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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.

Dahlen Wed 05-Dec-12 17:05:13

You don't have to be a twat to take someone for granted unfortunately. In most married households, women still do more than 80% of the housework and child-related tasks according to most research. No one is saying that 80% of men are twats, but that's just one reason why men do better. Plus there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest that women act as listeners to men far more than they repay the service.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 05-Dec-12 17:09:00

Because the basic deal of marriage always has been that the man gets domestic, sexual, breeding and emotional service from someone whose role is his appendage, inferior and possession.
The woman gets a roof over her head, and her keep.

Because this was never all that appealing for women, society was mostly structured in a way that made not marrying appallingly difficult and unpleasant for them.

And yeah yeah waaa waaaa Not Your Nigel. Some marriages are happy partnerships between people who truly regard each other as equal. But the idea that the man is Head Of The House and He Who Must Be Obeyed still exists. And the reason there is still so much propaganda about how women must marry, and not to marry is to be a failure, and there's still the Big Lie that women are desperate to be married and men are desperate to stay unmarried, is because the only way to get women to swallow the idea that being a man's breeding animal and domestic appliance is heaven and destiny is to pretend to them that it's not only desirable but difficult to obtain.

CailinDana Wed 05-Dec-12 17:17:11

I think generally it is true. The main aim of any organism is to procreate. Marriage (and other long term partnerships) affords men the opportunity to procreate without it affecting their lifestyle much at all. That is a massive bonus that an incredibly tiny amount of women can avail of. Until society changes drastically to ensure that men and women put the same amount of effort into child rearing (and how that would happen given the biology element I don't know) men will continue to do better out of being in a couple than women.

HousewifefromBethlehem Wed 05-Dec-12 17:18:40

Well I'm sitting on my arse mnetting and he's at work so ..... grin

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 17:35:19

Ah, great explanation SolidGold! I do think it's twattish to sit on your arse while your wife deals with all the 24/7 domestic stuff. But then it's (almost) equally twattish to do everything for a grown man. I was just wondering whether there were any other moral/spiritual/psychological reasons that men do better from marriage, other than getting away with doing less domestic stuff.

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 17:36:45

Sorry, Cailin and Dahlen, your explanations were good too. SolidGold's was just impressively thorough.

MooncupGoddess Wed 05-Dec-12 17:38:24

Statistically (at population level) married men are happier than single men, whereas single women are happier than married women. Which suggests SGB's analysis is broadly right.

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 17:46:02

I've never heard the single women are happier than married women statistic before... I'm 27, and lots of my friends are engaged or starting to worry about not being engaged (the Big Lie?) I've never been bothered about marriage and always thought i'd just do it if I wanted to have kids (for security). But don't think I want kids either - though I know this could well change later on. I'm with a man who does believe in marriage so i'm wondering what i'd do if he proposed.

Fuckitthatlldo Wed 05-Dec-12 19:09:34

Yes studies show that married men enjoy far better mental health than married women. This is because despite progress made in terms of women's rights, the vast majority of marriages are still unequal to some degree.

You'd be surprised at the amount of women who still do almost everything related to housework and childcare.

Fuck. That.

stargirl1701 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:11:58

I believe that, statistically, married men live longer than unmarried men. The reverse is true for women.

No idea if this is true or not. I've heard it many times but not sure which research it came from.

sarahseashell Wed 05-Dec-12 19:12:54

well said solid that's absolutely right I think

Yama Wed 05-Dec-12 19:26:09

I do see this all around me. At work, my colleagues think my dh is some sort of superhuman because he does his share. I have repeatedly pointed out that I do too.

My uni friends do most of the housework and childcare too.

So, why did it never enter my head that running the house was my sole responsibility? As Fuckitthatlldo says - Fuck That.

Why does dh think that as a grown up, he is perfectly capable of seeing what needs done and just getting on with it?

I mean, in terms of marriage being desirable and difficult to obtain - I can see the propaganda but it has always made me cringe that I am to be included in wanting that.

Anyway, I find dh makes my life easier and I hope I make his easier. We certainly make each other happier. (I only mention this as it relates to the thread title. I think.)

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 19:42:13

Fuck that indeed! How very scary. Fuck biology too.

Yama I am glad you have an equal partnership, but it's horrifying that it's not at all the norm. I look at my mum's life and my bf's mum's life - both educated, working women who do all the housework and cooking as if thats somehow their job too - and think how bloody awful. But I did think it wouldn't be like that for my generation...or people under 40 anyway.

gettingeasier Wed 05-Dec-12 19:42:24

Oh god yes men have ,generally speaking, got it sewn up.

I wonder if its all so entrenched it wont ever change

Dont care for me happily single but wonder wtf to say to young teen DD without sounding crazy and embittered

PanickingIdiot Wed 05-Dec-12 19:45:41

Cailin - what you're saying made sense in the 19th century. I'm not sure it's still the case today.

Men don't need to procreate, for a start. Actually, it was probably only ever a need for the upper classes anyway, monarchs and the such, to have somebody to inherit the family's property, political functions, land, or continue the business, etc. For the poor, progeny was another mouth to feed. Sure, they might also look after you in your old age, but still, children were more of a liability (not to mention the consequence of limited contraceptive options) than a necessity.

I'm not sure there's all that much in it for men these days, to be honest. Yes, 80% of housework and childcare is still done by the women - but the bulk of that housework and childcare didn't exist, in the first place, if it wasn't for family life.

I think in general it's mostly women who strive for children and therefore need the emotional and financial safety of raising them in a family, if possible, rather than alone. That's why, on the whole, women are more keen to marry. It's a safety net for mothers, first and foremost.

That's also why they put up with doing 80% of the work. The biology element has little to do with men doing far less childcare, imho. After all, biology only matters during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which is a relatively short period in the grand scheme of raising a child to adulthood. I think the real reason is that if more women insisted on a more equal division of household chores, then even fewer men would agree to have a family in the first place. Negotiating power isn't on the woman's side when her biological clock is ticking and the bloke can take or leave marriage and kids.

JugglingWithPossibilities Wed 05-Dec-12 19:52:41

Yes, good point about what to say to DD. My DD is 13 and hopefully has found things fairly equal at home with her brother, and at school - in most areas of her life so far in fact. But I'm aware that the world of work and relationships - especially if she chooses to be a wife and mother at some point, will probably be much less equitable - as I of course have found myself.

Read "Wifework", that has some interesting stuff in about this.

I reckon a lot of it is in the sort of mental "looking-after" which I think still does fall more to the wives than husbands.

Even though DH is relatively enlightened, I'm sure I've somehow ended up with much more of the remembering-things, sorting school letters, checking for things that have run out round the house, all that sort of organizational activities; and I think there is some truth too to what was said above about wives doing more emotional support and listening/encouraging etc. than husbands (and more than they get in return), especially when considering what they do for the family as a whole than just for their OH.

I seem to be always stressed, rushing around trying to remember things and listing all the million things that need doing. DH doesn't even have a to-do list, if he ever has some spare time and feels like getting something done, his usual tactic is to ask me what needs doing (or what we need from the shop, or whatever). Uh, we both have eyes and a brain (and we both work - in fairness I'm part-time, but still don't get that many more spare hours once looking after the DCs is factored in)... so why do I have to be the one to keep track of everything and chase up all the urgent things?

Daddelion Wed 05-Dec-12 20:04:03

But if half of marriages end in divorce and single women are happier than single men there's no need to worry, men will get their just desserts in the end.

Yama Wed 05-Dec-12 20:07:37

I may be able to answer my own question then. My Mum has and had a 'Fuck That' attitude (she wouldn't swear though). And my Dad has always done more than my Mum in terms of managing the home.

Dh was brought up by a single mother from babyhood so didn't have a father who did fuck all (in his house).

So, all good for us. I do worry about our dc though. There are an awful lot households where women do the drudgework. Forewarned it will have to be.

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 20:10:15

This is really interesting. I don't feel like I have enough experience to contribute much though... But, what about if a woman, before she gets married, is pretty messy and disorganized, forgetful etc and she marries a tidy, clean man who remembers all the stuff that needs doing. Will the woman still end up doing it all, if they have kids?

Darkesteyes Wed 05-Dec-12 20:14:37

Agree with Solid.
I read an interview with Tracy McMillan in Easy Living magazine a few months ago. She was talking about this book she wrote which IMO is only good for using as a door stop!
The mysogyny in this book totally backs up what Solid is saying.

www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Youre-Not-Married-Yet/dp/1742704255

LaQueen Wed 05-Dec-12 20:24:17

Pah...my DH pays for a cleaner, and if he ever got home to a hot dinner on the table he would assume I had pranged the car...I don't do cooking (ahem).

I work 21 hours per week, and he puts in on average a 65 hour week, so I'm happy to facilitate all the house/family stuff, for the most part.

Folding a bit of laundry, dropping some stuff to the dry-cleaners, booking the occasional train ticket, dealing with the school paperwork...tis damn sight easier than putting in a 65 hour week, methinks wink

7to25 Wed 05-Dec-12 20:25:47

I think it is a bit more basic than any of this. As star girl said, it is crude statistics that unmarried men do not live as long as married men and unmarried women outlive married ones.
I think that the "married" effect belongs to an earlier age meaning living in long term partnership.
it is easy to draw conclusions about men, they are less likely to indulge in risky pursuits, more likely to access healthcare and also very ill, disabled or mentally ill men tend not to marry. With women it may be harder to decipher a reason, but the effects of childbirth and child rearing have a detrimental effect on overall health.

PanickingIdiot Wed 05-Dec-12 20:32:52

I think I read somewhere that the married men living longer thing was due to women being more health conscious and diligent in keeping routine medical appointments, cancer sceening etc., whereas men tend to be more neglectful. Married men have wives to nag them. Single men just leave it too late. (This has certainly been true in my family through several generations).

But I also read that the gap was closing with increased awareness, campaigns aimed at men like movember, etc.

On the women's side, I'd think it's mainly childbearing and associated health risks, plus being carers more often than men (not just of children but elderly parents etc., which is not exactly conducive to good health, on the long run...not sleeping, eating crap and so on.)

mcmooncup Wed 05-Dec-12 20:34:57

I proper love SGB

shouldkeepquiet Wed 05-Dec-12 20:47:57

From my experience of being a married man and looking at my old uni friends who are still single i can see how their lifestyle is probably the reason married men live longer. They are still drinking / smoking / eating crap like we all did 20 years ago. My monthly units intake is about 1/4 of theirs and nothing comes in this house unless it is wholemeal / organic / low fat ect which is all down to my wife. Sad though it is i can see me going to a lot of funerals in my mid 60's.

fiventhree Wed 05-Dec-12 20:55:58

When I was working full time and also had kids and often was pregnant, it occurred to me how lovely it would be to ^have a wife^-just like my h-

PanickingIdiot Wed 05-Dec-12 20:56:38

there's still the Big Lie that women are desperate to be married and men are desperate to stay unmarried

Dunno...do you know a lot of men who are desperate to be married? Who fret because their girlfriends, after six years of living together, have not proposed yet? Blokes who are eager to start a family at 25 but their partners would rather wait?

I don't think it's all a big lie. Just going by these boards would prove otherwise.

Sure, there are always exceptions and counter-examples, but come on. A man's breeding animal? I don't know many couples where it's the man that advocates breeding. Generally, the ones that are keener than their wives are of the controlling psycho sort, like the one on the other thread pushing for the fourth kid. In the more normal population, nine times out of ten it's the woman who wants a family.

mcmooncup Wed 05-Dec-12 21:11:16

"Dunno...do you know a lot of men who are desperate to be married? Who fret because their girlfriends, after six years of living together, have not proposed yet? Blokes who are eager to start a family at 25 but their partners would rather wait?"

That is the Big Lie in action.

HollyBerryBush Wed 05-Dec-12 21:39:30

Traditional marriages last longer and are happier for both parties than those who attempt to alter the status quo and inflict an unnatural power balance.

An old saying "the power behind the throne controls the throne" thus she who wants the throne will lose it becaue she devolves the power.

Daddelion Wed 05-Dec-12 21:40:42

So in reality men want to get married more than women?

I've heard this too - married men happier than single, single women happier than married. I think it's telling that when men leave a marriage, it's generally (sorry, can't back this up with stats, just experience of many friends) for another woman. When women leave it's because they're unhappy in their marriage.

Just look at all the the threads on here by unhappy wives.

I don't know that men are keener to get married than women - maybe the other way round. But after a few years of marriage the men realise they've got it easy and the women realise they haven't!

DP and I have a pretty untraditional set up. We both work full time but I earn twice as much as him. He does nearly all of the cooking, a lot of tidying up and his own ironing. The only household thing I do it is the laundry and we have a cleaner who does the rest.

We plan that when we have kids, he'll take more of the parental leave and be the main carer so I can focus on my career. I am looking forward to our wedding but it was him that wanted the big day more than me.

I'm not sure which one of us does better out of the set up. I know I couldn't work as hard as I do if he didn't cook my dinners and look after the house but then he wouldn't get nice holidays without my income.

We've had a few odd comments, one the other day where a group of women my age were shocked that I didn't do his ironing, one not long ago from a man who said he wouldn't 'feel like a man' if he was with a woman who earned more than him.

It works for us and we are happy. Fuck tradition.

Farlalalala Wed 05-Dec-12 22:17:36

An unnatural power balance HollyBerry? So men are naturally meant to be in charge of women, is that what you mean?

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Wed 05-Dec-12 23:36:34

Also, as soon as it became economically and sociably viable for women to live without marrying, loads started to do it, either by staying single or binning crap husbands. And the propaganda about how women must marry to be happy went into absolute overdrive, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

superstarheartbreaker Thu 06-Dec-12 00:23:02

Don't women gain from marriage too though? Sex on tap, mutual support, tenderness, hugs, shared memories, joy, friendship and intimacy..in a good marriage. Ok I know there are bad marriages but surely the modren role of marriage is romantic. That romance IS so hard to find. Women shouldn't be made to feel inferior for not finding it. I would love to find it and I havn't ...I am one of life's naive romantics!

Aw superstar- better to be like that than one of life's cynics like me grin

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Dec-12 01:02:05

PI: "Generally men who are keener than their wives [on having children] are the controlling psycho sort."

What. The. Fuck?

I think that's a generalisation too far by about 6000 miles

I am not a huge fan of marriage at all, despite being happily married. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably.

Anyway, I found this on Wikipedia:

'An annual study in the UK by management consultants Grant Thornton, [...] in 2004 found that 93% of divorce cases were petitioned by wives, very few of which were contested.' Link

IME, men are far keener on marriage (and children) than women. But perhaps I mostly hang out with feminists.

monsterchild Thu 06-Dec-12 01:19:59

I agree Dontrine that is a huge generalization. I think that it's probably an even split who wants kids. It just isn't posted about much when men are good, doting dads who are more involved than the moms.

Farlalalala, your question about the messy woman and the tidy man describes my marriage perfectly. I am expecting our first child any time now, so I'll report back on how the child care is split! I certainly do not currently do the bulk of the housework!

monsterchild Thu 06-Dec-12 01:20:26

Sorry, that should be doctrine! D'oh!

Weird that people think that women want marriage and children and men don't. They may not talk about it that much. My DH wanted kids and I didn't. I'm sure he wasn't on here talking about it, though.

monsterchild Thu 06-Dec-12 01:47:54

That may be the real difference, MrsT, that men don't go on and on about it. Not that I don't love a good gossip session, mind you!

I know my brothers who have kids were all very excited and are very keen Dads. My Dad loved having kids. My Dh loves kids too, probably more than I do. He's much more understanding and has a much longer fuse than I do.

I do think that in custody battles men have also bought into the lie and believe that kids are better off with the woman, and have an uphill battle to prove otherwise.
I personally don't think there should be a default parent in custody issues, because it perpetuates this attitude that women are "better" parents. It should be made on a case by case basis. donning my fire proof suit now

SomersetONeil Thu 06-Dec-12 06:16:27

"I look at my mum's life and my bf's mum's life - both educated, working women who do all the housework and cooking as if thats somehow their job too - and think how bloody awful. But I did think it wouldn't be like that for my generation...or people under 40 anyway."

I give you... the Asda Christmas ad... grin

Or more pertinently, the numerous, long-running threads on here defending it, identifying with it, getting offended by people criticising it...! shock

I think men deserve just a little bit more credit than stated above. It is true that married men are probably required by their wives to go to the doctor . I suspect that they also feel they have responsiblity to look after themselves for the sake of their families they support. Out goes the beer drinking, the shite food, drugs, getting into fights and so on, in comes holding down the job and supporting home life.. and on that latter point, surveys about housework tend to exclude things men have traditionally done - lawns / gardening, DIY, fixing the car, putting up shelves, heavy lifting and so on.

What seems to be the case is that surveys will cover division of cooking, shopping and cleaning, will tend to find that women do the bulk of these things and - hey presto - the results get used to accuse men of laziness. Even things such as money - traditionally equally divided - don't get considered. A fair division of tasks needs to consider all the above, plus childcare and paid work. Then the finger-pointing can start, if anyone feels like it.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 06-Dec-12 07:12:53

That's interesting about the surveys, Toad, I didn't know that. Have you got a link to any?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 08:39:27

I don't think it's possible to generalise. My personal experience of 17 years as a single woman & parent vs 12 in a partnership/marriage however is that I have thrived as singleton far better than when I was one of a couple. smile

My DS is unrelated to my exH so I've had 100% of the responsibilities of work, home and child with no assistance .... the 'unequal division of labour' argument being one most people cite as where women lose out.... and seem to have managed OK. I'm not 'anti-man'. I have various boyfriends & occasionally wonder if I should go out and find a life partner but can't really see what they'd add positively to my life at this stage.

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 09:10:48

I think I've gained quite a lot from marriage...I get great sex, whenever I want it...I get to only work part-time...I get someone to de-ice my car on a frosty morning...I get a cleaner which he pays for...I get someone to remove spiders...

Not sure what DH gets out of it, but the arrangement suits me very well smile

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 09:13:27

I also get to tip into DH's lap pretty much anything I deem tricksy which includes: DD1's 11+ homework, dealing with utilities companies, anything IT related, anything to do with my car, anything that requires any type of maths...

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 09:24:16

"I get to only work part-time"

Some of us recoil at the idea of being financially dependent on a man and wouldn't class that as a benefit.....

LaQueen Thu 06-Dec-12 09:27:34

Cogito Oh, I'm sure that some women recoil at being financially dependent on a pesky man...but, considering it was my professional salary that supported us for years, while he built his company...well, I think I'm due a rest wink

2rebecca Thu 06-Dec-12 09:29:46

I don't think it's marriage itself that's the problem, I think if you are going to have kids with a bloke and are the lower earner marriage gives you more protection.
Women settle too easily for doing more than half the work in a relationship married or not, that's the problem. They drift into doing most of the cooking, housework, arranging the social diary, remembering stuff, buying and sending stuff, phoning people.
The only people who can change this pattern are the women by refusing to do it and setting clearer ground rules before living with a bloke.
I think alot of this is because stuff women read often gives a woman's aim as finding and keeping a man. Stuff men read is more about having sex with the woman you fancy.
I am happier married than I would be single. My husband pulls his weight though and never swears at me though. Alot of women seem to tolerate awful blokes for far too long.

SnowWide Thu 06-Dec-12 09:33:28

"My brother's wife's sister is already pregnant. Shouldn't we be trying? Is it too late?" Much angst and hand wringing. From my husband. Who was 29 at the time.

Men are keen on marrying and starting a family. They are just not keen on advertising the fact.

AbigailAdams Thu 06-Dec-12 09:39:25

At the moment in society men are encouraged to be "players", women to find a man. Just look at rom-coms (and other films), women's magazines etc. In fact there was a survey done recently which showed that in the majority of cases where a woman was mentioned in newspapers she was described as a wife or a mother. These messages are pervasive, and work.

Left to there own devices there would probably be an equal number of men and women wanting commitment and/or children.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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?

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.

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"

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...)

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

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.

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.

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

Great post Bertie

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.

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

Of course they would it stands to reason.

A servant makes for a happy life!

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...

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.

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