In the traditional stereotype, a mother’s love is unconditional, while a father’s love is conditional. Mom loves you no matter what, but dad loves you because you live up to his standards. Moms who resist disciplining their kids, but instead say “wait until your father gets home,” seem to want it this way.
Women apparently initiate most divorces, and in my experience also most breakups. I feel tender toward every woman I’ve ever been involved with, and would be happy to talk to any of them, but many of them do not reciprocate such feelings. On average women’s love for men seems more conditional that men’s love for women. Which helps explain why men seem to signal more to women than women do to men.
So when a mother and a wife compete for a man’s affection, the mom has the advantage of offering the less conditional love. A husband competing with with his wife’s father has a similar advantage. What else follows from this gender role flip?
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