If you’re like me and other folks in their 20s and 30s, you were probably very upset to hear that Amy Poehler and Will Arnett ended their nine year relationship. (I’ll be honest–I was embarrassingly distraught over the breakup of a couple wholly unconnected to me.) Together, they were hilarious, adorable, successful, and supportive of each other’s career.
Of course, we know that no relationship is perfect and while it was surprising to learn of the split, there are probably several excellent reasons they ended their marriage. Just none that we will probably ever be able to surmise since they are probably very specific to their relationship.
But of course that doesn’t stop reactionary dating coaches and matchmakers from speculating. Patty Stanger–of Millionaire Matchmaker fame–weighed in with perhaps the most misogynistic post-mortem analysis. Though issuing the caveat that she is not privy to the particulars, she used it as an opportunity to bring up the old sexist trope–that if a woman is more successful than her husband, her relationship will suffer. “Their breakup did get me thinking about how being a woman with a successful career affects relationships,” she wrote.
She goes onto recycle all of banalities about pairings with successful women are fraught because of the expectation that men should provide. The “me hunter/wealthy finance guy, you Jane/underpaid and under-appreciated public servant/stay-at-home mom” paradigm.
But let’s say your man is cool with you making more money than him, you still should worry because what about the rest of the world? Ms. Stanger, by “the rest of the world” did you actually mean to write “people like me who create entertainment by perpetuating the traditional romantic setups”? Just wondering. Anyway, she observed:
There will undeniably be comments and questions about your relationship dynamic. At first, these may seem like not much more than a silly annoyance, but these comments burn and eventually, they’ll wear away at your man’s confidence. He’ll start to notice the difficulties of your untraditional financial situation and even if the financial dynamic doesn’t bother him, the attention to it might.
Stanger seems to subscribe to the same notions of evolutionary biology that prompted Kevin Williamson (disappointingly not the one of Dawson’s Creek fame) to write this National Review essay about why women should flock to Romney. Of course, this neglects study after study that shows many women are outperforming men professionally. If Stanger’s theory holds true, I think we’re going to see the divorce rate climb even higher.
Or maybe we can give men like Will Arnett a little more credit and the benefit of the doubt that his marriage ended for more mundane reasons.