When a woman loses a husband through divorce

No matter how rich or accomplished a woman is, when her marriage implodes it is she who is considered to have lost a man, a husband. Her husband suffers no stigma for losing a wife. That is what my friend whom I will call Kathy tells me. And in a way, I see what she means. In traditional Christian dogma, when a couple marries, it is the husband that “takes a wife” and if you think about it, it is also the husband who chooses to marry since he is the one who asks “will you marry me.” Anything contrary, like woman asks man to marry her is still frowned upon in most circles, even though here we are in 2009 at the epicenter of the age of Technology where women actually think they are on par with men. Yea sure. Ask him to marry you. See how long that works out. See how happy you are in that situation, how much respect you get over the long haul.
Getting married is the man’s show, girls. He selects a girlfriend, chooses a bride, takes a wife. He buys her the most expensive engagement ring he can afford, she’s usually squealing with joy at the momentous occasion that she has been validated, finally. It is a huge accomplishment to first of all “get a man” and second of all “get him to marry you.” At least, for a huge cross-section of women, it still is. Don’t matter who he is, what he has or how he treats them, just “having a man” or a “husband” makes them feel success.
And that’s fine, I guess.
But. The Divorce. When you start talking divorce, men are not the losers. Divorce is the woman’s show, her circus. It doesn’t matter if she is Madonna and is the main breadwinner in the household. It doesn’t matter if she is Countess Marie Douglas David. It doesn’t matter if she is Bruce Wasserstein’s ex. She is the one who is essentially dumped. She is the one who loses one of the most prized possessions a woman can have according to society – a heersband; a man.
If you really think about the traditional divorce laws that go to, say, alimony and things like that, you will see the paternalism there too. The whole idea was that the man is in charge and he will be fine, but the poor wife he is leaving behind needs to be cared for because she can’t care for herself. So now, he cares for her and for himself and for his new family – unless and until she replaces him with another prize, another husband (which hopefully she won’t lose this time around if she doesn’t want to be seen as a pathetic loser.)
For a lot of women, a husband is literally like, their biggest  “asset” in and of himself. Well, true, the man can see the wife as an asset too, especially in terms of the trophy wife.  But it is different. Because it is the wife who would be trying to “hang on to the marriage” or “hang on to the relationship” or “hang on to the man.” The husband can, and often does find a replacement trophy wife who is always younger than the one before. So he loses nothing. But the wife, when she gets dumped, often her loss is perceived as much more significant. She’s losing a different kind of asset than the husband loses. Actually, in one sense, the husband’s trophy wife is more like a liability; the wife’s husband/provider is more an asset? http://www.divorcesaloon.com/when-the-trophy-wife-gets-dumped
What’s the takeaway? Dunno. I’m just saying.
Updated. Originally published february 4, 2009.