Psychological Self-Help

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950
deserves a better deal because he/she is "special." Another person
may say, "Oh, sure my husband gets a better deal than I do, but I'm
as well off as most other women." If you have had to work very hard
to make a relationship work, there is a tendency (because of cognitive
dissonance) to believe that your partner is a real gem and the
relationship is essential. Don't deceive yourself. (2) Research also
suggests that men and women have different notions about fairness.
Example: women are more likely to spread the available rewards
around equally, regardless of who performed better, while men tend to
give greater rewards to the persons who perform better. Every
married couple must periodically reconsider the inputs made by each,
the benefits available, and the needs of each, and then decide "what is
fair" for each person. If you do more for a relationship, perhaps you
should get more rewards. Don't cheat yourself. 
 
Marriage and children: Life is changing for dad
We start marriage with just two people, but it usually grows to 3,
4, or more. The children are permanently connected to both parents
even if the parents divorce. Thus, one love relationship becomes 3
relationships as soon as a child arrives; a second child results in 6
person-to-person relationships. Children change marriages
dramatically. In chapter 9, we saw that, on average, children reduce
marital satisfaction, but increase overall satisfaction with the family
situation, i.e. we love our kids. We also saw that marriage is changing:
moms (70%) are employed outside the home and often (40% of the
time) make as much or more money than dad, 20% of fathers (often
unemployed) are the primary caretakers for children under age 5, and
dads (50%) are helping out a lot more at home. Father's style of play
and love add a lot to the children's lives... and closeness with children
adds a lot to a father's life. In the 90's we are witnessing a major
conflict, namely, more and more fatherless homes (2 out of 3 families
in the inner cities) in the face of increasing evidence that an involved
father is very important to the academic, social, and mental health of
the children. (Other dire consequences of a fatherless home--
delinquency, drug abuse, violence, teenage pregnancy, poverty,
welfare--are discussed in the divorce section.) 
It isn't women's willingness to work outside the home that causes
divorce so much as it is some men's unwillingness to work at home
(Hochschild, 1989). The second most common reason for divorce
(after mental cruelty) is men's neglect of home and children. In the
1980's, about 20% of fathers shared the housework almost equally
and 70% did 30-40% of the work (the percentages depend on who
you ask--moms or dads). However, mothers still assumed more
responsibility for organizing the work and child care, did more of the
daily cooking and cleaning, and did more of the dirty work. Fathers
spend more time attending the kids than doing unpleasant chores.
Almost 10% of fathers did very little to help out; they are very "over-
benefited." But, in general, we have a new kind of involved dad for the
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