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Three Out of Four Women Wouldn't Marry An Unemployed Man. Can You Blame Them? Three Out of Four Women Wouldn't Marry An Unemployed Man. Can You Blame Them?
Culture

Three Out of Four Women Wouldn't Marry An Unemployed Man. Can You Blame Them?

by Nona Willis Aronowitz

June 24, 2011

A new study done by ForbesWoman and YourTango.com reveals that three out of four of women wouldn’t consider marrying an unemployed man.

Since yesterday, the Internet has yet to point out that no men were polled, because the assumption is that men would be more than happy to marry a woman without a job. And they’d be right, I suppose; a 2010 survey done by the online dating website Zoosk found that 90 percent of men would be fine with dating an unemployed woman. Granted there's a difference between marriage and dating. But this suggests to me that most women are being realistic, and most men are imagining a bygone era, one in which gender roles and economic realities are drastically different.

If you were to read these survey results in a vacuum on a blank piece of paper, you might think it was the 1950s, where it was commonplace for middle and upper class men to be the sole breadwinners in their families. A little reality check: That model doesn’t work anymore. Even if Betty Friedan had never written The Feminine Mystique, one-income households would still be on their way to extinction. With salaries stagnating, it's practically impossible for middle- or working-class couples to survive on just one salary.

Also, it’s scary to marry someone unemployed, knowing that your financial future will be forever tethered to them. Even if you two keep separate bank accounts, you are legally linked to this person—which includes their debts and spending habits. Employment status is a perfectly valid thing to consider when choosing a partner, particularly for the younger generation, who has debts up to their ears and worse professional prospects than their parents.

I realize I'm sounding unromantic, shallow, and heartless all at the same time. But don't get me wrong. I still believe people should marry for love, and wedding someone who doesn’t have a job doesn’t mean they’ll remain that way forever. Young people, especially, change jobs all the time, and the survey makes no distinction between the chronically unemployed and the “transitioning.” Still, when women say they’d be hesitant to marry someone unemployed, men might want to hear them out. Passion and compatibility are still important, but it's normal to feel anxious about your finances—regardless of what gender you are.

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