Hands-on dads ‘less likely to break up with partners’

New research shows when dads care for their babies the couple are less likely to separate

Content Editor / October 04 2018

Men who spend more time caring for their young children alone are less likely to leave their partners, according to a new UK study.

Researchers looked at more than 13,000 mixed-sex couples and found that there was a direct correlation between involved fatherhood and long-term relationship stability.

Dads who cared for their babies alone in the first year of the child’s life were up to 40 per cent less likely to leave their partner, researchers concluded.

“Our results show that relationships are less likely to break down over the long term if the dad looks after the baby on his own without the mother being there at least a few times a week during the first year,” lead study author Dr Helen Norman told The Observer.

Dr Norman also added that when fathers spend one-on-one time with their children, it has a positive impact on their happiness and strengthens the father-child relationship. This in turn creates a stronger relationship between the mother and father.

Currently in Australia, eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) get two weeks leave paid at the national minimum wage after the birth of their child.

But Dr Norman says even short stints can have a positive impact. The mother of a six-month-old baby herself, she says giving new mums a break is another factor.

“If I have a bit of time out I feel refreshed and happier when I come back. It also allows the mother to engage in paid work outside of the home and she can compete on a more equal footing with her partner,” she said.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.

Related tags