The Family Weekly: How Super-Wealthy Couples Get Divorced

Plus: why kids tell such awful jokes, the personality trait that “oils the gears of social interaction,” and how to deal with negative feedback at work

Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie pose for pictures
Mike Coppola / VF18 / Getty

This Week in Family

When Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their divorce on Twitter after 25 years of marriage, it sparked a big question: How would the couple divvy up their more than $130 billion in assets? Although other divorcing wealthy couples often settle their claims out of court and out of the public eye, writes the Atlantic staff writer Joe Pinsker, this might not be the case for the Bezoses, who also reportedly never signed a premarital agreement. Pinsker talked to family-law attorneys about how the couple might split their money, and how these cases tend to shake out for other ultra-wealthy couples.

Some people tend to put others at ease right away when they walk into a room, while others do the opposite. Psychology researchers believe this is a measurable part of people’s personalities. It’s a trait called “affective presence,” writes the Atlantic senior editor Julie Beck, that shows how someone can make a positive or negative impact on others regardless of their actual feelings.


As anyone who has spent a lot of time with kids know, young children are nearly universally terrible at telling jokes. As the Tumblr page “Kids Write Jokes” documents, the jokes are often absurdist (“A man and a lizard walk into a bar and the barman says, ‘No lizards’”) or complete anti-jokes (“Why did the tiger throw up on the couch? He was sick”). As the Atlantic staff writer Ashley Fetters writes, these “jokes” say a lot about how children understand humor, and the trial-and-error nature of finding out what’s actually funny.

That men have more leisure time than women has been well-documented by sociologists. The gap is especially pronounced in married couples, as women, even though they’ve entered the workforce, still take care of most of the housework and child care. What are their husbands doing with the extra time? Mostly watching television, according to a government study on people’s schedules. Joe Pinsker talked to researchers who point to reasons why this gap still persists and why television is such a mainstay of men’s idle hours.

Dear Therapist

Every Monday, the psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb answers readers’ questions about life’s trials and tribulations, big or small, in The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” column.

This week, a reader asks how to move on from a negative review received at work—even though the feedback was vague. Coworkers believe the reader can be “belittling or arrogant,” but the supervisor can’t divulge much else for the sake of anonymity.

Lori’s advice: Take this feedback as an invitation for some deep self-reflection.

When one person perceives another as being arrogant or belittling, often the missing ingredient is empathy. When working with couples, sometimes I’ll say, “Before you speak, ask yourself, What is this going to feel like to the person I’m speaking to?” Even without the specific details, your supervisor is asking you to do just that.

Send Lori your questions at

Write to Us

“My husband is a senior federal corrections officer at United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, in West Virginia. He has been working up to 18-hour days,” the Atlantic reader Tanya Louise Allen of Morgantown, West Virginia, told us. “We are terrified about what the future may hold. We are a one-income household.”

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