Is this post-divorce trend unique to blue areas or will you find it elsewhere?

I keep seeing women who married wealthy men during their childbearing years, falling head over heels, post-divorce, for loving, not wealthy men.

Divorce Post-DivorceBecause I have a legal project and because the news today does not inspire me, I wanted to direct your attention elsewhere — and get your opinion about a post-divorce phenomenon I keep seeing here in true, blue Marin.

Marin being what it is, I move in high-end white-collar circles. This is not a boast, it’s just a fact. At all the schools my children have attended, the greater number of parents have at least one degree and a majority have two. Some even have three degrees. These credentials translate into high-earning jobs for both men and women — although I know of only two cases in which the wives out-earn the husbands.

Over the years, several of my female friends have gotten divorced. With two exceptions out of perhaps 15-20 divorces, the husbands were very good earners. Unfortunately for their wives, they were also narcissists or sociopaths. The same clinical, self-detached, manipulative qualities that made them thrive in the corporate world made them unpleasant in the home.

The divorces of which I speak happened many years ago and my women friends have moved on. Only one of them has a new partner who earns more than, or as much as, her former husband did. The trend I’ve observed is that these women have all found tremendous happiness with partners who earn about the same as or even less than the women do.

I still get a kick out of what one woman told me: “He’s so wonderful. He’s loving and supportive to me. He barely earns any money, but I just don’t care!

My theory is that, during peak childbearing years, these women instinctively sought men who would provide for them and their children. It didn’t matter that the men had less than stellar interpersonal skills. What mattered was that, when the women were pregnant and raising little children, they would not have to worry about food or shelter. This was not a gold-digger approach to selecting a husband. It was an atavistic drive to provide optimal circumstances for raising a child.

Once women’s childbearing and child-rearing years ended, the women were unconstrained by lizard-brain concerns. Post-divorce, they could follow their hearts, not their reproductive organs. That’s why I see the same women who were emotionally burned by striving, successful men now seeking comfort with men for whom financial success is not a be-it and end-all.

In other words, the fact that a young woman chose as the father of her children an emotionally distant or punitive man who was a very good breadwinner does not mean that the woman will repeat that pattern in her next relationship. The hormones and common sense that dictate a certain choice when we’re young may be delightfully irrelevant when we’re older.

So, that’s my theory based upon the post-divorce women whom I’ve observed in my little patch of Deep Blue. Is it just me or have any of you seen (or lived) the same phenomenon?

Photo credit: Divorce, by Gerard van Der Leun. Creative Commons; some rights reserved.

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What Business Thinks

  • EDM

    Do these women have kids with their first husbands?

    Do these women get real commitment from their newer lower value mates? Or are they just rationalizing their lack of options.

    • I can answer the first question: yes. As for the second, I don’t know.

  • David Foster

    “a young woman chose as the father of her children an emotionally distant or punitive man who was a very good breadwinner”….were the men in question emotionally distant–punitive–good breadwinners…when the couple first met and got married?…I assume they were still in college or recently graduated.

    • Most of my friends met and married in their 20s — meaning at or after college. That’s all I know.

    • Lee Also

      Even in college, you can kind of person the guy who will probably wind up a good bread winner, because he’s already being successful in college. He’s probably not a comparative lit major, working in the dorm cafeteria. That being said, I’ve known many, many soon cafeteria workers who did go on to be quite successful. But the comp lit majors have been only moderately so — if they went on for PhD’s and snagged a professor gig.

  • Lee Also

    I lived in Marin for eleven years and on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for five before that. I married a man six years ago and left Marin. He’s a gentleman, he’s protective, he’s manly, he’s strong. I know he’ll take care of me, and he’ll beat the crap out of anyone who tries to hurt me. If someone tries to break in our house, he’ll be ready with his nine mil. If the EMP knocked out the grid, he will make sure we easy and are safe. His salary ain’t much to write home about. But his a hell of a lot better than ANY of the men I dated in this previous sixteen years before we got married. And when I was young and foolish, I might not have married someone like him. But I am now a very lucky woman.

    • ymarsakar

      The divorced women date married men!!! Ugh.

      A society that doesn’t value pair bondings for long, naturally produces people who invest in the relationship being broken up. Since a “married” man is not “taken”, he is just ‘waiting to be released’.

      It also means there is something wrong or too overly stratified about the male/female classes. As females would rather marry in their social class or above, commoner to nobile, than downwards. It can’t be the case that there are too many women and not enough men. This isn’t Russian post WW2.

      Nor has the USA adopted polygamy yet.

    • That’s exactly right, Lee Also. It’s that kind of dynamic I was trying to articulate.

  • tbill618

    The Red Pill community has a term for this Alpha F***: Beta Bucks. Women marry men who provide but prefer to sleep with Alpha males.

    • ymarsakar

      That depends on how they define the Alpha and Beta term.

  • I can’t speak from experience since I have never been divorced, have no close relatives that have divorced, and among friends, only one couple that divorced after I knew them.

    But I do want to focus in on a simple little observation that perhaps all of us have noticed. When watching pro sports – or even big time college sports – when the camera pans around to wives and girlfriends of athletes, how often have you seen any that are plain and ordinary? This begs the question: what are athletes who are either earning a lot or are poised to earn a lot, looking for in a spouse? Appearance seems to be high on the priority list; very high, in fact. And what are highly attractive young women looking for? Financial security? Publicity? I don’t know, but I think that it is always pretty easy to overlook character flaws in a person when they offer something else that dominates – at least initially. And looks, wealth, fame are all things that can dominate. But ultimately, character comes to the fore, whether it be good or bad.

    Moral: try to be of good character yourself, and don’t let yourself be bedazzled by looks, fame, wealth or whatnot when looking for a spouse. Good character is everything.

  • ymarsakar

    This is not a boast, it’s just a fact. At all the schools my children have attended, the greater number of parents have at least one degree and a majority have two.

    When your property is large enough that you need to hire servants to manage and maintain it, you are pretty much lesser nobility already.

  • RobertM

    ““He’s so wonderful. He’s loving and supportive to me. He barely earns any money, but I just don’t care!“”

    Easy to say once you have that fantastic divorce settlement. What would she say if she was just as poor.

    • Agreed. These are upper middle class women who remain upper middle class after the divorce.

  • t budd

    “This was not a gold-digger approach to selecting a husband. It was an atavistic drive to provide optimal circumstances for raising a child.”

    Gold-digging, hypergamy, atavistic drive… are all the same thing. The reason the divorced women were not marrying rich men is because the rich men were marrying much younger women.

  • David Foster

    This thread reminds me: there’s some research to the effect that women report more sexual satisfaction when their partners are wealthy (as well as self-confident, good-looking, and with a good sense of humor)

    It seems logical that the ‘wealthy’ variable might decline in importance when the woman is already very-well-off.

  • ymarsakar

    Want to guess what the divorce rate amongst Jehovah Witnesses, Amish, and Latter Day Saints are?

    I’m sure some magazines have written articles on it, sorta like the MSM with Japan.