Are Men Settling?

by Karin on February 23, 2012 · 3 comments

Post image for Are Men Settling? We often examine marriage rates, patterns and trends with a focus on the implications for women. For example, earlier this month, I wrote about an op-ed in the New York Times, The M.R.S. and the Ph.D. Usually, one of the main questions in articles about young women and marriage is, "are women settling?" According to a new survey, we should be asking the same question about men. Jessica Bennett at the Daily Beast summarizes the survey:
Rather than living up to the stereotype of commitment-phobic bachelors, modern men reported that they fell in love just as often as women, were just as likely to believe that marriage is “forever,” and scarcely bit when asked whether they'd prefer to “just date a lot of people.” But most shocking was how many of the single men wanted to settle down—and how willing they were to lower their standards to make that happen. A whopping 31 percent of adult men said they’d commit to a person they were not in love with—as long as as she had all the other attributes they were looking for in a mate—and 21 percent said they'd commit under those same circumstances to somebody they weren't sexually attracted to. The equivalent numbers for women were far lower. “Give me a friend I get along with, have good sex with, and is willing to compromise, and I’ll build the love over time,” one man, a Colorado computer instructor, told me. It was as if he was echoeing the advice given to many-a-young-bride by the village matchmaker.
Bennett argues that men are a victim of the success of women when it comes to marriage:
Until, perhaps, now. Modern marriage economics have catapulted women into the role of breadwinners in many households, and as more women have entered the workforce, financial freedom has meant independence in other spheres, as well. Women now have the ability to choose a mate for reasons other than his pocketbook; many are in fact choosing to reject having a mate at all. Where this leaves men? Well, as women’s independence has increased, it seems, romantic opportunity for men has suffered the opposite fate. "And that problem is bound to be worse for poorer men," says Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, who runs the blog Family Inequality. “I don’t think there’s any way to avoid that."
And she paints a bit of a sad picture:
“At the end of the day, most of us just want someone who is supportive and sane enough to have a family with," a journalist friend tells me. "I think men have always been willing to settle." Says Thomas Fant, a private health-care consultant in New York: "The idea of being alone in life can be so overwhelming. Soul crushing for some. Men certainly aren't immune to it.” Or, as one middle-aged guy puts it: “We all marry our second or third or fourth best choice. It is just life." (Ouch.) But perhaps there's a more realistic way to look at it: that single life for men can be just as challenging as it is for women. "When we are honest, when we rid ourselves of the fantasy, being a single guy is f--king horrible,” says Nick Soman, the 32-year-old founder of a social dating site called LikeBright. “People start looking at you and thinking, ‘You seem like a decent dude. Where’s the woman?’ You’ll go to these weddings, and you’ll be at the increasingly declining table of the singles. There’s, like, three guys and a girl. You’re all kind of looking at each other like, ‘Wow, these odds are pretty bad.’”
I am glad to see coverage of the mariage issue from the perspective of how men are impacted by changing trends. We should be thinking about how later marriage impacts both men and women. I look forward to discussing men more during the Gentlemen's Showcase, starting in one week on March 1.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben February 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

The sociologist forgot to mention (or more likely is unaware), it destroys society as a whole because reproduction serves as a fundamental part of a society to survive. The only other solution is to import non citizens to the nation to supplement a decrease in the population (which is not always a good idea).

Such societies in and of itself don’t last long.

However, men cannot and will not tolerate such isolation for so long and will become violent. A real gender war will really start to ensue and unfortunately, biologically, it will not go the way Feminist want. By trying to make women into men, they have instead created a group (and growing) of single men. This is very bad. Men don’t do well single for long periods of time. A perfect recipe for extremism.

Biology triumphs ideology. Every time.


Josh February 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Excellent point, Ben, and this is yet another example of leftists doing what they falsely accuse conservatives of doing: ignoring science. They claim they believe in evolution and modern science, but if you point out the myriad evolutionary and scientific ways in which earlier childbearing is healthier, both for the mother and the child, they will react with indignation and disgust.

There are compelling health reasons for the traditional approach.


Ben March 1, 2012 at 6:29 pm

That is because Josh, Liberalism isn’t really “pro-science.” It selectively choose what parts of science it likes and either ignores or slams the rest. Anything that gets chomped out is replaces with pseudo-science.

Egalitarianism is fundamentally anti-science and Darwinist.

This why the Soviet Union (considered a left wing regime) censured huge swathes of science, and anyone who didn’t toe the line was executed along with their families. You can look up Lysenkoism for more information.

The religious right may be anti science; but taking a Darwinist perspective religion, serves a purpose to a society (depending on what were are specifically talking about could be good or bad). Societies evolved with religion for several reasons and religion reinforces how people behave which have a biological and evolutionary implications.

However, I will disagree with the article in that women were the primary advocates of marriage (and institutions like religion reinforce such ideas to men), since early history as it serves a benefit to her to have a man around to provide and protect her (of course many men do want to settle down with one person but this usually comes after a long amount of years). Men have the want to procreate with as many women as possible. Now that modernism and technology has relieved such needs women don’t feel they are obligated for marriage to have children because either a) her career with large sums of money will save her; and, if that doesn’t work b) the state will look after her. The man has become discarded (except he “really” hasn’t since sperm is needed in order for life to happen). The discarded man no longer needing marriage to get sex, will now hook up–free sex for nothing in return. That makes things very bad for women.

Thus children will not get as much support from both parents = bad. Why get married and stay with one person?

However, women looking out for their interest, tries to make sure that such a thing doesn’t get out of control through alimony. But then again, men will make sure no such thing occurs with condoms. Both sexes are evolving with new sexual strategies for self interest without looking at the greater picture on how society as a whole degenerates.

And that is when it really hits the fan. Because after condoms ultimately allow for the freedom of the men to engage in pleasure and careers allow women just to not even bother with dating (until THAT biological clock starts ticking…do men have that biological clock…no…) society will simply disappear. And people wonder why more intelligent societies decline…

Society won’t go out with a bang but with a whimper.


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