IT might not have been heard of a few decades back, but house- husbands are quietly creeping into a lot of matrimonial homes – thanks to women landing super executives jobs that pay mega salaries, for the hard-working female executives, house-husbands seem to be the answer to every woman’s prayer.
Imagine never having to wash up another dirty dish, take the kids to school or get the kids dinner – the average house-husband knows all about doing chores and lots more. Just think of it – getting home and being welcome by a man in a pinny and the aroma of a delicious dinner. Dreams do come true, you think? Well, in theory yes. But according to recent experiences of some “lucky wives,” we should be careful what we wish for.
Turning husbands into home-dads can seriously damage relationships as a huge chunk of life-swap couples are heading for the divorce courts. “Think long and hard about letting the man stay at home”, warns divorce lawyer, Vanessa Llovd-Platt, “I know it’s very trendy for the wife to be the bread winner, but in my professional experience, this decision will strain the marriage.
It may be fun at first to say, ‘I have a house-husband’. But a wife will quickly begin to resent the fact that the man is not pulling his weight financially, She will think: ‘You’re not supporting me”. Within all of us I think there is still a very deep-seated belief that men should be the protectors.
A gradual lack of respect begins to eat into the relationship and it puts men in very vulnerable position. The role these men are performing at home is of course highly valuable, but women can find it hard to recognize it. Why should that be so when women know just how hard it can be to look after a family and run a house? It may be down to the way our brains have evolved. In the past, females needed a mate who could provide for them.
These days, women can fend for themselves – but their brains are wired as they were in the past. They’re still looking for a manly man – although there’s no excuse for being a slob! Towards middle-age, a lot of couples find the bread winners have lost their high-powered jobs, whilst the wives in the civil service maybe, have carefully moved up the rungs of the promotion ladders to positions of power and influence. Some have even been known to throw juicy contracts at husbands who “behave”.
Yet this hasn’t necessarily turned the husbands into grovelling gratefuls who hurriedly prepare their `benefactor’s’ meals! Professor David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist spent five years researching the choices people make when looking for a long-term partner. He studied 10,000 people in 37 cultures around the world – from Germans to Taiwanese, and from Pygmies to Eskimos.
He discovered that in every culture, women are less concerned with potential husband’s looks and more interested in his material resources and social status – regardless of their own assets and earning capacity. So you could have your very own prince charming – but remove his job and get him washing your undies and he’d soon lose his appeal. He believed pretending that men and women are the same has landed couples in all sorts of trouble. Giving him a purely domestic role goes against the grain gender-wise.
He explains, “We’ve adopted the principle of sexual equality, which encourages men to behave like women and women to behave like men, to do the opposite of what comes naturally.
There are differences between men and women. That is why stereo- types exist”. Should women give up their careers and get back to their chores? Not according to the Prof. “We’re never going back to the idea that a woman’s place is in the home”, he says. He however does believe in a middle way but house-husbands do not figure in it.
“My idea for compromise is that we continue to be gender neutral in the public sphere but stick to our traditional sex roles in our private lives’: he says. “In fact, I think that’s what most successful marriages still do. Every couple has to make its own contract, but the ones that seem to work appear to stick with the classic roles, so everyone knows what’s expected of them”.