Lessons Learned from Men with Trophy Wives
By Michelle Haimoff for YourTango
Since creation, man has been an entity unto himself and woman has been his counterpart. First, God made man; then he made him a girlfriend. Men are the protagonists of our children's stories, the majority of our doctors and CEOs, the President, Jesus, God, Allah and Buddha. All "men" are created equal. To deny that man is the dominant gender is to deny our vernacular, religion, culture and art.
It's no surprise, then, that men traditionally perceive themselves as fully functioning individuals, with or without a partner. Men want and seek long-term companionship, but these relationships aren't necessary to their sense of self. They have learned to feel complete, regardless of whether they are sharing their lives with someone. In fact, the more successful the guy, the more it seems he pairs off with a woman who is no more than a pretty face: a trophy wife.
Women, on the other hand, have historically learned to feel incomplete without a man. We've seen companionship as essential to our sense of self — in some instances, above and beyond our own happiness. The cultural messages around us still reinforce that, regardless of whatever else we accomplish, our primary purpose is to find a mate.
However, marriage patterns are changing. A recent Pew study revealed that from 1970-2007 a larger share of wives surpassed their husbands' income and education levels. The study elicited a slew of articles about how men now benefit more from marriage than women and how women are "victims" (The New York Times' choice of words) of this role reversal.
According to a Times article entitled "More Men Marrying Wealthy Women," successful women like Dr. Rajalla Prewitt, a 38-year-old psychiatrist in New Jersey, are "having difficulty finding someone where there's a meeting of the minds, where [they] can have the same goals and values."
But what if the very notion of marriage as "a meeting of minds" is problematic? Perhaps Dr. Prewitt's life is rich enough without a soul mate. Men who are similarly accomplished will often settle for a wife who is attractive and pleasant, but not an intellectual match. A man doesn't need a partner to validate him, so it doesn't matter if her brains don't measure up to his. Maybe that's why Donald Trump keeps marrying models. He has his ambitions, his social network, golf ... he doesn't need much else. Women want their partner to have it all. If Dr. Prewitt were to look for a less significant significant other, might her dating pool widen?
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