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Study: Divorce Rate Higher When Women Are Breadwinners

By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill Kate Merrill
Kate Merrill is an Emmy award winning journalist for WBZ-TV News. She...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Women are increasingly the breadwinner in today’s modern family, and this new dynamic is presenting challenges for relationships.

Life is a constant juggling act for John Davidson. He’s a stay home dad managing the home front while his wife Karen earns a paycheck.

“I think it’s been great for our family, and our relationship,” said Karen.

The Davidsons are part of this growing trend in which more wives are out earning their husbands. Celeste Currie earns more than her husband Bennie, and ditto for Lale Zabreda and her husband Ivo Widlak.

According to the Pew Research Center, women are now the main breadwinners in 40% of American households, compared with just 11% back in 1960.

Reginald Richardson, a licensed social worker, believes this trend is a big deal. “It’s changing the face of the family,” he says.

Traditional roles are being turned upside down. “You got to shop. You’re working on the garden. You’re taking care of the animals, not to mention cooking,” explained Bennie Currie.

There can also be children to take care of. “My job, if you will, of being home with my kids is what I would rather have define me than any job I have on the outside,” said John Davidson.

Balancing these challenges can come at a cost. A recent study found the divorce rate was 50% higher when the woman out earned her partner.

Ivo Widlak admits being the lower wage can bother him a lot of the time.

“If you haven’t really discussed those roles and come to some agreement, the expectations aren’t really articulated and so there is conflict,” explained Richardson.

Successful couples like the Curies are flexible, and talk regularly, sometimes bluntly. “You make a point of saying ‘Hey, did you not notice that I got your dry cleaning today?” said Celeste Currie.

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