If the idea is that men are making three times more money, why shouldn't we try and change that?
Dr. Drake: We're not saying, "Give up." We're not saying, "Don't get a job." We should not just be looking for this ephemeral, magical thing that we've all been trained to believe will exist if you meet Prince Charming. The book is about being financially savvy in all aspects of your life. Absolutely, your job is your most important asset, but your marriage is part of the financial picture. What we're saying is that women have important assets. We are just as smart as men, we recognize that. We are just as capable. However, the workplace has been systematically unfair to women. Really, the most important statistic, over the course of your lifetime, is how much do you make? It turns out that because of women's role in society, we will make less money than men. We more easily do job transitions; we often take off work for our children; we often take off work to take care of family members. And unfortunately or fortunately, we tend to be the more flexible ones, so if your husband's getting a promotion, you'll take the lesser job.
Can you explain what you think is flawed about holding out for romantic love?
Dr. Drake: Romantic love is a kind of madness. It's been studied at UCSF [the University of California, San Francisco]. Helen Fisher [biological anthropologist and author of Why Him? Why Her?: Finding Real Love By Understanding Your Personality Type] has completed a wealth of research on this topic. They have scanned people who are in love and found that the "in love" state doesn't really last more than 18 to 24 months. It's a fallacy that we should expect that romantic love, that kind of intense ardor, to continue. So, since we've been sold that idea, five years down the line when your husband says, or you say, "I want out because I'm not in love with you anymore," our society legitimizes that as a reason to get out. But divorce is very costly, and women don't recognize that, as they age, they're less marketable on the marriage market. They're less marketable in the work market, and maybe they should make that first decision not based on something as transient. Why are we basing our future on this?
Daniela, can you tell us how you've seen your theory play out in your own life?
Dr. Drake: I was raised to think of nothing else but go to work, get a good job. I've got an M.D. and an M.B.A. from top schools. I took that very seriously, but I was also on the hunt for romantic love. In fact, my own story was that I got out of my first marriage when I was "no longer in love" because I felt that I wanted the whole picture. And I look back and I go, "Well that was really stupid!" because I find out that the intoxicated, wonderful state of being in love doesn't last no matter how many times you experience it with wonderful people. Can Powerful Women Find Love?
Would your relationship have been more successful if you had been going after a man who was more financially stable?
Dr. Drake: I really can't speak to that because I was so heady with the dream that I was going to make it on my own and find a great guy to share my life with. It never even crossed my mind in those days. I also would have said when I walked out of that marriage, "I'll make my own money. I'm not going to stay in this relationship that isn't meeting my desire for intense romance just because he's going to be rich." He, of course, did go on to be exceptionally wealthy. I, at the time, believed I would make it on my own.
What's your love life like now?
Dr. Drake: I remarried a man who I love very much who does not make a huge amount of money; he's an engineer. We live a very modest, middle class lifestyle. We live in Los Angeles, so basically just being here is like having a vacuum cleaner sucking out your wallet. It's very costly. Internists don't make a lot of money in the spectrum of what doctors make. We're solidly middle class, but we budget. Is life harder because of it? Yes. Are there stresses in the marriage because of it? Yes. Are there times I wish I could take off and spend more time with my kids? Absolutely. Things have worked out to a certain degree—I'm happy; I have a great job, and I have two beautiful, lovely children. But finances are difficult, and it's a struggle. Poll: In A Marriage, Whose Money Is It Anyway?