Friday, July 11, 2008

Article: The Negatives of Marriage for Men Often Outweigh the Positives

Here's a perceptive article: "Single Men in Never-Neverland" - by Dr. Helen Smith, February 7, 2008

"Why do today's men run from commitment -- indefinitely delaying settling down in a marriage they take seriously, and having kids? Dr. Helen Smith asks whether they are indeed pampered eternal adolescents more interested in exploding toilets and video games than real life.

Yep, it’s just that freewheeling marketplace or an avoidance of deep attachments or whatever that is keeping men from taking marriage seriously, settling down and having kids. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. What Hymowitz misses is that men are on a marriage strike, not necessarily because they are perpetual adolescents or avoiding deep attachments to others but because the reward for being an adult in our society is so low, especially for men.

It’s really simple Psychology 101 (or Economics 101) — make something negative enough and people will avoid it, make it positive, and more people will engage in that particular behavior.

Nowadays, for many men, the negatives of marriage for men often outweigh the positives. Therefore, they engage in it less often. Not because they are bad, not because they are perpetual adolescents, but because they have weighed the pros and cons of marriage in a rational manner and found the institution to be lacking for them. It’s a sensible choice for some and the video games, magazines, and humor websites that Hymowitz disses are a way to fill one’s time with fun activities that don’t tell you that you suck, are an “unfinished person,” emotionally detached or on your way to jail for fake domestic violence charges. People used to treat men better than this." [Read more....]