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High success rates puts pressure on relationships

 

Jake Johnson / Photographer: A recent study showed that many males are feeling increasingly more stressed about their relationships because of uneven levels of success.

Jake Johnson / Photographer:
A recent study showed that many males are feeling increasingly more stressed about their relationships because of uneven levels of success.

Before students jump into relationships, recent studies say they should examine the success level of their prospective partner.

In a world where females earn 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees, males are feeling a strain on their relationships due to uneven levels of self-esteem, the Institute of Education Sciences said.

A study done in August by the American Psychology Association agreed that a man’s self-esteem is lower when he sees his female partner succeed than when he sees her fail.

Distinguished professor in sociology and anthropology Susan Sprecher said this romantic pressure can affect both males and females.

In order to curb the effects of uneven levels of success in a relationship, Sprecher said people should try to choose partners who are successful in areas that they don’t strive to be successful in.

“One of the reasons is it helps to maintain your self-esteem, because its good to sort of bask in the glory of others when you have a very successful friend,” Sprecher explained.

“When your friend or your romantic partner is succeeding in the area you strive to succeed in and you’re not succeeding quite as well, it can be a constant reminder that you’re not doing as well as the person who is significant to you.”

Cassie Ward, freshman medical lab science major, said she doesn’t believe that success automatically leads to bad relationships.

“I think if you’re successful, you’re more likely to be happy, and I think that will help your relationship.”

According to Thomas DiPrete, a sociology professor at Columbia University and co-author of “The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools,” the success problem stems from male students who lack an understanding of a labor market that relies on college-educated women.

The result of that misunderstanding is an upheaval of traditional gender roles and possible bruised egos, DiPrete added.

“If they’re brought up to think that it’s the man’s job to be the primary breadwinner, but they’re dating or marrying women who are as successful or more successful than themselves, at least for some men, I think that creates problems in terms of a disconnect with a masculine identity they have,” he said.

“At some level, I can understand that for men who are not being successful in their own labor market experience, emotionally that difficulty is compounded when their partners are doing well.”

Sprecher maintained that the discrepancy in success is mutual between men and women and ultimately, is unimportant when dating or hooking up in college.

“Students want to perform well in their classes and stuff. But they’re probably not thinking about well what’s my life going to be like in 10 years when I’m a medical doctor or a school teacher or whatever it might be.

“When people are hooking up or choosing friends in college it’s more about similar interests,” she explained.

Kendra Penke, freshman music therapy major, agreed with Sprecher. She said students should look for traits like compassion and trust before success.

 

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