“Pick a partner”

Irin Carmon’s interview with Sheryl Sandberg makes me want to buy Sandberg’s book. Carmon points out that Sandberg’s thesis on the economics of spousal abuse (concluding that if the abusing man had all the money, the woman was more likely to stay with the abusing man) was highly relevant to her current book. Sandberg claims she’d never thought of that before, but, yes, the thesis is in fact relevant.

“[W]e are not going to get to equality in the workforce before we get to equality in the home… I give advice to young women. I say “pick a partner.” If that partner is female you are in good shape… the data’s very strong that same-sex couples split responsibiltiies much more evenly. If you are a female and your partner is likely to be male… date the bad boys, date the crazy boys, but do not marry them. Marry the boys who are going to change half of the diapers.”

Given Sandberg’s thesis, maybe she should be more specific to young straight women. “Marry nobody until you are sure of yourself, your worth, your potential. Marry nobody until you are wholly unattractive to those would abuse you, or be even remotely unfair to you. Marry nobody until you are only attractive to supportive, compassionate men.”

Is that unrealistic advice? Probably.

But people pick bad partners all the time. All. The. Time.

And people–women and men both–are not always so adept at being a partner, which requires compromise, flexibility, an intimate understanding of one’s own weaknesses, and an insatiable desire to learn from another.

How does one teach a young girl, or a young boy, to pick and be a good partner?

You model it. Are you modeling it?

What do you think?

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