Can success have the same effect on marriage as money problems or cheating spouses? Yes, according to relationship writer and researcher Charles Orlando. Here’s his fascinating account of a career woman, and the effect of her success on her marriage.
“Married couples fight about three main issues: sex, kids and money,” says Orlando, author of The Problem with Women… is Men: The Evolution of a Man’s Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness. “And regardless of who the breadwinner is, money fights always come back to one issue: control.”
Orlando wrote the book Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage (Mom’s Choice Awards Winner 2009). Click the cover for more info, and read on to learn how one woman’s success destroyed her marriage – and why.
The Effect of Success on Marriage – A Careerwoman and Her Unhappy Husband
~ Guest Post ~ Charles Orlando
Take “Melissa”, a participant in my study, and a top executive at an advertising firm in New York. When she met Bryan-the man who would become her husband-they were both in middle management earning roughly the same salaries; he at his job, and she at hers.
Melissa’s Rise to The Top
However, through a lot of effort and natural talent, Melissa’s career hit its stride. After several years of working 60+-hour weeks, she broke through the Glass Ceiling and became a highly respected and well-paid senior executive. Taking over the firm as president was then a very real possibility on the horizon. But as her status, influence, and paycheck grew, her marriage began to deteriorate. She attempted to work on their relationship, but Bryan seemed to become uninterested, citing trivial issues as his reasons for his discontent.
Bryan’s Increasing Lack of Interest
In addition to having to pick up the slack because of Melissa’s long work hours-something many women must do by default-Bryan was genuinely threatened by her rapid advancement and success. After a year in marriage counseling, they divorced. Bryan, like so many other men, had his masculinity built on all the wrong things. His fragile ego couldn’t handle that she was building something for herself-in this case, a solid career. Her success destroyed their marriage – but it wasn’t her fault.
Before their split, Melissa and Bryan had terrible fights-the vast majority of which were based on control. Even though she was the major wage earner, Bryan had grown very passive-aggressive, creating problems and roadblocks for Melissa. As a result, she was forced to manage the house, in addition to holding down her demanding job. Returning from work each day, she had to transport their 12 and 14-year-old daughters to after-school activities, then monitor their homework, and take over the shopping, finance management; everything.
The Real Issues in This Marriage
The real issue here, obviously, is Bryan’s lack of respect and emotional support for Melissa… which stems from his own insecurities. This problem is that he dealt extremely poorly with having a wife who earns money. This points to one of the grave difficulties most men have in Evolving to a higher level of consciousness.
How the Concept of Masculinity Affected Their Marriage
The whole concept of masculinity dictated by society is largely based on all the wrong things. It’s just one gigantic-and shameful-set-up. Boys learn very early in their lives that to be a “real man,” they must be the major (if not the sole) breadwinners. And therein lies the set-up: For the poor and middle class in this society, this type of plan has not been economically feasible for quite some time, as making ends meet requires two salaries.
Do you think success can destroy your marriage?
Charles’ Orlando‘s book The Problem with Women… is Men is written from a man’s point-of-view and experience-and based on hundreds of interviews with men and women.