A female journalist complained in an op-ed last week that her “selfless” and attentive husband leaves her so bored, she wishes he would cheat on her.
“If I told him on Friday I was spending Saturday chilling at a spa, he’d probably drop me there so I didn’t have to drive, then take the kids to their clubs before making sure the house was tidy,” she said.
O’Reilly hinted that, in her English household, stereotypical gender roles are flipped.
“Just last week he went out with a friend for a long-planned pint and I was in a foul mood before he went because I had to put the washing away and make the kids packed lunches,” she said, suggesting her husband usually handles such domestic tasks.
Jon’s “ridiculous moral compass has come to be a bone of contention,” O’Reilly also said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love him and this year we celebrated 17 years together – 13 of them married – but I wish he’d lie, cheat, defame or slander just once, so that I could feel better about my own less-than-perfect character,” she said. “Simply put, I’m bored of being married to a paragon of virtue.”
To explain why her marriage has nonetheless lasted, O’Reilly turned to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in August. Researchers analyzed the personality traits of 4,464 couples and found that “when one partner is conscientious, the coupling can actually work better if the other is less so.”
Is Clare O’Reilly surfacing a broader issue about who women are drawn to?
However, other research has confirmed anecdotal reports that women tend to be less attracted to respectful men than to “bad boys.”
A 2018 study conducted by psychologists Pelin Gul and Tom Kupfer found that women prefer sexist men, “especially in mating contexts,” even though they have “awareness of the harmful consequences” of dating them.
The effect may continue after marriage, too. According to a 2012 study, husbands who do traditionally female chores report less sex than their counterparts who take care of tasks like yard work and auto maintenance.
Citing the findings in a 2014 New York Times magazine article, writer and psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb proposed that whatever women may say, gender equality turns them off.
She said: “In an attempt to become gender neutral, we may have become gender neutered.”
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