50 PM

To Gaymom,

I have gay friends who live in Frederick. They think it's a pretty good area. They've actually relocated from Baltimore, and they're quite happy in Frederick.

Posted by: pittypat | August 25, 2006 3:55 PM

Noer's article was based on facts, not emotions, and I think he's doing the young men of the world a favor. Because the stats are NOT in favor of a marriage working with a career woman in tow.

As "liberated" as some of Noer's haters like to think they are, there is an undercurrent of Christian chivalry to their comments. The idea being that men should sacrifice and risk a bad marriage and life just to accommodate what women want.

A lot of men are waking up to the fact that they don't need to genuflect to women anymore. Chivalry is dead and we need more writers like Noer.

Posted by: Dennis B | August 25, 2006 4:10 PM

"It isn't the career that's important - it's the people whose lives you touch on a personal level."

You know, I was about to rebut by pointing out the example of General Marshall, but then I realized that he arguably touched more people on a personal level - for the better - than anyone in the 20th century.

"I think Lizzie's point (in part at least), is that this lesson applies equally to men as to women (whereas the poster she was responding to seemed to imply that only women will later regret focusing too much on their careers)."

This was exactly my point; thank you for making it much more concisely than I have been able to.

Posted by: Lizzie | August 25, 2006 4:11 PM

Married Woman Have More Affairs??? How bogus.
I've witnessed innumerable office affairs over my 30 years of work, and a strange fact keeps emerging -- married men are just as often the culprits as married women. In fact, now that I think about it more so, because they are the ones who are more often traveling and have the raw opportunity to misbehave. Those of us who work 10 hours and then go home to do the family laundry and make dinner for kids simply don't have the time, energy, or venue. Forget the inclination. Can I get an amen on that?

I think men are worried that women are gaining equality in the infidelity department, where they've traditionally dominated. Neanderthal men want to continue to hold the power -- both money and sex. Surprise, surprise.

Posted by: Britwit | August 25, 2006 4:23 PM

Sometimes I feel like it's all or nothing on this blog. There are plenty of people who touch the world with their careers and have made the world a better place. (Jonas Salk, Shakespeare come to mind quickly). No, not everyone will have those sorts of professional accomplishments, but I am not sure the importance of them should be discarded so quickly either.

Yes, we should appreciate the importance of friends and family but why can't work mean something too?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:28 PM

A paper written by Steven P. Martin and Sangeeta Parashar in the Journal of Marriage and Family (June '06) called "Growing Evidence for a Divorce Divide" notes that:

1) College-educated women are MORE likely to marry and LESS likely to divorce than their less-well-educated sisters;

2) College-educated women have a more restrictive and negative attitude toward divorce than non-college-educated women.

Either you can find a paper that confirms just about anything you want to publish, or maybe Noer's statistics were out of date.

And, reading some of the comments above, I offer an excellent reason for women to work: If you don't have a career, chances are you'll be a burden on your kids when you get older! Do you want that? If not, get a job! It's not fair to your daughter (and chances are it WILL be a daughter, after all, its no accident that the word "daughter" and the word "dutiful" begin with the same letter!) to have to support and care for you in addition to her kids and husband.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:28 PM

The guy just didn't want to marry a woman who would write articles about how boring it is to be around their offspring. He was being honest -- give him credit. My friends and I were all very successful, Ivy Leaguers. Kids did something to us. We didn't want to mess it up. Of my 10 closest friends, only one is actively in the work force. Our theory is that this time with our kids is our retirement. We will gladly work until we die, with peace and honor. But our kids are a blast, our husbands are still good in bed, and we know where all the money is stashed. Yes, we will have to pay our dues when we go back to the workforce, but our kids won't be living with us at age 30, nor will we be bailing them out of jail. Are you working now so you can retire at 55? I am not working now so I can enjoy life with the family, then never retire. All the studies show it is better to work into your 70s.

Posted by: Karen | August 25, 2006 4:31 PM

"I think men are worried that women are gaining equality in the infidelity department, where they've traditionally dominated."

Equal pay for equal work, sure. But is infidelity really an area where women should seek equality?

Women have generally avoided relationships with men who would run around with them. Is it any surprise that men might tend to avoid relationships with women they suspect might run around on them? And can we blame them?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:36 PM

It's just bizarre to me that anyone in Noer's position would write such an article absent some sort of psychological need either to attract attention (write something inflammatory) or, if he really believes what he wrote, some other unanswered need. Surely if Noer is an editor at Forbes, and if he were to be married to a woman with a career, he could compensate for their mutual absence on the household front and contribute to the economy by hiring a cleaning service, thus leaving the two of them some time together or with family... sheesh! I realize Forbes is not a magazine focused on poverty, but as others here have pointed out, his arguments make no sense unless one is well enough off to have choices, in which case, one may also have the wherewithal to fight the negative effects of a two-career family.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:40 PM

"Yes, we should appreciate the importance of friends and family but why can't work mean something too?"

Of course it can. But a potential spouse - male or female - will have an understandable interest in where your primary commitment will fall. The level of that commitment will affect your desirability as a potential marriage partner.

And let's be real. Most of will not be able, at the end of our lives, to look back and say that we cured cancer or wrote a play for the ages. Even if we did - is it fair to commit to a spouse and children if we're going to make them second fiddle, even if it's second fiddle to saving the world?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:49 PM

"Yes, we will have to pay our dues when we go back to the workforce, but our kids won't be living with us at age 30, nor will we be bailing them out of jail."


What makes you so sure about that? Of course, the implication is that this is so because you stay at home. And is it any wonder that the flaming WOH-SAH debates begin with statements like that?

Posted by: To Karen: | August 25, 2006 4:51 PM

Why do so many career women seem threatened by the idea that some men would prefer a woman who made different choices? Some women want to marry the vice present of the bank - some women want to marry the school teacher. You don't see many male bank vice presidents agonizing over it - or many male school teachers who can't find a wife because of their choice of an occupation.

So some men are drawn to the accomplished "trophy wife," while others to the "housewife." So what?

We all have to learn - at some point in life - that not everyone will like us (and certainly not everyone of the opposite sex will have any interest in marrying us).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:54 PM

"If you work not because you need the money, but because you're looking for some sort of fulfillment that you aren't finding at home, you're more likely to find something in addition to a paycheck at work."

I couldn't disagree more. Why should the fact that I enjoy the intellectual stimulation my job provides imply that I find something lacking in my husband? What's with the implication that a woman SHOULD be completely fulfilled by staying at home, and that there must be something wrong if she wants to do something else? If you are, great; but that isn't everyone, and folks who feel differently aren't wrong, they're just made differently.

And why, oh why, wouldn't that go both ways? I make more than my husband at this point in time, and he has the option to quit if he wants to. So should I now feel insecure that he continues to work only because he feel some need to seek "fulfillment" outside of me and our kids?

It's all about finding people with similar values. If a guy wants a wife who stays home, then yeah, he'd be unhappy married to a woman like me (and I'd be just as unhappy married to him). Duh. But it's not because there's anything wrong with either case -- it's because they have different goals and desires in life.

The real question is, do you understand what is important to your partner -- what their goals and dreams are, what makes them happy -- and are you willing to do what it takes to help them achieve that? I want my husband to be happy, and having a job he is happy with is a big part of that, so I have in the past made sacrifices to help him achieve that. And he recognizes the same thing about me, and has made sacrifices to help me achieve my goals. And the fact that he is willing to do that makes me love him all the more. So, no, I don't believe that my desire to work reflects badly on my marriage; in fact, his daily love and support for me, including my career, makes me completely uninterested in what some other young hottie might have to offer. Because what's better than someone who loves you for who you are and works every day to support you in achieving your goals?

Posted by: Laura | August 25, 2006 4:55 PM

"So, no, I don't believe that my desire to work reflects badly on my marriage; in fact, his daily love and support for me, including my career, makes me completely uninterested in what some other young hottie might have to offer."

You've misrepresented me. It seems pretty clear that you're motivated to work by something other than a perceived lack in other areas of your life. Good for you.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 4:57 PM

If I read this blog and it DIDN'T have a few comments on how men are the cheaters, and holding down women, and are generally contemptable, backward, hormone driven morons (except of course, for the perfect significant other that's married to the woman posting, the father of their perfect children) even as the women uphold the values of society, struggle bravely for equality, and raise the kids with little or no male help, I'd be really disappointed. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 5:01 PM

"Noer's article was based on facts, not emotions"

You lose the whole argument when you begin with a false assumption. Based on facts? I think not....he made conclusions based on false assumptions and associations. Read earlier posts. The studies, I am sure, do not show causation.

And believing that writing articles in supposedly reputable magazines that are only right wing dribble and not based on facts is disgusting and irresponsible is NOT PC. It is most of our opinions. It should have been titled: One Man's Bitter Opinion" I agree with others that this was only an attention seeking device a la Ann Coulter. Not worth the paper it was printed on.

And I agree with the anonymous poster who asserted that work can be as important as family. It depends on the work. Those of us who work in fields where we save lives or somehow better people believe that what we are doing is important and derive great satisfaction from it.

Posted by: working mother | August 25, 2006 5:16 PM

Leslie- you are being dishonest- Noer warned against marrying "women with college education or higher", not just "women who earn more than $30,000 a year."

Also will someone please provide statistical evidence that refute Noer? I think he is on to something. Its a well-known fact that women initiate the majority of divorces these days.

Posted by: Observer | August 25, 2006 5:19 PM

"Why do so many career women seem threatened by the idea that some men would prefer a woman who made different choices? Some women want to marry the vice present of the bank - some women want to marry the school teacher. You don't see many male bank vice presidents agonizing over it"

We're (or at I'm) not agonizing over the fact that some men don't want to marry a career woman, we're offended by the fact that Noer places the full blame of rising divorce statistics on the fact that women work, and advises ALL men not marry ANY woman who works. There's a big difference between that and Fo4 saying he wanted a traditional homemaker wife.

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 5:21 PM

Who asked for the majority of divorces in generations past? My point - even if more divorces today are initiated that doesn't mean in the past that this was also the case.

Most people on this blog have agreed that women who have careers are more likely to divorce than SAH's, the difference is that unlike Noer the assumption isn't that they are less committed to their marriages or that their marriages are inherently worse, just that they have more options.

Posted by: to observer | August 25, 2006 5:28 PM

"Most people on this blog have agreed that women who have careers are more likely to divorce than SAH's, the difference is that unlike Noer the assumption isn't that they are less committed to their marriages or that their marriages are inherently worse, just that they have more options."

Uh, o.k. - assuming you're right about that, does that mean he's giving men bad advice? (Assuming, of course, that they're looking for a mate who will neither cheat on them nor divorce them.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 5:44 PM

gee, I was just about to make a comment in passing that this entire blog is incredibly sexist (and as such should be shunned by women everywhere) when I read todays' topic.

What a treat!

Leslie, the bottom line here: was he right? Are "career women" a huge risk for men, yes or no?

Guys, do men have something to do with this? Maybe :)

Is it true that all men do not think the same way? I would guess so!

Still you are avoiding the argument and throwing fuel on the fire at the same time. Taking the author to task for the justifications and logic he espouses as support for his argument...but not looking at the argument, itself. Is he right, or wrong?

I fear that many women here are afraid that he is right, regardless. And, so are many men, afraid of it, too.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 5:46 PM

Women who are economically dependent on their husbands (because they don't have careers) are less likely to divorce their husbands because they have nowhere to go, no money to pay a divorce attorney, and no money to establish themselves outside the marriage. It doesn't mean they're HAPPY in their marriage...it means they're stuck there. Career women are more likely to leave their husbands not because they are harpies but because when they ARE unhappy, they can actually DO something about it, as opposed to being stuck in a bad situation.

Posted by: DEVO | August 25, 2006 5:46 PM

"Uh, o.k. - assuming you're right about that, does that mean he's giving men bad advice? (Assuming, of course, that they're looking for a mate who will neither cheat on them nor divorce them.)"

Well do you want your wife to stay with you because she has to or because she wants to? I hope most men want the later and therefore Noer's advice is irrelevant.


Posted by: to observer | August 25, 2006 5:51 PM

What if we flip this around and look at it from the other side? What would we advise our sons to consider when they think about who they should marry? Perhaps we think there's some value to having a wife who has her own career and interests. Is there a point at which we would be concerned that career involvement could become a potential future problem? What about our daughters? Are there men we would hope they would stay away from, simply because they are too caught up in their careers to be good husbands and fathers?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 5:51 PM

(to Leslie)

"What Noer doesn't bother to point out is that this kind of freedom to leave a bad, or abusive or otherwise destructive union is GOOD for women and children, and for our society."

...or freedom to just leave the union because they feel like it today, in which case it is bad.

But then is it good for someone to stay married to someone who doesn't want to be married to them?

Probably not.

The point is, the idea of marriage, in and of itself, is the problem.

He's just pointing out the symptoms.

But any couple that lives together for more than 6 years is "married" under DC common law. I prefer that definition instead of the more, er, "common" one, that of taking vows as husband and wife before a priest, family and friends.

Though it can fail just as easily, just as suddenly.


Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 5:51 PM

"Well do you want your wife to stay with you because she has to or because she wants to? I hope most men want the later and therefore Noer's advice is irrelevant."

I want my spouse to stay with me because it's their choice, of course. (By the way, why do you assume I'm male?) But you know, it's disturbing how disposable we've made our marriages. I don't want to be a hobby for my spouse. Divorce is easy to initiate, but all too often tough to go through and overcome.

My spouse and I are mutually dependent, and divorcing at this point in our lives would be a logistical nightmare for both of us. I honestly don't know who would end up with the most money and "toys." But if the practical difficulties motivate us to suck it up and work a little harder at our marriage, that's probably a good thing. (And no, I'm not advocating forcing women or men to stay in relationships with physical or sexual abuse - but I'm kinda glad it would take more for us to get out of it than one of us signing a rental agreement at the apartment complex down the road).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 5:53 PM

Oh and it seems like the flip side advice for women would be:

Ladies, be a "career girl" or else you will be stuck in a marriage where your mate has the ability to cheat on you, divorce you at will, and abuse you and you can do NOTHING about it.

Posted by: DEVO | August 25, 2006 5:53 PM

"To MBA Mom:

Noer: "... highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex."

But ... what does this have to do with career *women*? It's not the cheating of career women alone that leads to divorce -- educated guys do plenty, too. Laying it all on wives is misleading."


...and where is he laying it all on wives?

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:00 PM

"But if the practical difficulties motivate us to suck it up and work a little harder at our marriage, that's probably a good thing."

That's fine, but a couple with roughly equal economic power face plenty of practical difficulties that are imposed by our legal system, arguably for this very reason. In a marriage where one person has all or substantially more of the economic power, those legal difficulties are there but the person lacking power faces even more challenges because of his or her inability to finance their decision, thus creating an imbalance that it seems many would view as unhealthy.

Posted by: Megan | August 25, 2006 6:01 PM

"Ladies, be a "career girl" or else you will be stuck in a marriage where your mate has the ability to cheat on you, divorce you at will, and abuse you and you can do NOTHING about it."

Really? I would have suggested something more along the lines of:

Get a good education before you even think about a long term relationship. It's valuable in and of yourself, and in today's world its important to be at least able to support yourself. Take the time to really know someone before you think about marriage - make sure you're really compatible (that doesn't mean identical). Romance is important, but make sure there's real love and commitment there (they are different). Don't marry for money, but look for someone who's willing to work to support his family. Don't marry someone who will put his career before you and your kids. Think carefully before you have kids - how will you pay for them, does it make sense to stay home with them, if so, for how long, if not, what kind of care will you arrange (and how will you pay for it). Work if it's the best choice for you and your family (and certainly, work if it's financially necessary). Just remember that your family is more important than your job; the old people in nursing homes treasure pictures of kids and grand kids - not pictures of cubicles and corner offices.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 6:04 PM

"I fear that many women here are afraid that he is right, regardless. And, so are many men, afraid of it, too."

Uh...where do you get off thinking that? Very few today think or fear that this attention-seeker is right. What is frightful is people twisting statistics and drawing (false) conclusions that espouse views that can potentially harm people. This article is in a journal that calls itself "the businessman's journal". Managers, CEOS and others in charge can now have their views justified by this trash. How do you think that impacts on the married women under their supervision?

And I don't think anyone has been "threatened" today either. This has been a discussion with very little rancor. Geez, could it be that the right wingers on the blog today are the ones who are threatend by the cogent arguments put forth by many today?

Posted by: working mother | August 25, 2006 6:05 PM

"But ... I'd like to see that broken out by sex. Past research has shown pretty consistantly that women's income is devastated after divorce, which men's income increases."


and how would that affect the validity of his conclusion?

Divorce is bad, economically, for women, in general, so they are more likely to look for financial support after divorce, yes? Isn't it much easier for them to sue for financial support, than to actually earn the money themselves? Isn't that the gist of your argument, here? They then have a triple incentive to divorce. They get the freedom of divorce, PLUS the support money from their husbands, who have to pay to support them. Often they get the house (which the husband is obligated to pay for) and half the shared income since the marriage, plus a substantial part of the spouses' future income, adjusted for salary and also adjusted for her living expenses and the expenses of raising the children.

A lot of support for his argument, I'd say.

I *really* don't think that you want to open this can of worms. There is an entire legion of divorced men who will rip this "objection" to shreds.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:07 PM

Magazines exist to be sold -- to us. Controversy sells. Hyperbolic controversy sells even more. Now oodles of people are talking about Forbes and this Neandertal. Buzz, buzz, buzz. $$$$$$.

Come on folks. You've been had...

Posted by: CA mom | August 25, 2006 6:12 PM

Anne Coulter + Michael Noer =Match made in heaven? Or does she make more than him?

Next....

Posted by: aparna | August 25, 2006 6:13 PM

"Just deal with it, ladies."

Wow, what a thoughtful response to the many well-worded and insightful critiques of Noer's article. "

...ok, then don't deal with it.

Yet again you are attacking the messenger on style points, and ignoring the subtance of the message. Worse than that, he's also right. You have two choices, deal with it, or not. You can think about it, you can write a 10,000 word well-researched, eloquent essay that would make George Will proud, but in the end, you have two choices. Deal with it, or pretend it didn't happen.

Your comments on the shape and texture of the ball and the grace with which it floats towards the catcher, are not contributing to its motion out of the park in the reverse direction.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:18 PM

Here's a thought: what if Noer is secretly being sarcastic about the whole issue? In essence he's challenging us to prove him wrong by throwing out a bunch of outrageous theories. He may even be calling us to question the institution of marriage. Is it defunct? Have we lost sight of its purpose? If you take the high road on this one, you could say that he's sparking a debate about marriage and challening us, as a society, to rethink our expectations. Career girls (i.e.: educated, smart, ambitious women) are great partners; but not if you expect a traditional relationship where she does all the housework and you bring home the money.

Posted by: feminist with a thick skin | August 25, 2006 6:19 PM

...thus bringing to mind the 3rd lemma on Universal Significance: it isn't really important until it gets hit by a backlash of political-correctness :)

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:22 PM

So if women who work find men more interesting than their husbands, do men who work find women more interesting than their wives? Perhaps it's best if neither spouse has a career.

Posted by: Whatever | August 25, 2006 6:33 PM

I've been swamped the past few days, so I'm just now hitting the post.

Did you all check out this guy's picture? Yeow!! No wonder he hates "career girls"! Not too many of them would be interested in a schlubby looking whiner like him. He looks like the type of guy who can find the cloud in any silver lining. Must have been recently dumped by someone who had an interesting job, with lots of fun interesting people or was passed over for a promotion by a woman who blew him out of the water, career wise. He also looks like someone who has "shortcomings".

Women, don't get in a tither - this guy is just venting because he can't catch a real "career girl" of his own. He's a bitter, lonely guy who can't take responsibility for his own faults and has to blame it on someone.

Posted by: Glad..... | August 25, 2006 6:33 PM

"So some men are drawn to the accomplished 'trophy wife,' while others to the 'housewife.' So what?"

It's totally no big deal when it works out for them. It's only when it doesn't work out and the abandoned ex-housespouse or sick ex-trophy expects the rest of us to chip in for her or his food stamps or antiretrovirals or whatever that it's even any of our business.

"Most people on this blog have agreed that women who have careers are more likely to divorce than SAH's, the difference is that unlike Noer the assumption isn't that they are less committed to their marriages or that their marriages are inherently worse, just that they have more options."

"Uh, o.k. - assuming you're right about that, does that mean he's giving men bad advice? (Assuming, of course, that they're looking for a mate who will neither cheat on them nor divorce them.)"

He's not giving men bad advice, he's giving "bad men" advice (and giving "bad women" advice, if a "bad woman" reads this and thinks "what if I reversed the genders in this article?"). If you want a spouse who stays because you two love each other, the article's advice doesn't seem to apply. If you want a spouse who stays because she or he can't afford to leave no matter how badly you treat her or him, the article's advice is much more applicable.

"Ladies, be a 'career girl' or else you will be stuck in a marriage where your mate has the ability to cheat on you, divorce you at will, and abuse you and you can do NOTHING about it."

Brilliant point.

Posted by: Maria | August 25, 2006 6:34 PM

"Read Carolyn See's review of CUT LOOSE in today's Post to see what happens to women who agree with Noer"

hm.

the phrasing here is quite interesting.

so many neocons around.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:41 PM

"I still can't get over the use of the term "career girls" in the article. "

you should try to, really. Instead of getting hung up on it.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:42 PM

Check out ABC news tonight. They will be doing a story on this article. The nitwit has achieved his goal---national attention!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2006 6:42 PM

No one has to worry because the author fails through gross exageration; stupid comments, and unscientific methodology.

The fact is however; that many women do not want the pressure of having to be career women or higher earners. Many women do not want to work the long hours; be away on travel; or spend their evenings in smokey bars; full of forceful, loud, and boring business persons.
Many scientific studies also show that women do not tolerate this type of stress as well as men; and as a result; are more prone to developing various types of depression, substance abuse problems, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, various auto-immune diseases, etc.; not to mention the risk of becoming crime victims by being out late and alone around some predatory men at nights.

For most families, it is easier for women to stay home at nights with their babies, children and pets. Most women were raised to be caregivers, caretakers, and cherish and love their husbands, homes, children, and pets. Thank God, my husband loves me for being a nice, good and caring person, and does not demand that I make over 50 grand a year and be a business genius.
Many women like myself are smart, wise, educated, and competent; however, just do not like the business world enough; and cannot put in the long hours, or handle the pressure required to get to and stay at the top. We are wise enough to see through the psycho babble; and we know who we are, and are aware of our limitations. Being a housewife, mother, caretaker, should always be a respected career for women. Most often having a high-powered career for a man and a woman does not allow for balance and creates destructive forces in a marriage.

Posted by: Merl | August 25, 2006 6:51 PM

"Sounds like Noer wants women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, instead of as equals in both their private and professional lives."


Ok this comment just takes the cake. Instead of being sexist, you are just being stupid. Where did he say either one of those things, or even insinuate it? Perhaps you see this as yet another opportunity to put words into someone elses' mouth?

The main problem here, and it is a BIG problem, is that I have yet to find anyone who directly takes on the conclusions that Leslie has stated that Noor comes to, in the beginning of this thread (for I have not read his comments, myself, that's not the point here, is it?..clearly not...)

Is it true, or not, "that professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it."

Yes or no?

Is he right or wrong?

Or is this a lot of bellyaching about someone having the nerve to stand up and state the truth?

Do you see the point of 251 comments all avoiding this issue, instead of taking it head-on? Sounds like a lot of people either don't know whether he's wrong or right, or, they are afraid that he is right but they don't want to face it and instead they want to attack him for being sexist, retro, ignorant or whatever they wish to say that he is (and by insinuation undermine his comments)...even if he's right. It is not what HE IS SAYING. It is what he is saying that several studies have said, according to Leslie. Is that true or not? Is the bigger question true, yes or no?

Can we avoid all the cat-scratching and get to the point here?

Isn't it somewhat obvious, by now, that if he was wrong, he would be laughed off the pages of Forbes, that several articles would be written here and elsewhere to intelligently and logically refute what he's saying...not chased off by a band of raging PC lunatics? Who feel they have "work to do"? I can only imagine what sort of work...

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:56 PM

gawd, this all reminds me of the former self-confessed "porn addict" who is raging against the availability of porn in hotel rooms, saying that it makes the hotel an "unsafe environment". Like the hotel is full of guys who sit around all night watching porn and then run out of their rooms to assault the first woman they see...you'd think that if that were the case...it would already be an issue, we wouldn't need some psycho in a hairshirt to harass hotels into removing porn from their video offerings. It's just crazy fear-talk. You should be afraid of *avoiding* the truth, not of *facing* it. Everyone can see that two general trends have taken hold since the 60s, more women are working, and the divorce-rate is increasing. Divorce is a costly event for men. In general, the more they earn, the more it costs them. There's no way around this. Also as more women are being candid about their sexuality (and not so afraid to be honest), we see that the percentage of married women who have had affairs is climbing to match that of married men. Put this all together and what do you have? It is better for men to not get *MARRIED*, economically-speaking. We all know this, we have a President who talks about the "marriage penalty". What is this entire blog about? Married professional couples dealing with the stress of two careers, marriage, and raising children. It's a lot of stress and a lot of couples don't make it...hence the need and benefit of this blog. Does it make the problem go away? No. Why do you people do all this arguing to deny or undermine that which is obvious?

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:57 PM

...it's no *wonder* that men don't want to deal with so-called "modern women". They get so upset over what they don't want to hear, then they paper-over the problem, making men work that much harder to solve the problem. Then of course if it isn't solved, women blame men for it.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 6:59 PM

"So today on the On Balance blog, we have accused working women of potentially cheating on their spouses and driving up housing costs in the MetroDC area. Hilarious!! LOL...."

Oh my GOD!

Forget about the fact that that's actually what's happening, this is awful!!!

Well, at least it's not single-income families where the one wageearner makes enough to pay the note on a, say, $4million McMansion, all by his or herself. Leaving the other to stay at home and manage the household staff and the tutors, none of which, of course, would ever feel pressured to go outside the bounds of acceptable behavior with that spouse.

Look, cheating is bad, and the fact is that most married couples cheat. If they work it out and stay together, good. But don't just assume that a working mother is more faithful or less of a problem for her husband than a stay at home mom. You wouldn't want people to assume things about you, don't be so quick to assume things about others. Also the fact is that judges in this day and age still lean towards providing child-care and alimony for the mother, because, in spite of your perception of how "modern" society is, women still suffer the stigma of being divorced with children. Raising children is a pain, so much so when you are married, remember? How much when you are single and trying to work to support them and yourself? Men know this. All this guy is doing is actually saying it in a popular magazine...with statistical support...ignoring the obvious legal background. Why come down on him like a ton of bricks for saying the truth? I don't see any reason to do that, unless you just don't want to hear it. Maybe you can bring some obscenity law to bear. But there's no rational argument against his conclusions. Merely his method of supporting them. There will always be holes that you can poke in his argument, but the facts remain facts. Marriage is an expensive and risky proposition for both men and women, men more so than women. I've yet to hear of a case where a woman had to give half her salary to a man in alimony, much less child support. I would guess that a single mother would rather kill their own children rather than see them go to someone outside the family, and there have been cases where single mothers *have* killed their own children just to appeal to a potential husband. This is a huge stress that judges try to avoid. And men pay the price. Plain and simple.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:13 PM

"Yes or no?
Is he right or wrong?
Or is this a lot of bellyaching about someone having the nerve to stand up and state the truth?
Do you see the point of 251 comments all avoiding this issue, instead of taking it head-on"

Uh, no and he is wrong. There. It doesn't take much nerve to misinterpret research studies and then promote an unpopular view in order to sell magazines. You seem to suffer diarrhea of the mouth (blog). Steve Forbes has apologized for the article (should never have published in the first place) and one of the authors of one of the studies cited has said that the guy missed the point.

While you can promote your hateful venom- filled views here, it's not appreciated by most of us and we see it for what it is...garbage. You seem to be filled with so much hate. I am suggesting mental health help.

Posted by: To cc | August 25, 2006 7:18 PM

"Women, don't get in a tither - this guy is just venting because he can't catch a real "career girl" of his own. He's a bitter, lonely guy who can't take responsibility for his own faults and has to blame it on someone."


..."play to the crowd, part IV".

That's the ticket.

Gonna be a bitter pill for you to swallow if you find that you'd trade your wife for his, any day.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:19 PM

jeez, now on the flip side, how many women have married a man just for his money?

Hello! Is he good-looking, charming, "upwardly-mobile", successful, well-educated, hard-working, attentive, dedicated, smart of course...a real good catch? Is he independently-wealthy, the kind of man who would make a good husband for a smart, pretty, sophisicated woman?

Well, she's probably taking the money along with everything else, yes?

How many professional women wish to marry beneath themselves?

Not too many.

And I doubt

I seriously doubt

that any of these women are really worried about their man taking them for half their net worth, in a divorce settlement. Yes or no?

After all if they are such a great woman, such a great wife, why would any good, smart man want to divorce them?

And if they were foolish enough to do so, you could find your choice out of half a dozen suitors, with or without children in tow, yes?

Marriage is a *huge* risk for men, with nothing that they really gain unless it all works and continues to work. I believe that's all this guy is saying. Perhaps he is saying it in ways that some wish it were not said, but, still. I doubt that he's wrong, outright.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:24 PM

"Life.

So you have to pick the best partner you can and go with it."

Yes. Because in the individual case, the statistics mean NOTHING.


All of this is a lot of hue and cry about the general case, partially justified, because the general case does not apply to the individual. But still, the methodology is wrong. They are flaming the messenger for his message. The message is basically right.


Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:34 PM

...excellent...so now attack me in the same way...

"Uh, no and he is wrong. There."

He is? How so? Where's *your* proof?

"It doesn't take much nerve to misinterpret research studies and then promote an unpopular view in order to sell magazines."

But where's your proof that this is what he did, intentionally? Even if that is what he has actually done? And with what demographic is this view "unpopular"? I have no doubt that it is *very* popular with the majority of divorced husbands...especially those paying alimony and child support.

" You seem to suffer diarrhea of the mouth (blog). "

Yes, well, you would be so unusual if you did not resort to personal attacks against those who say things you don't want to hear. Call what I write "diarreha" if you wish. It's probably still worth a lot more than whatever you have to say. So there.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:34 PM

"While you can promote your hateful venom- filled views here, it's not appreciated by most of us"

...I'm sure...sadly that doesn't detract from the truth of what I say... and we see it for what it is...garbage...

Of course it is garbage. You said it is garbage, therefore it must be garbage.

"You seem to be filled with so much hate. I am suggesting mental health help."

I'll go if and when you go, and I promise you that I would pass their tests with flying colors. You, on the other hand, would probably refuse to even take the tests. See, I don't need to take out my axe and chop you up, personally, a simple examination of what you are saying will suffice. As is the trend here, you make the fundamental mistake of avoiding the meat of the issue, instead you find sustenance in a critique of the style of the meal, the service, even the chef. Now, a passerby, who says that main course seems to be well-prepared. You wish to talk about anything but the main issue.

But the bottom-line is that he's right. Regardless of how he argues it. His argument may be malformed, this may indeed be true. But his central point is correct. Working women are not the most stable partners for a household, and the cost of a mistake in choosing a partner is astronomical, for men. Put the two together and it is clear that he's right.

But the point is politically-incorrect, and so, legions of professional women, and their supporters, come out with knives bared, to attack him.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:50 PM

really, such irrationality and hysteria, especially in the name of Political Correctness, does nothing to dissuade me from agreeing with the guy.

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:51 PM

Someone mentioned that everyone knows that most women initiate divorce. I actually didn't know that, although, now that I think about it, out of the divorced people I know, the woman DID initiate most of the time!

Woman #1 did because her husband cheated on her and gave her an std. For some reason she couldn't move on and forgive him.
Woman #2 did because her husband was gay and was cheating on her. FYI, he was gay before they married, but there was more social pressure then, I guess.
Woman #3 divorced her husband because of severe emotional and physical abuse. I can testify to this in court because I saw it happen.
Woman #4 --well, she's been married several times. Twice to husband number one, why they divorced I don't know, but I think they both wanted out. The second time her husband left her, the third time she remarried her first husband so he could get healthcare for a chronic illness (I thought that was nice, actually), then divorced him once he was able to get his own and is now remarried. She is a secretary, if it matters.
Woman #5--no, sorry, her husband left her for a younger woman.
Woman#6--her husband was an o.k. guy from what I can tell, just had some unlucky breaks. She was what we refer to as an "itch-bay."
Woman #7 tells her husband everyday that it is just easier to make her happy than to spend all of that time and money on lawyers. Luckily, he does. She returns the favor.

To cc--Did you know the most dangerous time in a woman's life is when she is pregnant? Lots of guys kill their wives/girlfriends at that time. Also, yes, there are some high profile cases like Susan Smith and the lady who drowned her kids in the tub. But don't forget about all of the other cases that are so common that they barely get a blurb on the news. The dad who took his two kids and killed them, then buried their bodies next to a highway just so his wife would miss them. Around here there seems to be a serious run on men killing kids--shaking them to death, whatever. And in what county are you a judge? This may be why you have yet to hear a case where the man got paid alimony. In number 6 on the divorce count, this woman had to pay her husband alimony. She made a lot more money than he did. She left him because he wasn't doing as well as she wanted. Good thing too, cause after their divorce, he met a lovely woman with a couple of kids. They got married, had a baby, started a business and are busy, tired and happy. Why did this lovely woman (and she was--awesome bod) divorce? Well, her husband didn't want the restraints of being a father.

There are very few people who live in 4 million dollar homes around here. Maybe at the most one percent. The average cost of a home in Montgomery county is around 4ooK, give or take 50K. Less in PG. You could look it up. But the fact is there are a lot of women who could stay home if both people wanted it. Many men do not want to be the only wage-earner. It is a lot of responsibility. Yes, houses are expensive. If you don't like that, you can certainly move to Michigan or Illinois where you can buy a house for very little. Enjoy the winter. Yeah, I have a VLI house. Since we were married we said we would always try to live on one income. Sometimes we managed it, sometimes (especially early on) we didn't. But we were frugal, made some good choices, got a little lucky in the real estate market (I gotta tell you, our first mortgage was more than HALF of my husbands take home pay.)You know what I think is a large contributor to the inability of couples to afford to have one stay home? Starbucks. I would rather eat nails than pay for that. Besides, my coffee is much better and served with love.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 7:53 PM

The better way; I think, is for women to have a choice. Some women who must support themselves alone and plan on doing so for many years; and who have the natural talent, drive, desire, and ability to make it big in the business world should go for it; but they should also remember that there will be many painful sacrifices along the way; lost or compromised relationships, personal time, time with family, vacations, physical and mental stress, and other risks.

It is probably for the children that most women stay with far less than perfect relationships. And next because many women just cannot afford to buy property or pay rent in an upscale neighborhoods, even if they make fairly good salaries; especially in this area.

This author is a boxheaded dolt; and I'll bet has a very conservative Republican agenda that most Reps would find obnoxious.
Women should be respected and have a choice either way.

Posted by: Merl | August 25, 2006 7:56 PM

"but they should also remember that there will be many painful sacrifices along the way; lost or compromised relationships, personal time, time with family, vacations, physical and mental stress, and other risks. "

gee but in the overall context of things all this does is help them to make better choices. If everything were laid out on a platter for them, to have easily, how good would their choices be?

Life is a series of sacrifices and decisions. We all have to make choices, we all have to work hard or suffer the consequences. The life of a woman does not differ from that of a man if you look at it from a high-enough perspective.


So. Let it be done with. Live your life as best you can, make what you can of it, or at least what you wish to make of it, as you can, and stop worrying. This too will pass, like so many other things, and become part of the Greater Fabric of Existence.

And remember this as well: all your whining gets you nowhere, except possibly the knowledge that if you whine hard enough, for long enough, you might get someone to come over and shove a pacifier in your mouth. Now, is that what you really want? To be treated like a squalling baby, or a mature adult?

Stop with all the crying and moaning, people. And go out and prove the guy wrong. All together now!

Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 7:58 PM

I just read a few more comments, and before I go out for my evening consitutional, I would like to say, despite the possiblity of outing myself on this board because it is unusual, when I got married I made almost twice what my husband did. I use to give him money every week so he would have some for whatever. He was young, hadn't proved himself in the world, but I knew he was the man (ok, I am confessing here--he was a boy. He was a TEENAGER! OMG I am like Demi Moore! And I was not a teenager.That is all I am sayin on that subject.) We have been married almost 15 years.

Our motto:First one to leave takes the kids.

And CC, "Get used to disappointment." Wesley

Now I am taking my hot young husband out on a walk. Bye.

Posted by: parttimer | August 25, 2006 8:05 PM

cc: "the fact is that most married couples cheat"

Excuse me? Not in my experience they don't. Perhaps you can provide some proof to that rather incredible claim?

As for my comment about the author appearing to want his women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, he makes it quite plain that he feels that is where a woman's place should be. The phrase I used is a general statement similar to "a woman's place is in the home". Sorry that you never saw it before.

BTW, your numerous multiple and confrontational posts mark you as a troll, I think.

Posted by: John | August 25, 2006 8:08 PM

The man who wrote the article sounds like a man who has a goal - find an appropriate mate to help raise a family with the least chance of having their union dissolve - and statistically, he may be right in not wanting a "career woman" to help him achieve that goal. A lot of women have the same goal, so choose a man who is a good "bread-winner". So what? So like-minded people tend to find each other and make a perfect match. But I'm not like them. I don't have goals as far as people are concerned. Great relationships happen by lucky accident, or maybe fate, or divine providence. My path crossed with my closest friends and we connected. My nephews happened because the sperm met the egg. Heck, I happened for the same reason! So this guy thinks in a different way - eh. Live and let live. Birds of a feather....

Posted by: Dee | August 25, 2006 8:22 PM

"There are very few people who live in 4 million dollar homes around here. Maybe at the most one percent"

...yes. Thus an excellent basis for a sarcastic comment about single-income families living in $4M homes in the DC area because they drive up the price of real-estate here. Though an interesting aside, what is the likelihood that if one partner has a 7-figure income, the other partner has at least a 6-figure income, and so on? What is the percentage of single-income families, in DC, whose total income is well below the median price of real-estate in the DC area over the previous 10 years, and thus, hardly a factor in the recent bubble (certainly not as much as a prime rate below 2%)?

The problem is that DC has one of the highest percentage of two-income families, wealthy two-income families, certainly well-educated two-income families, in the nation. Population growth here is driven by government spending, military spending, up significantly since 9/11. It is not all that hard for women to find good jobs here, well-paying jobs, with more than adequate support for working moms. Not like New York City, where one person may earn $250k or more and the other is earning a lot less, if anything. And the work hour demands are a lot greater, with less tolerance for parental absenteeism. Plus also, the housing market in DC has been depressed, for years, relative to other cities like Boston and Philadelphia...mainly due to the school system. DC has only recently become an attractive place to live relative to the rest of the country, due to the stagnant national economy and depressed job market, as it became the #1 job market in the nation after 9/11. This city is an anomaly on many levels. Whatever that means. Still, I think that it's a very valid point that the housing market here is supported by the percentage of wealthy two-income families. The difference between a family of 5 earning $75k and a family of 5 earning $150k is quite substantial. And that could easily be $200k or more. Especially since women are displacing men in a number of fields requiring a college education. Still, a man, and a woman both, have to balance that out with the 55% marriage failure rate, and that's just for the first 3 years, before three kids and a large house, a large house note, etc. Like I said before, there are 250+ posts in this thread, on this topic, for a very good reason. What the guy is saying cannot just be dismissed out of hand. Forbes did not publish that article because it was poorly researched and written, and the editors were allout on vacation and handed the magazine over to some temps. And they didn't pull it for that reason, either.


Posted by: cc | August 25, 2006 8:24 PM

If you were over 18 and dating a teenager who you had to give money too, umm, hello, aren't there laws against that. And, it's sort of pathetic.

Posted by: helen | August 25, 2006 8:56 PM

"If you were over 18 and dating a teenager who you had to give money too, umm, hello, aren't there laws against that. And, it's sort of pathetic."

Umm, hello yourself. Parttimer said he was a teenager. Last I checked, 19-year-olds were legal and teenagers.

I also was older than a teenager and dated a teenager. We ended up getting married too. I am a career woman. Holy crap. We're doomed.

Posted by: To Helen | August 25, 2006 9:22 PM

It's still pathtic.

Posted by: helen | August 25, 2006 9:34 PM

To cc: It did not take too long to prove my point. http://www.news.uiuc.edu/biztips/00/03divorcetip.html If you read this article in its entirety and it is only one page long, you will see that the author makes the same point a lot of people are saying here. That they can not prove that longer working hours in itself causes divorce. It may be that people who have problems in their marriage tend to take jobs that requires longer working hours or they choose to bury themselves in work. They also said they used Census Bureau data that followed people for 32 or 36 months. That is approximately 3 years. This can't be SIPP data because SIPP participants are in survey for 2 years (24 months). So I am not aware of what survey they were taking the data from. Either way, I doubt many surveys were specifically designed to signal out a contributing factors for divorce. Most of these studies are general house hold surveys that are designed to answer different sorts of questions. In general the only real way to answer these questions is follow people over a significant period of time. Longitudinal surveys are expensive and hard to get a lot of results from. Namely, nonresponse increases over time.

Posted by: Lieu | August 25, 2006 10:05 PM

Two more short statistical points here:1) The US divorce rate, quoted at around 50%, is not saying that people have a 50% chance of getting divorced. Or if we subsampled couples at random, 50% of the time they would have had or going to be divorced. What that statistic is saying is the number of divorces occuring in one year is exactly half the number of marriages occuring in one year. That is a different entity entirely. Again, not a lot of surveys are designed to follow people over a lifetime to see what are the chances of them getting divorced over their lifetime. 2) In order to really show what the author wants to prove, you would need to do a series of propensity or hazard models that elminate confounding factors. I am not saying that is not true (the hypothesis that education is the cause for divorce or that working a full time job causes divorce). I really don't know but I doubt most studies and data sets can really get at the question while isolating the confounding factors. Sort of like when Dadwannabe wanted to show that Asians income was lower then their non Asian professional counterparts. Not saying that wasn't true. Just saying it is statistically difficult to get at those answers. BTW, most large scales surveys are designed to reach a limited number of questions. All other extraneous information collected is often misused by data users.

Posted by: Lieu | August 25, 2006 10:16 PM

cc:

I think I understood what you are all about when I read your post responding to the poster who suggested mental health help for you.

Your response? We'll both take the tests, and I'll beat you on every one.

Psychotherapy is not a competitive sport. And in most cases, it doesn't even involve "testing." For you to respond as you did indicates that:
1) You don't know what you're talking about; and
2) You view everything as a competition.

Now I understand what you're up to on this blog. You're trying to outshout everyone.

Don't think you're gonna win on this one.

Posted by: pittypat | August 26, 2006 12:34 AM

"But his central point is correct. Working women are not the most stable partners for a household, and the cost of a mistake in choosing a partner is astronomical, for men. Put the two together and it is clear that he's right.

"But the point is politically-incorrect, and so, legions of professional women, and their supporters, come out with knives bared, to attack him."

If someone pointed out that preteen brides in arranged marriages also do tend to be more stable partners (lower divorce rates, easier to take for granted, etc.) than adult brides who chose their husbands, then would it be a politically correct attack to mention the disadvantages of being a 12-year-old in bed under a bridegroom she barely knows?

Posted by: Maria | August 26, 2006 7:56 AM

To Helen. Maybe it was pathetic! He was 19 with car insurance that was out of this world. I was 20. We were both in college. I gave him 20 bucks a week purportedly for 'gas' since I didn't have a car. And every year for 4 months, I am a year older than he is. But maybe we are pathetic. Let me check--married for 15 years, like each other, still attracted to one another, --well, we are only in our mid-30's. Our marriage has lasted longer than most. There is still time to screw it up, however! Give me another 15 and I'll get back to you.

Posted by: parttimer | August 26, 2006 9:35 AM

parttimer,

Don't take it personal, you acted like it was something worse than it is.

But, I do have to say that you do tend to take things personal anyway. Look at Lieu's unneeded apology for saying she had to pay for fat people. It came after your "story" about your grandparents. And, you also take anything said about a teacher personal. Maybe you should share scarry's crown of fragile femme. Me thinks so.

Posted by: what goes around | August 26, 2006 11:39 AM

If the crown fit, I would wear it. And then I would endeavor to change my behavior. I don't particularly agree with you, though, because what I post is rarely 'validated' by anyone, in fact, it has only been lately that anyone has commented on anything I have posted. There are so many posts--who reads them all? I also don't look at this forum as a 'family' or personal support group. When I responded to posts about obese people and teachers, that is all I was doing--responding, giving my p.o.v. I will have to go back and see if I did sound whiney. What you type doesn't always translate to what you think you sound like--especially if you are attempting to lighten the mood. I do a lot of work on the computer, as do most of us, and it is easy to switch back and forth. But thank you for your insight. I really DO appreciate it, and I am not being insincere. Lieu didn't need to apologize, because she wasn't being offensive. I was putting out another point of view, trying to add something to the discussion. Maybe I fell short. And though the post from Helen WAS personal, no anonymous person on the internet is on my short list of people allowed to hurt my feelings. I used to think that living well was the best revenge, but I don't think of revenge anymore. If you live long enough you will suffer. Anyway, now I am rambling. I just wanted to explain my positions. I hope I did, garrulous and meandering as it was.

O.K.--I am going to the pool now.

Posted by: parttimer | August 26, 2006 1:35 PM

I have to upgrade my 14 year old daughter to 15 today. Only 1 more year till she gets her driver's license. We already have plans to play hookie from work and school and then she can drive me to my favorite park and we'll do some fishing!

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 27, 2006 8:49 AM

I don't think that some of the other posters on here want their opinion "validated either" they just like to have something to do when they need a break. I don't see why it's neccessary to label people just because you don't like them. In case you didn't notice, you post personal stuf too.

Posted by: come on | August 27, 2006 7:15 PM

"I would guess that a single mother would rather kill their own children rather than see them go to someone outside the family, and there have been cases where single mothers *have* killed their own children just to appeal to a potential husband. This is a huge stress that judges try to avoid. And men pay the price. Plain and simple."

Are you serious? Because there are an awful lot of children out there who were taken away from single moms and put in the foster care system, and they're still alive. You have a pretty poor opinion of women if you think most of them would stoop so low as to murder their children rather than give them up to someone else. It's not really fair to tar all moms with the same brush as the few mentally unstable ones who murdered their kids. Your logic is very strange and sort of, well, hysterical. You're not doing your credibility any favors here...

Posted by: m | August 27, 2006 9:37 PM

If being a career woman is so empowering and so important to women, why do so many women I know envy the women they know who have "been able" to quit work and stay home with their children? All of these women feel "less taken care of" by their husbands who cannot afford to let the wife stay home, even if it's only for a couple of years, to be with an infant.

Talk to real women. I am an unmarried professional woman and I'm always amazed by how many other women I meet who secretly and not-so-secretly act jealous of women who stay home and make nasty remarks about them, often because the working woman is stuck in a job she doesn't like and has too much to juggle in her life.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 10:31 AM

I read Mr. Noer's piece, and was outraged. I am not however, one of those career women so hot to cheat on their husbands that they neglect to clean the house. I am a never-married child-free woman who still has to juggle home and career. I made the ecplicit choice to pursue a demanding career solo. I haven't seen too many of my sisters with husbands and families cheating on their spouses and neglecting the house. What I have seen however, is a plethora of husbands cheating on their wives with unmarried, younger women (and men), while not doing their fair share of the work it takes to keep a marriage and family going. Do I think I made the right choice? You bet!

Posted by: Barbara | August 28, 2006 2:43 PM

"To cc: It did not take too long to prove my point. http://www.news.uiuc.edu/biztips/00/03divorcetip.html If you read this article in its entirety and it is only one page long, you will see that the author makes the same point a lot of people are saying here. That they can not prove that longer working hours in itself causes divorce."


I don't think that's the topic of debate, here. That may be what some want it to be, though. Instead of what it actually is.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 5:47 PM

" Not saying that wasn't true. Just saying it is statistically difficult to get at those answers"

...is it statistically difficult to get *close* to the exact answers?

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 5:56 PM

"It is probably for the children that most women stay with far less than perfect relationships"

as a side point, I wonder if that really is a good idea. Surely the children are affected by the negativity. Surely some learn the wrong lessons in such a situation.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 5:57 PM

"cc: "the fact is that most married couples cheat"

Excuse me? Not in my experience they don't. Perhaps you can provide some proof to that rather incredible claim?"

just a few facts read in passing (I don't keep a diary of every factoid I read) over 70% of all married men have cheated on their spouses...within x number of years, I forget how many, and, over the past decade or so, the percent of married women who have cheated has risen from ~50% and closing in on the # of married men who have cheated on their wives.

You can google it and confirm or condemn me. In fact, maybe the next time, before you refuse to believe what someone says to you, you can find some contradictory data, yourself.


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:02 PM

"As for my comment about the author appearing to want his women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, he makes it quite plain that he feels that is where a woman's place should be. The phrase I used is a general statement similar to "a woman's place is in the home". Sorry that you never saw it before"

And I'm sorry you've never seen the word "accuracy" in a dictionary, before.
Apparently. I'm somewhat convinced that you aren't really sure what he said, but are perfectly happy to tell us what you think he meant by whatever he actually said. And, beyond that, his hidden, unspoken thoughts, too!


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:04 PM

"BTW, your numerous multiple and confrontational posts mark you as a troll, I think."


I really don't know what you mean to say, would you explain more clearly what you meant and why you think that way? Especially since you haven't seen my picture yet...oh, and what your opinion is supposed to mean, in the larger scheme of things? I am assuming that you have actually read and understood my posts, not just skimmed them and formed an inaccurate perception...I just want to make sure that I understand you completely before I reply to your posts, that's all. You know, give you the same fair shake that you naturally give everyone else.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:09 PM

Dear "pittypat"...nice try.

Better luck next time.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:10 PM

"If someone pointed out that preteen brides in arranged marriages also do tend to be more stable partners (lower divorce rates, easier to take for granted, etc.) than adult brides who chose their husbands, then would it be a politically correct attack to mention the disadvantages of being a 12-year-old in bed under a bridegroom she barely knows?"

aside from the immediate question raised (there are disadvantages?) I don't see the point in doing this, other than to deflect the thrust of the original argument.

As I've said before, I think that is exactly what is going on in this thread, with most of these posts. The guy might be wrong. But no one here is saying that he is wrong because what he claims is not true. They are assasinating his character for saying it, assasinating him for wanting to say it, assasinating him for looking like someone who would want to say what he said, assasinating him for a supposedly logically-weak argument...dancing around the burning bush trying to distract attention from the fact that it is burning.


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:15 PM

"parttimer,

Don't take it personal, you acted like it was something worse than it is."

...but she didn't say that it was as bad as you thought it was, from what she said....

"But, I do have to say that you do tend to take things personal anyway."

and as such, you also have to prove that you can fit both feet in your mouth, and you don't need a drink to wash them down. You and others, I'm sure, leapt to a conclusion based on what she said. You were wrong. Accept it, deal with it constructively, and move on....or try to attack her personally in some other way, it's your choice. Oh I see you've already made one.


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:20 PM

...does this really deserve two comments? Shall I lift it to that level? Oh...why not..."But, I do have to say that you do tend to take things personal anyway. Look at Lieu's unneeded apology for saying she had to pay for fat people. It came after your "story" about your grandparents....with the one following the other proving that she *does* take things too "personal"... "And, you also take anything said about a teacher personal."...I for one doubt this is true but who knows you might even be right this time...
" Maybe you should share scarry's crown of fragile femme. Me thinks so."..and maybe you should think *more* and talk *less* and not worry so much or be so quick to attack her or anyone else after your misunderstandings have been exposed. Then you wouldn't sound so foolish. Just an idea. ...or, ok, you can attack me for making the suggestion to you.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:23 PM

"Are you serious? Because there are an awful lot of children out there who were taken away from single moms and put in the foster care system, and they're still alive. You have a pretty poor opinion of women if you think most of them would stoop so low as to murder their children rather than give them up to someone else."


Stop. Back up for 5 minutes. Read what I wrote. Then read what you wrote in response.

Notice any differences?

Anything at all?

Just an idea.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:26 PM

"If being a career woman is so empowering and so important to women, why do so many women I know envy the women they know who have "been able" to quit work and stay home with their children?"

...I would guess that every successful professional woman reaches a stage where they realize that they have been a success and can continue to succeed in their profession. But the ones who are willing and able to be stay at home moms (to any degree) will sooner or later have to face that choice and make it. Those who don't have the option, well, there may be a little bit of jealousy, there. But the real issue is that as someone said earlier, success means different things to different people, men and women both. We shouldn't say "women feel this" or "men feel that". Women think this or men think that. Generalizations are very dangerous and can quickly lead to wrong conclusions. Not to say they don't have a value, but, their value is not necessarily in a logical argument. Perhaps in the genesis of one, but they should be removed before going too far.
...I think that if you look at the difference between being a single working parent and being a stay at home mom, either could be good or bad...but certainly being a wealthy stay at home mom is better than being a poor single working mother. And vice versa.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:37 PM

" I haven't seen too many of my sisters with husbands and families cheating on their spouses and neglecting the house. What I have seen however, is a plethora of husbands cheating on their wives with unmarried, younger women (and men), while not doing their fair share of the work it takes to keep a marriage and family going. Do I think I made the right choice? You bet!"

I won't bet on the wisdom of your choice, here. You made a choice. All I will ask is that you find happiness with it, in a healthy, constructive way. Not by putting-down men or by showing support for women by staying single. You want to live your life alone/with occasional companionship, fine. Don't do it and brag about it because you think that men are cheats or that women are being taken advantage of by men. That may be true in some cases. But that isn't going to warm your own heart, and with a cold heart you can expect to attract a cold man. Plus, who are you paying to check to see if the men you are seeing, are not seeing other women?


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:43 PM

Last but not least...


"Your response? We'll both take the tests, and I'll beat you on every one.

Psychotherapy is not a competitive sport. And in most cases, it doesn't even involve "testing." For you to respond as you did indicates that:
1) You don't know what you're talking about; and
2) You view everything as a competition.

How could "I not know what I'm talking about" if I say we'll take the tests together and I'll beat you? Whatever tests they offer, we will take together, and I will beat whoever it was that I was replying to? What is so complicated, so unrealistic, about that?

And second, how do you get from that to "I take everything as a competition"?

"Now I understand what you're up to on this blog. You're trying to outshout everyone.

Don't think you're gonna win on this one."


You're flat-out wrong. I'm just replying to what I read. Giving my opinion.

Just like you gave yours.


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:48 PM

...I leave this thread for the day with the conclusion reinforced that, as always, many people would much rather resort to making personal attacks (unfounded or not) rather than examine the original issue of a discussion.

In fact I am sure that most people will continue to deal with the idea behind this one, in that way.

Some people here will even ask that others do not get upset when they continue to unjustly attack them, thus making it easier for them to duck their heads in that manner (thus proving that the phrases "jerk" and "knee-jerk" are indeed closely related). I'm not sure which I found more foul, honestly. The poster who criticised someone else for "taking things too personal", or the one who decided that she was going to be so happy about her own life partially because she feels that most men are cheating scumbags, anyway, and women have two choices, either put up with them or be alone. Both were pretty pathetic and defintely examples of what we just don't need in our society, especialy not if we are going to make any progress as a group.


Carry on, people.


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 6:58 PM

"in the future I will not argue with stupid people"

"in the future I will not argue with stupid people"

"in the future I will not argue with stupid people"

"in the future I will not argue with stupid people"


Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 7:09 PM

CC, I think you need to get a life.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2006 8:34 PM

...yet another personal attack.

I have a life, and a really nice girlfriend too. And she's very pretty.

So, now that it comes back to me, the stat that I read was that +80% of married men have had an affair within the first 3 years of marriage, and it was around 50% for married women but that's changed and now they are challenging men for the lead. And it made me think about a friend of mine from college. A very good looking, loquacious guy, decent sense of humor, very intense and reasonably intelligent...had two girlfriends in the same dorm at one time. He graduated with a 4.0 in aeronautical engineering and went to work for a "major defense contractor in Dallas". We meet up a few years later...he met a really nice woman in Dallas, 5'1", very cute, they used to work together, go out to the gym together (the guy had bulked up to about 235 at 5'8", he was about 165 and growing in college, he was now huge as well as good-looking), gotten married, bought a house, bought two cars...and then he had an affair with an 18 year old aerobics instructor at his gym. Their gym. His wife kicked him out of the house...he was back in DC whining, with two young girls in attendance, about how much he missed his wife. In Rumors.

The guy had never met a woman he couldn't get and couldn't keep himself from getting, his whole life. But I think of it this way. It's not just that he could get any woman that he wanted. It is also that the women he got, wanted him, too. Whether he was married or not. Probably *especially* if he was married because then he could be just a "fun fling" for them. And sure, he could have been bisexual and had guys or girls whatever he chose. The point is, guys have to control themselves because women know what they want and they are going to go after what they want. This is a knife that goes both ways. As long as women control "access" in this society, women are basically responsible for what happens. But a lot of women don't like that, don't want things to be that way. They want to have the cake, the whole cake, nothing but the cake, and eat it at will, spit out the parts they don't want, and never get fat. I think this guy is just saying that if you have to choose someone to eat with, you'd better be careful about choosing someone who likes to eat with a big plate and uses a lot of silverware. An "overachieving" woman is not going to be easy to make happy, and if she decides to cut loose and, er, cut her losses, it's not going to be cheap. That's double-trouble.

From the other side, yes, many men are animals, but it is not the pig in a man that attracts a woman. It's the bull. And that bull is going to come out and play, regardless. If it isn't happy at home, it's going to find somewhere where it *is* happy.

The real problem here is not whether the guy is wrong or right (though I suspect that he is right, for many reasons). It is whether what he suggests, is good or bad. "Right" or "wrong" is an abstract concept. What matters is what you do with the information. We don't really have to give a d-mn about what other people think. What matters is what we do with the fact that they are there. What matters here is what men, and women, do with what this guy is saying. And so far we see a pretty standard range of views from women, none really surprising. None of them actually addressing the truth or falseness of what he is saying, either. Just the fact that he had the nerve to say it.

I think it's time for some people to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop arguing about the fact that he said what he said, and realize that there is a lot of truth in what he said, for some very obvious reasons.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 9:34 PM

"As long as women control "access" in this society, women are basically responsible for what happens"

...please don't misunderstand, I'm speaking of consensual actions. But then we all know love is a power game as much as anything else. Many men will do what their women want them to do, and not do what their women don't want them to do, in order to keep that "access", and sooner or later, when the stress becomes too great, they will ensure that they have "access" somewhere else. And we all know that if something is too good *and* too easy, it can be very hard to resist, continuously, all the time. Things happen. Little rocks scratch your car every day, men hook up with women for a little something different, now and then, don't mean nothing. Can't make a big deal out of nothing, or out of everything. We all know that.

This is a well-known street...and sometimes people crash on it. Just that some people prefer not to look at all the scenery.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 9:51 PM

conundrum of the day:

name a successful person who will admit that they cannot be faithful to their spouse.

That they cannot go the entire rest of their lives, without having sex with anyone else.

That at some point over the next 20, 30 years, they will have sex with another woman besides the one they are married to, right now, or thinking about marrying. Name one person who would say that. I can't think of one.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 9:53 PM

I'll close my yap now but certainly the key is to find someone who you don't have these stresses with, and hope -just hope- that you don't have too much stress with them. But if it does not work out, and the best thing to do is to go seperate ways...who do you think is going to pay the moving expenses, the living expenses, the private-school tuition, for the ex-wife and kids? And in what living conditions are they accustomed to, what kind of living conditions will she want to share with her new boyfriend? Answer: EXPENSIVE ONES.

When the concept of alimony is dead, it is my guess, just my guess, you will find that this is not a big deal. People will admit it and move on. As long as they want to have both the tunnel and the light at the end of the tunnel, they will try to squash any Voice of Reason.

Posted by: cc | August 28, 2006 10:02 PM

Leslie is exactly right about her comment that "we've boomeranged back to Donna Reed's time in history." But I suspect Forbes was simply trying to generate controversy, rather than promote a backward agenda for women. In fact, I wonder if the article was really trying to satirize the anti-feminist backlash.

The real problem, in my view, was that opponents of feminism would quote the Forbes article out of context to promote their agenda. If Forbes hadn't pulled the article, it would have become an unwilling tool of fundamentalists like James Dobson, who would point to the article and trumpet, "Aha! More proof that God intended men to be leaders and women to be followers in marriage!"

Posted by: Tonio | August 29, 2006 8:46 AM

" If Forbes hadn't pulled the article, it would have become an unwilling tool of fundamentalists like James Dobson, who would point to the article and trumpet, "Aha! More proof that God intended men to be leaders and women to be followers in marriage!"
"

and, now that Forbes has pulled the article, that can't be done. Problem solved, huh?

Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 2:06 PM

"Look, cheating is bad, and the fact is that most married couples cheat."

Is this based on your own experiences?

Hmmnnn...

Looks like you've been cheating with Noer.

LOL!

Posted by: Glad | August 29, 2006 2:32 PM

But you are always assuming that alimony is from the man to the woman - it is actually from the higher earner to the lower earner. If you marry a woman who is financially successful you may recieve alimony.

Posted by: to CC | August 29, 2006 2:48 PM

"But you are always assuming that alimony is from the man to the woman - it is actually from the higher earner to the lower earner. If you marry a woman who is financially successful you may recieve alimony."


...maybe. What if she quits her job to become a SAHM, then divorces you? She knows already that half the assets are hers. She can cash out on the assets and still get alimony and child support. Then go back to work for a new company and win the trifecta.


Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 5:38 PM

...then, do it all again with her second husband...and her third...

Sometime in her late 40s, early 50s, she might quit. Who knows, really. I'm not saying that women, all women are thinking about it, but really, if you're a woman and you have high standards, you're a "go-getter", you want to make the best life for yourself and your family that you possibly can, and you find that your husband is, to put it mildly, not seeing eye to eye with you, how long are you going to put up with it...and why? Just to keep the marriage going? Just to keep the kids with their father? What woman is going to spend night and day of her life, year after year, with some man who she doesn't love or respect anymore, knowing all the men out there that she is meeting that *are* respectable and lovable? And that's assuming that the guy doesn't do anything really bad? She's going to work, she's going on trips, she's meeting other men, successful men, she's coming home to this schlub...who is constantly annoying her, low-level...going to bed dreaming of the life she wants to lead...mentally she's out the door. Sooner or later the body will follow. And some lame excuse will be left behind. That's because her *marriage* isn't her priority, her *husband* especially isn't, and what is driving her is her life. Her goals are larger than any of these other "ideas". And certainly if they were important to her, she'd be very particular about achieving them, realizing them the way she wants to. There is an old adage that too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the soup. For good reason. Take your choice. Your relationship has two people leading, or one leader and one follower. I doubt that a professional woman is really going to "follow", well, for long. If she wants a good partnership, she will find one, either with the guy that she is with now, or someone new. She's not going to worry about the marriage, first. And there's a good chance that she shouldn't put that first. That to clear the deadwood and build new, is a good idea.

Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 5:51 PM

...last but not least, the flip side of this is that this whole issue is a non-issue for a couple if they don't divorce. If, once they marry, they buck the national trend and stay together, it's a nonissue.

That's the problem. The national trend is towards divorce. That is why this is such a big stinker of an issue for women, professional or not. But the anti-feminist reactionaries out there have already put the marriage first, they have done all they can do. Simply attacking the concept and trying to dismiss it out of hand, much less for superficial reasons, is just adding fuel to the fire, demonstrating that women who don't like something will attack it feverishly and irrationally and do everything they can to make it go away, ...except confront the main argument directly and challenge it logically. They leave men to deal with the logic and reality of a situation, and skate off into their own fantasy-worlds in their heads, where things are the way they want them to be.

...not all women do this...but more than enough. More than often enough. For it to be a real concern for men.

Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 5:59 PM

...women who are in good, healthy relationships with loving, caring men who are happy with them, are not worried about this. Professional women who are not in a good healthy relationship, married or unmarried, *are* worried about it. All of this "women-oriented" stuff depends on the fact that it is actually *relevant* to women, in general, for any sort of attention to be paid to it. And any man who worries about the cost of a failed marriage and a divorce when it is not a real concern, instead of marrying a good professional woman who loves him, deserves to be alone.

But he who ignores the trouble at his door, is doomed to suffer from it.

Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 6:08 PM

...I've read too many horror stories to even begin to think this is not a serious issue. Not to mention the "near-misses" I've had, myself. Oh but what would it mean to mention my own personal experiences here.

Posted by: cc | August 29, 2006 6:14 PM

Kate Hudson said she couldn't be faithful and the rule was to be discreet.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2006 9:01 AM

to cc: if your still reading. No it is not statistically difficult to get to an exact answer as much as realistically difficult. OK, here is a short lesson. Unless you are doing a Census ( a complete enumeration of something), estimates are exactly that. Estimates-not the exact figure. If we knew the exact figure, there would be no reason to sample anything. Estimates have to be taken in context with their standard errors. SE are comprised of sampling and non sampling errors. OK, probalby too much math for most of you. But the reality is that finding out the exact divorce rate or who is likely to get divorced and in what level of certain conditions raise probabilities of getting divorced is not a huge policy objective for the places that conduct large scale surveys (such as government agencies). Unfortunately the people most interested in that kind of data do not have the $$ to conduct a statistically sound survey. Some of these special interest groups can hire a small survey operation to get results that they find appealing. But the long standing unbiased survey organizations like the Census Bureau have to work in the confines of what is interested to their sponsers (ie congress). So in short, it is just not an issue to the government. The only reason Congress is vaguely interested in the divorce rate is if a) applies to single women and children in poverty, b) some bizarre stance on "family values." We all know that the "family values" bit is really just a political ploy.

Posted by: Lieu | August 30, 2006 11:31 AM

"The only reason Congress is vaguely interested in the divorce rate is if a) applies to single women and children in poverty, b) some bizarre stance on "family values." We all know that the "family values" bit is really just a political ploy. "

Indeed. Divorce is an unfortunate part of reality that is not discussed in polite, or conservative Republican, circles.

Much like the fact that the President can actually be wrong about something.


I think this can be summed up as "NIMB".

..."not in my brain".

thoughts that just aren't allowed in their brains.


Posted by: cc | August 30, 2006 4:55 PM

Really, we just need a good approximate answer. Quite often that is the best type of answer.

Posted by: cc | August 30, 2006 4:56 PM

It's an interesting contrast to see the difference between men and women's approach in dealing with complex social issues such as marriage; men deal with logics, reasoning and statistics, women deal with emotion, hysteria, and intimidation, as the two articles posted side by side in the Forbes.com best illustrate. It's amazing a woman (or a person) of this caliber who cannot cite single source of reference or data to back her claim up, is charged with writing a front page article for such a large magazine - all hail to the affirmative action! Without it, she wouldn't have and certainly shouldn't have come this far.

It is actually to some extent a frightening to think that women who are not able to distinguish, or understand, or value the difference between statistics and personal anecdotes is taking on more and more executive positions in American society. Is it advancement for a society or start of the decline of civilization?

It's a fact of life that only liberals and feminists get to have articles pulled out from the internet immediately after it was posted, and have your "counterpoints" posted side by side to it; you don't see very often conservative or men's "counterpoint" posted on feminists issue articles that are posted perhaps thousand times more frequently. It's also a (sad) fact of life that only feminists and liberals could write article solely based on hysteric fits and have other treated it as an "article' worthy of being posted on a large website.

I'm sure that this poor author will be stripped of all his career opportunities, probably fired for any reason that feminists could concoct (Mr. Noel, don't be surprised that suddenly any of one of the recently mass-manufactured 50-plus year old high-powered female exec will accuse you of sexual harassment for the suggestive look that you give to her two years ago), maybe a mandatory sensitive training for all male staff will be instituted at the entire magazine, or even worse, at the entire industry. I have no doubt that the New York Times and the Washington Post are more than willing to write articles to push for it.

Usually the typical responses from the feminists and liberals to articles or views that are not in line with their dogma are intimidation and implying instituting censorship. However the New York Times took a slightly different approach this time, attacking the website itself that posted such article, claiming that, contrary to the claim by the company, the website does not have as much web visitors as it claims. Maybe they were hoping that their article will reduce the readership or visitors to the website and the magazine, and the advertising companies to would consider putting ads in the Forbes. The article in Washington Post tried to associate Mr. Noel's article with Forbes' occasional so-called 'saucy" articles thus discredit it. Overall curiously devoid of any analysis or her own views on the issue, she attempts to put on some of neutrality by citing some "support' for Mr. Noer's article, but she could cite only one.

At Forbes.com, Lots of Glitter but Maybe Not So Many Visitors

By PETER EDMONSTON
Published: August 28, 2006
If Forbes.com was looking to create some Internet buzz last week, it succeeded.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/28/technology/28forbes.html
The Web site published an article called "Don't Marry Career Women," which suggested that if a man did, he was more likely to be cheated on, get divorced and have a dirty house.

Responses on the Web were swift, with many blogs and sites like Salon.com attacking the posting as a sexist throwback. Forbes.com temporarily withdrew the article and later paired it with an opposing view titled, "Don't Marry A Lazy Man."

Forbes.com, the online sibling of Forbes magazine and part of Forbes Inc., is more accustomed to delivering the news than being the news. And despite last week's dust-up, it is adept at it. Even as Forbes magazine has declined in advertising in the last few years, Forbes.com has thrived.

Its own ads proclaim that "more people get their business news from Forbes.com than any other source in the world," saying that its sites drew about 15 million unique visitors in a single month earlier this year. It was a well-heeled crowd, according to Forbes.com, which says that the average household income of its users is $149,601.

Forbes's Web prowess is a big reason Elevation Partners, a private equity firm that counts Bono of U2 as a managing director, agreed on Aug. 4 to buy a minority stake in Forbes's publishing business. "Forbes has already won the first round" in the battle for Internet supremacy, an Elevation founder, Roger McNamee, said then.

But a closer look at the numbers raises questions about Forbes.com's industry-leading success. For its claim of a worldwide audience of nearly 15.3 million, it has been citing February data from comScore Media Metrix, one of the two leading providers of third-party Web traffic data.

There are several problems with that statistic, though, and comScore has since revised the figure downward to less than 13.2 million as part of a broader revamping of its worldwide data for many sites. Jack Flanagan, executive vice president at comScore Media Metrix, said the new figures were released "a couple of months ago" after it changed its methods for estimating global audiences.

There is also the question, given Forbes.com's user figures, of where those visitors were going. According to comScore, 45 percent of its February traffic went to ForbesAutos.com, a companion Web site heavy on car reviews and photos. About three-quarters of the ForbesAutos.com traffic came from outside the United States.

Since February, comScore said, Forbes.com's traffic has tumbled. In July, Forbes Web sites drew 7.3 million unique visitors worldwide, almost a million of whom went to ForbesAutos. That put Forbes.com slightly below Dow Jones (whose online properties include The Wall Street Journal's Web site and MarketWatch), CNNMoney.com (which includes the sites of Fortune and Business 2.0 magazines) and sites affiliated with Reuters, each of which comScore says had some 7.6 million visitors that month.

James Spanfeller, chief executive of Forbes.com, is not backing away from the contention that Forbes.com is No. 1 in its field.

"Are we leading the pack?" Mr. Spanfeller said in an interview on Friday. "Yes."

Asked why, as recently as last week, Forbes.com continued to cite comScore's discarded figure of 15.3 million on its Web site, Mr. Spanfeller said that the company only learned of comScore's new, lower number when informed of it by a reporter. He also said that the usage statistics for many of its rivals were revised downward as well, some by larger percentages than that for Forbes.com.

What about comScore's July figure of 7.3 million, which is less than half what Forbes.com has been using? Mr. Spanfeller said comScore's latest figures clashed with the company's internally generated data, which still showed about 15 million visitors a month, with ForbesAutos.com accounting for about 2 million of those.

Still, Mr. Spanfeller, who is also chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the trade association for online media, conceded that the proliferation of Web traffic statistics could be confusing and agreed that the industry needed to deal with that issue.

Forbes.com is hardly the only site to present traffic figures that are higher than those reported by the third-party companies. And because they rely on sampling and extrapolation, even the independent companies often present vastly different results for the same site.

Faith in such data has also suffered as a result of recent restatements by the large Web-tracking businesses. Nielsen/NetRatings, comScore's main competitor, recently reduced its April numbers for Entrepreneur.com to about 2 million visitors from a previously reported 7.6 million. (The company said it made the change to remove Entrepreneur.com pages that had popped up without the user requesting them.)

The Forbes site's assertions that it is top dog irk its competitors. "Forbes.com is not the biggest," Vivek Shah, president of digital publishing for Time Inc.'s business and finance network, said in an e-mail message on Friday.

His comment was seconded by L. Gordon Crovitz, publisher of The Journal and executive vice president of Dow Jones, who is responsible for Dow Jones's consumer brands, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and MarketWatch. Both Mr. Shah and Mr. Crovitz pointed to figures from Nielsen/NetRatings, which they say undercut those from Forbes.com.

Graphic: Screen Images From Forbes.com Nielsen/NetRatings' latest audience figures in the United States -- Nielsen does not provide worldwide figures -- show Forbes.com with less than 6.6 million unique visitors in July, putting it below both Dow Jones, at about 7.8 million, and CNNMoney, at about 8.5 million. The largest business site was Yahoo Finance, with 12.2 million visitors, although other financial sites often choose not to compare themselves with large portals.

The debate is more than just a numbers game. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, the Forbes site attracted almost $55 million in revenue in 2005, the most among business publications, including The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and the business pages of The New York Times.

Some competitors argue that Forbes.com's popularity derives in part from racy, provocative or wealth-obsessed lifestyle features that have little to do with traditional business news -- examples from this year include "The Hottest Billionaire Heiresses," "Top Topless Beaches" and "America's Drunkest Cities." Those kinds of articles, unlikely to appear in Forbes magazine, may be a small fraction of those that Forbes.com posts each day, but they are often featured on mass-market Web portals.

Most financial publications cover the softer side of money, hoping to cast a wide net and attract different types of advertisers. And like Forbes.com, many Web sites link up with portals to increase their traffic. Forbes.com may simply do these things better, or more aggressively, than most.

In fact, one Forbes.com rival seems to be taking a page from its playbook. In the spring, BusinessWeek Online hired away the Forbes.com lifestyle editor, Charles Dubow, to be its director of new products.

Still, some competitors say that while eye-catching lifestyle stories may attract lots of readers, those readers are more transient and less likely to be the kind of high-powered professionals that advertisers pay more to reach.

Mr. Crovitz of Dow Jones cited Nielsen/NetRatings data from June showing that the average visitor to a Dow Jones site spent 19 minutes there during the month, as opposed to 5 minutes for the Forbes.com user.

Mr. Spanfeller responded that many Forbes.com readers were busy decision-makers who cannot spend large chunks of their workday trolling the Web.

What do advertisers think? Jeff Lanctot, vice president and general manager of a marketing services company, Avenue A Razorfish, suggested that touting flashy, nonbusiness content, while not necessarily a problem, could pose risks for a site like Forbes.com if overdone.

"If it is a salacious Paris Hilton link that drops you at Forbes.com, that might be an issue" for an advertiser, he said.

But Alan Schanzer, managing partner at MEC Interaction North America, a media planning group, saw little harm in what he called Forbes.com's occasional tongue-in-cheek approach.

Consider "America's Drunkest Cities," a Forbes.com posting that ranked American cities by alcohol consumption. "I would guess that was a very popular piece," Mr. Schanzer said. "I bet lots of people in New York were trying to figure out why they weren't higher up." (New York was No. 32 on Forbes.com's list; Milwaukee was No. 1.)

Mr. Spanfeller said Forbes.com's readership had a very appealing demographic profile that had remained relatively stable even as its audience had grown.

He pointed out that Forbes.com allowed its advertisers to specify what kind of editorial material they wanted to be paired with. That way, an advertiser seeking to be associated with hard business news would not see its ad run next to, say, the article on topless beaches.

Even if advertisers do not balk at Forbes.com's provocative postings, some readers and business leaders might. Michelle Peluso, chief executive of Travelocity.com, told Salon last week that she thought that Forbes.com's "career women" posting was "incredibly disappointing" and that she planned to speak with people at the magazine about it.

Asked about the article, Mr. Spanfeller said it was an aberration that had "clearly failed" to give the subject the sensitive treatment it deserved.

Despite the furor, the career women posting and reaction seemed unlikely to dent Forbes.com's standing in the Web rankings anytime soon. Yesterday, the revamped piece -- renamed "Careers and Marriage" -- stood at the top of the site's list of its most popular postings.

Forbes Takes on Working Girls

By Rachel Dry
Sunday, August 27, 2006; Page B05
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/25/AR2006082501168.html
Every year, Forbes magazine dutifully indexes the 400 wealthiest people in America. The list lays bare just how massive a treasure this country's richest have gathered. But what about the enriching joys of love, marriage and family? Forbes covers those, too.

Last Tuesday, the magazine published on its Web site an article titled "Don't Marry Career Women," written by Michael Noer, executive editor of news for Forbes.com. The essay -- about 1,000 words summarizing recent social science research -- was illustrated with an online slide show depicting the unhappy life of a career woman's spouse: an unkempt living room, a miserable wife (with a tear on her cheek) and other undesirable fates. Response was so "heated," according to Forbes.com, that the site took Noer's article off its "Careers" pages and re-posted it in its opinion section three hours later. It became the "point" of Forbes senior editor Elizabeth Corcoran's "counterpoint" article, "Don't Marry a Lazy Man." The articles drew hundreds of online comments. One poster wrote that "the only conclusion I can draw from it is 'Don't Read Forbes.' "

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women -- even those with a "feminist" outlook -- are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

[ . . . ] Many factors contribute to a stable marriage, including the marital status of your spouse's parents (folks with divorced parents are significantly more likely to get divorced themselves), age at first marriage, race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married -- it's just that they are less likely to be so than non-working women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub. To be clear, we're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a "career girl" has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.

[ . . . ] According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 times more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas). Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

THE BACKLASH

Girlfriends: A word of advice. Ask your man the following question: When was the last time you learned something useful, either at home or work?

If the last new skill your guy learned was how to tie his shoes in the second grade, dump him. If he can pick up new ideas faster than your puppy, you've got a winner.

[ . . . ] The experts cited in his story think that professional women are more likely to get divorced, to cheat and to be grumpy about either having kids or not having them. But rather than rush to blame the woman, let's not overlook the other key variable: What is the guy doing?

[ . . . ] There is, of course, the continual dilemma of who does the work around the house. But if both spouses are working, guess what? They've got enough income to hire someone else to fold laundry, mop floors, etc. . . . So guys, if you're game for an exciting life, go ahead and marry a professional gal. ("Don't Marry A Lazy Man" by Elizabeth Corcoran)

The furor over "Don't Marry Career Women" is a testament to the speed of an angry blogosphere, but also to the anachronistic and wholly outrageous tone of the article. It was easy to wonder how we had traveled through space and time to a moment at which it was OK to publish this kind of thing. . . .

The piece was so utterly ludicrous that for some, it was hard to do much but laugh. "I'm deeply grateful to Forbes Magazine for saving many women the trouble of dealing with men who can't tolerate equal partnerships, take care of their own health, clean up after themselves or have the sexual confidence to survive, other than a double standard of sexual behavior," wrote Gloria Steinem in an e-mail. "Since a disproportionate number of such unconfident and boring guys apparently read Forbes, the magazine has performed a real service." (Rebecca Traister in Salon)

THE SUPPORTER

Wow. Wait 'til the feminazis get a load of this one. . . . See, the culture of feminization is starting to fade away and a return to normalcy is rearing its head. These things are cyclical. I knew it was going to happen, but the early dawning of the New Age, the current age of feminism occurred in the '60s, late '60s and early '70s when I was in my late teens and early 20s, it totally messed me up. You young guys, 21, 22, just be thankful as hell you weren't born back in 1951, '50, '55. ( Rush Limbaugh, Aug. 23 )

THE SOURCES

Noer's piece was based on social science studies, including a recent study in the journal Social Forces. Peter Uhlenberg, editor of the journal, thought Noer was referencing a March 2006 piece called "What's Love Got to Do With It? Equality, Equity, Commitment and Women's Marital Quality," by University of Virginia sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox and Steven L. Nock. That study pinpoints the real problem, career or no career: People expect too much. As the authors wrote:

"We suspect that higher expectations of intimacy and equality among women, especially more egalitarian-minded women, have led them to view their husbands' emotion work [defined as efforts to express emotion] more critically; we also suspect that these expectations have increased marital conflict and -- in turn -- dampened men's marital emotion work. . . . Thus, the irony here is that -- at least over the short term -- the increased popularity of companionate [egalitarian] ideals of marriage seems to have contributed to a decrease in the prevalence of the companionate marriage in practice."

Posted by: sorenlerby | August 31, 2006 12:30 AM

Uh... Why is everyone in this argument incessantly talking about women's choices -- have a career or not have a career, work or stay home, etc. Noer's editorial is about men's choices -- whether they should marry women with ($30K a year) careers or not. Why isn't anyone talking about whether men should or want to follow his advice? Why is all the hoopla about women? Can women fix men's problems in this world by either working or staying at home? Save thyselves, men!

Posted by: Woman | September 1, 2006 1:38 PM

Noer probably hasn't gotten any in a while.

Posted by: Working Mom with 3 kids under the age of 3 | September 2, 2006 3:10 PM

Neither has cc.

Posted by: 4:36 am | September 5, 2006 4:36 AM

In response to Elizabeth Corcoran's "counterpoint" to Michael Noer's article, which was clearly well researched, let me just steal a line from Dan Ackroyd when he addressed Jane Curtain on SNL a few years back, Liz you ignorant . . . Ms. Corcoran's article references no scientific evidence for her conclusions, but rather bases her assertions on her personal experience. She fails to reveal however, who in her marriage is the primary breadwinner.

Since we are focusing on personal anecdotal evidence let me share my story with you. I do learn something new every day because I have to. You see six years ago after practicing law for 10 years in one state I followed my wife to a state I had never been in before so she could pursue what appeared to be a fairly lucrative career opportunity with a dot com. Because laws and procedures vary from state to state I basically started my career over. In our new locale I secured a job as an associate with a firm, but because I was new to the jurisdiction my employer required that I accept a $25,000.00 a year pay cut from what I earned in the state we used to live in and despite numerous efforts I have been unable to improve my situation, primarily because where I presently live the number of lawyers is probably two or three times greater than where I used to practice. Lawyers are subject to the laws of supply and demand too. Meanwhile, my wife's dot com imploded within a year of our arrival and despite my desire to return to our former state of residence my wife has refused to return. She hassecured new employment, but nothing remotely close to the compensation package which drew us away from what I refer to as "home". Over the years my wife's income has gone up, but not dramatically while mine has remained essentially the same. She has now grown resentful and has started dropping the "d" word. I would take up a new book, new music or movie (?!?!?) except, when I am not putting in my 45 + hours of work at the firm I am still an associate at, I am home taking care of my three children all under the age of 12. We do have someone help us watch the kids 15 hours a week when they are not in school (we really can't afford any more than that and besides I think kids should have a parent around more). I am the primary parent at home and happy to be so, but my wife is not. The fact is you cannot extrapolate your personal experience to the world. Mike has cited scientifc studies which are certainly more akin to my personal experience. Feminism has been a bain to marriage, society and child rearing. Feminists refuse to acknowledge feminism's failures and simply seek to shut dissenters up. I could go on and get nastier, but my career driven wife is not happy and neither am I and I attribute it, at least in part to feminist philosophy. People fail to realize how social, economic and political change affects people on a personal level. Accordingly, before we advocate for social sea-change perhaps we should contemplate the ramifications it may have on individuals, particularly the most vulnerable amoung us, ie the children.

Posted by: Vincent | September 19, 2006 8:21 AM

I am making Michael Noer's article mandatory reading for my two sons. As far as my daughter is concerned, while I am paying attention to her education I am watching what she eats much more closely.

Posted by: Vincent | September 19, 2006 8:23 AM

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