Monday, June 02, 2008

Study says that men prefer being solo over a bad marriage

Here it is, June already! And how fitting that this article appears on the traditional month for marriage.

The title of the article is: Men prefer being solo over a bad marriage.

I am in my 40's, and have never been married. An age, in other words, that many people - even men - have usually already been married. When people are in their 40's, they are often divorced from their second marriage, or preparing for their third. Hell, I know former classmates who are already grandparents. So let's answer the big question first: Do I WANT to be married? The answer is definitely yes. The idea of growing old with someone, and the idea of raising kids appeals to me, and it always has.

BUT, with the right woman!

The article linked above stated that the #1 reason why men don't marry is not because they don't want to marry or that they are afraid to marry, but because they are afraid of a bad marriage. That is me, to a "T". During my adult life, I have seen one example after another, time and time and time again how to marry the wrong way. I have seen divorces, remarriages, redivorces, and of course the ugly child custody suits. I have seen one ex have their asses handed to them by the other. I have seen the kids being used as ammo by the parents, with little or no regard to the feelings of the kids.

In my life, there have been very few examples of good, happy marriages for me to look up to. The examples I've seen of marriage send the message that "marriage is for sex for a few years until you have a child or two, then you divorce and fight over the kids". The marriage, divorce, and custody suits afterwards seemed to have become a bizarre rite of passage. It was painful, ugly, and senseless. So you see why a bad marriage scares me.

Not only do I not want to put myself through that kind of pain, I also don't want to do that to my children. It would kill me to hurt my kids the way that I've seen kids hurt by divorce, and I might agree to something stupid in order to spare my kids from being hurt. My logic then is still my logic now: I'd rather wait and be married right the first time than to rush into it and screw up. Rushing into marriage just because you don't want to be UNmarried is a very sure path to eventually being unmarried again.

Another thing that the article stated is that many who are single are not unhappy or lonely. They've accepted their current state. This may or may not suggest that they want to stay that way, but that if they do, they can live with it. That's how I feel. Another common criticism is that my standards are too high. The way to answer that is to ask "If I make my standards too low, for sure I'll find someone, but what are the odds that it will be the right one?" Judging by what I've seen during my adult life, the odds are not good at all. In fact, low standards and rushing into marriage are what caused a lot of the problems that we see today. If low standards and rushing into marriage didn't work in the past, why would they work now?

Another couple of things that I would have added to the article are that 1.) unlike women, men don't have a loud "biological clock" that pressures then into a decision, and 2.) unlike women, men don't generally share their feelings with their friends - at least not feelings of this nature. If any of my buds wanted to come cry on my shoulder about how lonely he feels, I'd probably tell him to go tell Dr. Phil. This is not out of meanness or a lack of concern, it's just that dudes don't do feelings with other dudes.

The only acceptable feelings that men share with other men are usually related to sports, like anger over a stupid call or joy over winning the championship. In any case, the lack of a loud biological clock and the hesitancy for men to share their feelings with other men can be both a good and a bad - but mainly it just shows that men and women are different - and despite the frustrations that it causes women, there's nothing wrong with the differences. It's what makes women women, and men men.

Let me finish this by saying that marriage is still a goal of mine. I would still like a wife and kids. That still appeals to me. Have I made mistakes in the past? Absolutely. I'd be deluding myself by thinking otherwise. But I do want to go to sleep every night with the woman that I love. I do want to hold my son or daughter (or both, if I ever get to that point) in my arms. I want it strongly enough that I want to do it right the first time, and there's nothing wrong with that. I want those arms that embrace me and whom I embrace with my arms to do so forever. That's a goal worth fighting for, and it's worth waiting for.

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