Something to think about, something I’ve been thinking a lot about because I want to focus on my career as much as any ambitious man:
“The women are left shocked and surprised. They had thought the rules of engagement were clear, that well-educated couples would be mutually supportive and take turns, helping each other become all they can be. A survey of Harvard Business School graduates emphasizes the disconnect: More than half the men expected their careers to take precedence over their wives’ careers, while most women expected egalitarian marriages. (Almost no women expected their own careers to come first.) Millennial men are often portrayed as more enlightened, but data complicates this picture: Surveys have shown that younger men may be even less committed to equality than their elders.
Even for couples who are committed to equality, it takes two exceptional people to navigate tricky dual-career waters. It’s easier to opt for the path of least resistance — the historical norm of a career-focused man and a family-focused woman. Especially if, as is often the case, the man is a few years older, has a career head start, and so earns a higher salary. This leads to a cycle that’s hard to break: Men get more opportunities to
earn more, and it gets harder and harder for women to catch up.
The disillusionment is deep — and lasting. The result is a delayed reaction, as I found in researching a book on the increasing divorce and marriage rates in the 1950s and 1960s: Talented women, forced by their husband’s attitudes to downgrade their aspirations, bide their time. After their children leave, often so do the wives. About 60% of late-life divorces are initiated by women, often to focus their energies on flourishing careers post-50.