‘Macho’ Men Less Happy in Relationships, Study Says

Men who adhere most strongly to traditional ideas of masculinity have less satisfaction in their relationships, especially if their partner earns more money than they do, a new Fordham University study finds.

Masculine men identify most strongly with the “breadwinner” role, so if their spouse or partner makes more money it can be a source of stress, hurting the quality of their relationship, the study authors say. ‘Macho’ men also have more of a tendency to place a high value on financial success and to associate status with money, which can add additional stress to their lives.

The findings are particularly salient as women continue to both close the pay gap with men and contribute a greater portion of total family income. For men to be truly happy in their relationships, they may need to give up some of their machismo. In fact, men who identify least with traditional masculinity are more likely to have high-quality relationships than their more “manly” peers, the study shows.

The study appears online in the journal Sex Roles.