Navigating a long-term relationship with a spouse can be one of the most complicated and nuanced journeys many adults will ever make. It takes a willingness to communicate as well as exercising patience and understanding. The adventure, however, gets much more difficult (if not impossible) if spouses exhibit hostile or aggressive character traits toward one another.
So it now comes as no surprise that a recent study found that couples experience more relationship problems if the male partner has sexist tendencies. This often leads to reducing or undermining a female partner’s commitment to the relationship. Women reported a greater number of problems and rated those problems as more severe. Common examples included: jealousy, power dynamic-based disputes, gender-role conflict, and even intimacy issues.
The study involved 363 couples with an average relationship length of 6.5 years. Most couples were married or living together, but one-third claimed they were in a “serious/steady” relationship.
What is hostile sexism?
The study defined this behavior as:
- Men who display hostile sexism believe that women in general and their partner specifically cannot be trusted
- Men who display hostile sexism believe that women in general and their partner specifically is trying to take men’s power
Men exhibiting this type of behavior also underestimated the impact that their attitude has upon their relationship, which further fuels that mindset.
The best option
Whether this behavior evolved over time or was an issue that never improved, a woman may feel that terminating this relationship is best for her mental and physical health as well as the health of her children. Should a woman choose this path, she may need to seek support from the courts if there is a threat of violence to herself or other family members. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance in filing for divorce from a difficult spouse while also helping to ensure that their client’s rights as an individual and a parent are protected.