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Don't Marry Essay. Why Marriage Has Become a Raw Deal for Men
Don't Marry Essay
Why Marriage Has Become a Raw Deal for Men
By: Lee Raconteur
This writing seeks to educate men about the realities of what he may be getting himself into when he marries. An informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted. The intent is not to dissuade men from marrying, but to encourage them in communicating frankly their concerns and expectations of marriage with their potential spouses. The aim of this writing is to also enlighten women with some of the reasons why increasing numbers of successful eligible unmarried men, who otherwise prefer monogamous long-term relationships, are turning their backs on marriage.
Society automatically paints a stereotype on men who hesitate, delay, or elect not to marry. They are labelled as:
a) womanizers who are unable to participate in a long term relationship, or
b) Selfish/childish/irresponsible men who can not take care of themselves or another person.
No other explanation is ever explored.
The cost of proclaiming your undying love
(aka: The tip of the iceberg)
Except in professional sports and presidential elections, women are given the same educational and professional career opportunities as men. Also, contrary to feminist propaganda, women do indeed get paid the same salary as men, given they are willing to work the same types of jobs as men, and work as many hours as their male counterpart. Despite this reality, many women come into a marriage with very little assets, and often, are saddled with substantial debt. In general, men are the ones who save and invest. (Don't believe me? Count the number of women of marrying age you know who subscribe to Fortune, Forbes, or Money magazine) A significant number of 20 and 30-something women spend most of their disposable income on luxury rental apartments, upscale restaurants, frequent exotic vacations, leased cars, spa treatments, and excessive amounts of clothing, purses, shoes, etc. Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly. (Yet ironically, in the media, men are the ones who are portrayed as reckless, irresponsible spendthrifts)
** Disclaimer: For the purposes of this essay, I will be generalizing about the potential circumstances and gender roles that can plague men in today's modern marriage. What is the exception and what it the rule is open to debate. Certainly not all (or perhaps even most?) marriages end up as described. However, the aim is to simply educate men of some of the potential outcomes that exist for today's marriage and divorce.
When marriage enters the picture, double standards and financial imbalances leave responsible men to pick up the slack. (And also fix the mess she may have made). For starters, men are forced (yes, forced) to spend their hard earned savings (or take a loan) on a diamond ring. Women justify this relatively nascent ritual (spawned by a brilliant 1940's mass-brainwashing campaign launched by DeBeers) by insisting a man wants to buy her a diamond. That it makes a man proud to proclaim his love and affection this way. Granted, some men may be this way, but there are plenty who seek a lifelong partnership and commitment, yet have no interest in buying diamonds. What choice do these men have? None! To many young men, the ring/wedding is a unwelcome landmine in their journey towards adult financial stability. To add insult to injury, (a recurring theme in marriage, as you will see), the man is now locked into a lifetime of insurance payments for this grossly overpriced jewelry. (Contrary to popular belief, diamonds are not rare, but their supply has been artificially manipulated) Some men are more concerned with realizing their dream of owning a home, and/or becoming financially stable enough to begin a family. Men worry about these matters, because, ultimately, it becomes their responsibility as well.
This just portends the things to come. Immediately after buying a ring, the man may be rewarded with demands of financing all or part of a lavish wedding.... (Depending on the size of his bank account.) The costs of today's weddings exceed that of a house down payment. (Or in certain parts of the country, the house itself) If a man enters a marriage having saved up a down payment for his dream home, it can suddenly be snatched from right from under him. Many men may object to spending this sum of money on a one-day party. (Or spending a year of their life planning it, when they could use the same time to further their career or education) However, what a man wants is really not of any concern. Non-negotiable. A wedding is no longer for the bride and groom. As today's Bridezilla gleefully reminds you, "This is MY day". (Which ostensibly, gives her carte blanche to become selfish, irresponsible, and childlike) Are all women like this? Not at all. Could this be your future wife? Possibly. A man who balks at spending his entire life savings (or going into debt for) a ring & wedding & exotic 5-star honeymoon can be labeled a selfish cheapskate or not a "real man". (Meanwhile, what exactly constitutes a "real woman"?) In fact, if a woman leaves a man for suggesting they try to keep their costs under control, she would have full support from everyone around her. "She can do better than that"...."Clearly, he doesn't love her"..... etc. This is a sign of good self-esteem, and that she won't settle for anything less. Yet, in the same breath of this sense of entitlement, women proudly proclaim how equal & independent they are. However, can you imagine if a man demanded equal treatment? For example, demanding the woman buy him a boat, and a 2 week bear hunt in Siberia as a condition of marriage? This would be viewed as absurd, yet women do it every day. Marriage is a partnership, right? Please read on, my friend.
The injustices can go from bad to worse when children enter the picture. If the man can afford to carry the entire financial burden, the woman can elect to stop working. (Regardless of how the man may feel about the decision) The day the woman stops working is the day all of her past financial baggage unequivocally gets thrown onto the man's head. If the woman has racked up credit card debts, these are now his payments. If the woman has not bothered to pay off her student loans, these also become the man's responsibility. (Stomach-churning irony = the man is stuck paying for her degree, and she's not even working anymore!!) And can the man object? Can he say, "No, you made your mess, and it should not be my job to clean it up. You knew you wanted kids even before you met me, and you should have planned ahead." No, the payments can't be deferred until she is once again able to continue repaying them herself (Besides, that day may never come) Not if he wants to retain a clean credit rating to get a loan for their dream home. If he even suggested that she return to work to pay off her own debts, he would be chastised as bad father, endangering the welfare of his newborn. So, the responsible husband now compensates for the mother's freewheeling irresponsible past, and pays off all her debts. In yet another sick twist of irony, the husband may be paying off credit cards used to finance vacations and xmas gifts shared with previous boyfriends, etc. Buyer beware! This is the reward for today's man who works hard, makes sacrifices, plans ahead, and invests wisely. Again, this doesn't always happen. But by getting married, the man is certainly susceptible to being railroaded into this situation, because it is completely acceptable within today's accepted gender roles. Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly.
Marriage can mean career slavery
(aka: A good paycheck can mean career slavery)
Anyone who says "Slavery is dead" clearly has not contemplated the predicament of many American fathers. Webster's defines slavery as "the state of being under the control of another person." If the husband earns enough to support both of them, he would be hard pressed to make an argument to preserve equality, and have her continue working as he does. If the wife decides to stop working, the men who have been left holding the financial bag find their options limited. They may find themselves stuck in careers they hate, or working for abusive exploitative management, working excessively long hours, working in jobs that are physically threatening, that have no growth potential, enduring prolonged commutes, etc. At this point, considering the corner he's been painted into, he is often powerless to affect any change in his own life. A husband may have been harboring delusions that once the wife was able to return to work, he would gain some flexibility to rectify some of the shortcomings in his own career (For example, changing careers or accepting a lower salary at a different firm, in exchange for better hours, shorter commute, and/or more fulfilling work, etc) But, a distinct reality is that he will continue to shoulder the financial responsibilities alone....A man's reward for working hard and getting ahead is to become trapped into his career, and shoulder the financial burdens of a family alone. Does it pay to work hard anymore?
If she stops working, she may never work again.
(aka: Caveat Emptor)
There are many debates about the merits of a stay-at-home mother vs. a working mother. My goal here is to simply educate the man on the unseen risks he is taking when he agrees to accept 100% of the financial burden to allow his wife to stay at home. Again, an informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted.
Every parent will agree that staying home with a child is back-breaking (and often mind-numbing) labor. Many new fathers will concede that it is much easier to go to work than to stay at home with several children. However, the greatest imbalance in efforts and contributions to a marriage can manifest once all the children are of school age. The house is now empty from 8am-3pm. The wife has 7 hours to herself, while the kids are at school, and the husband is at work. After a few years of hard work at home, many wives may feel entitled to "kick back." The good husband however, has worked those same years, has done his 50/50 of the housework, and is still working to support the family once the kids are in school. He is rarely afforded the same option to scale back his daytime efforts.
What motivation does the modern wife have to return to work? Very little. For several years now, the man's salary has been enough to live on. (Otherwise, she would have been working) Unless tight finances dictate that she must return to work, the husband really has little say in this matter. The wife can hide behind many different excuses in order not to work, despite having little to do from 7am-3pm:
"I'm busy with the housework"
It is easy to exaggerate the labors of daily housework. Yet, how long does it take to throw clothes into the wash, and remove them later? Vacuuming can be done in 1 hour a week. Grocery is another hour per week. A decent meal can be prepared in under an hour. Does all this add up to 7 hours a day? Note: This lie is not as persuasive as it may have been in the past, b/c in an age of later marriage, many men are already experienced in cooking & cleaning, and know what kind of effort it entails. (Note that not every stay-at-home-wife even does all these things.)
"I can't find a job"
She has been out of work too long, and therefore is unable to find a job. This may be true, but many men do not consider this risk when they agree to support her while she "temporarily' stops working. (Hopefully, now they will, and can make a more informed decision) Also, many wives may use this as a scapegoat to conveniently not even bother looking for any job. (Below, I describe how this can even be used against the husband in the event of divorce)
"It doesn't pay for me to work"
In the shortrun, the expenses of work (gas, lunch, clothes) may not make it worthwhile for her to go back to work. This may be true, but does this justify her playing tennis, while the husband toils away? Many couples may be too shortsighted on this matter. Initially, the cost/benefit numbers may not be ideal, but her returning to work will improve her job skills and network of contacts. (More so than strolling through the local mall every afternoon) Over time, as her career gets back on track, and she becomes qualified for better jobs, her salary should also improve.
It should be duly noted that some working wives view their salary as "personal spending money", and still expect the man to pay all or most of the bills. (What's mine is mine, and what's yours is ours.) Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly.
Even more unfair double standards that favor wives
If a married man cheats, he's the scum of the earth.A selfish jerk who has jeopardized the family unit. However, when the woman cheats, she's conveniently portrayed as the victim. Poor thing. It's for her empowerment, or to help her self-esteem. Worse yet, her cheating can be the man's fault. How? He doesn't compliment her like her new man does. Or he works too much. (Yes, the man who is scrambling to pay the mortgage and cars she may have demanded is now considered negligent. The man who may be working 2 jobs to allow her to be home with her kids is now considered negligent)
When a woman cheats, the first thing people ask is what he did (or didn't do) to drive her into the arms of another man.
When a man cheats, no one ever asks the same question.
When a woman cheats, sometimes the reaction can be, "Oh, poor thing, I guess her husband wasn't delivering in the bedroom".
However, if a man cheats, no one ever stops to think...."Oh poor fella, his wife was horrible in bed."
Also, if a man happens to leave his wife for a younger woman, it is automatically assumed that he is a shallow sex maniac whose only motivation was to be with a younger woman. If his wife was lazy, or a reckless spendthrift, or verbally or physically abusive, or became grossly overweight, or was an incompetent mother, those realities are totally ignored. Ostensibly, the only reason a man leaves his wife is to be with a younger, more attractive woman. (Never mind if she is a better match for him) Because apparently, that's the only factor that motivates these Neanderthals.
If a man insists on a prenup, he is selfish and unromantic. However, when is the last time a woman who demanded a prenup was called "unromantic"? On the contrary, if a woman requests a prenup, she is fiscally responsible and looking out for herself. (Note: If your fiancée refuses to sign a prenup, she has just shown her hand...) Why is it that a woman can refuse a prenup, and it's accepted. In reality, the man should be outraged that she is after a legal contract, and not love.
What is astounding is the hypocrisy of the reaction towards prenups. Women can conveniently assert that a man is unromantic if he suggests a prenup. After all, how can a man pollute true love with signing of legal paperwork! However, what is a marriage contract? Women do not seem to balk at signing this legal paperwork, which entitles her to at least half the money a man earns, and obligates him to support her if the event of a breakup. Why aren't men allowed to note how unromantic this contract is? The distraction of bridal magazines, selection of dinner napkins, churches, wedding dresses, receptions, wedding showers, and honeymoons have clouded the legal reality of what men are getting themselves into. Marriage is as much an unromantic legal contract as a prenuptial agreement is.
Ironically, prenups were devised as a way to protect women. Nuptial agreements were popularized in the 19th century, mostly to protect heiresses from marrying men who were "out for their money." Until the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, a woman's property, upon marriage, was transferred to her husband. (Correct, )
"Stupid, Irresponsible" Men
Men are severely abused in our media, quite frankly. Just watch TV commercials/sitcoms and see how many reflect men as idiots. (If they had commercials like that about women, people would have a fit.) If it wasn't for their wives they would be lost "animals". Other commercials who make it appear that men act without thinking, impulsively and irrationally, and the wife is the brains of the family, which in reality is not always true. Even many women will agree, women often are the ones who act on emotions, and make judgment solely based on emotional attachments, rather then logic and reason. Almost every "couples budgeting" article will portray the woman as the one who has to rein in the man's childish spending.
If a husband loses his job and is having trouble finding work, the wife is justified in threatening to leave him. However, can you imagine the reaction if a husband threatened to leave a wife who was in the exact same position?? He would be crucified! If a man loses his job, the woman is justified in resenting the fact that the financial burden lies on her. However, when is a man allowed to resent this very same predicament? If a man is laid off and cares for the household/kids, while the wife is working, he can be accused of not pulling his weight! Yet this is exactly the same situation that women demand more recognition for!! Either role the man plays, he loses!
It's perfectly acceptable for a woman to demand a man make a certain salary, to be deemed "marriage material", and provide stability. Likewise, if a man demands the wife do the cooking/cleaning, he can now be labeled a sexist misogynist. If he asks her to carry her weight financially (just like he does), he can be criticized as an inadequate provider. What exactly deems a woman "marriage material"?
To top it off, some women have gotten so pampered that they not only quit their jobs the day they find out they are pregnant, but they hire as many nannys as their husband can afford. Yes, some wives stay at home, and hire someone else to raise the kids and clean up, while they drink lattes and go shopping all day with other pampered "stay-at-home" mothers. This is not all women, but certainly the odds increase if the man can afford it. Does it pay to work hard and get ahead anymore, if this is how your hard earned money is squandered?
Are all women like this? No. Could this be your future wife? Possibly. The concept of the pampered wife is relatively new. America was primarily an agricultural economy even up into the 1920's. American wives contributed to the well being of the household by helping on the farm. A man needed a wife as an equal partner. It was not until the 1950's that the first generation of American wives began to emerge as dead weight. Perhaps this coincides with the spiking of the divorce rate in America. Perhaps men have become tired of giving so much, while getting so little in exchange.
(aka: License to Steal)
50% of American marriages end in divorce, and 70% of these divorces are initiaited by women. All men should consult an attorney before marrying, and understand the implications of divorce, b/c they may participate in one whether they like it not.
Upon divorce, all assets accumulated during a marriage are subject to division. Even if the woman has not worked in years, and instead, has spent the last few years shopping and lunching from 7am-3pm, she is entitled to half of everything the man worked for during the course of the marriage. Is this fair? How many people would ever accept a job offer that stipulated that in the event of resignation, you would have to return 50% of every dime you were ever paid? No one in his or her right mind. Yet, men unknowingly agree to the exact same insanity when they sign their marriage contract!
"Assets accumulated prior to a marriage are exempt from a divorce." Yes, in theory. However, real life dictates otherwise. If funds from an account are commingled, it can become marital property. If even a dime from an account is spent towards the marriage, it can be considered marital property. Buy your child a lollypop from your own account, and a good lawyer will take 1/2 of it for your ex-wife when you divorce. If a woman moves into a home the man owned prior to the marriage, it is not safe from divorce. If she so much as hangs up a sheet of wallpaper, the home is now classified as marital property, and is subject to equal division. (Worse actually, the man can be ejected from the home) Is this fair?
Note: "equal division" is also somewhat a misnomer. Often, she can get upwards of 70% of assets, while the man gets the majority of the debts!! This, of course, is his reward for working so hard all these years. He can afford it, she can't b/c she was not working.
If you pamper your wife, it can be used against you
(aka: No good deed goes unpunished)
Imagine yourself giving a homeless man a sandwich. A generous act, indeed. Now imagine your reaction if the homeless man sues you in court! The judge orders you to keep feeding the homeless man sandwiches, indefinitely, because he has become accustomed to your support!! This would be categorically absurd, yet this happens to men in divorce court every day. Instead of thanking you for paying her bills for all those years, you get the reward of legally having to keep paying her bills! Remember folks: No good deed goes unpunished.
After having children, many women demand to quit working and stay home. Before kids, many of these women may have been in careers they hated, working long hours, and enduring long commutes. It is the man's generosity and dedication to his own career that allows her to walk away from her hers. During a marriage, a man with a stay-at-home wife might work himself to the bone in order to support her. He will pay the mortgage, property tax, grocery bill, phone bill, cable bill, and electric bill. He also pays for her car, the gas money, clothes, and vacations.
As a slap in the face, the man can be punished for working hard enough to allow his wife the have the luxury of staying home with the kids. As noted above, after the children are in school, the wife may enjoy a life of leisure that is afforded to her by her man's hard work. In event of divorce, he can be legally obligated to support her for years to come. Because she stopped working and led a life of leisure, the ex-husband is now responsible for supporting her!! History has a tendency of rewriting itself. Originally, a woman may have had a career that she may have hated, and was begging to leave. (In fact, that partially may have been her motivation to have kids in the first place.) But now, in her eyes (or her lawyer's eyes), she "gave up" her career for the man and his kids. His gift now becomes her sacrifice! Or, the story goes that he was threatened by her having her own career, and forced her to quit and stay home with the children. (How many men do you personally know that are upset at having a wife that earns a good living?) Many of these misleading stereotypes still run rampant in our society, and are routinely used to the woman's advantage during a divorce. As a result of her not working, regardless of whether she was minding the home or not, she remains a liability.
Generous, caring men who spoil their wives should certainly think twice about how this generosity can later be used against them. The phrase used in divorce court is "She has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle". A husband's reward for spoiling his wife today is the legal obligation to spoil her indefinitely. Buy her a luxury car today, and you may be obligated to buy her luxury cars after she leaves for you for another man! Yet...imagine a husband that became accustomed to eating a home cooked dinner prepared by his wife. Now imagine the courts obligate the ex-wife to continue cooking for him and his new girlfriend each night, despite being divorced! Inconceivable, but it happens the other way around every day!
The ultimate insult, however, comes when the man loses half of his life's assets even when she has decided to leave him. Yes, a wife can kick a man out of his own home, and have the courts force him to continue paying the bills, while she is sleeping with her new boyfriend in the very house the husband worked to buy! She can spend her alimony check on gifts for her new boyfriend! Are all women like this? No. Does the legal system support a woman who does feel entitled to this? Yes.
The risks are clear, but what exactly are men getting out of marriage? Many times, the reasons men get married are unfounded.
All the "classic" reasons why a man gets married are a myth.
(aka: Don't believe the hype)
"I won't die alone"
Wrong. The simple fact is, that one spouse WILL die alone. (Unless you both die simultaneously in a car accident.) Your spouse may die 15 years before you. Or you may be on a hospital bed for your last year. Yes, you may get visitors, but they aren't having the same thoughts as you are. You're contemplating your mortality, while they're wondering what pizza toppings the hospital cafeteria offers. Ultimately, we all die alone. Married or not.
Corollary: "I won't grow old alone"
Not necessarily. A marriage can self-destruct at any time. Your partner may initiate divorce at age 30, 35, 45, 50, 55, 60, etc. MANY married people end up in the same position (alone) as if they had never married at all. (But they enter their twilight years broke, as a result of being stripped of half of their life's assets, losing half their retirement/pension funds, and/or being assessed alimony payments) Also, experiencing final devastation from one divorce may preclude a man from ever marrying again. ie: He grows old alone (and poor)
Men are led to believe that not marrying implies a destiny of a solitary monk in a cave. However, life is not so black and white. Not marrying does not mean you can't continue to date or have meaningful relationships throughout your life. There are plenty of single people in all age brackets. In fact, a bad marriage can be the loneliest of institutions, b/c most of your emotional outlet and companionship is concentrated into one person. Again, my aim is to educate young men in their 20's and 30's to the alternatives that exist in life. They should be aware that marriage is a choice, and is not the only path life has to offer.. An informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted.
"I'll get regular sex"
Not necessarily. There are plenty of "sexless" marriages. Talk to a few married couples that are honest about their relationship. One or both partners may stop wanting sex after kids. Also, it remains to be seen whether sex with 1 partner for 30 years is even a natural act, or just a man-made convention. Marriage is hardly a guarantee of regular sex, as many people are led to believe.
"I'll have someone to cook/clean for me"
Not necessarily. While a woman is perfectly justified in quitting her job in the name of staying home with the kids, she can also demand that the husband pay for a cook, a maid, and a nanny. This leaves a man to earn the money, and leaves him to pay for maintenance of household and children. Today's woman is empowered by not performing the traditional housewife duties, regardless of whether she is working or not. If a husband asks that his wife perform traditional household duties b/c she is not working, he can be labeled sexist or controlling, even if he is doing his "traditional role" of paying all the bills. (Besides, this is a stupid reason to get married. If that's what you want, then hire a maid)
"It's the proper religious thing to do"
Perhaps, but it is a complete farce to watch couples that haven't gone to church in 10, 15, or 20 years suddenly become church going regulars a few months prior to their marriage in order to gain approval of their church. (And in most cases, they don't step back into a church the day after their wedding) If you are not actively religious, why would you need your personal relationship to be endorsed by corrupt child-molesting, tax-exempt, money-soliciting, war-mongering thieves? (Who you will never see again) Religion today is nothing more than a way to socialize and network with neighbors on Sundays. Not a reason to be married. Of course, the Catholic church only allows you to be married once. So when remarrying, divorced people will get the marriage "annulled". A convenient man-made loophole to circumvent a man-made custom. A complete farce.
"I have to be married to have kids"
Really? Her ovaries do not physically need a contract at town hall in order to be fertilized by his sperm. Cro-Magnon man had children long before lawyers invented marriage contracts. Often, you do not need to be married in order to share health benefits. (Due to the gay rights movement) You do not need to be married to designate your partner on a life insurance policy. It's ironic that responsible parents who raise a healthy family, but never actually sign marriage paperwork, get less respect than ineffective/inattentive/incompetent married (or divorced) parents.
Having a lifelong, faithful relationship has nothing to do with being "married".
Owning beautiful dream home together has nothing to do with being "married".
Raising healthy, happy, and successful children has nothing to do with being "married".
All these things have been done by gay couples for years now, without marriage. In fact, with the advent of gay marriage, gay couples have proven that the only tangible consequence of marriage is having a formalized seperation process.
Otherwise, nothing else has changed in their relationship that existed before "marriage".
You do need to be married in order to throw a extravagant 3 hour party, and share the same last name, however.
Besides that, marriage does nothing but introduce lawyers and phoney, crooked religious figures into your life. (People that otherwise have nothing to do with your life or your relationship)
Men need to stop and ask, "Why exactly am I getting married? What exactly does marriage mean to me in today's world?"
It is hardly a lifelong committment, b/c it can be reversed overnight.
Marriage was borne as a way for families to merge land/property, so maybe people should view it as just that. The rest of the hype is just bogus modern TV fantasy polluting the minds of today's impressionable youth, and a way to keep the $70 billion-per-year U.S. wedding industry chugging along. Perhaps the only criteria should really be "Am I excited to merge my finances with him/her?" Because, when all the fluff and hype are boiled away, that may be the only remaining reality. (Don't believe me? Spend a day in divorce courts, and you'll see exactly what is real and tangible about marriage. You'll also see women who signed the marriage contract under romantic pretenses who are now expert laymen attorneys who can cite case law. Boquet throwing ex-brides now embroiled in warfare to get everything that's comin' to them!) The rest are myths, lies, bold unsubstantiated promises, and maybes.....For better or worse.
The national divorce rate is 50%. (It's higher in some parts of the country, like CA) However, I ask you, consider of the number of people who are in a bad marriage, but elect to stay. (Men who don't want to lose 50%, ....women who know they can't support themselves alone, etc) Next, think of how many more couples stay together just for the sake of the kids. Of these, "forced marriages, consider how many of these marriages involve infidelity. A shot in the dark, but I estimate the percentage of happy & monogamous marriages to be under 5%. Are these odds you would take in a business venture? Or even a raffle ticket? Most of the risk-averse population would not. Yet they seek this exception to the rule everyday at the altar.
There is no conclusion. The author is just as confused as you are. Brothers, choose wisely ?
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