“Guys more likely to cheat on high-earning women” says MSNBC
Once more, the story that gets the most attention in the waning days of summertime focuses on bad news for smart, successful women. Brian Alexander’s piece on income disparities and infidelity has gotten a lot of attention (including a shout-out on CNN, which I caught as I was eating lunch today).
Brian was good enough to quote me as the voice of academic caution. Just to be clear, all you high-earning ladies out there need not panic. Two quick points…
1) The study focused on 18- to 28-year-olds who were married or living together and who had been in the same relationship for at least a year, he reports. The under 30 set isn’t known to be the most stable in terms of their relationships. And, without knowing the exact breakdown of the data, I’d imagine that at least half (if not more) of these couples weren’t married. As a general rule, couples who live together don’t have the same commitment that married couples do — it’s a trial run, a high-octane version of dating — so you’d expect relationships to be more fluid and cheating to be more common.
2) When couples fight or split up, money isn’t usually the cause of the dispute. It’s something deeper. Perhaps they are drifting apart, perhaps they have different values. Let’s not fall into the trap that men are intimidated by a woman’s salary. Indeed, research shows that men are increasingly valuing a woman’s ability to be a good earner when picking a mate.
The academic findings of this research are probably impeccable. But the vast majority of high-earning, hard-working women need not get their panties in a twist about money and infidelity. Tell your husband you love him and value him. Spend time together as a family. Be open and communicate. And trust him: Even in this study of young’uns who may or may not be married, fewer than 7% of the men cheated.
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