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One of the weaknesses of heterosexual marriage is that heterosexual marriage carries forward baggage from a more patriarchal past.The patriarchal baggage is visible in the data: most divorces are applied for by the wife, and married women are less satisfied in their marriages than married men are.Have hectic modern work schedules made it harder for families to manage a work/life balance? We still don’t have ‘no-fault’ divorce in England, whereas all 50 states of America have some provision for this.This is another really interesting question that might be better asked of someone who studies time use data. Do you have any thoughts on fault-based divorce systems – do you think they cause unnecessary acrimony in the families of divorcing couples, for example?I caught up with the study’s Principal Investigator, Michael Rosenfeld, who is Associate Professor in Sociology at Stanford University in California, to ask him some quick-fire questions about marriage, Ashley Madison and the state of the modern family.In response to the findings of your study ‘How Couples Meet and Stay Together’, you draw the conclusion that there’s still a lot of gendered baggage attached to marriage.
I think the Ashley Madison hacking scandal is overblown in the media.Given the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage in the States, is it possible that the extension of the right to marry to same-sex couples will help change rigid gender roles for heterosexual couples?Gender roles within heterosexual relationships have been very slow to change over time, but I do believe that roles are slowly changing towards greater acceptance of egalitarianism.I do not think old-fashioned romance is a casualty of online dating.On the contrary, people who meet through internet dating websites progress to marriage faster than people who meet offline.
You’ve conducted research into online dating, and discovered that its impact has been huge – particularly for same-sex couples who overwhelmingly meet online these days.