Almost twice as many women as men wish they had married someone else, according to this (admittedly dated) survey about marriage and regret. One in five married women, or 22%, said that if they could go back in time they would change their husband. Just 12% of married men said they’d picked the wrong wife.
Is that because women are fickle? Or because men make poor spouses?
Here’s our theory: Men do their homework before tying the knot. More aware of something called “asymmetric information,” men aren’t ready to settle down for the long haul until they’ve done their research.
Economists talk about asymmetric information, in which one person knows more than another, to explain problems that come up in the used-car market. For example, I know the Subaru Baja I’m trying to sell has been in a dozen accidents. You don’t–which means you’re at a serious disadvantage when deciding whether to pony up $5,000 for it or not.
Same deal with dating. I know my own history. My prospective husbands only know what I choose to tell them.
So unless you want a lemon (car or spouse), you better do your research–or you might live to regret it.
Which brings us to our conclusion: Men who are dismissed as scared of commitment or commitment-phobic might, in fact, just be “doing their research” so they don’t end up one of the 12% of husbands who wish they’d married someone else.
Perhaps women should think about doing the same.