think we need to talk about our relationship.
OK, now that
the men are out of the room Iíd like to shed a little light on the
male mind for my female readers. If ďmale mindĒ seems a
contradiction of terms, donít feel alone; most men canít figure you
out either. Thatís why Iím not writing about women.
Not all men
are alike, but there are identifiable trends. In ďWhy
Men Wonít Commit: Exploring Young Menís Attitudes About Sex,
Dating, and Marriage,Ē the National Marriage
Project at Rutgers University found American men are now marrying at
a median age of 27, the oldest ever. Since women still tend to
marry men, this means they are getting hitched later too. In fact
the median age of first marriage for women in this country shot to
25 in the last decade after ranging between 22 and 23 for a century.
How can guys
who never miss a tee time and faithfully change their oil every
3,000 miles be tortoise slow to pencil in a wedding day? The
Rutgers study identified ten factors, but it boils down to a fear
that marriage offers little they donít already have and might
require things they donít want to do. Not much incentive there, but
why would men think this way while women, in general, donít?
largely because we are not the same. When I hear single women talk
about marriage, they usually speak of the positives: Love,
commitment, security, a steady life partner, and a stable family
environment. When researchers asked men why they stayed single, six
of the top reasons were perceived negatives they wished to avoid and
three were benefits that no longer require a wedding. Reason number
ten was that they wanted to enjoy numbers one through nine as long
subjects also expressed a fear of marrying the wrong person. None
seemed to worry much that they may actually be the wrong person, and
often fretted marriage would require them to change. Many felt
commitment would be easy if only they could find their ďsoul mate,Ē
that magical person who would agree with their every word and rarely
expect anything. Kind of like a cross between Tinkerbell and
Many of the
men wished to avoid having a family until they were older, and were,
as a group, unconcerned with womenís biological clocks. As one
fellow put it, ďThatís
Some preferred to own a house before marrying, which at least
requires a commitment to a mortgage.
start. Men feel they no longer need to marry for social acceptance,
which by my observation is true. As society depreciates traditional
moral and religious values, live-in relationships no longer draw
scorn, allowing men the perks of marriage at low risk Ė or
commitment. While nearly half claimed they wouldnít marry without
first living together, several in the study viewed their live-in
partner as a stand-in, essentially a seat-warmer for Miss Right.
surprise no one, no man anyway, that the number one reason men are
cold on marriage is that sex has become easy to get without it. The
irony here is the number of women who feel they must oblige a man to
keep him; my guess is that if matrimony were suddenly the only
acceptable arrangement for sex the median age of marriage for men
would drop to about 17.
capable of better, but our cultural swap of values for expedience
makes it easy for some to take the path of least resistance. Itís a
trade that, in the end, benefits neither women, families, nor men