Men and Women Tend to Marry Within Their Class

Men and Women Tend to Marry Within Their Class

You’ve read the back and forth comments on this blog. Women want to marry men with equal education and money. Men complain that women are “hypergamous,” and trying to marry “up.” What’s really happening is what is known as assortative mating. Per the New York Times:

“Assortative mating is the idea that people marry people like themselves, with similar education and earnings potential and the values and lifestyle that come with them.”

This makes sense. Studies on Tinder show that people aren’t, for the most part, racist, but rather, classist. Educated urban women – in general – would sooner go for a black man in a suit than a white man with a camouflage hat and rifle. This is reflective of the overall change in modern relationships.

Educated urban women – in general – would sooner go for a black man in a suit than a white man with a camouflage hat and rifle.

“The nature of marriage itself is changing. It used to be about the division of labor: Men sought homemakers, and women sought breadwinners. But as women’s roles changed, marriage became more about companionship, according to research by two University of Michigan economists, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers (who also contributes to The Upshot). Now, people marry others they enjoy spending time with, and that tends to be people like themselves.”

“Husbands and wives had different roles in different spheres, so that was the opposites-attract view of marriage,” Mr. Wolfers said. “Today you want people with shared passions, similar interests to you, similar career goals, similar goals for the kids.”

The issue with this is that it can become a bit of a trap. In a world where women are more educated and increasingly likely to earn more money than their spouses, it’s impossible to always date “up.”

And yet when women try to date less educated and wealthy men, it can create a challenging dynamic:

“When these couples struggle, it is often over issues like sexual desire or the division of housework and child care, Dr. Doherty said, particularly if the woman loses respect for the man and the man feels insecure about his role in the family.”

As I’ve pointed out here repeatedly, it is a combination of BOTH that causes friction in relationships – not merely men’s insecurity about falling short of the old school protector/provider role, but the woman’s propensity to look down on him for this as well.

Thankfully, the new generation seems to have a better concept of equality – and are more likely to believe in egalitarian marriage.

When there are no traditional gender roles, things can get a bit…confusing.

Yet that dynamic seems to be changing, he and other researchers said, because young people have more egalitarian views about marriage and the division of labor. But, of course, this brings about another unintended consequence:

When there are no traditional gender roles, things can get a bit…confusing. Some may say they like it more, but many of my clients miss the days when men wanted to be providers, prioritized chivalry, courted regularly, and were aggressively clear with their motives. In the new world where men and women are more similar than ever, you end up with a lot of passive “Netflix and chill” guys who are perfectly content with their women taking control (and then resenting the women who do so).

Anyway,  Great article by the New York Times about the state of relationships today. I don’t know that I have any answers, just the observation that, no matter whether you marry up or down, you’re just taking on a different set of complications in your life.

Your thoughts, below, are always appreciated.

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    1. 21.1
      Not Stacy/Troll

      Interesting. I’m curious how chosing to have your baby at home  with a qualified mdiwife or CNM is about entitlement. I could write a tome on misconceptions about home birth and how it’s actually hospital birth  that is unnatural  and set up to make it easier on doctors and insurance companies  not the laboring mother, but  I won’t.

      I think  one other bullet we can add to the female entitlement list: too many women today feel entitled to tell other women how to live their lives.

      1. 21.1.1

        I think the gist is unless you are 100% sure you won’t have any complications, you’re taking an unnecessary risk with your baby’s life.

        Midwifery is defined as the management of  normal  pregnancy, childbirth and post-partum care by a licensed midwife. Midwives tend to have a high level of success with childbirth simply because they are only supposed to handle cases involving uncomplicated, low risk pregnancies and labor and delivery.A midwive should  never  handle a high risk pregnancy or a labor and delivery that has complications.   A midwife does not have the training or experience to handle complications that often arise in high risk pregnancies, and he/she cannot perform a cesarean section if an emergency arises during labor and delivery. Midwives often discourage cesarean sections for mothers who encounter difficulties during labor and delivery, such as persistent, non-reassuring fetal heart strips.   This is a mistake, as a qualified obstetrician should make the determation whether a cesarean section is indicated.

        1. Not Stacy/Troll

          Most midwives don’t. Most will not even take on high risk pregnancy and most have hospital priviledges to transfer or admit a patient should anything go wrong at any time (or work with a doctor who does).

          On the other hand, anyone working in medicine or health care is aware of an all too common position  that too many C sections being done today are  not necessary for the mother  and baby  (but they sure  are convenient for the doctors). You may be suprised at how many OBs and nurses agree that c sections have become too commonplace.

          Once again though…if she doesn’t  want to have her  baby at home? Then don’t. She shouldn’t  think she’s  entitled to tell other women they should make the same choice.

  1. 22

    “too many women today feel entitled to tell other women how to live their lives”.

    At first  I thought she was one of those mgtow guys since she always has something negative to say about women….

    KK, frankly,   it’s none of your business what  our preferences are. But since you feel so strongly about this, instruct your sister, daughter and loved ones to marry an a avarage Joe.


    1. 22.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      For what it’s worth, I’m with KK. The issue is merely one of of perspective:

      Most men are 5’s who want to date 8’s.
      Most women are 5’s who want to date 8’s.

      Each side complains about how unfair and skewed dating is – men complain that they deserve hot women because that’s what they’re attracted to. Women complain that they deserve rich, educated men. Neither settle. Both yell and fail to see their own hypocrisy, which is that no one “deserves” anything. You get what you can get. If you never get it, you overplayed your hand.

      1. 22.1.1

        Thank you.

      2. 22.1.2
        Not Stacy/Troll

        No one’s debating that the narrower your target the more likely you are to miss it. But  this is a free county.  5s who want to date 8s and can’t have every right to make that choice for themselves.  Why get all bent out of shape about the choices of people  you don’t even know or care about????

        That’s the issue.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s easy to get bent out of shape when someone doesn’t listen, hear, or validate your very valid point. It’s easy to get bent out of shape when you get personally attacked and vilified for pointing out something true that others don’t want to acknowledge. I try hard not to get bent out of shape when people attack me – it says FAR more about them than it does me – and yet it’s not easy. KK isn’t part of this comments section to have her words twisted into caricatures, but that’s exactly what happened. I’ve stayed out of it, but I can tell you that anyone who changes her email address frequently (this time to [email protected]) and calls herself “Troll” is probably not the type of person one wants to engage in a fair, even-tempered discussion in an online comments section. With that, I wish you the best of luck – getting bent out of shape at others’ positions and simultaneously judging others for getting bent out of shape when you attack them.

        2. Not Stacy/Troll

          She claimed I was a troll or pretending to be Stacy. It was a joke.

          Since you don’t use disqus or a service that allows you to create and use the same account each time, how exactly do you differentiate  between a poster with an unpopular opinion and a troll?

          No problem.  I won’t be posting here in the future.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          I don’t care if you have an unpopular opinion. What I care is that my readers get treated with respect. I’ve been doing this for 13 years. The ONLY people I censor are people who attack other commenters personally. I’m probably a little harder on men who attack women than vice versa. But, for the most part, anything that any stranger wants to write goes through here without comment – as long as they stay on topic.

          Similarly, I tolerate tons of dissent personally and post it. They are not trolls. It’s not until someone busts out something about me being a misogynist (not true), mangina (not true), asshole (not true), or attacks on me, my wife or my marriage that they get deleted.

          To be very clear:

          a) I am not banning you.
          b) I have not read every word you’ve written. In other words, I didn’t get that your Troll username was a “joke.”
          c) I don’t know why you change email addresses all the time. Longtime readers have been using the same email for nearly a decade here with no incident and without using Disqus.
          d) You can disagree with me (or KK) all you want; as long as I don’t have to step in and moderate because the discussion has veered into attack territory. That’s the only reason I just spoke up and made the observation I did. I think you’re twisting KK’s position because you don’t agree with her; that’s not fair fighting.

          Click here to see more examples of the way many argue online.

  2. 23

    I get what you’re saying Evan. I knew some women who worked as waitresses /retail clerks who rejected men unless they were in med school or accountants. The disconnect is that the women here aren’t wanting something they haven’t worked on themselves.. In other words, we are aren’t holding men to standards we ourselves can’t keep.

    That doesn’t mean the professional, above average men owe me anything…I just prefer to be with that type ( as long as we have a great connection emotionally and physically).

    All of the men I dated in the past were “average Joe’s” ,so you could say it was my “comfort zone” at the time. I’m very open to making changes and seeing what happens.

  3. 24
    Karmic Equation

    Hi Adreana and Stacy2,

    I like flipping the script.

    Let’s take this hypothetical:

    The attractive, rich-as-you, educated-as-you men that you want to date have the equivalent criteria for relationships  as you. They’ve got it in their heads that women who makesclose to or as much as he does, are all witchy bitches (not saying either of you are that, btw, this is just the female equivalent of the “low-earning, uneducated” men that you don’t want to be stuck with in a relationship). Because every single high-income woman  he’s dated turned into witchy bitches eventually.  So now he’s decided he ONLY wants to date someone in a more nurturing, lower paying, job because he’s sick of dating high-earning, high-powered,  women  who make over $75k.


    Aren’t you both MORE than just what you earn? More than just your accomplishments? Shouldn’t these men date you to find out the REAL you and not  dismiss you out of hand?

    And the reality is that once a relationship begins, and both people truly care about each other, you’ll find many things to talk about. Gossiping about your neighbors. Talking about your families. Discussing how your single friends are kind of clueless about dating. Or about your married friends who seem to fight all the time, and think that’s what “passion” is about. Or where you’re going to go for dinner. Or how you both need to watch what you’re eating because both of you have gotten into bad eating habits. What’s happening at work that’s stressing you out.

    If you’re the high-level CFO stressed  about a complex finance issue, if he asks about what’s bothering you at work, that’s already awesome. He cares. That’s what should matter to you. And if you want him to understand you, then it will be on you to explain the issue to him in laymen terms. I’m sure you gals do that when you’re explaining your work probs to your girlfriends or family that are not in the same field. Why is it such a burden to then explain it to your S.O.?

    As long as both people CARE about each other…and care about talking to each other…there will be no lack of conversational material. And you don’t need to talk about Proust to make that connection.

    Maybe the uneducated “average joe’s” you dated were simply bad choices on your part. Similar to the high-earning witchy-bitches of those hypothetical rich-as-you, educated-as-you men I used as examples.

    Date gainfully employed men that you find intelligent and cute and treat you well. And if the connection is real, you’ll both figure out a way to make it work over the long haul.

    As a high-earner myself, that’s the way I’ve always done it. If the relationship didn’t work out, it was because of something else other than different levels of income or education that caused us to break up.

  4. 25

    Hi Karmic,

    I’m looking for a romantic partner not a business partner. The last thing I want is to discuss work with my guy.   The above average, professional guy isn’t at all appealing to me if he can’t be playful, humorous, or passionate. I rarely discuss work with my friends either ( I’m usually the “silly” one cracking jokes). But I get your point about caring for one another- as long as you have a connection you will find something interesting to talk about….

    I have a strong need for growth and self-improvement. What turned me off about some of the men I dated, is that they get too comfortable and   they stop pushing themselves…( just too laid-back and “go with the flow”   for my taste).   I can see now how I unconsciously pushed away the ambitious, confident , driven types out ( maybe I was intimidated)…

    Thanks for the advice btw! .)   This is an example of disagreeing with someone while remaining respectful in the process.

  5. 26

    Hi Stacy, Stacy 2, and Andrean,


    If I may, I would like your honest opinions on something. But I see that this post got… ummm… well… complicated; so I will understand if none of you do not wish to answer, or if you feel that I may have an agenda with my question, and so therefore wish not to answer.


    I am curious, how do you know how much a guy makes?


    Running Girls’s post triggered this question. Because as she stated, when I think teacher, I don’t think 6 figures.   Or am I mistaken and you 3 on average do not respond to a teachers, cops, firemen, etc if they tried to court you?


    Again, I am asking out of curiosity, not to pin you into some kind of moral trap. My sincere reason for asking is because I don’t like to discuss my job or what I do until after a few dates. And I say this as someone who does make 6 figures, and who has just moved to a new state for a higher position, and a big fancy office.


    The reason why I don’t like telling women my job is because about a year ago I learned the hard way (^_^). Well not on a date, I was at a party and I did not know anyone but the person I arrived with (I was the designated driver, and he was there to met some girl), sitting next to a older women I struck up a conversation, mostly small talk anyway, it was all going well until I asked what did she do and she got offended! This long story’s shortened version is that she felt that people in certain social circles don’t ask what you do to learn about your personality and use it as small talk, but to gauge how much you make and where you sit on the social economic scale.


    And I have to admit that she was somewhat right. I know it is idealistic, but I like the thought of a woman liking me for me and not because of my title or how much people in my field make on average.


    But after reading your posts and California girls, I am wondering if women will refuse to continue to see me if I don’t tell them what I do, even if I did do all the paying (o_O). I wonder if any of you would have met the male version of running girl, would you not give him a chance because “teachers” suppositely don’t bring in 6 figures?


    So do you all just ask guys what they make? Do you only date guys with fancy titled jobs? This sounds silly and cynical, but I am serious, do you want their credit scores? Or do you want their bank information?


    I only ask the latter two questions because I know a lot of people with fancy jobs and titles, huge houses, and hundred-thousand dollar boats, and cars,   yet they are barely afloat financially. So from your comments, I assume there has to be a more solid method you all have for verifying that a person actually has the money to give you the life you want and not just the job title.


    I was actually teased a lot by former co-workers, before I moved for being so frugal, owing a small apartment in an lower middle class neighborhood and driving a chevy spark (which I still have) instead of more expensive things; and back then I was making about $90,000 annually. But I saw too many people who made more than I did, with hirer positions in Huge debt (I found out from conversations they had with their wives, when I was not suppose to be listening. (^_^)

    …    …    …

    For what it is worth, I enjoyed your debate, I think both sides brought out great points and it has helped me better improve my thoughs on the issue.

    1. 26.1

      I never ask guys what they make and usually only ask them what they do after they asked me first. If they are successful, they will tell you right away. You can assess their income based on what neighborhood they live in, their car, their appearance and places they take you out but also you never know.

      I dated a guy for some time and only knew that he owns   a business but had no idea how much he makes. He owned a condo, leased a car and paid for me most of the time. I really couldn’t guess his income.

      I went out with another guy but we ended up being just friends, I’ve known him for 10 months and I have no idea what he makes. I know where he works and what he does, so I can guess but his lifestyle is very cheap. He would take $4 from me for my happy hour beer and everything he owns is either old or cheap. He lives in the same tiny crappy apartment he lived 15 years ago after he graduated college. It doesn’t really matter how much he makes, I don’t want such a lifestyle and the guy doesn’t understand why no one wants to date him.

      1. 26.1.1

        “I don’t want such a lifestyle and the guy doesn’t understand why no one wants to date him”.

        I’ve had similar experiences and I wasn’t happy. I thought income didn’t matter at the time but I was gullible and didn’t know what I wanted. I’ve worked hard on myself   so I can be able to travel every now and then , visit cool places and do nice things….I want someone to share that with, not someone who cannot afford ( or doesn’t want) these things, and deprive myself in the process.

        So in addition to finding someone with similar values/a connection, I would say finding someone who wants a similar lifesttle is very important.

        1. Adreana


    2. 26.2


      I don’t care what a guy makes in terms of dollar amounts.   I care if he can support himself and still have a few bucks left over for fun.   I don’t mean those few bucks left over for fun with ME, I mean I care if a guy can support himself and still have fun because that’s how I’ve measured my own success.   I make a good living and have enough to pay all my bills (and the ridiculous taxes that go with them) with plenty left over for savings, investments and then still enough left over for the fun I want to have.   And that’s what my partner needs – enough funds for living but also for fun.   There’s not a concrete dollar amount in sight when I’m learning about a new man.   I think it’s vulgar and would never dream of asking a man anything about that.   There are all sorts of tiny signs that a smart person can pick up on rendering any discussions about income unnecessary.   If a man asked ME anything even remotely related to my income, that would be his last date with me.   I’m at the stage in my life when a man’s income is secondary to his treatment of me.   Some women will sacrifice good treatment for a “stable” income (never assume that his stability is guaranteed, I know from experience), but at this point, I won’t.   Been to that rodeo too many times.   My comment below about the “average Joe” will support my claim that I don’t care about a man’s bank account.   There are plenty of women like me, too – not ALL of us are crazy concerned about a man’s perceived “worth.”

    3. 26.3

      I was wondering this, too, Adrian.   Of all the men I’ve dated, the only one whose income I knew was my husband.   I can’t imagine asking that on a date, and I don’t think I really care much, but it would seem weird to me if a guy weren’t willing to talk about his career.   It’s where we spend the majority of our waking hours, so if that’s a part of his life that’s taboo, I wouldn’t really feel like I could get to know him.   I do, however, care if a man can live within his means.   That’s less about being unwilling to spend money on a man and more about shared values:   someone who feels entitled to a flashy car he can’t afford will seem to me more overgrown boy than grown-up man.

  6. 27

    Hi Adrian,

    I’m probably not the best person to answer your question since only recently I started paying attention to finances/careers.  But I would never ask a guy how much they make ( that’s just rude)  and nor would I reveal how much I’m making. However, I do pay attention to what sorta job a guy has…if he has a good one and he’s the ambitious  type   that wants to keep improving as I do ( well, that’s very attractive). If he gives me the impression he has a job that isn’t so great/doesn’t make much   and he gets too comfortable, then I realize there is no future with him. In other words, I might see him casually ( if I really like him)   but it would be hard for me to see a serious relationship or marriage with him.   Even if I fell head over heals for him and lets say we got serious, I would continue to live separately from him until we can both afford a nice place. But again, I probably wouldn’t allow myself to get serious with someone I see no future with.

    I don’t know if you should reveal your job or not..maybe by not revealing it at first, it would deter those that think of finances only. But I think it depends on what kind of woman your looking for…on the emk blog, most men confessed it doesn’t matter what the girl does for a living as long as she’s attractive. The career-oriented types   would at least want to know your going places and are working on yourself to get there.

    1. 27.1

      Hi Andreana,


      Perhaps I should not have lumped you in with Stacy and Stacy2 for this question.


      But based off of what you just wrote, how would you deal with a situation like Running Girls, if you just went off of job title?

      1. 27.1.1

        “how would you deal with a situation like Running Girls, if you just went off of job title?”

        There are others   ways to know about these things without coming across as rude or interrogational. I’ve learned a few things from other women , but I’d rather not divulge them here. Only because some men might use this information to give the career-oriented , “high maintenance” types a false impression.

        The way I see it, this shouldn’t be much of a problem because there are plenty of women who would be happy with a comfortable, more down- to- earth lifestyle.

  7. 28

    I saw this news months ago in other blogs I read, but I swear no one mentioned the meta-trend reversal here of just how much spouse selection has become this search for The Person of primary physiological support. The book Bowling Alone illustrated how as recently as 1950 most persons had rich networks of social connectivity and especially extended family, but those bonds bare no fruit nowadays. Changing social dynamic indeed. It’s harder to find a spouse these days because it’s always harder to fill a position with so much riding on the line.



  8. 29

    It’s very sad that the expression “average Joe” has such negative connotations.   I’m dating an “average Joe” which makes us both laugh because his name IS Joe.   He’s blue collar (construction), he makes less than I do, but what that man can do with his hands is beyond description (read into it what you will).   He didn’t finish high school, but he obtained his GED then moved on to vocational school.   He has an electrician’s license, a plumber’s license (and a really cute plumber’s crack to go with it) and a list of steady clients, most of whom live in the nearby gated hoity toity community, that would stretch from there to my metroplex and back.   Twice.   And he is friends with most of those monied people who love him and invite him (and me) to many of their swanky parties.   Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone whisper (“How did HE get invited?”)   Because he’s a really cool, kind, decent dude, immensely likeable, totally lovable, and has wonderful, decent friends. And he’s good looking to boot.   Skills.   Did I mention his skills?   Yes I did.   I’ve often teased him about how he could go out and build a house then come home and bake a cake. (He has done both.)   So you gals out there who have your “standards,” well, you can have your impressive suits with high salaries but with the soft, white hands that don’t know how to fix a leaky faucet, install a double-plug outlet or help a dog birth her pups.   Give me the “average Joe” ANY day.   BTW, he wears camouflage when we go hunting, and he’s bought me a set as well.   Go ahead all you women who have to have your equals in the salary department.   I don’t.   I’m a city gal, I make upper 5 figures and have recovered from two husbands who nearly put me into bankruptcy.   Never again will I commingle funds, but I’ll go for the “average Joe” all day long because THOSE are the real men, as far as I’m concerned.   He’s clean (no smoking, chewing, or scratching), keeps a clean house, has sufficient income to both support himself and pay for most of our dates, has a shock of gorgeous white hair and dances better than anyone I’ve ever danced with before.   He lets me pay occasionally, but I know it bothers him, so I try to pay in other ways, i.e. providing picnic lunches, cooking for him, etc.   We’ve now been together for just over a year, and sadly, I think the relationship is fading, but only from a communication standpoint, not because of his social or financial status.

    You others go for the high-dollar guys.   I’ll take the good, kind, decent, handy”average Joe” any day.

    1. 29.1

      BTW, those two husbands that ran our finances into the ground?   One was a lawyer, the other owned a trucking company.   Go figure.

  9. 30

    I make a pauper’s wage compared to most who post in here. I’m not sure i measure success by the dollar though. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s impressive what many have accomplished and am happy for them:)

    i remember a time when I could only afford $10 worth of a prescription for my very sick son; so I am grateful and proud of everything I’ve accomplished since I divorced. Happy adult children who are moving toward their personal goals and finally being in a place where I love myself and am feeling loved in return by a man who I enjoy time with is success in my book.

  10. 31

    Wow, what an interesting read. I came from a blue collar background and left school young to enter the workforce out of necessity. Occasionally partners have made significantly more or less than I do & while it occasionally led to us needing to work through an issue or two, it wasn’t a significant contributing factor in ending the relationship.

    I’m not particularly worried about what my future partner does for a living, as long as it’s honest and doesn’t hurt themselves or anyone else. I’ve been the major breadwinner in the past and I feel that role suits me. I’m happy to financially support my SO if my core needs are being met (love, fidelity, honesty, respect, kindness). I’m currently single from choice as I’m in the middle of building my career, but I like to come  here in order to learn how to build a healthy and sustainable relationship in the future.


  11. 32
    Glady Showen

    Good day! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the nice info you’ve here on this post. I shall be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  12. 33
    No Name To Give

    “No matter whether you marry up or down, you’re just taking on a different set of complications in life.”

    This doesn’t sound particularly optimistic or encouraging. I mean, I’m too fat and old too have that problem, but I feel for the other gals.

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