The men that keep society running do so behind the scenes. By this I do not refer to shadowy creatures operating in the dark, but instead those men who work in factories, on construction sites, or on infrastructure maintenance. This also includes software engineers who sit in cubicle farms whose work ensures that Stacy can flip through her stack of profile matches on Tinder at lightning speed. In addition to these men working out of sight, there is the problem of female solipsism, i.e. a lot of women consider themselves to be the center of the world. They normally spend absolutely no thought at all about where the comforts we enjoy in modern society come from. To them, everything is just there.
I do not think that anything I wrote in the introductory paragraph is controversial at all among readers of this blog. However, if you take the above as given, I wonder if this might explain why women so readily divorce men. While there are high-profile cases of some trophy wife divorcing her CEO husband, and getting dozens of millions out of it, most divorces do not work like this at all. The most likely outcome is that her economic circumstances will deteriorate considerably. This is even true if she contributed about half to the family income, which is hardly the norm. One aspect is that women like to spend money and another that you can obviously afford a higher standard of living with two incomes. Of course, if the husband contributed most of the money, she will be clearly worse off as she will not get 100% of it. The same also applies to the pampered trophy wife but she is still very well off in absolute terms, but perhaps not relative to her previous lifestyle.
Taking women’s solipsism into account, I wonder if many women even have a concept of what men do at work. I recall, as a child, that my mother used to berate my father for not coming home for dinner on time. Having to warm up his food separately angered her, and clearly this is much more important than him making enough money to afford all the trappings of the middle-class lifestyle. As a kid my mother’s behavior did not make any sense to me. Now that I am much more familiar with the problem of female solipsism, the underlying psychological mechanism is self-evident.
While my parents are not divorced, the parents of many other men and women are. Even if female solipsism may not have been the sole case, it surely is a contributor. All it takes is a woman taking for granted that she lives in a nice house or apartment or that the fridge is always stocked. Being not sure what her husband actually does leads to the childish assumption that money and consumer goods simply materialize out of thin air.
You may think that I am flippant or that this article is not serious at all. I am dead serious, however. There are plenty of women out there who filed for divorce on a whim and ended up severely struggling with the challenges of day-to-day life. Once their husbands are gone, they realize how much they really did for them, and even if it was just something as trivial as moving a piece of furniture into a different corner of the living room or killing a spider. I even have a case in my extended family — different lineage — where some woman divorced her husband because she thought he was “not ambitious enough”. He is doing fine, and in fact managed to marry again whereas she nowadays works some shitty job in retail to make ends meet. Clearly, she did not really think this through, and neither do a lot of other strong and independent women.
2 thoughts on “Divorce and the Invisible Work of Men”
I love how you crystallized this phenomenon with clear examples. I’ve been marvelling at this phenomena for maybe decade and a half now; but I haven’t had a clear way of communicating it.
For me, I noticed this aspect of female nature when I noticed how women believe that things they get from men in dating/society are just stuff that just happens. And they have no ability to understand CAUSALITY. Like if they get x, they will always get x, even if they change 50 other variables.
My favorite example is how women, as a collective group decided to change their side of the deal in the flirting roles, and expected men would still keep giving them all the same things.
Like for some fucked up reason they don’t understand that the social contract had two sides. The male side was like “Ok we’ll take a gamble and approach women even if the signal isn’t super unambigious”… And in exchange the woman’s role was to let a man down nicely even if he’s not her type at all.
And then it was decided that women have no obligation to let men down nicely and a woman could humiliate, berate and belittle a man not-her-type showing interest in her. Whilst STILL keeping the old factor of never giving clear unambiguous signals. And THEN they were stunned that men stopped flirting with them.
I still struggle to communicate the idea, but basically I can only communicate it like this:
For some weird reason, women that get x as part of a complex deal, think they will always get x, even if they change 50 other variables in the deal. Even if the deal no longer makes sense, and even if they remove the things that x was given in return for.
What you said reminded me of the female lawyer, a few years back, who complained in her social media account that “men were no longer flirting in the workplace”.
When a commenter suggested that this was because men didn’t want to lose their employment, she didn’t even bother to deny that this would be a likely outcome but responded that this “shouldn’t dissuade men”!