Saving Betty Draper’s Marriage

October 15, 2009 at 11:30 am , by

MMS3-Betty-517As the editor of LHJ’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? column, I frequently ponder precisely that question when I watch Betty and Don Draper on Mad Men.

Betty sure seems miserable: She’s got a husband who cheats on her; a daughter who’s a brat; and a baby she doesn’t want. “I hate this place,” she told Don earlier this season. “I hate our friends. I hate this town.”

Somehow, though, I feel pretty confident that Betty is going to tough it out. She threw Don for a while, but took him back when she discovered she was pregnant. (Had a quick little fling in the interim, but, hey, can you blame her?)  And her recent trip to Italy made it clear that she was putting some effort into saving her marriage.

I don’t think this would be the case if Betty were living in today’s world, where practically one in every two marriages end in divorce.  She’s stuck in the pre-feminist ‘60s when divorce carried enormous stigma—and women let men get away with acting like jerks, especially a man who’s as hot and successful as Don.

But can that marriage be saved? And I don’t only mean can it stay intact. I wonder if anything could happen to make Betty less miserable and Don a little more sensitive and caring?  I kind of doubt it.  What do you think?

4 Responses to “Saving Betty Draper’s Marriage”

  1. Kinda wonder if she really wants to change say if divorce was an option? Sometimes people get comfortable with being miserable too.


  2. One wonders if any marraige can be saved. The way the courts give women the house, car, and all his money makes a womans incentive to stay in a difficult marraige just about zero. The courts are destroying families and with it the lives and potential of the poor children, who will never understand why dad is homeless and can only visit hem at mcdonalds. It won’t be long before men will get get a vasectomy at an early age and vow never to marry.


  3. Frankly I get tired of hearing that whining of men about how much they lost in the divorce and how women are favored by the courts. Either you had a lousy lawyer or no lawyer at all or you just simply let her take it all because you didn’t want to fight. I worked in the family court system for years and I sat in on divorce cases and no women are not favored. Divorce cases are like all court cases, it depends on the type of lawyer you have.


  4. You really paint Betty as the victim in your assessment which kind of shows that you’re really not picking up on a lot of the nuances of each of these characters on this show. They are all terribly flawed, Betty being one of the most. I don’t really think it is their daughter Sally that is a spoiled brat, but the other way around. A mother who herself is still very much a child. The scenes with how dismissive she is with her children are shocking. Without Don, Sally would most likely be doing a lot worse things than swiping cigarettes and money from Grandpa. And let’s not paint the Rome trip as a selfless attempt to save the marriage. Reasons behind her joining Don were completely self-motivated. I usually like your column and I agree that Don is no saint, but your assessment on this marriage is dead off.