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Is a woman more likely to divorce after earning a promotion?

Some people believe that if they figure out what causes divorce, couples might have more successful marriages. Spouses may then be able to avoid or seek help for common factors of divorce, such as debt or infidelity.

What if one cause of divorce is a wife’s career success? Swedish researchers found that married women who reached the height of their fields in either politics or business were more likely to divorce their spouse within three years. Meanwhile, this fact was not true for the men in the study.

However, the promotion itself probably isn’t the direct cause of divorce. Researchers discovered that the women in the study didn’t even need to rely on a spouse for money. Instead, other factors related to careers might be the root of the issue.

The findings suggest that gender issues within the relationship could be in play. Some couples prioritize the husband’s career above the wife’s career. Couples who prioritized each other’s career equally did not show the same pattern. Researchers believe that a woman might be more willing to end a marriage if she does not sense encouragement from her husband.

Old stereotypes, like the idea that women should manage most of the housework and childcare, may also affect the relationship in periods of change. These gender issues can add stress as a woman attempts to climb the career ladder while worrying about meeting household expectations. High-risk jobs can be demanding, so some women may be disappointed if they believe their spouse fails to pick up the slack.

Despite this connection to divorce, spouses don’t need to fear a promotion. If a couple works together, both spouses may be able to have satisfaction in their careers and marriage.

Sometimes, however, a life event like a promotion can bring larger relationship problems to a couple’s attention. If this is the case, couples who consider divorce should discuss their options with an attorney.

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