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Men shouldn't get married before age 30...

(135 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 10:56:45

... said a friend to me this weekend as yet another young couple in her family break up just a few years after they were being wished well with confetti and pledging eternal love. Sweeping, wine-fuelled and very sexist statement I'll grant you, but led to a really interesting conversation about the perils of settling down too young and the relative emotional maturity of men vs women. Being on the wrong end of a 'starter marriage' in the past I tend to agree but there you have it vipers. A controversial statement to be shot down or propped up at your leisure.

Aussiebean Sun 07-Jul-13 11:01:26

In have heard similar from a male no less. But I think you could argue that no one should marry early.

You change so much in your 20s that couples will often grow apart and want different things.

I wonder what the statistics are.

Aussiebean Sun 07-Jul-13 11:02:58

If I had married the men I was with at 19 and 23 I am sure I would be divorced by now. Well at least I would hope so.

Bogeyface Sun 07-Jul-13 11:03:28

I dont think anyone should marry before aged 30, or have children. And I say this as someone who had been married twice with 3 kids by my 30th birthday!

You can't possibly commit yourself to someone else until you are absolutely sure who you are and what you want from life, and I think that rarely happens before late twenties at the earliest. 18-28 is when we go from child to fully fledged adult, I think thats why so many people love their thirties as it is the first time they feel really comfortable in their own skin.

Of course, that too is a sweeping generalisation but one based on my own and my friends experiences!

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 11:06:59

On the whole I agree, especially as 50% of the population are living as students until they are 21-22.

The divorce stats do show that young marriages fail more than when couples are older, and men on the whole mature more slowly than women, during the teenage years.

I'd throw another grenade into the discussion though- that men are not ready to be fathers until well past 30. Tying the knot is one thing but being responsible for another life when you are still in your 20s is imo far too young, especially nowadays with student debt, expensive housing, etc etc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 11:08:28

Maybe it's because it's too hot to argue, but we seem to be agreeing with each other.... smile

Picturepuncture Sun 07-Jul-13 11:09:31

You can't cite student debt as a reason not to have children! At current rates of repay (salary above nat. Avg.), I will never pay mine off!

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 11:11:21

I was 29 when I married and DH was a few months off 30- and that was decades back when young people were not saddled with student loans etc etc. It was considered old at the time, but I think the economic climate has changed things now somewhat, regardless of emotions.

BeaWheesht Sun 07-Jul-13 11:11:51

I disagree.

Dh and I have been together 13 years , I'm 32 and he's 35, we've been married 8 years and our eldest child is 6,5.

Tbh we would have got married earlier but I wanted to finish my degree earlier.

We've had our ups and downs but nothing massive and I definitely still think we will grow old together.

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 11:12:48

I think I can! One of my DCs pays £200 a month off a student loan- this makes a huge difference to available cash left over to buy or rent a place big enough in which to bring up kids. ie- two bedrooms not one. In theory.

Aetae Sun 07-Jul-13 11:14:43

I'd put it a different way - no one should marry (or have kids) until they've lived independently and out of their parents' home for at least 5 years. Could be 23 if you escape at 18, could be 45 if you're particularly lazy or unfortunate... Not male/female specific; I think a prerequisite of a successful relationship is having a clue about self-reliance and what it means to not have everything done for you.

To grossly generalise, I suppose more <30 y.o. men fail the above test than women of the same age?

yellowutka Sun 07-Jul-13 11:15:02

In an aside just for context, people are considered to be children in some belief systems until they are 25: I guess the designation of 'child' here might mean 'needing guidance' or 'not ready to take major decisions'??

Bogeyface Sun 07-Jul-13 11:15:18

that men are not ready to be fathers until well past 30

Totally agree.

My father was 22 when I was born and he was rubbish, he really was, by his own and my mothers admission. He was just too young. It was totally normal to be married at 20, father by 22 in the early 70's when I was born. All of my parents siblings were parents at that age, and without fail, all of the fathers were crap! They all loved their children but when it came to taking responsibility for the day to day stuff, they just didnt get it. One story my mum told me was when dad had 3 days off work and mum was working so he "looked after" me and my sister instead of my grandma. Mum came home to find Dad asleep on the sofa and me (3) and my sister(1) trying to make her a cake! I had climbed onto the kitchen surface to get the flour etc, totally wrecked the fridge and made a huge mess. She was fine with us, we were teeny, but she went totally BALLISTIC at Dad. She eventually had to give up her job because she couldnt trust him to do the childcare he promised to do on his days off, he just didnt get that he couldnt just leave us to it.

My son is now the same age as Dad was when I was born and I would be more horrified to find out he was about to become a parent than if my DD (16) told me she was PG and keeping the baby.

Mum2Fergus Sun 07-Jul-13 11:15:41

How could anyone disagree with you Cog lol based on my experience I have to agree too! ExP and I were together for 17 yrs (17-34 for me, he was 5 years older). Not once during that time did I ever think of him as husband/father material. Fast forward to meeting current DP, we moved in within 3 months and had DS about a year later. I'm not particularly eloquent but it was just the right time for us both, emotionally, mentally, financially...

Bogeyface Sun 07-Jul-13 11:17:17

Aetae I think you are right regarding living independently. I sort of assumed that would be part of waiting until post 30, but you have highlighted a good point that some people would never leave if they didnt have someone else to look after them to go to!

Mum2Fergus Sun 07-Jul-13 11:17:31

'Current DP' is that a Freudian slip on my part lol gringrin

yellowutka Sun 07-Jul-13 11:19:05

I'm not saying that you can't make a decision until you're 25: after all we are able to have kids from around 16: just meant that support from the more experienced doesn't go amiss, and any mistakes made shouldn't be thought of as permanent

Corygal Sun 07-Jul-13 11:29:08

Society has made it nigh on impossible for both sexes to achieve security - housing, jobs, no debt etc - prior to 30 these days, if not 35.

So you can see why marriage prior to this time is not a great idea - let alone children.

yellowutka Sun 07-Jul-13 11:33:57

Bogeyface my partner is 41 and if I left him with the kids, either his 16yo son would take charge and do well, or, the chaos you describe would result, so in spite of my earlier post, a bit confused about when the actual age relevance kicks in smile

BeaWheesht Sun 07-Jul-13 11:41:16

Totally agree about the living independently bit

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Jul-13 11:45:37

Sort of disagree. I married dh when I was 20 and he was 23. We've been pretty happy. We have changed since we got married but we worked on changing together. We are now about to have our 13th wedding anniversary and I'be seen a lot more "suitable" marriages falter on the way.

The advantage of getting married at a time when no one else is is that we married because we wanted to - not because everyone else was which I know of at least one couple who faltered once married with a child as they (according to the wife) had both wanted to be married with kids more than they wanted each other.

We did wait until we were 30 and 33 to have kids though.

CheeseFondueRocks Sun 07-Jul-13 11:53:09

DH was 24 when we got married, 25 when DD was born, I was 27 and 28 respectively. I can't tell you yet what's going to happen with the marriage, we're only 2 years in but what I can say is that DH is a wonderful father and was ready to be one.

So many people, including the HV have said that he is the most involved dad they have ever seen. This was only possible because he is so young and doing a PhD, mostly working from home. It was so sad to see that the other dad's in our baby groups only saw their children at the weekend. Left for work before baby is up and came home after bedtime. I'm so glad we had the time to be together so much in DD's first year.

We don't own our home yet but I'm Central European and don't see this as a big deal. many people of our generation won't be home owners anymore.

We have been in a stable relationship for 7 years, both left home at 18.

I think whether a marriage lasts or not depends on many things. I do agree that very young people are more likely to enter into commitment blindly but then, I know many desperate 30 somethings who settle for what they can get once they hear that biological clock ticking.

It could also be argued that it is harder to let someone else into your life and get used to the compromises of living together the older you are and the more time you have spend just having to be accountable to yourself.

MirandaWest Sun 07-Jul-13 11:54:38

I think I got married too early. Should have lived with him at the time when we got married but was probably worried about having the wrath of my mum in particular at living together before marriage hmm

NoComet Sun 07-Jul-13 11:56:19

Glory hallelujah, It wouldn't work if I met my sucessful, always right, sometimes sexist DH now.

Our marrage works because we have been together 25 years, he knows full well I'm going to pull him up if he's too big headed or non PC. He has two teen DDs who keep him in order too.

It works both ways he tolerates me being lazy and short tempered, too.

We married as students and that has shaped our lives and careers. If we had not married I think we may both have stayed in academia.

We'd both have been far to set in our ways by thirty to rub along as easily as we do now. Also I would never have met his dad or had time to get to know his mum. DMIL was a real character and we had some great holidays together with her and sometimes my lovely DSIL.

Likewise DH and my engineer DDad got up to alsorts that would have been harder as DF got older.

In short I wouldn't have missed those first 8 child free years of marrige for the world, they are the foundations that keep us together when the stresses of children, work and parents getting older olderand dying make life difficult.

CheeseFondueRocks Sun 07-Jul-13 11:58:11

I also wouldn't have wanted to wait til after 30 to start ttc. I was way to worried about fertility. As it happened, both DD and my current pregnancy only took one cycle to achieve but there is no predicting that.

HandbagCrazy Sun 07-Jul-13 12:04:04

I disagree too - I am 27,have been with dh for 10 years and we recently got married. I dont see the issue with this, although I do think the fact that we were both pretty much independent from the age of 18 helped, as did the fact that we lived together for 5 years before getting married and we have taken our time regarding children. I think its an individual thing - i know men my age who act like teenagers and others who are mature and very committed.

mercury7 Sun 07-Jul-13 12:11:09

I think it applies to women aswell, but women have a narrower window in which to have children so that creates some pressure on them to be ready for parenting by a certain age.

I dont think men are inherently less mature than women, I think it's a cultural thing.

I dont think it's realistic to expect a marriage to last all of your adult life, so I'm not sure that it makes much difference...there are some advantages to having children in your 20's, I did, now they've flown the nest and I'm free grin

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 12:12:09

Gentle reminder that the (wholly sexist) emphasis was that 'men' shouldn't marry before 30. Fine for the women to be younger before committing because we tend to be more mature at an earlier age, more responsible and there are also the practical ttc questions. Too many twenty-something men are none of those things.

I'm glad to see there are some success stories. Still think it's the exception rather than the rule, however.

Snorbs Sun 07-Jul-13 12:18:54

I think attitudes that conspire to infantilise men and allow them to get away with being crap with childcare etc are part of the problem.

CoolStoryBro Sun 07-Jul-13 12:26:21

What a load of old tosh! All people are different and what works for some may not work for others, but its ridiculous to suggest being under 30 means you're incapable of knowing yourself.

DH was 21 when we had DC1 and we are still, 16 years later, very happy and make each other laugh every day. And he's still managed to be very successful professionally too. And I don't think we're particularly unusual either. Our 4 best couple friends all had their first child by 26 and are all financially stable and happy, balanced individuals.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 12:28:36

I'm sure they are. I also think that those 'boys will be boys' attitudes are more prevalent in young women along with a touching belief that 'love conquers all'. It can be a toxic combination.

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 12:31:04

It's about like smoking isn't it? For all the stats showing the risks, there will always be a few people who smoke 60 a day and live to be 100- or people who know of people like that.
So all the stats show young marriages have a higher rate of divorce- but there will always be couples who say 'we married at 20 and are blissfully happy 40 years on'.

The real 'test' often comes years down the line; in the 40s or 50s.

Of all the peers who married straight after uni, or who married childhood sweethearts, 90% are now divorced.

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 12:34:05

the peers- should be my peers.

I cannot contemplate any lad these days being a dad at 21. shock Not by choice anyway.

My father married at 23 ( in the 1940s) and was a dad at 29, and even now , bless him, he says it was too young, and he left school at 14 so not as if he was still in education till 18 or 21.

How any bloke is ready at 21 to be a father seems unfathomable to me,

mercury7 Sun 07-Jul-13 12:44:31

is it really a good thing to be married for 40 years?
doesn't it suggest that you have crystallized and stagnated?

A few lucky people may truly flourish in such a long lived partnership, but for the majority..well I'm not so sure
(I am to some extent taking a 'devils advocate' position here' wink )

pigsDOfly Sun 07-Jul-13 12:46:14

Some people (men) should never marry and have children at any age. My exh was 41 when we got married, and a father at 43. He was a terrible husband and an equally terrible, uninterested father.

I think Aetae has a good point. People who have had everything done for them all their lives have no concept of looking after themselves or caring for others.

CoolStoryBro Sun 07-Jul-13 12:49:31

Well, if you are married to a giant dick for 40 years, I guess that would be a bit crap. But lots of people aren't.

I don't think any generalisation of this kind is helpful tbh, unless you have some evidence one way or the other (and this is such a subjective topic that I'm not sure how you would prove it either way!).

If you want anecdotes DH and I were married at 23 (him) and 24 (me). We're still married 8 years later. My parents married when my dad was 21 and are still married 35 years on. A lot of our friends married in their 20s and only 2 are divorced.

deliasmithy Sun 07-Jul-13 12:55:21

I don't believe it to be an age thing but a maturity thing.

Some of the issues raised here are that younger people may go into a marriage with unrealistic expectations, no expectations, without being able to look after themselves or others, and marry people they either don't know, have compromised on or not discussed values and expectations.

My life experience tells me that anyone can do the above regardless of age.

I laugh at the suggestion of having to live independently for 5 years first. What would that prove?! Have you ever been to a bachelor pad??? Trust me, time doesn't magically make someone responsible.

Perhaps a year of counselling and marriage guidance before you can marry would be best, regardless of age.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 07-Jul-13 12:59:45

I was 21 when I got married to dh who was 26
11 years later we have had four children, ridden our share of shit and stress and had some incredibly happy times. Neither of us regret it and are still happy together.

I know plenty of 30 something's who only manage a couple of years.

It's nothing to do with age and all to do with mentality.

nellymartin Sun 07-Jul-13 13:16:50

I'd go along the lines of Aetae. Regardless of male/female equation, it is imperative that one is socially and financially independent, self-reliant and has enough maturity to take a decision of this magnitude.

If that happens at 25, so be it. If you need to wait till 40, you'd do well to wait as it is better to manage one life half decently than ruining two.

My two cents worth..


Doha Sun 07-Jul-13 13:47:02

Hmm unsure about this one.
3 days apart in age, met at 17 married at 23 and parents by 24.That was 28 years ago. We were lucky that we grew up together and any changes which happened as we grew older didn't alter us. Sure there have been tough times and quite a few arguments but for us it has worked.
However it could have easily been different. When l think of the person l was then and who l am now l hardly recognise myself -same could have been said of my DH.
I am actually glad that my DD1 is getting married at 27 to her BF of 30 as l feel they have had the chance to grow and experience life which we haven't.
We now have the freedom in our early 50's to do things we didn't do when we were younger.

happyhev Sun 07-Jul-13 13:47:29

I married at 22, my husband was 21, we had our first child when i was 23. We are approaching our 20th anniversary and stronger and happier with each passing year.

I think we need better education and philosophy around marriage/long-term coupling. Both in terms of picking a partner and being a partner.

Whether one marries at 18 or 48, it should be expected that people change, that part of marrying is helping your partner find and grow into who they want to be and that they are there for helping you do the same. We shouldn't want or expect the person we marry to be the same person five, ten years down the road. Communication, managed expectation, sharing the load, that's all part of it.

I'll have been married 10 years later this year (and I'm still in my twenties), and I'm happy not the same person I was then and neither is my partner. We understand and celebrate who we've both become. I think going into a marriage thinking everything is going to stay the same or that things will only change the way you want them to with no input, is just asking for problems.

maleview70 Sun 07-Jul-13 14:17:42

Married at 22- mistake
Father at 24 - not a mistake and been there everyday for him.

I don't think people should marry the first person they get with and I don't think anyone should get married before they live together and the honeymoon period is over.

In general it is wise to wait a bit. However I have to say that in my case it was the none stop "when are we living together" "when are we getting engaged" "when can we get married" that took me there....some women are very impatient when it comes to marriage.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 14:31:28

"Whether one marries at 18 or 48, it should be expected that people change"

But don't you think they're going to change more between, say, ages 18 and 28 than they are between age 40 and 50?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 14:40:46

"some women are very impatient when it comes to marriage"

I agree with that. There is still enormous pressure on young women to settle down and have kids etc. Big bridal industry out there pushing buttons. Someone mentioned feeling forced to get married because there was stigma attached to living together. Old-fashioned but trued. Finite child-bearing years & makes sense legally-speaking to be married before having children so that interests are protected. We socialise with and tend to be attracted to other people similar age... not someone ten years older. If you're really lucky it works, but I think the dice are loaded...

VinegarDrinker Sun 07-Jul-13 14:49:53

I think that's a great post LittleSporks

Do these stats that apparently show higher % of divorce etc allow for the length of time people have been together pre-marriage? I imagine that makes a significant difference to the outcome regardless of age.

I'm another anecdote, only 5 years into being married, admittedly (as of yesterday!) but we've been together coming up for 13 years and happier than we've ever been. We've absolutely changed, but it's been in directions that complement each other. We've also had our share of independence (lived hundreds of miles apart for Uni to follow our own career dreams).

We got together at 16/17, married at 23/24, first DC age 26/27, 2nd DC earlier this week at 28/29. We've both got careers albeit in the earlyish stages, and own (well have a mortgage on) our own place. If we waited til my student loans were paid off I'd be 45!

I agree with everyone saying maturity, independence and knowing yourself are important, not a number.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Sun 07-Jul-13 14:50:21

Sexist rubbish. It is totally individual. While they say generally women mature earlier, I know plenty of men who were mature before their years and women who are still party animals at 39.

My parents married at 19 and 20, had me at 21 and 22 and are still married now and I am approaching 40.

Having said that, times change, let alone people and, generally, I think people do change more in their 20s than the later decades (allowing for a mid-life crisis) and I think marrying before 25 is probably unwise for either sex.

VinegarDrinker Sun 07-Jul-13 14:52:33

Oh and no pressure from anyone for us to marry, in fact DH was far more bothered than me, I'd be happily still living in sin tbh. Marriage hasn't made our relationship any more or less committed.

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 15:02:48

I think most people would accept that there are stats which show more divorce amongst those who married young. (NOS)

Although there are always exceptions with any stats, there is still a valid consensus which looks at the overall trend.

In general, people change more between 20-30 than they do between 30-40, or 40-50. This is well documented by research- it's not just 'opinion'.
So...odds are that you might find you and your DH do not grow together, but actually apart.

The current peak divorce age group is those who are over 50-and they probably ( you'd need to check the stats) married when it was common to be married quite young. it has also a lot to do with life expectancy and people of 50 having another 30 years or more ahead.

juneau Sun 07-Jul-13 15:06:14

Well, all I can say is that if I'd got married much before 30 (I was 31), I don't think I'd have had the emotional maturity to cope with all the stuff that being married/having a family entails.

I can think of a few men who married before 30 though and some of them I'm fairly sure will stay the course. It's all about the person, isn't it? Some people are more mature and steady and others never grow up, however old they get.

deliasmithy Sun 07-Jul-13 15:09:50

What does change have to do with divorce?

Do people have expectations that their partner remains frozen in time like a doll? If so, it's an ill thought attitude that's the problem not change.

Bogeyface Sun 07-Jul-13 15:18:04

Of course change has a lot to do with divorce. Every day we all change a tiny bit, we learn lessons, see new things, meet new people. If during 10 years of marriage both people change but in ways that dont compliment each other, or leads them in opposite directions then divorce is likely if not certain.

I dont think it is to do with expectations of people staying the same, but the way in which they grow.

garlicsmutty Sun 07-Jul-13 15:22:13

I'm unsure we should still expect marriage to be for life. My preference would be for a Fixed-Term Renewable Commitment, with all the promises & protections of marriage but a formal review period with easy termination. While we're at it, we can build in pre-nup considerations and strictly enforceable shared/mutual responsibilities, during and post Commitment.

<runs for president>

Bant Sun 07-Jul-13 15:25:29

I went to a wedding yesterday, the groom is 29, the bride is 27, they seem very happy and perfect for each other and even temporarily overcame my cynicism about marriage.

Last week it was the groom's parents' 30th wedding anniversary - the father was 18, the mum was 16 (and expecting) and they're together with 4 kids 30 years later, still going strong.

So - a couple who got married that young, had 4 well-adjusted kids (admittedly the groom is an accountant in the city, but you can't have everything). I was 33 when I got married, my XW was 37, we split up 5 years later.

So, two stories there that would disagree with the OP.

Bant Sun 07-Jul-13 15:26:37

and I'd agree with Smutty - I think the same thing myself.

Badvoc Sun 07-Jul-13 15:26:39

I agree (although dh and I married at 27!)
We started our family when we were 30 and 31 so had had some time on our own and to be selfish and travel etc.
Without exception within my extended family those who married young (and there are a few who married at 16/17/18) have all broken up/divorced.

scottishmummy Sun 07-Jul-13 15:35:14

I think don't marry unless you've had the big talk,kids,marriage,finances,expectations
Of the starter marriages ive known they didn't pragmatically discuss exoectations
They spent longer talking about wedding buffet than talking about money,expectations etc

Hopefully Sun 07-Jul-13 15:53:45

Gosh, what a horribly sweeping generalisation. I can imagine that some people (people, not just those poor incompetent infantile men who you have singled out) are too immature to marry/have children before they are 30, but equally lots of 50 year olds are still too immature/selfish to really be trusted with commitment and children. Because, you know, people can be different from one another.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 07-Jul-13 15:57:06

I think I said at the outset that the statement was sweeping, sexist and wine-fuelled.... smile Just thought it was an interesting conversation-starter. Didn't assume for a moment everyone would agree.

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 15:57:25

We were married at 19 and 20, we grew up together so everything just slots together easily. I love that we got married young, as had years to ourselves for partying together, can space the children out so less stress and that also means we can both keep working. I think it means we dont have to face the issue you often see on here.

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 16:00:48

Also dh was a young dada at 23 first tie round he looks after the children whilst I work, and we work round each other, his does any housework tasks, he is always doing things with the children, and he gives me as much leisure time as I want. I think its because he was younger

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 16:01:16

sorry that was meant to say young dad first time!

deliasmithy Sun 07-Jul-13 16:33:25

Disagree Bogey.

I think the change you mean is that at some point some people no longer want to support the other person changing. That's up to them and that's fine, but its naive and bordering on unfair to believe that you could marry someone and they'd stay the same and vice versa.

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 16:44:12

Its harder the older you get imo as people get so set in their ways. I have friends that are like that in their early 30s bickering over things that we just went with the flow with.

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Jul-13 16:52:13

One thing I'd be interested in knowing when the statistic "young marriages are less likely to last" is quoted is whether correlations have been investigated rather than causalities.

For example - are young marriages likely to have a lower average income than older ones and are lower incomes marriages less likely to last? (When debt comes in the door love flies out the window.)

What about education level?

What about the rate of marital fail compared? Presumably there is an age that people get to (60, 70, 80, 90 , 100?) where on the whole people - even if unhappy - do not divorce as their life expectency post divorce is too low to make it worth accepting the trauma of divorce. For example if 2 19 year olds are married for 40 years and then become unhappy then they are more likely to divorce than two 39 year olds. But does that actually make their marriage less successful? Both couples had 40 happy years.

On the other hand one reason people may marry young is that they don't believe in sex before marriage. These people are also less likely to believe in divorce and so more likely to stay married even if miserable.

So are we interested in staying married full stop or being happily married?

Because they are different things.

Numptywallice Sun 07-Jul-13 17:02:54

I don't agree, We had our fiirst baby at 21 and my husband and I have now been together 10 years (30 this year). We have also married and had 2nd child since then. We have dealt with being made homeless, buying our own home, new jobs and stress of kids. No one said life was easy but we have got through it together and both took our vows seriously.

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 17:04:07

You are more likely to be happy, contended and have a long marriage if you have thoroughly discussed finances, children, future plans beforehand, are compatible sexually, have good communication between the pair of you, have a high level of attraction/sexual chemistry and are good friends. If you have all that it doesnt matter if your 18 or 80.

GibberTheMonkey Sun 07-Jul-13 17:15:20

Don't the stats also say that children with parents who are still happily married are more likely to have successful marriages.

Does this outweigh the age thing?
If it were down to stats alone would a 35 yr old couple with divorced parents be more or less successful than a 25 yr old couple with happily married parents.

Someone mentioned money. I suspect it's a huge factor.

ReginaPhilangie Sun 07-Jul-13 17:28:36

I disagree, DH was 25 when we got married, (I was 21). We've been married for 14 years now and together for 18 years. He had DSD when he was 18, and although probably not ready to be a dad at that age he did the right thing and stepped up. He's a brilliant dad (and a far better parent to her than her than her mother). She's grown up now and they're very close. He was 28 when dd1 was born and 32 when dd2 was born, again he's a great dad to them.

I think it totally depends on the people TBH regardless of age.

Remotecontrolduck Sun 07-Jul-13 17:39:34

Disagree. Sometimes it isn't practical to live independently on your own until you have a partner, for financial reasons. Financial constraints are not a sign of immaturity, just crappy circumstances

It depends entirely on both people. Two of the best parents I know were 22 and 23 when they had their DC. Some people aren't ready until 30+

Disagree about men too. They're not immature unless they're allowed to be. Like women can be.

Depends on the individual, I know people who change mid-life to the point it's hard to recognize them (my mother being one of them - changed almost everything about her lifestyle when we left home). Change can happen any time.

Also, the stats on age are slightly sked - they look to see who makes it to their 30th anniversary. Someone who marries at 45 is far more likely to be separated by death than divorce before their 30th anniversary compared to someone who marries at 25, which the NOS recognises.

I think it has more to do with personality, expectations, and stress than it does sex, gender, or age. While many do work, second marriages are more likely to fail than first, third even more so, and so on. Though divorce rates are getting lower, 60% still last at least 20 years, and it's questionable whether divorce is really a problem. Generally, good relationship skills and expectations are far more important determiners than an age, some people will never have either no matter how old they get.

The money thing/stress is interesting though. All my father's divorces (4) were really about money, because he has horrible expectations around it and has never learned how to communicate or learned how not run up debt.

NotYoMomma Sun 07-Jul-13 18:16:46

I find this thread highly annoying, as if people are all the same.

I married at 23, started a family at 26 and very happy today, expecting dc2

I would trust him with my life, my dc's life. he is younger than me by a year too.

missbopeep Sun 07-Jul-13 18:23:54

Just throwing this in for good measure...obviously there are more criteria on the website.

from the Office for National Statistics

Divorce stats 2011

53% had divorced by their 30th anniversary if they were less than 20 when they married

23% had divorced by the same anniversary if they were aged 30 to 34 when they married, and

7% had divorced if they were aged 45 to 49 when they married.

peteypiranha Sun 07-Jul-13 18:25:33

what happens between 20-30 then?

Nah disagree - married at 26, first child born when were both 28, we're still going strong in our early 40's. We grew up when ds1 became severely disabled - and I think being relatively young helped. Am pleased now that it means one of us at least is more likely to be around well into his adulthood (I know there are no guarantees). I find parenting children in my 40's far more tiring than it was in my 20's - pleased I was young for their early years.

80sMum Sun 07-Jul-13 18:40:09

I married at 20 and had first child at 22.

I'm not sure if I will ever truly know myself or what I want from life. Life just is. It ticks by in the background while you're waiting for that revelatory moment that may never come.

Life has to be lived - and all the waiting around for the right moment is still life. There's no dress rehearsal.

Samu2 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:19:07

I agree for the most part too.

I married the first time at aged 18, he was 24. I wasn't mature enough to pick the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Some people marry young and do well but it seems to be the exception, not the rule.

I re-married when I was 27, so still young but close-ish to 30 grin However, having a failed marriage sure teaches you exactly what you want for the next time around.

missbopeep - and that same page discusses that the last group is more likely to die before reaching their 30th anniversary which kind of skews things a bit.

Interestingly, when you read the back-up stats, the divorce based on age of the wife at marriage is pretty much level between 20 and 44 (all in the 30k range, slight decrease with age most years), no big jumps, but for the husband's age at marriage, the number is far bigger the older they get (20-24: ~28k, 25-29: ~36k, 30-44: 43K). Under 20s and Over 45s are very small but mostly due to low numbers that marry then. So maybe it's better for a man to marry young and a woman to marry whenever - don't seem to get better with men when they're older.

mrsnoodle55 Mon 08-Jul-13 04:16:21

I look back and I can't remember actually thinking about anything! I floated into marriage at 22 with my first ever proper boyfriend (3 yrs older than me), divorced at 27 with a baby after he ran off with a 17yr old. Believe me if my kids told me they were getting married in their early twenties I would be having words. Strong ones.

I disagree, Dh and I were married to each other at 23 we celebrate 28 years this year. It's not easy it's been hard work sometimes. I wished him harm on quite a few occasions blush but we worked hard at it. I think it doesn't work when one person is doing all the work and the other is an arse and does nothing to make it work.

nooka Mon 08-Jul-13 04:59:00

Where are you getting the stats from? I can see the ONS main marriage and divorce page but no links to stats about age at marriage and length of marriage.

dh and I met at 19, married at 25 and had children at 28/29. We had a major hiccup in our early thirties, but 10 years later are going strong. A fair few of my friends met their partners much much later and so married and had children much later. It's difficult to compare the strengths of a relationship that's 4/5 years old and one that's 20 years old. Who knows if they will stay the course (obviously I hope that they will).

I don't think that dh was any more or less mature than me, or any better or worse a parent and he is younger than me (abet only by 7mths). Seems a bit unwise to wait to commit until you are in your thirties as then the pressure to have children while you can is so high. I also think that as men (in general) die earlier than women opting for an older husband is perhaps a bit short sighted.

lotsofcheese Mon 08-Jul-13 05:15:08

On the whole, I'd agree, especially for this generation. It was fairly common for people to settle down in their early 20's in the 80's/90's, but nowadays life is very different & I feel people have different experiences eg traveling, living away etc.

Of all the couples I know who were together in their late teens/early 20's, not one has survived into our 40's. Not all were married though. But I think it's reflective of how much we change in our 20's & often outgrow it.

There are exceptions to every rule though & I do know a few who have met young & are happy.

CheerfulYank Mon 08-Jul-13 05:25:58

I dunno.

My dad became one in 1979 when he was 18 and my brother was born. (I came along not quite three years later). He is, and has always been, a lovely dad. One of my absolute favorite people in the world. My mom (same age as my dad) and I have had our ups and downs but she was a decent, consistent parent. They got married five months before my brother was born and still are, happily.

DH and I got married in 2006; I was 24 and he was almost 27. I discovered I was pregnant (surprise!) three weeks later. I had DS and then DD. We are very happy. Most of the time. Sometimes he opens the dryer, sees the clothes are still wet, and doesn't turn it back on. Then I want to keeeel him. grin

I think it's a bit of a cultural thing too...we live in rural midwest America. There is money to be had at a young age here, through mining, logging, farming, etc. I know plenty of people who are married with kids and owning their own houses (usually with a goodish amount of land, too) in their 20's. Nobody lives any kind of "fancy" life, but we're all pretty content. smile

CheerfulYank Mon 08-Jul-13 05:28:59

And then (speaking of the cultural stuff) my dad's younger brother went off to live in Manhattan and didn't get married or have children or really "settle down" until he was 40. He's not uncommon in his circle. When I went to visit him when I was 19 his friends were shocked that he could have a niece so old. smile His daughter and my son are almost the same age.

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 06:46:44

I cant believe people got married young and didnt plan everything shock We planned how many children, where we wanted to live, all finances, what we would do after our children were born in regards to work, future career plans etc all planned a long time before our wedding.

exoticfruits Mon 08-Jul-13 06:53:17

I think that things have changed a lot, and regardless of whether they should or the shouldn't, they can't afford it.

exoticfruits Mon 08-Jul-13 06:55:03

What they shouldn't do is go straight from a mother who does everything to a wife. They need to have been independent, cleaned bathrooms, sewn on buttons, cooked their own meals etc.

arsenaltilidie Mon 08-Jul-13 07:00:16

I re-married when I was 27, so still young but close-ish to 30 However, having a failed marriage sure teaches you exactly what you want for the next time around.

Disagree, because divorce rates for second, third marriages are even worse.
The answer to the OP, is it depends with the person.

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 07:03:03

I dont see how young people cant afford it? Many move out so whats the difference if they move out and get married? It doesnt have to be a rip off to get married, and if they are the type that go for a really over the top fancy wedding they probably wont be the type to be married for life anyway.

TheRealFellatio Mon 08-Jul-13 07:05:53

Only read the OP so far, but you'll get no argument from me Cogito.

PicardyThird Mon 08-Jul-13 07:09:56

I was 23 when we married and dh was 25; we'd been together 2.5 years. Our first child was born when I was 28 and he nearly 30. Been married nearly 13 years. It worked, and continues to work, for us. Dh has always been the responsible, family type; he spent a lot of time with his family well into his early 20s, and lived at home until just before we married (long distance relationship for the first couple of years) apart from 2y in the army. He was always domestically competent, though, good cook, good baker, not naturally tidy or organised but perfectly capable of cleaning upafter himself.

I definitely had no idea who I was when I married and to a certain extent married the first bloke who asked me. I just turned 30...we're two DC and 7 years into marriage and yes I have countless times wondered if I made the right choice but then we have nights like tonight where we reconnect and actively work on our relationship and I think it will stay the course.

Disagree about important conversations pre marriage only happening to older couples - we discussed parenting, career goals, life's shit list etc well before engagement let alone marriage.

Who knows. Both of us have parents who married young, mine just celebrated 36yrs of marriage, his divorced after about 9. I would say if we were ever in the situation of "giving up" on our marriage, DH would cling tighter to it than I, precisely because he comes from a divorced marriage.

IOnlyNameChangeInACrisis Mon 08-Jul-13 07:20:53

I suspect loads of people can't marry young, because these days we expect ourselves to have a long & (in some cases) endless adolescence.

DH and I met at 25 and 24, respectively. We married at 32 and 31, but we together without a break since our first meeting. As far as "marriage" goes, we might as well have been married in our twenties, and part of me wonders if we should have brought having children forward a bit just to have given ourselves that little bit more energy during the newborn years.

Having children made us grow up properly. But marriage? Nah.

nooka Mon 08-Jul-13 07:24:28

dh and I discussed stuff when we first decided to live together, when we decided that the commitment was long term, and when we got married. That doesn't mean that those plans didn't change though!

We never even talked about emigrating (probably the biggest thing we've done as a family) because it wasn't even on the cards for many years. We didn't particularly talk about having children because it wasn't a big interest to either of us until a while after we got married, and our original thoughts about childcare arrangements changed too as dh's original career choice didn't work out. I am sure that there will be plenty of as yet unknown changes/challenges in the future too.

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 07:27:53

I hate the way society makes out that if you get married its the end of having fun, or you will never do fun things. Its a complete lie, you do everything the same but all with the love of your life.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Jul-13 07:30:42

Hear what people are saying about having married solid, dependable types at 21 and never regretting it. Expected that...

I think my friend's view (and my own) are coloured by the fact that, in all the young marriages that fell apart, it was the responsible young woman who had 'got' the concept of a long-term adult partnership, especially where there were children involved. Whereas the young men in each case had proved to be irresponsible, immature & selfish, acting like single teenagers and 'rebelling' against something they'd voluntarily chosen. Fine in the dating phase but, faced with the reality of mortgages, children, jobs and all the rest, falling well short and behaving like knobs.

Why, we wondered, did this type get married in the first place if they had no intention of giving up wine, women and song? Why make promises they can't keep and write cheques they can't cash? Is marriage just another impulsive act for them... a grand gesture that they can't sustain?

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 07:32:44

There are always going to be some men like that, same as there are naive young women who dont even discuss future plans and only think of weddings. In fact there are many people in their 20s/30s who are this ridiculous.

Lavenderloves Mon 08-Jul-13 07:34:03

I agree, i needed three years living alone in my late twenties to get to know me.

Wishihadabs Mon 08-Jul-13 07:36:09

I think I probably agree. But would say the optimum age is 28-35. IME as people get into their late 30's, early 40's they do become very set in their ways also physical health can realisticaly start to fail before the dcs are independent (perversely this is more likely if you have had an extended adolescence).

Having said that I don't think anyone should get married unless they realy want to. (A lot of keeping up with the Jones in my social circle)

Wishihadabs Mon 08-Jul-13 07:38:13

FWIW DH and I met at 22 and 23, had Ds at 28 and 29 and married at 29 and 30.

CheerfulYank Mon 08-Jul-13 07:54:42

DH and I didn't discuss anything...we knew we wanted children at some point. That was pretty much it.

But then I found out I was pregnant so soon after our wedding and that decided many things for us. He needed a steady job, we decided we wanted to buy a house in a small town, etc. I don't know where we'd be or what we'd be doing if not for DS, honestly.

Dahlen Mon 08-Jul-13 08:00:48

I don't know. While my natural inclination is to agree with you Cogito for exactly the same reasons (changed a lot in my 20s and outgrew my XH), I have noticed that the couples I know who are celebrating long happy marriages all got together in their late teens/early 20s. That would include my own parents.

I think that if you marry young, you either grow together or you grow apart. I also think you can influence which of those outcomes occurs. To do so requires a certain level of self-knowledge and maturity in both partners, but those things do not necessarily coincide with biological age even though it is more likely.

My own observations on life have led me to conclude <sweeping generalisation alert> that there are two types of marriage. There are those whose lives are defined by their marriage. They often married young and they build a life together. That's all they know and they are content with it. They are a unit.

Then there are marriages between people who have established their own lives and are fiercely protective of their identities. They are much pickier about who they will share that with and what compromises they will make. Assuming no major 'issues' this tends to make for a marriage with a lot of healthy boundaries and respect. It is an equal partnership between two distinct individuals. I see this in a lot of second marriages (the sort where people have learned from the first 'mistake' rather than being doomed to repeat it) or older marriages.

Between those two extremes, I seem to see a lot of conflict between what people want as individuals and what they desire as a relationship. In particular I see a lot of people in their late 20s/early 30s who have come out of one relationship and are experiencing a lot of dissatisfaction with their lives (maybe career has failed to take off or they have money worries, etc) and expect to find a solution and fulfilment through their relationship. Those sorts of marriages seem to fail quite a lot IME.

Ultimately, though, maturity can only take you so far. We all know people in their 50s who have the emotional depth of a 15-year-old when it comes to being in a relationship.

KingRollo Mon 08-Jul-13 08:07:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chandon Mon 08-Jul-13 08:19:41

Most of my friends are happily married to their first ( or second) boyfriends.

Splitting up every 2 or 3 years looking for someone better in your 20s is more " normal" but not sure it leads to better marriages.

It all depends on attitude imo, all marriages go through crap but some stay together as they fight for it. Others check out. This attitude is not dependent on age.

missbopeep Mon 08-Jul-13 08:29:22

nooka might be a bit late to answer you now but I got the stats from the ONS page on divorce stats- search their website for divorce stats- and clicked on the stats for 2011. You have to scroll down the info then to find 'age at marriage/ divorce'. It doesn't hit you in the face smile you have to search!

I also copied and pasted the info on that page , which is why it doesn't include ages 20-30, as another poster asked, but it will be on their site if you search hard enough.

IOnlyNameChangeInACrisis Mon 08-Jul-13 09:18:44

Cogito, I agree that there is a split between what many men are conditioned to believe they want (oh, if only EVERY woman you fancied would put out on the spot, life would be perfect) and what actually makes people happy.

To be happy, people need to make & sustain deep and meaningful relationships. This doesn't automatically mean everyone must be married and/or monogamous, but it's quite a handy life pattern to use in the pursuit of deep relationships.

Women are told from birth that they want/need deep & meaningful relationships, and they set out to find them. They spend hours with their friends practicing emotional management.

Traditionally, men didn't do any of this because they would marry young anyway, and then the wife would take over all the family & emotional management. If some men (like my grandfather, and father) pitched in and did family things, that was just gravy for their wives. It wasn't expected.

Now men aren't expected to marry young anymore. Women aren't either. Women are still being raised to be emotional managers. More men are being raised to be emotional grown ups, but loads are still just left to be "tamed" by a wife they have no social pressure to stick with.

I think it's a good thing that marriage/children are no longer the only expected path in life. However, I do think that there is a big materialist sell for a particular type of child-free/serially monogamist lifestyle that keeps people who might otherwise marry from committing until well into their 30s, and that's not so good. As someone else said above, it's not like you actually stop having fun when you have a family.

missbopeep Mon 08-Jul-13 09:33:29

Surely the most basic and simple fact with this is that people change a lot during their early and mid 20s? If couples change together that's great- but often they outgrow each other.

And I do disagree with posters who say that men have a choice whether to be immature or emotionally juvenile! You only have to teach teenagers or undergrads to know that generally women in their late teens and early 20s tend to be much more mature- which usually starts with them hitting puberty 2 years before boys ( in general.)

Traditionally, women often married men 8-10 years older than themselves. ( Middle and Upper classes 18th and 19th century.) This was not simply to do with the men being established financially by then and able to provide, but also that men were 'expected' to sow their wild oats before settling down.

Of course much of that doesn't apply now BUT I do think that most men do lag behind in emotional maturity, and catch up late 20s - have seen this with my own DCs and their friends.

There will always be couples who marry young and have long and happy marriages. But you can't dismiss stats out of hand. It's great if you find 'the one' in your teens or early 20s and have a great 60 years together- but actually, the average age of marriage now is something like late 20s.

susiey Mon 08-Jul-13 09:57:34

I disagree my DH husband and I married at 21 and 22 . Had our first child at 23 and 24 ( planned)

10 years later we now have 4dc and he is an amazing and very responsible and involved father and excellent DH.

That said his father died in his childhood and as a result he did grow up fast.

I totally think getting married and having kids younger has both disadvantages and advantages same with marrying and settling down later.

People are all different our life experience shapes us so its impossible to make such a general statement!

Damnautocorrect Mon 08-Jul-13 10:00:15

I agree, I used to think it was 25 now I think it's 30

ithaka Mon 08-Jul-13 10:02:35

The people I know best in life are me, my sister & my best friend. We all married before we were 30, to men younger than 30 - in fact, oddly enough, we are all older than our husbands!

Currently we have all been married between 20 - 25 years, plenty of children, losses & life changes in that time and the marriages are still going strong.

So in my closest circle - that statement is bollocks. DH & I were both 26 when me married (he is only 6 months younger than me), we met when we were 23. I believe we will be together until separated by death.

parisandnewyork Mon 08-Jul-13 11:03:50

I don't necessarily agree; I think it depends quite a lot on your own personality and expectations. I come from a social circle/family where most relationships are established well before the age of 30, and almost all of them are still doing well, divorce is very rare amongst those I know.

I am a bit of a black sheep in that I married in my early 30s (considered late), but then I only met DH when he was 28. I dare say that if we'd met earlier, we probably would have married younger. He's always been a serious and responsible type, and certainly wasn't emotionally immature throughout his 20s, but just hadn't met the right person. I have never been a big partying type either. Neither of us fit the stereotypes of commitment-phobe young man or desperately keen woman, and tbh most of my friends don't either!

One advantage to marrying a bit later was that we were both well established in our careers, which meant we could buy a house as soon as we were married, and we can afford a good lifestyle with nice weekends away etc. Couples I know who have married younger have had to deal with poor quality rentals, struggle to get decent leisure time and pay for the basics, which puts a lot of stress on them.

missbopeep Mon 08-Jul-13 11:13:18

I wonder why it is that so many posters here relate the question to their own experiences, rather than being a bit more philosophical about the question?

Several of us have said that there will always be couples who married young and think that is the best way, but sometimes to debate something you need to move outside your personal experience and that of close friends etc and think of the issue in wider terms.

Chattymummyhere Mon 08-Jul-13 12:49:01

I don't think it's so much an age thing..

I think those that are now 50's+ where brought up when you got married then had children and never divorced

Where as the last 20/30 years has been a case of do what you want

If two mature in mind, same life plans etc people get married at 16 they will be much better together than two 40 year olds who are imature and marrying for the sake of it..

And as someone else mentioned the older people get the less they seem to even want to divorce even if their marriage is bad and dead in the water because what's the point? They just want company nothing more

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Jul-13 13:23:28

" a bit more philosophical "

I think the philosophical point could be the dichotomy between the very modern concept of 'extended adolescence' as someone accurately put it up-thread vs the cave-man-style biological timetable of pair-bonding, fertility and so on.

(Dons flat cap and sucks thoughtfully on a pint of mild to elaborate)... when childhood stopped age 14 or 15 and ordinary people (rather than the Bertie Wooster set) were expected to grow up overnight, get a job, stop mucking about and knuckle down, the two would have overlapped relatively nicely. Nowadays, '50 is the new 40', 30 is the new 16 and, just when you think the whole grisly business of being a grown-up is left to people in their seventies, there's Jagger hmm

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 13:25:00

There are a lot of reasons I would hope my dcs dont wait until their 30s to marry. More chance of fertility problems, if they want children wont have a few carefree years of marriage before children come along, will have the stress of having to rush through the children with small gaps so more stress for their marriage, then if they do that more chance that the woman will quit work as wont be able to afford childcare for a couple of children at once, people are more set in their ways by 30 so it can be hard to adjust to marriage.

On top of this I am seeing a lot at the moment of people who havent got married by their 30s marrying any one at all as they are worried about their fertility.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Jul-13 13:32:12

Only your male DCs have to hold off until 30 peteyprianha ... the female ones will be able to handle the responsibility at a younger age. That's the proposal on the table.

Aetae Mon 08-Jul-13 13:35:49

I think in addition to emotional maturity and a sense of self / independence there might be an element of peer pressure to it.

I know that as most people get older they care far less about what other people think, so I can see how younger people are more susceptible to marrying their serious boy/girlfriend at the time because that's what you do (relationship stages etc that kind of bollocks) so don't exercise fully free choice and therefore end up with the wrong person. I suppose men might be more prone to this than women as we're more societally conditioned to start dreaming about family and relationship permanence at a young age.

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 13:38:20

I would never marry a man older than me. None of my peers seem to want to do that either, unless marrying for money.

I would be perfectly happy from age 18+ if our dcs got married.

peteypiranha Mon 08-Jul-13 13:40:38

aetae - In your 30s there is peer pressure thats why a lot of people just end up marrying whoever is around at the time. I think if you marry younger then often its because you really love the person as its a much more rare thing to do and totally against what modern society expects.

BangOn Mon 08-Jul-13 13:42:44

Not sure what magically happens to a man on the eve of his 30th birthday to make him marriage/fatherhood material? If that were true the relationships section wouldn't be chock full of tales of cheating, porn-addicted, soon to be divorced, men in their thirties & forties. Can't blame all this on their marrying to soon - they would probably behave like this at any age.

cory Mon 08-Jul-13 13:46:17

I probably changed more between 30 and 45 than between 20 and 30. So should I not have been allowed to marry before 30 or should I have been made to wait until I was 46? And is it ok if you just live in sin?

To your feckless young man of 22, I raise you the spoiled bachelor of 40. grin

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Jul-13 13:56:36

I agree that the initial statement was deliberately simplistic and therefore controversial. @bangon... Picking the age '30' was really a peg to hang the maturity hat on, if you will, rather than a strict cut-off.

You can find the numbers on the ONS website through a search of publications. The tables show that men are more likely to get divorced the older they are at marriage significantly (dropping after 45 due to fewer getting married then) while women's divorce rates decrease slightly as they get older.

So by the ONS stats, men should marry earlier and women should marry later though for women it has far less impact. Confirmation bias though tends to teach different things.

missbopeep Mon 08-Jul-13 14:11:38

Cogito- I think I mentioned some of those points upthread about extended adolescence.

My parents married at 22 and 23 but each left school at 14, my dad was conscripted into the army, and by the age of 23 was more mature in many ways than youngsters nowadays.

However, even he says 23 was too young to be married. Don't forget either that for people of that generation, some people could only get regular sex if they were married and my parents say they were 'chaperoned' by their families until they tied the knot.

The over 50s now ( like me) often married young- the expectation on me, in a very working class part of the country, was that I'd be married at 21 to a long term boyfriend. Any woman who was still single at 25 was considered to be a lost cause.

But you need to remember that very few people- around 10%- went to uni, compared to 50% now. Some of my DCs friends have married young, but by and large they are all still single in their mid-late 20s.

Leavenheath Mon 08-Jul-13 14:33:59

Obviously it's impossible to generalise about an entire sex because people are individuals and behind any set of statistics, there's an entire social and economic context missing.
Funnily enough though, in my circle the marriages that seem the happiest are the ones where the couples met and married in their early/mid twenties but delayed kids till their late twenties or early thirties. In my completely unscientific assessment based only on conversations we've all had, this is attributed to the individuals having had enough 'single time' for other relationships, then enough time as a couple and forging ahead with careers/travelling the world before making the lifestyle shift required to become parents. This was the 80s/90s though, when DH, me and most of our contemporaries went to uni at 18, lived alone or in flat shares afterwards and found it relatively easy to buy first houses on a 100% mortgage.

But one of the biggest factors seems to have been the initial chemistry between the couples, which has seen them through the trials and tribulations of family life and getting older. Whereas we've all known a lot of divorces or unhappy marriages in couples who left it later to marry and then had children soon after meeting or marrying. As a shorthand, these are best described as the 'settlers' whose clocks were ticking and after lots of unsuccessful relationships, decided to settle down with 'steady types' who would make good parents, if not lifelong lovers.

Because the social and economic context is so different now for our own kids than it was when we married in our twenties, DH and I have got an expectation that if they decide on marriage, they'll probably be older than we were, but might be about the same age as we were when we started having children. But they are all so different in terms of personality and maturity levels, who knows?

charleyturtle Wed 10-Jul-13 20:56:31

My dps nan actually said something similar to me the other day. I do disagree, my dp and I are both 23, have a 7mo dd and are getting married next year. So many people asked us "don't you think you will be missing out on your 20's getting married/ having children/ moving in together, so young?"

but I always thought, we have both lived on our own since we were 18/19, worked for own money since 16 and definitely had enough fun. We were both ready to settle down together and have known each other 20 years, best friends for 10. I know I don't have hindsight on my side and maybe i'm niave, but I think we will be alright. We both have done what we wanted to do with that stage of our lives and have changed so much since we met but we have always been together for everything. Surely its more subjective than just "at 30+ you will be ok to settle down"?

Weegiemum Wed 10-Jul-13 21:12:25

Well maybe we disprove the rule.

We met at 19/20, married at 24. 18+ years ago. Had dc at 29, 31, 32.

It works for some people - it's working well for us!

Bumpstarter Wed 10-Jul-13 23:01:33

It could also be argued that it is harder to let someone else into your life and get used to the compromises of living together the older you are and the more time you have spend just having to be accountable to yourself


Nornironmum Thu 11-Jul-13 00:09:39

Have to disagree: I am 31, dh is 30, been together 13 years and married 8, have a 6 year old and 3 year old. Dh has a fab job, I have degree and good job.
Both working class, came from no money at all. Bought out first house together after renting for a year my second year out of uni, saved and paid for our own wedding. Had first DC a year after. I look at my single friends now and am very glad I am not having to panic as they are and settle for someone who may not be right for me, just because my clock is ticking. Dh and I grew up together, wanted the same things, and achieved them together. I hope for the same for my dc, that they are lucky enough to find the right person young.

BellEndTent Thu 11-Jul-13 00:14:22

I think this does a disservice to men. My DH is far more mature than I am, set up his own business and bought his first house aged 21 when I was busy getting pissed up in uni and was thrilled by our first (accidental) pregnancy while was terrified. He was happy to support our family and couldn't wait to get married soon after and have another child. We are very, very happy and he is my rock - not all men are idiots although I can understand feeling a bit bitter if you married one. My own mother would probably agree with this statement - she married the wrong man the first time around too.

Cerisier Thu 11-Jul-13 00:31:32

I also think the sweeping generalization does a disservice to men. Almost all the men I know are solid dependable types.

I met DH when we were 19 and married at 25. We are still together 30 years later. My parents met and married in early 20s and are still together. Ditto PIL.

It all depends on the type of men you meet/like. Immature types might be fun and exciting but clever hard working mature men are the ones I would want my DDs marrying.

TheRealFellatio Thu 11-Jul-13 09:11:09

It will be unpopular to say this to anyone who is still pretty young and has had a family with a man they've been with since their teens, but the simple fact is that one or other of a couple is far more likely to get itchy feet and start feeling they've missed out on their 'sowing wild oats' years, if they have only had one long term relationship from a pretty young age. I think either the man or the woman can feel this way, but the truth is that the man is more likely to act on it, because he:

a) often gets more opportunity to be outside the home and away from the day to day care of the children

b) will often (rightly or wrongly) feel a bit aggrieved at being 'replaced' in her affections/attention by the children and will bemoan a lack of sex, whereas women are so preoccupied with the physical and emotional demands of childcare that sex becomes temporarily very much secondary.

c) is a man, and whatever feminists say about men and women being essentially the same, and everything else being a social construct, generally speaking, as a man he is not genetically/hormonally programmed to mature, or to take to monogamy as easily, or as young as most women.

You only have to look at the animal kingdom to see that the less evolved/civilised a society is, (or for humans let's say 'industrialised and developed) as it sounds less contentious) the more misogynistically it is set up. The males quite literally leave the woman 'holding the baby' and having no qualms about serving their own interests above everything else. In some parts of the developing world, routinely impregnating a woman (or several women) and then feeling no responsibility towards them whatsoever is so commmonplace as to have none of the societal pressure or guilt attached.

Of course anyone of any age can have an affair, or just bail on the responsibility of marriage and children, but there is no getting away from the fact that it is more likely to happen if a man has felt 'tied down' too young.

I know someone will come along to argue with paragraph four but I don't care. grin

chickabilla Thu 11-Jul-13 09:24:58

I think it depends on the situation, DH and I.have been together since we were at uni, 13 years, s, marriefor 8 years (at 26) and have 3 DC

chickabilla Thu 11-Jul-13 09:31:55

Oops, younger DC made me post too early! I meant to say, we had both left home and been independent from 18, had no debts, good jobs and our own home and had both done a bit of travelling. He was probably more ready than me to settle at 25 if anything but it is different now with more people having debts and tryiong to get on the property dder.

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