Putting aside that bit of theater from someone who is notoriously focused on himself, he’s almost right. Because really, the question we’re all asking is, how does he still have that amazing wife? You can hear women all over country saying: “If he were my husband, I’d be out of there so fast. Or, “I’d [revenge fantasy of choice].” Behavior like Weiner’s seems like it would put most people with financial means on the fast track to divorce court. But Abedin’s determination to keep trying despite the seemingly unforgivable behavior isn’t so unusual.
Here’s why: Divorce is rarer than you might think in more affluent demographics. There is gap in divorce rates between those who are highly-educated like Abedin and Weiner (with a B.A. or more) and those without college degrees, according to a 2010 study by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Among college educated couples, rates of divorce or separation within the first ten years of marriage are lower now then they were 40 years ago, dropping from 15 percent to 11, even as rates for other demographics rise. The same report concludes that for couples who have the economic benefits of a college degree or above, and who come from intact families, are religious, and marry after age 25 without having a baby first, the chances of divorce are even lower.
And as a 2011 article in the New York Times points out, divorce can still be stigmatizing in some social circles where parents are particularly ambitious about providing the absolute best environment for their children. One mother, a professor, quoted in the piece says that divorcing made her feel “like the ultimate bad mom.” So when Huma Abedin says that her answer to her husband’s horrific behavior is to keep trying, it’s not that surprising. Nobody wants their child to be one of only one or two kids on the kindergarten class list who have two separate parental homes. The language that Abedin used in People in 2012 is telling: ”It took a lot of work to get to where are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family,” she said.