Correlates and Consequences of Misjudging Romantic Partners’ Work and Family Priorities
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Women still complete the preponderance of unpaid domestic labour, even when employed full-time. Conversely, despite lessening pressures on men to provide financially, men have not seen a commensurate uptick in domestic work. I propose that inaccurate interpersonal perceptions between men and women are a key mechanism driving these uneven changes to gender roles. I mega-analytically analyzed the work and family goals of 435 mixed-gender romantic couples in Canada, then calculated women’s and men’s inaccuracies when appraising their partners’ goals. On average, women wanted more egalitarian romantic relationships than men, a gap compounded by men underestimating their partners' desire for egalitarianism. Further, men (especially those who saw their partners as highly feminine) simultaneously overestimated their partners' orientation toward family goals (over career goals) and their career intensity. Women also misperceived their partners, but here expectations were fairly low: Women underestimated their partners' family goals and career intensity. Turning to long-term outcomes, modest evidence emerged that people with inaccurate partners experienced lower relationship well-being within the next two years. Perceiving partners as being generally poor at perspective-taking (distinct from their actual inaccuracy) was the most powerful predictor of both relationship dissolution and worsened relationship well-being. These findings clarify common misperceptions between romantic partners and illuminate the consequences of having—or perceiving you have—a partner who does not understand your work and family goals.
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Emily Cyr (2023). Correlates and Consequences of Misjudging Romantic Partners’ Work and Family Priorities. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/20136