What Traditional Men and Modern Women Have In Common

Meet Jerry.

Jerry is 38, makes $120,000/year, and wants to be a husband and father. Jerry’s a man’s man. It’s not that he’s insensitive, per se. It’s that he’s far more comfortable building a deck in his backyard, tinkering with his car, and playing golf than he is talking about his feelings. Still, for all his Marlboro Man demeanor, he’s good-hearted, generous and loyal. He may never be emotive, but he will be a good partner for a woman who doesn’t expect a man to express himself verbally. He shows his love through acts of service.

Problem is that Jerry’s had a hard time falling in love. Women love his manly side, his innate nobility, his serve and protect ethos. What they struggle with is his view of women.

He wants a traditional homemaker as a wife, and in his city, he’s had a devil of a time finding any attractive woman who shared his worldview.

Jerry wants a stay-at-home wife. One who handles the household and takes care of the kids and has dinner on the table for him when he gets home from work. For most of his thirties, he’s been dating attractive women who respond to his masculine energy, and yet each of those relationships has imploded. Because when push comes to shove, Jerry believes in traditional marital roles. It’s not that he thinks women are inferior. Nor does he feel that women don’t have the right to work hard and make equal money as their male counterparts. This is simply about him and his needs. He wants a traditional homemaker as a wife, and in his city, he’s had a devil of a time finding any attractive woman who shared his worldview. Simply put, Jerry likes smart women. They’re more stimulating. And it just seems that all the smart women are so busy juggling career, friends, travel, the gym, book club, and a side business, that he’s not sure about what to do. Should he keep dating the smart women who are out of alignment with his life goals? Should he hold out for Suzy Homemaker, although, after ten years, he’s beginning to doubt her very existence? Or is there a third, middle path – some form of possible compromise?

I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that options 1 and 2 are out. If he continues to date career women, Jerry’ll be unhappy in the long run. If he hopes to organically meet a stay-at-home Mom type at bars and business functions, he may be single forever. Thus, it would seem that the third option – compromise – would be Jerry’s most prudent choice. But what does that compromise look like? How can Jerry find what he’s looking for?

Hold that thought.

Now I’d like you to meet Shari. Shari is 36 and wants to be a wife and mother. Shari is a smart, strong, successful woman. It’s not that she’s masculine, per se. It’s that she’s far more comfortable talking to venture capital firms and planning to summit Mt. Whitney than she is with cooking dinner for her husband. Still, despite her Hillary Clinton exterior, she’s good-hearted, generous and loyal. She may never be domestic, but she will be a good partner for a man who doesn’t expect his wife to perform traditionally feminine roles. She shows her love by working hard, achieving her dreams, planning and taking care of business. Not that different from Jerry, actually.

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  1. 1

    Evan, please give Jerry my details:-)..lol

  2. 2

    If Jerry and Shari were friends of mine I don’t know that my advice would be the same, but it would be similiar. Stay-at-home parenting is a lifestyle. It IS a job, and often feels like 2 or 3 jobs because there is less time off – especially when the children are small. 
    For Shari I would ask: Which is MORE important to you, having a family or having a $250 k lifestyle? Which do you think is more likely: regretting you never had children? Or resenting those children because you have less money to spend? Be very, very honest with yourself.
    For Jerry: Would you want to spend several-to-many years being a SAHP? If you wouldn’t, can you see why other people wouldn’t want to either?  Which situation would you prefer: having children who were cared for during the day by someone other than your wife? Or not ever having children at all?
    It comes down to the same thing for both Jerry and Shari: How important is having a family to you really.

  3. 3

    In my opinion Shari thinks of having kids as another career or life goal to accomplish. She doesn’t consider it a worthwhile pursuit in and of its self. Having a family is something she wants on her terms and for her gratification and as a modern high achieving alpha woman she isn’t going to fail her education and diminish her achievements and let down the side by cooking and keeping house for an oppressive male (who will damn well hold up his half of the housework as well as the lawn and his 60+ hour a week job to earn the 120K) who couldn’t make as much as she did.
    Shari can’t see the solution because she doesn’t even begin to see the problem.

  4. 4

    I need a break from work, i can do with Jerry for now…lol. Am also a busy person and don’t have time for domestic chores, am always telling my bf that I don’t have time, but I do cook for him, when he visits. in reality, domestic chores are a waste of time for m at the moment, i work till late, coz am also studying on the side – my bf sounds open minded thou, and I compromise coz he’s a bit traditional as well, i’m one step away from calling him king and kneeling when I serve him food – typical of traditional African men and i live in South Africa. I enjoy this thou – coz I’ve been calling the shots in my previous relationship – hope I won’t get tired 🙂

  5. 5

    Thinking more about it, Shari could keep her position and it’s high salary, and hire someone to take care of her kids. Same option as Jerry. She gets the $$$, the kids, but not the time to do playdates.

  6. 6

    I’m sorry but something must be seriously wrong with Jerry.  A successful man that can’t find a smart woman who wants a more traditional marriage?  I must be living in an alternate universe.  SAHMs might only be 14% but I’m pretty sure that’s only because of financial reasons.  I’ve dated teachers to lawyers and the majority of them would have loved to quit and become a SAHM if the option was available.(At least that’s the confession I get in private.)  Heck I know plenty of men that would do the same if their partners wanted to be the sole bread winner.
    Of course if the point was ‘you need to compromise if things aren’t working’ I get it.

  7. 7

    I don’t sympathize with either of them. They are simple not models of most people. Sorry, neither of these people are relatable to me.
    I would love to hear about how middle class people with comparable salaries make marriage work and share responsibilities. 

  8. 8

    Can I have problems like these?  I make $45 a year and also have trouble finding someone to build a life with; and not because my list is too long or have too high of expectations. 

  9. 10

    Obviously Evan everyone is having a tough time relating to and feeling sorry for the “rich” people with so called dilemma but if you substitute the numbers with 60K and 40K the answer is still the same. You either compromise what you’ll settle for or you’ll be alone with no spouse and no kids. There’s thousands of women online that ignore thousands of men everyday because none of them are “good enough”. It never ends…………

  10. 11

    I have this to say about both Jerry and Shari: Get over yourself, then get real with yourself. While I respect both of their wishes, they need to realize that the world is all about compromise.
    Jerry wants a perfect, traditional wife, which is fine. I actually feel a measure of sympathy for him. Some men are taught that expressing emotions somehow makes them weak. I really wish we stop teaching boys that emotions make them weak as a society. On the other hand, I know plenty of women who would love to sit around, give him babies, and spend his money faster than he can make it. However, I don’t think he would be happy. If he is attracted to smart women who are comfortable in their own skin, chances are she doesn’t want to be a housewife. He needs to figure out where he really is willing to compromise before trying to find a wife. 
    As for Shari, seriously? I have no sympathy for her. She wants to continue living her life the way she wants, even after she’s married and quits her job. I don’t think she really wants to be a mom. I think she is using the mom card as an excuse to get away with staying home for a time all the while continuing to do exactly what she wants when she wants. I realize that she may be a perfectly likable person, and that she may actually have a warm, nurturing side. It just doesn’t come across in your description of her.
    If I were her friend, these are the questions I would ask her. How would she feel if money were taken out of the equation? If when she were on a date, and she didn’t think about how much money her or her date made in year? Would the date be more or less fun? Money, while necessary, is a superficial characteristic. It says nothing about a person’s character, beliefs or values. 
    Both Jerry and Shari need to realize that compromising on things like money and household chores doesn’t mean they are settling for less than what they deserve. All compromise means is that they are willing to work on having the very best relationship they can have. It means letting go of what you think you want in a partner, and understanding what you need from your partner. I would challenge both of them to actually figure out what they need from a partner. I would tell Shari that her need for her partner to make more money than she currently does is actually a want. Just like Jerry’s need for his future wife to be a stay-at-home mom is a want. Yes would both be nice. Absolutely! Should be those be the only requirements used to determine whether someone should be a partner, hell no!

    1. 11.1

      Actually, I would disagree with money being unimportant. I was raised by parents in very traditional male/female roles and when I was younger I would have loved to have taken on a traditional stay at home mother/housewife role and dated men who wanted this arrangement. Money wasn’t an issue for me when I began dating. But after 3 relationships ending in arguments because we never had enough money to go out or afford a holiday and struggled to cover the bills, I have decided that money is in fact extremely important.

      I now have a higher salary (not the level of income quoted in the article, but more than I was originally earning) and wouldn’t date anyone earning under a certain amount simply because I don’t wish to live through all the stress of being poor again. It made life very very hard and we were both too exhausted and depressed to enjoy life. Money was never important while it was there, but you soon recognise the value of wealth after it’s gone! It has a huge impact on the success or failure of a relationship.

      1. 11.1.1

        Jerry turns women off with his extremely high standards.

        1. Carl

          And Sheri doesn’t ?

          BTW – If Sheri needs a stay at home husband, she can give me a call. LOL.

    2. 11.2

      Women are taught that they should not express emotions at all and that they should be silent and subservient. But anyway, this is all about traditional gender roles.

  11. 12

    I know middle class (and barely middle class) people who’ve chosen SAHP. People with much lower incomes still face the choices hypothetical Jerry & Shari face – giving up the benefits that come from having dual income to support the household. For the people I know (and have been) this can mean living in a smaller home, in a more modest neighborhood. It can mean sharing a car instead of having two. Taking stay-cations instead of traveling. Eating out only rarely as treat. Limited spending on clothes, electronics, furnishings. The smaller the income, the more things become “luxuries”.
    Shari doesn’t want to give up her luxuries. I’ll venture neither do the women Jerry has met who don’t want to be SAHP’s.  The people who do choose SAHP are willing to because having a parent at home raising the children vs. a daycare provider is worth the sacrifice to them. Even if their household income is only 40k. Or less.
    Also, some people just aren’t cut out to stay home with their children 24/7 regardless of their level of income.  The children may be better off with someone who has chosen childcare as a career path rather than with a frustrated, stressed out parent who’d rather be doing almost anything else.
    Jerry and Shari’s problem is do they really want to be parents, or do they want to hold onto their fantasies about parenting?

    1. 12.1

      Selena @ 12
      We were dirt poor when we had our only son.  I had him 2 weeks away from my 35th birthday, so we really didn’t want to wait until we were more financially set (tick-tock, biological time clock)  At first my decision to stay at home was a practical one.  I was fairly low income, and day care, and work related expenses (gas, nicer wardrobe etc) being in a higher tax bracket, etc.,  would pretty much eat up all but $50 a week of my paycheck, so really, was it worth driving myself crazy for $1.25 an hour ? So we did most of the things you just mentioned.   We sold one of our cars, rarely ate out, I shopped at Factory to U, Other Mother’s and Goodwill on dollar day.  Cloth diapers (yes), home made baby food after weaning him, etc.  Eventually I started watching a few children in my home  (mostly to provide some friends for our son)  and then when he was four, worked very part time at nights while my hubby worked days. 
      However, what started off as a financial/practical decision, ended up being one of the most joyful “jobs” I have ever had.  In a way, I’m glad that I never had a big deal career because if I did, I doubt I would have left it to stay home for 4 years.  I have many sweet and beautiful memories of those years.  I know it’s not for everyone, and I seriously doubted if it was even for me, but it was.

  12. 13

    I’m not sure the problem is the same for the middle class. Most of us wish we had the luxury of worrying about taking a trip to Bali or refusing any man who makes less than 250K. Jerry might be looking at only 14% of women, but Shari is looking at a mere 3% of the men. Most of us aren’t quite that rigid.
    There are plenty of smart women who wouldn’t mind staying home with their kids, maybe not indefinitely, but for a few years. Perhaps Jerry expects to marry someone who will never work again? Not realistic. And Shari sounds extremely materialistic. She’s hurting her chances and turning men off with her impossibly high standards.
    I’m with Julia; I can’t sympathize with either of them.

    1. 13.1

      Actually, that’s 3% of the women for Jerry and 15% of the men for Shari.

  13. 14

    I’m a single mom of 2 with a master’s degree working at a university for 36K a year. I wish I had Shari’s problems! I never had the option to be a SAHM, but even if I did I wouldn’t take it because I love working! My job is really fun and it gives me a chance to miss my kids so that I enjoy our time together more. I would never be able to quit my job to make a man happy, but I have plenty of friends who have, so I know it’s possible. I liked Selena’s advice, it seems like they need some self-reflection here. 

  14. 15

    Both Jerry and Shari appear to want the same thing – to have a family and kids while not having to change a thing in their current lifestyle, while their partner bends over backwards to allow them to keep living the life they live now. This isn’t limited to people with traditional mindsets, or upper-class; this is standard douchebag mentality. Additionally Shari must be smoking something, if she doesn’t realize that a) staying at home with a baby will change her lifestyle drastically, regardless of her total family income; and 2) 250K/year for one person is not the same as 250K/year for a family of three or four. Even if she finds the man she’s looking for, the per capita income in her family is going to drop. No wonder they cannot compromise; they’re both nuts.

  15. 16

    Look at us getting all hung up in the details of the money thing and losing sight of the lesson here. That NEVER happens here right? Haha.
    I’m a somewhat nerdy guy in his late-30′s expecting to connect with a mid-20′s yoga instructor with a curvy body and a sensual yet kind energy.  I can get such a girl because the PUA Gurus told me so! Problem is, every such woman I come across, if she isn’t already taken, just doesn’t seem to be interested in me. Seems that she has the pick of seemingly every guy in the town, and she prefers alpha dudes who are much closer to her in age, even if these dudes don’t have the career success I’ve had.
    Meanwhile, my female friend is a moderately attractive woman in her mid-30′s who is holding out for a guy with whom she feels that incredible chemistry with, and on the first date please. Then past that the guy has to be an Alpha Male with the looks of Fabio in his prime making $200K who has an advanced degree. He also needs to have eyes only for her, and he has to be tolerant of her busy busy schedule. Can she have that? Of course she can! She was taught she is a goddess who can have it all! Problem is, every guy she meets is (a) just a nice decent guy, and even though he might be really interested, the first-date chemistry on her end is only “average”, or (b) a dude who hardly seems into her.
    No not really. I made both stories up. I’m not really holding out for a hot yoga instructor 12 years my junior and I don’t have a female friend who shared with me her dating requirements. Evan’s point is that what Jerry and Shari want is not realisti

    1. 16.1

      Just beware that that yoga instructor who is much younger than you will have guys her age beat you up or kill you for wanting to date her. And that woman in her mid-30s will have the Alpha males she is pressured to date beat you up or kill you for wanting to date her as well.

    2. 16.2

      LOL I almost think your story of two fictional people is more relatable to average people than is the original article.
      Would you consider compromising for a thin, pretty yoga instructor in her early thirties who loves nerds? Oh, wait you were making that up. JK!

  16. 17

    ha, what you said seemed so real. I think any template we have is unrealistic. Much as I love my boyfriend if you’d told me a year ago I’d be dating someone who’s shot animals (hunting) I would have said NO WAY. And now he’s been made redundant. A real person can never be as fantastic or, conversely, as limited as the pretend person we think will meet our needs or give us the lifestyle we want.  

    1. 17.1

      Ha! I am right there with you marymary! I never in a million years thought I’d even date a hunter, but I am, and we’ll be living together in two months — with the deer on the wall in the living room no less! I still disagree with hunting, but I wouldn’t trade him in for the world.

  17. 18

    I’m with Julia and Ruby. These two fictional (I hope) characters are not really relatable to most of us real people out here.
    Jerry’s insistence on a stay-at-home wife puts his partner in an extremely weak and vulnerable financial position in today’s high divorce rates and poor economy. This is not to say that some women don’t want to be SAHMs, or that there is anything wrong with that – but there is something rather selfish and control-freakish about his insisting upon his wife being in that vulnerable position.
    As for Shari: ugh. Evan, you weren’t by any chance basing her character upon the one gal who used to post here by any chance, were you? The one who claimed she made over $200K but only wanted men who earned more; who also insisted that everyone “stick to their own races” and that Asian women throw themselves at white men in order to “trade up” racially. Yeah, I don’t have much respect for her. Thankfully I have never met any woman like this in real life, even the ones who earn over $200K.
    To the handful of women who are like Shari: Chicas, if you want children, you are not going to have the time to live your current luxurious single lifestyle. Maybe you can if you’re married without kids, but those kids are a game-changer. You need to get a grip on reality. It is impossible to have it all, at least all at once. This is not to say that you won’t enjoy your life, but those priorities that you’re holding so dear now are simply incompatible with the life you claim you want.
    Her priorities for a man are also off-the-wall ridiculous, but I’ll leave that to other commenters to pick apart.

    1. 18.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Helen – I certainly did not base Shari on a random blog poster who you’re fixated on. I based her on women I sincerely care about: my clients. You know? The ones who actually pay me for my advice?

      You may not think women like this exist, but they do, they pay my bills, and I am very careful not to judge them. They want what they want.

      1. 18.1.1
        Andrew Sindler

        Evan, there is a real problem in the responses to this article.  They treat the idea of child bearing as a god given right without much thought for the idea that children are human beings in of themselves.  It is all about the fight for domestic power.  What is really repulsive to me and some other men and women I have talked to is that after decades of feminism child abuse, neglect, and the prevalence of using mental health interventions to somehow compensate (even thought they even further damage) for child neglect has skyrocketed to the point where tens of millions of children are exhibiting mental dysfunctions that coordinate to abuse and neglect.
        As is, in the West neither parents want to raise their children and instead desire to and do rely on a delusion that someone else is going to adequately care for and nurture their children.  However, it never happens and frequently the parents never even put in place adequate services to provide for the same amount of parental involvement time that would be afforded in a traditional family.  Meanwhile, crime goes up in countries like America, Canada, and the UK among demographics that had lower rates of crime and inability to work historically and parents and societies blame it on “genetic psychiatric epidemics” that somehow  prevent children from raise themselves from age 2 and on without more than an hour or two of daily parental guidance.
        Its an atrocity on the level of genocide in my opinion.  And it seems to be that the only real solution is going to be when a children’s rights movement equal in magnitude or greater than the feminism/women’s rights movements comes along and frees children from the status of property/chattel/slavery.
        Everything else is really superfluous.  The struggle of adults infecting the vulnerable worlds of children with fights for supremacy is not important or is as important as the desire for eugenicists to have a world clean of undesirables: less than of 0.00 importance…Of a negative level (-100000) of importance.
        I know the abuse that happens in a world in which parents behave like anti-social, infantilized life-long adolescents (for lack of a better world).  In fact, my welfare and the welfare of my siblings were so insignificant that the story of our physical and mental abuse hold no weight among those adults we grew up with.  Children are truly the last remaining truly oppressed and enslaved class of human beings in the Western World.  One can laugh at this as ridiculous, but only at the expense of digesting and accepting pure evil.

  18. 19

    Evan, I never said Shari was a racist. There isn’t anything in your description that implies that. My 2nd to last paragraph is for her and your clients who are just like her. Frankly I think it’s pretty darn realistic advice, which you, too, would know as a parent.

    (Racist? Huh? Where the hell’d you get that? -EMK)

  19. 20

    Evan, I guessed Shari was a kind of composite of some of your clients. Since you have revealed that, can you tell us what choices these women end up making?  Do they come to realize finding a loving partner and father trumps income level?  Do they refuse to give up the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fantasy? Do they decide they would be happier single and childless rather than *downsize*?

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