The Other Marriage Problem

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According to a new study at Rutgers, 53% of men age 25-34 don't want to get married anytime soon, and 22% say they don't ever want to get married at all. Why? (Hint: It's not because of gay people.)

—?Some men express resentment towards a legal system that grants women the unilateral right to decide to terminate a pregnancy?There is also a mistrust of women who may ?trap? men into fathering a child by claiming to be sterilized, infertile or on the pill.?

— "Many men also fear the financial consequences of divorce?They fear that an ex-wife will 'take you for all you've got' and that 'men have more to lose financially than women' from a divorce."

[…]

Men have other reasons to resist the romantic urge. Domestic violence laws allow vindictive women to kick hubby out of the house based on the flimsiest of pretexts. And if divorce were to result, he would likely lose custody of his own flesh and blood.

A summary article is here, or you can go look at the whole study. Thanks to Donald Sensing for pointing this one out.

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  1. I’m sure that these aren’t just rationalizations.

  2. An affluent, professional young man must be insane to marry. In the event that his wife tires of him, he is very likely to lose his home, his assets, his savings, all contact with his children, and be on the hook to pay for his wife and children (despite having no contact and regardless of who she subsequently hooks up with) for up to twenty years.

    Small wonder that most women of marriageable age suffer the ‘Ally McBeal’ syndrome.

  3. I just figure I have enough people telling me what to do.

  4. There’s also the very real and increasingly probable possibility that she’ll become fat.

    And no, I’m not joking this time.

  5. I’m not clear on what the first issue, the “unilateral abortion” part, has to do with marriage, as opposed to, say, unprotected sex.

  6. Derek and Czar: Neither of you are allowed to talk to my fiance!

  7. Hasn’t anyone heard of prenups?

    OK, OK, I might be biased because I’m married myself, but it isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. (If you cover your ass before hand.)

  8. Figures that Hanah is taken.

    My problem with marriage is the same one Groucho had with joining a club. Anyone who’d settle for me as a spouse… πŸ™‚

    Kevin

  9. “Men have other reasons to resist the romantic urge. Domestic violence laws allow vindictive women to kick hubby out of the house based on the flimsiest of pretexts. And if divorce were to result, he would likely lose custody of his own flesh and blood.”

    This happened to me. Without notice, based on lies conjured up by an attorney, I found myself homeless and unable to even speak with my daughter. My son and I, from a previous marriage, found shelter at a relative’s home. All of my belongings were, without warning, ripped from my grasp.

    10’s of thousands of $$ later, I am finally divorced and soon to be allowed 50% parenting time. The court eventually apologized to me for the emotional suffering that I went through but insisted it had to “err on the side of caution” – read that as assume guilt until innocence is proven. But in the end, I got stuck with only $40,000 in debt and my wife got a settlement of $28,000 in cash. Luckily the house that got sold paid off another $40,000. During the separation, she ran the cards up almost $20,000, not to mention around $20,000 each in attorney’s fees.

    Now if I can finish my 3rd social re-engineering class that I am taking with my ex-wifey, I will be free.

    I can’t wait to be married again…*sarcasm*

    –s|—–

  10. How about because you just haven’t met a woman cool (or weird, or interesting, or…) enough to marry? I have none of those “fears” listed, yet I’m not married and don’t plan to get married any time soon (and I’m 30).

    That being said, if the “right” woman came along, I’d be more than happy to marry her. My only problem is the vows. Being an atheist makes it hard to go through the regular marriage vows. Then there’s that little “forsaking all others” bit that I might choke on. πŸ™‚

  11. I’m not clear on what the first issue, the “unilateral abortion” part, has to do with marriage, as opposed to, say, unprotected sex.

    That struck me as odd, too. The only explanation I could come up with is that men think the unilateral decision is ok when it comes to singles, but when they’re married they should get a legal say in the decision.

    I don’t know anyone who’s ever discussed that issue at all, let alone feels that way about it, though, so cum grano salis, I suppose. Just my best guess.

    I’d say the other reasons are a lot more commonplace and valid.

  12. Derek-
    “An affluent, professional young man must be insane to marry. ”

    My wife is a physician and as such makes roughly double my salary. She also runs 7 miles every other day to maintain her smoken body. Its funny, most of her female colleagues are very attractive and have a hard time finding men that will date them. Most of them have problems with potential husbands resenting them for their success and intelligence. Maybe the men you speak of are letting their ego get in the way of a relationship with a female peer.

  13. ?Some men express resentment towards a legal system that grants women the unilateral right to decide to terminate a pregnancy?There is also a mistrust of women who may ?trap? men into fathering a child by claiming to be sterilized, infertile or on the pill.?

    Unless the fetus can be transplanted into the male, I think its more of nature’s system as opposed to the legal system. The whole mistrust thing is quite, and I mean quite, odd! If you mistrust, keep yer pecker in the trousers. If she is hot but mistrustful and you have to score, call up Trojan Man. Now if you are just getting to know her and not sure if she can be trusted or not, you better still call the Trojan Man.

    BTW, isn’t “intellectualconservative” an oxymoron? πŸ™‚

  14. I’m sure that these louts who are already planning their divorces, and assume their beloveds are scheming to trap them or abort their children, have eager mates just swirling around them.

    Uh uh, no sour grapes here.

  15. Uh, it’s also pretty easy to get laid in your 20s. I remember listening to my single buddies conquests enviously 10 years ago.

    However, in the later 30s it doesn’t seem to as easy to hook up, or all these guys are starting to no longer kiss and tell.

    Looking at their waistlines, I’d say it’s the former.

  16. My wife is a physician and as such makes roughly double my salary. She also runs 7 miles every other day to maintain her smoken body. Its funny, most of her female colleagues are very attractive and have a hard time finding men that will date them. Most of them have problems with potential husbands resenting them for their success and intelligence. Maybe the men you speak of are letting their ego get in the way of a relationship with a female peer.

    I read an article recently (which google was no help in finding) that asserted that the reason for this phenomenon is that successful, professional women demand successful, professional mates, whereas their male counterparts aren’t as picky when it comes to career or intellect with their mates. So maybe the problem isn’t that men are too intimidated to talk to successful women, but rather that successful women are overselling themselves.

    Always the woman’s fault, in my experience.

  17. Derek Smith,

    Well, love does tend to remove your rational thinking abilities. The response I’ve accepted is that if my wife ever decides to leave me, I’ll just let her have all the “stuff” (house, furniture, bank accounts, etc.) and start over. Yeah, it will delay my retirement for another ten years, but if it gets to that point, I have much bigger problems.

    kmw,

    Well, if you can get her to sign a prenup, more power to you. I’ve thought of my marriage as trading some freedom for a longer, more enjoyable, life. If it’s not more enjoyable, then you probably should not get married in the first place.

    seeker,

    Man, dude, that sucks.

  18. Ha! I have $50 in liquid assets, $3000 in credit card debt, and no income to garnish going into my marriage.

    Life is good!

  19. I’ll be interested in reading your competing study, joe.

    What’s that, you don’t have one? Ah. Just so.

  20. I suspect the real reason for the decline of marriage is the pill. Now that women can have sex with little fear of pregnancy, fewer are demanding marriage as a condition for access to their bodies. Men, finding they no longer have to trade long-term commitment for sex, have taken advantage of the price break.

  21. “whereas their male counterparts aren’t as picky when it comes to career or intellect with their mates”

    Stupid women are bad dates and I image worse companions. I’ll take a smart one any day. It is difficult to be sympathetic for those who would marry someone that is capable of these kinds of divorce horror stories. It took years of dating before I was confident that I could make a lifetime commitment to my wife.

  22. “so cum grano salis”

    hey now josh, no need for potty mouth.

    prenups. har!

    marriage isn’t the be all and end all of everything anymore. its cool n’ stuff, of course, but…not for everyone.

  23. Josh,

    I remember seeing something on Discovery Health (before it turned into Women and Babies Health) Channel that presented research that, for the most part, women, regardless of their social class, wanted husbands that were at least as, if not more, affluent than they were. Men were more concerned with looks and youthfulness (health) in their spouses.

  24. As for the study, it sounds like men are saying that they don’t want to marry because women suck and we’re afraid of what they’ll do to us.

    It’s funny in a sort of sad way.

  25. Shawn Smith,

    You might want to check out The Evolution of Desire, by David Buss. It’s been a while since I read it, but the author’s study came to the same conclusions you described: women are attracted to wealthy men, and men are attracted to young, healthy women (Actually, Buss’ conclusions are a little more complicated). The evolutionary explanation is that successful reproduction requires men who can support women during pregnancy and child-rearing, and women who can endure pregnancy and child-rearing.

  26. matt:

    “Its funny, most of her female colleagues are very attractive and have a hard time finding men that will date them.”

    I’m available. I’ll be forever gratefull if you can hook me up. I don’t even mind dating all of them at once πŸ™‚

  27. point 1: sex without marriage has lost all of its once-formidable social stigma, at the hands of which a rogue was not so long ago as likely to end up in jail as not;

    point 2: pharmacology/technology has made accidental pregnancy much harder to fall into if you’re taking full advantage of 1), thereby reducing any chance of a shotgun, er, “arranged” wedding;

    point 3 (which underpins point 1): the ideologies of individuality and emancipation — for both men and women — have been themes of the development of western civilization since the renaissance, but have been carried in recent generations to their absurd extremes — to the point where our society itself has become antisocial. no one wants to give up any bit of their individuality; no one wants to compromise any bit of their freedom. virtually all of us choose to operate as petty despots as a result, forsaking the humility and flexibility that characterize less ideological people. these things make marriage — the social institution that most immediately compromises both individuality and freedom — a very hard sell to both men and women.

  28. Not to gross people out…..

    But I think when the nerds of america combine AI, robotics, holigrams, and REALDOLL’s, the power curve will switch.

    And no I am not bitter about Divorce, not bitter at all.
    Nope
    No

    Well okay maybe a little.

  29. A few observations:

    Pre-nups aren’t worth much…

    False domestic violence charges aren’t limited to married men.

    The abortion thing applies married or not.

    There aren’t many libertarian women in the world.

    Most really awful divorces result from really bad judgement calls in the first place. She didn’t fake you out THAT well, she was always kind of a bitch, you just loved her tight body is all.

    Property laws applicable to divorce settlements are much more fair than they were 40 years ago when women got exactly 100% of all assets and men got exactly 100% of all bills.

    The one big one that everybody forgot to mention is that if your old lady gets preggers and it ain’t yours, IT’S YOURS. Even if DNA testing proves it ain’t yours, IT’S YOURS. So long as you’re legally married IT’S YOURS.

  30. Robowife…the wife of the future. Now with 20% more vaginal gripping power!

  31. Hmmm. A lot of the comments here seem to explain, well? a lot of the comments on other threads.

    Seemingly marriage is viewed by a lot of folks in these parts as the ultimate loss of freedom to some other person, therefore it?s a bad thing.

    Not bad, as in a choice I wouldn?t take, but the pretty clear implication here, in a lot of comments, is just plain bad, like an oppressive and unnecessary regulation, an abusive cop, or surveillance cameras in the workplace.

    An apt comparison is a business contract: if marriage is an evil because it infringes on one?s right of action, then aren?t business contracts equally evil, for the same purpose? I mean, if you are forced by contract to deliver a crate of oranges downtown at the Widget Co. at 8:00 AM, you aren?t free to be drinking the bongwater, sleeping in, or otherwise living a rewarding lifestyle in your crypto-anarcho-capitalist commune. So any contract is really just as bad as marriage ? maybe worse if Widget Co. knows how to take advantage of the Uniform Commercial Code if you stay out all morning delivering oranges to some other company.

    I hadn?t previously thought of marriage as invidious and incompatible with holding libertarian beliefs.

    On the other hand, maybe people who are hostile to marriage and use the philosophical language of libertarianism to try to describe their hostility, are just selfish and trying to dress up ?me want? to make it look more presentable. I?ll have to ask my anti-government wife about that.

    BTW, isn’t “intellectualconservative” an oxymoron? πŸ™‚

    Apparently, it?s nearly as oxymoronic as ?unselfish libertarian.? :]

  32. Why am I the only one whose contrarian reflexes get challenged for not being peer-reviewed?

    Shaun and Eric, keep in mind, those are very broad findings describing tendencies on the collective level. As with differences among ethnic groups, any patterns are going to be less significant than individual variation.

  33. well, if you figure that libertarians are the political intersection between “rugged individualists” and dungeons and dragons players, marriage raises a number of difficult issues, like having to talk to a living, breathing woman.

    i like being married, having been at it for all of 4 months.

  34. So any contract is really just as bad as marriage

    agreed — but then, contracts have suffered quite a lot under the hyperindividualism of our decadence as well, have they not? (see enron, et al.) they’re often viewed less as an ethically-binding agreement than a legalese weapon to be twisted, reinterpreted and sold before a jury in an effort to screw the other guy for more money.

  35. Stephen,

    You’re over-generalizing. A business contract isn’t always desirable. It’s only desirable when the benefits exceed the cost of the commitments. If the commitments were desirable themselves, no contract would be necessary–the job would be done for free (at most).

    I think it’s fair to ask whether marriage offers enough advantages to be worth the cost.

  36. I enjoy being married.

  37. jo (at 4:15pm),

    Of course, you’re right. I don’t like to assume that any member of a group holds all the opinions of a majority of members of the group. That would be too prejudicial of me.

    dhex,

    …Dungeons and Dragons players…

    ROTFL πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (because I am such a nerd, myself.)

  38. [A]ny patterns are going to be less significant than individual variation.

    Yes, of course. Sorry, I thought that was clear to most people.

  39. I haven’t gotten married for exactly these reasons.

    Julian Sanchez,

    If your significant other aborts your baby, there isn’t much stopping you from leaving the relationship. But that isn’t true if you’re married.

  40. I don’t like to assume that any member of a group holds all the opinions of a majority of members of the group.

    Just to be clear: If I remember correctly, the Buss study didn’t show that most men rank youth and health as the most important qualities in a mate. It showed that the average man ranks those qualities higher than the average woman. The same was true for women and wealth.

  41. i really like hyperindividualism AND decadence. and i’m married.

    what the hell is wrong with me?

  42. I met my wife and two days later asked her to marry me (she said ‘yes’). I was a 29 year old virgin at the time and she was a 25 year old virgin. It took us a month to get the sex thing right. We had no clue what we were doing in bed. A lot of sleepless nights the first month – but now I get it any time πŸ™‚

    We’ve now been married three years and have an infant son. It’s been fabulous. I only wish I’d have met her sooner. How does it work? We both try to give more than we receive. We help each other out and understand our roles. I work and she stays home with the baby. We’re not religious either (I’m agnostic), but we believe in and practice conservative family values. All you single men (and women) having pre-marital sex, are you really happy? The way I think of it is: 10-15 minutes of pleasure and potential life-time of problems (disease, pregnancy, false accusations of rape, shame, etc.). It’s not worth it. Get married.

    A.J.

  43. ‘All you single men (and women) having pre-marital sex, are you really happy?’

    very much so!

  44. “10-15 minutes of pleasure”

    10-15 minutes!?!?!?

    what the fuck, are you stopping off for coffee? πŸ™‚

    some people need to be single, or be in open marriages and relationships, and fuck around occassionally. it’s cool. it’s when they lie about it, endanger their partners, etc, that’s waaaay uncool, as kids might say these days.

    everything else iz zee ice cream

  45. Thanks for pointing out the distinction in the Buss study, Eric. I misspoke / stand corrected / whatever.

  46. “All you single men (and women) having pre-marital sex, are you really happy?”

    I can’t complain too much either. The break-ups suck (just last month had a 16 month relationship end), but I suppose that’s true for marriage too.
    I’m more than a little skeptical of the 1) meet, 2) wait two days, 3) propose approach, but if it’s working for you more power to you.

  47. I met my wife and two days later asked her to marry me (she said ‘yes’). I was a 29 year old virgin at the time and she was a 25 year old virgin. It took us a month to get the sex thing right. We had no clue what we were doing in bed. A lot of sleepless nights the first month – but now I get it any time πŸ™‚

    We’ve now been married three years and have an infant son. It’s been fabulous. I only wish I’d have met her sooner. How does it work? We both try to give more than we receive. We help each other out and understand our roles. I work and she stays home with the baby. We’re not religious either (I’m agnostic), but we believe in and practice conservative family values. All you single men (and women) having pre-marital sex, are you really happy? The way I think of it is: 10-15 minutes of pleasure and potential life-time of problems (disease, pregnancy, false accusations of rape, shame, etc.). It’s not worth it. Get married.

    A.J.

    Shame doesn’t really factor into it for me, but yeah, it’s worth it. The risks add excitement.

    Of course, I always find out a lot about a woman and get to know her well before I sleep with her or even start dating her, so there’s not much risk.

  48. I met my wife and two days later asked her to marry me (she said ‘yes’). I was a 29 year old virgin at the time and she was a 25 year old virgin. It took us a month to get the sex thing right. We had no clue what we were doing in bed. A lot of sleepless nights the first month – but now I get it any time. We’ve now been married three years and have an infant son. It’s been fabulous. I only wish I’d have met her sooner. How does it work? We both try to give more than we receive. We help each other out and understand our roles. I work and she stays home with the baby. We’re not religious either (I’m agnostic), but we believe in and practice conservative family values. All you single men (and women) having pre-marital sex, are you really happy? The way I think of it is: 10-15 minutes of pleasure and potential life-time of problems (disease, pregnancy, false accusations of rape, shame, etc.). It’s not worth it. Get married.

    A.J.

    Shame doesn’t really factor into it for me, but yeah, it’s worth it. The risks add excitement.

    Of course, I always find out a lot about a woman and get to know her well before I sleep with her or even start dating her, so there’s not much risk.

  49. Not to gross people out…..

    But I think when the nerds of america combine AI, robotics, holigrams, and REALDOLL’s, the power curve will switch.

    I agree…

    Teledildonics is the killer tech of the future. Invest now.

  50. “Get married. –A.J.”

    AJ, get bent. –L.S.

    To me (for too many reasons than I suspect anyone here wants to hear) marriage is what’s “not worth it”. btw, I’m 30, never been married, and definitely a chick.

  51. I enjoyed marriage as well. I’m ultimately a commitment kind of guy. Getting burned by an abuse of the “system” was harsh. My current girlfriend and I have been together a year. Enjoy the relationship, sex, companionship, sex…but after a 10 year marriage, it is interesting to be in the dating position again. It will take me some time to think that I’ll ever want to risk that again…yes, risk.

    I do not have plans for it, but it is nice to know that if I do not want to be in the relationship anymore, I have already paid for the expenses, my home telephone. That’s it. Done. No more. Good-bye. What? I don’t need an attorney? I don’t even have to split my stuff up and give her ludricrous amounts of money? Yippee!!!

    I really hope she doesn’t read this thread… πŸ™‚

  52. Rand was kinda nutty in a lot of her personal philosophy, but she made some critically important points about realtionships, I think.

    The view that committed relationships are all about compromise is completely insane, and its prevalence has a lot to do with a 50% divorce rate. It CAN’T be all about compromise, it has to mostly be about agreement on the fundamentals. We can compromise about what to eat for dinner, because it is unimportant. I can’t compromise on anything that is really important to me, or the relationship is done.

    Love is the state of being happy with the deal you have made. It isn’t that I do this or that because my wife makes me, or will nag, or will hold out or whatever. My priorities change because her happiness is a major ingredient in my happiness. I don’t cheat on my wife. The reason I don’t is not because there is only one attractive woman, but because my wife’s disappointment and sadness are HUGE factors in how happy I can ultimately be. It isn’t a trap.

    If you find yourself in the situation where you want to do something your spouse really doesn’t want you to do, but you find their displeasure emotionally uncompelling, think long and hard about getting out.

    Don’t do something ‘for love’. Do something you want to do, and if the reason you want to do it is to see a smile – call that love. The rest of it is just taxes and joint survivor rights.

  53. On the subject of successful/educated women, it’s been my experience talking to co-workers that they prefer men who are at least as finacially as well off as themselves, and as educated as they are. Below the age 25 or so, it doesn’t seem to be an issue.

    Crap… does this apply if they turn 25 after they are married?

    Is it okay to just have the educated part and not the financial part, or do women need both?

    Crap, crap, crap.

  54. Sex? Marriage? I’d just be happy if a woman can bring herself to LOOK at me. However, since I’m a fat, ugly, troll of a man who makes a pittance writing for a newspaper, I don’t get the privilege of a sex life.

    Watching my parents’ marriage disintegrate is what turned me off to the notion of wedlock. Mom racked up huge credit card debts that the court got Dad to pay off. She got half the house, of which she paid NOTHING during the 20 years she lived there, and used trumped up charges of “abuse” to have him removed. She also got to loot his pension and 401K, so he will never be able to retire.

    Of course, she spent all the money, got herself into even more debt, and declared bankruptcy–so I guess there is some justice. Dad bought her half of the house back which he eventually paid off with an inheritance.

    (Oh, here’s the kicker. She doesn’t understand why she and my father can’t still be FRIENDS!!!)

    So, can someone please tell me again why marriage is so wonderful?

  55. Mark S,

    It’s for the children πŸ˜‰

  56. “The one big one that everybody forgot to mention is that if your old lady gets preggers and it ain’t yours, IT’S YOURS. Even if DNA testing proves it ain’t yours, IT’S YOURS. So long as you’re legally married IT’S YOURS.”

    I grew up in Maryland. I don’t know if it’s still this way, but way back when, if you married a woman who had a child from a previous marriage and subsequently got divorced, you had to pay child support for that kid regardless.

  57. Mark S.,

    I feel your pain (or your father’s). Here’s an interesting web-site I ran across during my ordeal:

    http://www.dvmen.org

    A lot of this is the result of years of feminist abuse. As a male, there are certain things that are taken for granted. We’re all violent. When a woman says, “I’m afraid” everyone jumps to protect her. If I am afraid, and I was terrified of my psychopathic ex-wifey for a while, nobody cares. Big deal. Get over it.

    So when it comes to marriage, how can I as a man find it worth the risk after knowing what I know and expriencing what I have experienced? I knew this woman for over 20 years as my best friend. I was married to her for 10 years. 11 really but it took over a year to get divorced. I’m just one of those poor saps that ended up with a loony for a wife. After years of living poor in our marriage, I finally started to make some money…good money. Then she leaves and takes me for all I was worth. But I don’t want this to be just about griping. What I am talking about is a system that has gripped our country that allows a woman to destroy a man’s life on heresy. Yes it can and does happen to men that are not married. Yes there are those poor unfortunates for which the system was designed to protect. But when was the last time you heard of a man seek a divorce and get a restraining order taken out against a woman and get custody of the kids, without the woman ever being present? When was the last time you actually heard a contentious divorce come out in favor of the man? It is rare indeed, my friends.

    So why get married? Why put yourself at risk? I’m a Christian and I struggle with this issue. I live in a land of persecution under a system of government that has lost it’s mind.

    Just more justification for the revolution. Governments rarely get smaller on their own. Laws rarely go away by themselves. The noose just gets tighter and tighter. Everyone has heard of the frog in the pot of water on the stove allegory, I’m sure.

  58. Can anyone explain why marriage is preferable to a mere monogamous relationship? Why not stay together as long as both parties are interested, and simply walk away if and when someone loses interest? What is the payoff of setting up a legal barrier to exit?

  59. “I grew up in Maryland. I don’t know if it’s still this way, but way back when, if you married a woman who had a child from a previous marriage and subsequently got divorced, you had to pay child support for that kid regardless.”

    Hell, that’s nothing. Under Californian divorce laws, my uncle got screwed into paying child support on a child conceived within wedlock with my former-aunt’s next husband… in other words, it was clearly the other guy’s and they’d already been married over a year, but the judge decided he got to pay it regardless.

  60. “If I am afraid, and I was terrified of my psychopathic ex-wifey for a while, nobody cares. Big deal. Get over it.”

    I’ve seen a lot of women change dramatically after marriage, and I’ve been serious with a psychopathic ex-girlfriend myself. I thank God that I didn’t marry her and that we didn’t have any kids.

    When I get into relationships now, I make of point of introducing spanking as soon as possible. For some reason, it seems to calm the psychos down.

    All kidding aside, there is little help in the real world for men who are being stalked or abused by a woman.

  61. “When was the last time you actually heard a contentious divorce come out in favor of the man?”

    Off the top of my head, Betty Broderick. But yeah, that was a long time ago, as well as an unusual case.

    destroy a man’s life on heresy

    Did you mean “perjury”? Not trying to snark — just curious.

    Oh, and at least I realize that I’m too crazy for marriage or children. πŸ™‚ Probably due to being a child of dee-vorce myself.

  62. Lisa Simpson,

    I read “heresy” in that quote as “hearsay”, which is apt.

  63. Eric,

    One of the advantages for me was the income tax situation. I make enough more than my wife that my income tax burden went down significantly from when I was single. Now, my case is probably not very common nowadays, and the tax situation could be changed with a stroke of the pen, so take my situation with a large grain of salt.

    Ken,

    Perhaps it’s the idea that no real man can be hurt by a woman. You know, it’s expected that a woman could beat on a man all she wants if she’s upset because it wouldn’t do any damage, but if a man hits a woman once, ohhh boooyy — straight to the pokey with you, guy. And then there’s Oprah talking a couple times a month about the horrific conditions in India, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America that exist for women there. I believe that sets up an environment where it’s easier to assume all men are monsters and women are only victims.

  64. Q. Why does the bride smile as she walks down the isle?
    A. She knows she’s given her last BJ.

    Ok, now that I’ve completely undermined any credibility you might have afforded me…

    I just turned 40 and the older I get, the less value I see in marriage.

    While my social circle was picking mates and settling in, I was busy building my business. One day I looked up and noticed that I was the only one still single. For a while, I was a little envious, but to listen to my friends, if I’m not interested in raising children, I’m not missing much.

    On the rare occasions that I do get together with them these days, I’ve observed that the women, in spite of their ballooning asses just keep raising the bar on what is an acceptable contribution from their husbands. Nothing the guys do ever do is right or enough. They don’t make enough money, they don’t spend enough time around the house, they pick the wrong video from the blockbuster, they wear the wrong clothes, they don’t clean the bathroom right. Piss on that.

    It’s just too easy to compare these decent, ordinary upper middle class guys on the all powerful daddy they remember from when they were 8 and blame their general unhappiness on their ‘bad’ husbands. Having tenure is too easy to abuse. Bill Maher was right to label them all need machines.

    These days I do a lot more thinking with my big head and when I examinine the reality of institution in the light of my own waning testosterone levels, I’d say “ladies, you’ve priced yourself out of the market, I just don’t see what’s in it for me.”

  65. crap. I did preview it and I do know how to spell aisle.

  66. A few amusing (to me, at least) data points:

    Wife and I are about to celebrate 20yr anniv.
    Both atheists. Dated several yrs before marriage.

    Our atheist friends (4 couples) have roughly equivalent lengths of marriage.

    Our religious friends (3 couples) are on their second and third marriages.

    My observation is that our religious friends don’t date as long (or cohabitate).

  67. Unadulterated drivel. I have never met anyone who sited “fear of divorce” as the reason they don’t plan to get married. This sounds like more dubious “science” from the promise keepers. For a bunch of guys who are dubious of atmospheric science, I would think you could show the same degree of healthy skepticism of someone making claims about the reason s for non-marriage.

  68. “When was the last time you actually heard a contentious divorce come out in favor of the man?”

    There isn’t a well-funded, well-organized movement devoted to calling attention to bad outcomes that unfairly benefit men.

  69. There isn’t a well-funded, well-organized movement devoted to calling attention to bad outcomes that unfairly benefit men.

    I assume this is sarcasm?

  70. No, Josh, just incomplete.

    I should have written “…bad outcomes from divorce lawsuits…”

    I realize there is an active feminist movement that publicizes bad stuff that happens to women. But they haven’t latched onto the “every divorce decision that goes the other way is evidence of bias” tact the way the “Men’s Rights” movement has.

  71. A few of the comments here remind me of something I read just recently in an old Geoffrey Whatcroft article from AM (9/00) on Kingsley and Martin Amis:

    > Although Kingsley may have been an extreme case [of adulterous behaviour], the letters describe an
    > important moment in social and sexual history–and a contrast that
    > hasn’t been given enough attention. Our generation, Boomers bom in the
    > decade after World War II, tended to marry later, after enjoying a
    > certain amount of romantic diversion first. His generation, born in the
    > decade after World War I, tended to marry very young–and then set about
    > illustrating Belloc’s lines “The Husbands and the Wives / Of this select
    > society / Lead independent lives / Of infinite variety.”

  72. 35th anniversary on Monday.
    What a long strange trip it?s been.
    I wouldn’t change a minute of it. /R

  73. I think the wonderful thing about this day and age is that you only need to get marreid if you really love someone, instead of getting hooked at 19 or 20 just to fianlly get laid as occurred so often in the 50s and 60s.

    Does anyone know if the divorce rate has changed since those folks trapped by the system have started to die off?

  74. “When was the last time you actually heard a contentious divorce come out in favor of the man?”

    Off the top of my head, Betty Broderick

    Ok, no.

    When the “men’s rights” movement starts complaining that wife-beating alcoholic layabout husbands aren’t getting their fair 50% during divorce proceedings, THEN Betty Broderick will be a fair counter-example. But for now, pick a sane, non-violent woman instead.

    Betty Broderick is, and was, a violent lunatic with a history of both criminal behavior and of disregard for the courts (for example, she lost most of her share of the joint property because she refused to appear in court to plead her claim).

    And she *still* got $108,000 a year in alimony. What she should have gotten is no money at all, and a lengthy stay in a prison’s mental hospital. That would have been the right and just thing to do — and two innocent peoples’ lives would have been saved, too.

  75. I believe in lifelong commitment and all that jazz. I’d be perfectly willing to get married, so long as I didn’t have to register it with the government. Who I’m in love with is my business, and I’m not interested in getting a license for it, thank you very much. But if I ever fall in love with someone i want to spend the rest of my life with, throwing myself a big wedding isn’t out of the question. There just won’t be any little certificate to go with it.
    I understand completely a lot of the concerns men have with getting married. I’d be a little suspicious of any man who wasn’t concerned about his future and his rights in the relationship. It reflects poorly on my gender, however, to judge us by the most vocal divorced men who tell you how their lovely girlfriends morphed overnight into frigid shrews as soon as they said “I do.” My suspicion is that while many of their gripes are justified, we’re only hearing one side of the story, and she’d seem just as sympathetic if we heard her side.

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