Who should be the primary breadwinner-the husband or the wife? Although there has been a change in women's roles in a relationship, it still seems as though men are expected to be employed and making the primary income for the household. When men don't meet that expectation, many see it as unacceptable.
According to Time's Healthland, there is evidence that unemployed men are more likely to leave a relationship. A study recently published in the American Journal of Sociology found that, for men, unemployment was a greater prediction of divorce than unhappiness with a partner. The study's author noted, "It's still unacceptable for men to stay home and take care of the kids."
Women also expect their husbands to work, it seems. Women were more likely to leave their husbands if he was unemployed. This means that men, even if they are relatively happy with their marriage, face a greater risk of divorce if they lose their job.
One reason why unemployment is so hard on men is that the loss of a job is linked to self-esteem. Men see themselves as providing for their families, and if they are suddenly unable to do so, they may feel a sense of failure. Self-esteem is a major factor in depression, as well.
Further, men's roles have not shifted as much as women's. It is not uncommon for women to work, but many may still see a stay-at-home father as peculiar. If a father is also suddenly given greater home and child responsibilities, he may feel overwhelmed or unable to deal with his new "job." These feelings also increase a man's likelihood of depression.
Source: Time, "Stay-at-Home Dads Are More Likely to Divorce," Bonnie Rochman, 11 July 2011