Gender Roles have made a Dramatic Shift

stay-at-home-dad

Gender Roles have made a Dramatic Shift

47% of the workforce will be women by 2050. In 1950 that number was 30%. Though we take our ideas of gender roles, men the breadwinners and women the housekeepers, from outdated 1950’s style thinking, the truth is that throughout history men and women have worked together in different ways to provide for the family and manage the household. The number of women may even surpass the number of men in the short term. Gender roles have made a dramatic shift due to the Great Recession.

Traditional male employment industries such as construction and manufacturing took a nose dive. Meanwhile, the only industries that seemed to have survived and thrive are those traditionally the spheres of women such as healthcare, the service industry and education. So does that mean that men are flooding the household realm while the women work outside of the home? Though there has been an uptick in househusbands, research has shown that there is no flood of men into the home. A 2009 New York Times article points out that women who are laid off spend their extra time doting on the children. Time spent with the children remained low no matter if the man was gainfully employed or not.

While the focus used to be more on the job search and the nuts and bolts of finding employment, the emotional sphere seems to be making its way to the forefront as well. Psychologists are noting that men are becoming more able to communicate their emotions than in years past, expressing fears and anxieties about joblessness and other issues. Since the early days of humankind men have gone out and brought home the bacon, either by hunting, or by bringing home a salary. While modern feminism broke women away from traditional roles, men have been slow to adapt. Their egos are wrapped up in their jobs and providing. Though many feel at home being in the home, others chafe at the idea, feel it isn’t manly or are lost. Many social scientists and psychologists note that this breaking out of traditional gender roles is good in the sense that it brings egalitarianism into a marriage or cohabitating relationship. Still, women and men aren’t treated equal. Women still make less than men. Men and women are now free to define themselves. They are struggling with the gender roles of the past, but they are free to define their own future. For more on this topic read, The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family by Kathleen Gerson.

Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

divorce-after-50

Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

Divorce for women forty and over is different than for women under forty according to Erica Manfred, author of the book, History; You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty.  The sheer difference between handling divorce as a lady at 40 plus is that you have less opportunities than at earlier times. Some women have to re-enter the workforce. But if she’s been home caring for the house and children, or had a gap in employment, she may be in for a rude awakening when hitting today’s job market. If she hasn’t had a family yet and wanted one her chances are diminished.

The difference today from years ago is that there are plenty of single, available men who are also divorced. But the herd is a bit thinner than what women encounter at a younger age. If you need to reestablish your career consider attending college, community college, nursing school or some form of higher education. Civil service examinations are good avenues for employment. Networking with friends, family, acquaintances and others are good ideas as well, both for employment, and career advice.

Many people stay married for the sake of the children. They wait until the kids have grown up so as not to injure their psyches. But according to Ms. Manfred, “The kids are never grown.” What she means by that is that children are distraught by the divorce of their parents no matter what age they’re at. The kids begin to question their childhood, whether they grew up in a happy household for instance, or if it was all a lie. Now holidays are also separated into two. This will be quite awkward. Problems soon creep up in their own relationship. And they worry about who is going to take care of one or both parents once they get older and can’t take care of themselves. If you need to break the news, no matter what age, both of you should tell the children together according to Manfred. Deliver the news with empathy and understanding. Make sure the timing is right.

Surprisingly, 66% of over 50 divorces are initiated by women. This is because often the man has had bad habits, which she could ignore when he was out and about. But now that he’s home all the time it becomes a problem. There’s infidelity with younger women. And there are those men who recede into themselves and just sit on the couch and watch TV, while she still wants to live an active lifestyle and social life, go out, do things, meet people, and so gets tired of having no connection with him. It may not seem easy but for many divorce makes them much happier.

Things Change once you hit your Thirties

WOMEN-WORKING

Things Change once you hit your Thirties

The teen years and college are really young, fun, carefree good times. You kind of expect those times to last. But after college and especially once you hit your thirties, things change. For one there seems to be a black hole between college and the present moment. You think, “What happened to the last two, three, five years?” But you still feel young. And your bank account doesn’t look much better today than it did back then. “People” and by that we mean your parents start to wonder why you are still single. They verbally express that wonder out loud, embarrassingly. And this phenomenon surprisingly affects men and women, though women far more often. You don’t have to be married at any particular time. The elevated divorce rate alone, not to mention how hard it is to carve a place out for yourself in the world nowadays, is enough of an explanation. Lots of people are overwhelmed about dating and relationships in their thirties. Married people have a fear of missing out due to the single’s explosion via internet dating. Singles fear being alone forever.

Lots of people today in their thirties are so busy, they can’t see straight. Many don’t have time for dating, dealing mostly with the demands of a career. Some have kids which is even doubly time consuming, though more than worth it to see their cherub, smiling faces and those beautiful laughs. Still, finding time to squeeze dating in can be difficult. Lots of people in their thirties, if not married, are taking part in the hookup culture like those purported with the millennial generation. Others are cohabitating forever, fearing a messy and maniacal divorce such as their parents had in droves in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Those who are single and childless in their thirties will open up Facebook occasionally and think to themselves “Is this nothing but baby pictures?”

Sometimes folks in their third decade of life will try and replicate a time, an outfit, a style or a stance from a previous decade in their life, say the late teens or their twenties. This will not be pulled off, in fact it will just be at the tip of inappropriate. Instead, adopt something that’s young but a little more adult. No one is really forever 21. In fact, why not embrace the whole new, adult you? There are so many things better in your thirties than they were back then. Sex is definitely better. Most people know themselves and how things work much better and have gotten rid of their anxieties and awkward feelings. If you are single, there is a stock of great catches out there to be had like never before. And if you are in a long-term relationship, you are probably reaching the point of true intimacy, one of love’s and life’s greatest gifts. For more advice read, 30 and Single: Your Guide to Living a Fulfilled Life While Waiting by Crystal Hall.

Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

MARRIAGE-DOOMED

Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

50% of women and 60% of men admit to having an affair sometime in their lives. It’s inevitable that many people will start to question their marriage or even monogamy itself at some point. Many experts believe that this is happening earlier nowadays. It used to be the seven year itch, in other words at year seven people were wondering about their marriage, but today it’s happening at year three. Once the nuance wears off and we start to really get a sense of who the other person is, and what their faults actually are, disillusionment about the relationship, even marriage itself can set in.

Once the thrill has worn off the sex often declines and the couple feels disconnected. At this point some people question the relationship. Did they really know this person before tying the knot? Was something overlooked during the dating phase? They wonder if they settled or somehow made a mistake. First, understand that this is a normal, natural pattern that lots of couples go through. There are ways to reignite the spark. One is to practice compassion for your partner with absolute abandon. Show them your gratitude. Love them despite of their drawbacks. Practice radical acceptance and deep love.

Next, take part in novel experiences. What gets your heart racing? Find out how to answer that question the same as your partner and go and do that thing. Studies have shown that taking part in exciting activities can help reignite the spark. Work on bringing novelty into the bedroom. Plan a romantic evening together where you two open up to one another and start talking about your fantasies. Make plans to fulfill them, first one person’s then the others. Understand and mitigate the influence of society, particularly the fairytale fantasy and the idea of instant gratification. The media is constantly in movies, TV shows and so many other places showing us labor free, perfect relationships and uninhibited, instant mind-blowing sex. In the real world, things take investment, commitment, time and energy. Don’t think of it as work however but growing your relationship, deepening it and enhancing it.

Sometimes people get so busy with the bills, work, the kids and other responsibilities that they forget to save a little time to invest in one another. But it’s so important. Happy parents and happy workers lead to happy kids and a great working environment, advancement and productivity too. Find time to talk, show your appreciation for one another, do things that are fun and exciting together and you’ll never feel that itch at any year in your marriage. For more on keeping things hot and exciting read, The Spark: Igniting the Passion, Mystery, and Romance in Your Marriage by Jay Laffoon, Laura Laffoon and Ken Davis.

Rocky Relationships can be bad for your Health

Sad couple sitting back to back

Rocky Relationships can be bad for your Health

There are plenty of studies that say that marriage is good for you, both for your mental and physical health. But if things aren’t going well, the opposite is true. Rocky relationships can actually be bad for your health. Heartbreak for instance is really painful emotionally. What is less well known is that it can also lead to heart disease. Research published in the American Medical Association’s journal found that medium to extreme marital stress gave women a 2.9 times higher chance of getting heart disease, suffering a heart attack and needing heart surgery. Diabetes, smoking, age, bad cholesterol and blood pressure were all taken out of the equation. Whether they were married or not wasn’t the issue. Cohabitating women showed similar results.

Another study published in 2006 in the American Journal of Cardiology found that couples with the most difficult marriages and in tandem had a chronic disease such as congestive heart failure were more likely to die within four years. Though one study revealed that a healthy, committed relationship is beneficial to mental health, the opposite is true as well. The Journal of Health and Social Behavior published a study in 2003 that showed that those in a rocky relationship had far worse mental health than their single counterparts.

An unhappy marriage isn’t just bad for your mental health. Studies have shown that it can mimic the negative health effects of smoking or inactivity for women. According to a study presented at the American Psychosomatic Society’s back in 2009, those who experienced more arguments and fights in their relationship had high blood sugar, high blood pressure, lower levels of good cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. What’s more, a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine back in 1993 revealed that newlyweds who took part in a heated argument had lower immune system functions. Constant relationship stress certainly does harm the body’s functioning.

A review published in the journal Physiology and Behavior in 2003 showed that unhappily married people were far worse off in terms of overall well-being that those who were single. These problems spill over into the workplace. Research published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that those who had a troubled marriage had higher levels of stress, at were at higher risk for serious health issues such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity and depression. Lastly, relationship problems can make it more difficult for you to recover from disease. According to an article published in the journal Cancer in 2009, unhappy couples had functions that were impaired compared to those in solid relationships. What’s more, they were less likely to adhere to healthy behaviors including watching their diet and following doctor’s orders. For more on why it’s better to fly solo than crash and burn read, Better Single than Sorry: A No-Regrets Guide to Loving Yourself and Never Settling by Jen Schefft.