Study: Love Is for the Rich

Photo: iStockphoto

Trying to make ends meet working part-time service-industry jobs with no benefits or pension is stressful enough without the added pressures of supporting a partner and family, America’s working class has decided. “Marriage is becoming a distinctive social institution marking middle-class status,” says Sarah Corse, one of the lead researchers in "Intimate Inequalities: Love and Work in a Post-Industrial Landscape," a new UVA and Harvard study of 300 working- and middle-class men and women in the U.S. Corse and her colleagues blame declining marriage rates in America on the disappearance of well-paid, union manufacturing jobs, which left the non-college-educated and working class with “insecure work and few resources, little stability and unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others.” It’s largely middle- and upper-middle-class people who have the free time and mental energy to seek self-fulfillment in marriage, while "insuring" themselves against divorce through material and emotional "investments" like therapy and summer houses and date nights (now streamlined, no doubt, through these adorable new relationship-gamification apps that turn your partner into a Tamagotchi). "Insecure work changes people's non-work lives," Corse said. Makes sense to me! But we could also just keep blaming abortion and the gays for the demise of American family values.