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"Men do better out of marriage than women."

(81 Posts)
Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 16:51:05

This is a view I've seen expressed on here a few times, and I was wondering - is it a common view held by many people on here/IRL? Because, unless you are married to a twat who takes you for granted - which is obviously a problem - then I don't see how men do better out of marriage than women, nowadays.

Yama Mon 10-Dec-12 18:12:16

You know, I don't know if we are moving backwards or if I some sort of freak who has operated outside of the norm all my life.

I can see all of this, everything SGB and Bertie and others on this thread have posted about but I don't feel it.

I was always happy single, I never wanted to marry, I had a child on my own (from pregnancy) and I have never felt judged or pressured. I have resisted my identity being linked to my relationships. To channel the Prisoner, 'I am not a couple, I am a free woman.' Or something.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 09-Dec-12 09:08:58

Bertie: That's partly a hangover from the days when it was a dreadful fate to be an unmarried woman, because women working for pay was almost unheard of, and unmarried women who didn't have handy male protectors in the shape of fathers or brothers were pretty much seen as fair game for predators.

Again, this is the way men designed marriage - being owned by one man was safer for women, Freedom and autonomy, oh no dear you don't want those...

ClippedPhoenix Sun 09-Dec-12 03:44:14

Of course they would it stands to reason.

A servant makes for a happy life!

You are right Bertie and it happens going out of a marriage as well as going in. I'm sure my first husband didn't feel he had 'failed' when our marriage ended. I did though.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 09-Dec-12 02:12:56

Great post Bertie

BertieBotts Sat 08-Dec-12 23:34:32

I've been thinking about this thread; sorry for the late addition!

I have been thinking about how, culturally/in terms of society and attitudes etc, marriage is seen as more of an option for men whereas it's more of an essential for women.

So, while marriage is a choice for either sex, the alternatives are wildly different. If a man never marries then that's a perfectly fine thing in the eyes of society, whereas for women it's seen as more of a terrible predicament. So, of course, the goal becomes marriage in order to avoid that terrible predicament, consciously or not, whereas for men it's a more equal choice; marriage with a woman that he loves and makes him happy, or eternal bachelorhood which might be lonely at times, but at least he'll probably have friends, a career, etc, and he won't have to put up with a wife he doesn't like.

That's why I think it's important to keep reiterating the idea that it's okay to be a single woman, it's not some terrible fate, it is, in fact, preferable to being in a shit marriage. Women can be eternal bachelors too and have friends, a career, children if they want them, and not have to put up with a husband they don't like! Although it seems ludicrous, there is still a double standard.

I think it's also the reason why it's okay to question relationships, certainly not a bad thing. I still find there's a lot of hostility to this kind of suggestion, though. I suppose because it's not nice to think that people doubt your relationship, but if something happens that makes you look twice at something or something happens to make the relationship "rocky" that's not necessarily a bad thing IMO. If there are issues to expose then it's best to get them to the surface and either sort them out or work out that they're unsortable, sooner rather than later.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 06-Dec-12 20:11:56

There's still a lot of propaganda to the effect that women are more 'naturally' inclined to be servants 'care' more about housework than men. Along with the relentless insistence that a woman without a man is a freak and a failure, it's not that surprising that a lot of women still put up with sexist, lazy, selfish men for quite a long time.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 17:21:44

nice don't get me wrong, I am perfectly capable of sorting out tricksy tasks...and have done, many times in the past. It's just that nowadays I choose not to.

Same as cooking...I can cook, quite well, I just choose not to smile

DontmindifIdo Thu 06-Dec-12 14:19:46

Hmm, this debate is comparing being married with being single, not being married with living together unmarried. If you are talking about who gets the better deal out of being married rather than living together, it's usually woman (because woman generally need the legal protection if things go wrong) however, compared to being single, then men do get more out of being married, even if they don't see it. Statistics prove it, from living longer, being healthier, having better careers etc having a woman to share their home and life with, not just a girlfriend who lives elsewhere, does make a significant improvement to men's lives.

Some of the statistics about woman's health should be taken with a pinch of salt though, as woman who have never married have traditionally been less likely to have DCs, and a lot of woman's health problems do track back to childbirth - it does knacker our bodies. The generation who are currently 'old' and suffering the long term effects of procration are still a generation where having DCs out of wedlock (even if that marriage subsquently ended) was not the norm/as acceptable as it is in the generation who are having DCs now (or even in the one before). It'll be interesting to see what happens to the health stats for 'never married' woman in 30 years time. (which will probably include a bigger percentage of mothers than now).

(niceupthedance - I also leave anything I find tricky to DH, but then it doesn't mean I can't do them, just that I chose not to when I've got someone else who can do it for me and will do so - I don't believe that being in an equal relationship means you have to take it in turns to do each task, just do half of all the jobs each, I am as capable of putting out the bins in the icey weather as DH is, as long as he's here to do it, Ill leave it to him...)

2rebecca Thu 06-Dec-12 14:03:23

I think for both men and women some time living alone before moving in together is useful so each is aware of what needs doing in a house and they don't take each other for granted.
If my current relationship ended I don't think I'd marry again as not wanting more kids, and I don't think I'd want to live with someone again, would maybe rather just live near someone but have my own space. Of course this may change if I found winter evenings too lonely and I suspect we'd near enough live in each others houses anyway.

I think there are two tricks to this. One, don't marry or reproduce with a man who isn't ALREADY doing his fair share (or more in DH's case). Then, value yourself and your choices. I had a lovely BF in my early 30s who was great except that he wanted kids, wanted to have me stay at home with them and earned half what I did. In my mind this made him an idiot. I wasn't going to have children with someone who was unwilling to compromise.

Scrazy Thu 06-Dec-12 13:18:25

I was married young and we were both building careers so didn't have children. Divorced quite young I have been single for around 25 years. Had one child in that time and managed to work and give DC a good life. This is the key, I think. If women can raise a child alone with reasonable financial security, it can be a great life, with a wonderful mother/child relationship. I cannot compare it to being in a two parent family so cannot say that it's preferable.

I like men, have had 'friendships' with quite a few and did live with someone a for a couple of years and although I loved some aspects of the relationship I didn't enjoy losing my independence, space and hated the drudgery of domesticity.

I would live with someone again but it would be a man who has experienced living alone, financially set up, as I am and the relationship would be equal with no dependents, now.

slug Thu 06-Dec-12 12:58:45

I don't think I would ever bother to get married again should the current one go tits up.

DH's mental health certainly is much better since we got married. But I think I can track that back to him making the decision to become the SAHD and leave the earning to me. I do all the cleaning though I have very low standards about half the cooking and most of the earning. He does the childcare, shopping, bill paying and is the keeper of the social diary. I like to think DD has a good model to base her adult relationships on i.e. a fair and equal distribution of household duties and parents who cook, nurture and take responsibility regardless of their gender.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 06-Dec-12 12:04:13

I'm 50 and have never married and never wanted to. I have a teenage son who I've brought up on my own in a relaxed happy environment. I've had many comments over the years where people have thought me "odd" or "lonely" and I'm neither.

My reasons are very similar to SGB. I was not put on this earth to "serve"

niceupthedance Thu 06-Dec-12 11:28:49

The thing that worries me about 'passing on tricksy tasks' to your husband is how are you going to feel if suddenly (through death, divorce or otherwise) you have to take the bins out, sort the electricity account, drive on the motorway yada yada... I think you need to retain independence and the knowledge that you can operate as an individual - being afraid of doing these things by yourself seems to be one of the reasons women stay in unhappy marriages. It perpetuates the myth that a woman needs a man.

PanickingIdiot Thu 06-Dec-12 11:15:43

I've also seen friends in relationships where they have tried and tried to get their partners to do even the most basic things like the washing up, and failed because they are lazy bastards who even huff and puff if they are asked to put the kettle on.

Posts from women in this situation are a dime a dozen on here. And yet they marry them and have multiple children, thinking the blokes would man up one day. Why is that, then, if not because the desire to procreate is stronger than the willingness to haggle and negotiate over what seems like a trivial matter at first glance?

wanderingalbatross Thu 06-Dec-12 11:13:14

Yeah, i only have a few examples of couples I know well enough to base this on, and I'm sure there are loads of women who put up with lazy bastards who huff and puff over the simplest things (you only have to look on MN to see this!). But I think it's interesting that the most equal couples I know have always been equal, in terms of both career and household tasks, and in my experience these have been the men more likely to take paternity leave. Plus, as the woman's career has always been equal to the man's, these women don't find themselves financially dependent on their husband and have the confidence to demand more. Actually, thinking about it, some of the most unequal couples i know are where the salary balance is really skewed towards the husband.

Just my experience of couples i know though, so not entirely representative smile

Farlalalala Thu 06-Dec-12 11:04:56

And those are men in their 20s and 30s, not 'older, more traditional' men.

Farlalalala Thu 06-Dec-12 11:03:55

I see that a lot of female friends who refuse to settle for an unequal division have ended up with proactive husbands who are more than happy to do their share. Whereas those who take on all the childcare and household duties are with men who sit back and let them. That's definitely true in some cases wandering - but I've also seen friends in relationships where they have tried and tried to get their partners to do even the most basic things like the washing up, and failed because they are lazy bastards who even huff and puff if they are asked to put the kettle on. Luckily they dumped the men, but it's not uncommon.

PanickingIdiot Thu 06-Dec-12 11:02:53

I see that a lot of female friends who refuse to settle for an unequal division have ended up with proactive husbands who are more than happy to do their share.

Yeah, I see that, too.

Although it also has to be said that a lot of these friends are as yet childless. It remains to be seen what they'll "settle" for when they are approaching 40 and begin to see their childlessness as missing out.

PanickingIdiot Thu 06-Dec-12 10:58:57

It's not my "opinion" on men. And I didn't say it was true in 100% of the cases.

It wasn't me who stated that in 80% of couples the division of housework and childcare is heavily biased towards the woman. It can only be because 80% of women agree to this, or at least they don't think they have a choice. There must be a reason for that, and the simplest explanation is that they want a family badly enough to put up with it. Why do you think there aren't more men who would put up with more? I don't buy it that it's biology or society. It's an individual choice.

wanderingalbatross Thu 06-Dec-12 10:58:28

DH has always wanted kids, and I never really did in the past. I met him at a time in my life when I was coming round to the idea. I'm certainly happier now I'm married and have a child than I was when I was younger and single, but I don't think it all comes from being married. A lot of my happiness has come from being older and wiser and from having started to get somewhere in my career. But DH has also provided a lot of support too (both practical and emotional).

I see that a lot of female friends who refuse to settle for an unequal division have ended up with proactive husbands who are more than happy to do their share. Whereas those who take on all the childcare and household duties are with men who sit back and let them.

Yama Thu 06-Dec-12 10:52:16

PanickingIdiot - your opinion of men does not marry up to the men in my family. My husband, brothers and father have not/would not shy away from parenthood simply because they do/would do 50%/their share.

I'm glad I think higher of men.

PanickingIdiot Thu 06-Dec-12 10:35:46

I'm not saying men never want marriage and children. I'm just saying that, in general, they are seldom in the position of having to convince their wives to go along with their dream of having a family. A much more common scenario is that the woman is "ready" (or pressured by biological constraints) years before the man is. So it's more likely to be the woman having to do the convincing. That's why it's more often the woman's life that takes the hit of parenting (work, finances, greater share of the housework and what have you), because they are willing to sacrifice more or simply aren't in the position to be too demanding.

If every woman insisted they are only willing to start a family if the man promises to do 50% of everything, I suspect a HELL of a lot of blokes would turn around and say fine, they can live without kids after all. Not all, by any means, but a lot of them.

These things are ultimately decided between the couple. Biology has little to do with it, society's expectations and romcoms and whatnot even less. It depends on what's important in each individual's life, what you want out of it and what you are willing to sacrifice.

Farlalalala Thu 06-Dec-12 10:23:45

I agree that there are plenty of men out there who really want marriage and children. But I don't see many men whose lives are affected by those children quite as much as the women's lives are. My dad and grandad wanted kids far more than my mum and grandma - but they were not in any way offering to be the ones who stayed at home with the children and let their careers and financial independence go to pot.

Most people would want children if they just got to deal with the fun side of it.

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