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Why men should not marry
November 22, 2003 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Why men should not marry
posted by SpaceCadet (193 comments total)

 
"What I'm saying is that human beings are nasty weak treacherous creatures that are for the most part totally untrustworthy. Experience is my basis for this statement, both mine and others who I know or who have written reliable histories. If you can find a woman to be your companion who is not treacherous, a deceitful little actress, a sly whore or a manipulative nag or a shrieking hag, then you are among the lucky few. Congratulations. I hope your luck continues to hold out.

This guy sure must brighten every room he enters...
posted by sharksandwich at 12:40 PM on November 22, 2003


It's about time for a complete reevaluation of the whole relationship thing. Western civ is finally transcending the biological prerogative to start asking some serious questions.

1) What is marriage?
2) Should biological prerogatives be the law?
3) Should sex and reproduction be seen as separate and distinct things?
4) Is reproduction a right or a privilege?
5) Is marriage (lasting monogamy) a right or a privilege?
6) Is sex a right or a privilege?
7) What happens, and what should government do, when there is a significant male/female population imbalance? (China, for one, may soon have 25 million males with no probable chance for sex or marriage. India, similar imbalance.)
8) Should some marriages be based on economic considerations?
9) Eugenics/genetic modification and reproduction.
posted by kablam at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2003


Alas, the link seems to be entirely about the bitterness of men who made poor choices when marrying and continued to make poor choices (and hawking some booklet or other). There's little there in terms of rethinking human relationships, but there's plenty of "my marriage sucks so yours should, too" anecdote.
posted by majick at 12:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Great link but why did you not post this before I got married? The trick then is to conceal such things and let other men become fools like we were. There is a spot of comfort in that.
posted by Postroad at 12:49 PM on November 22, 2003


The problem is, is that when you're young, you just naturally fall into this mind set where your whole self image is based on how women regard you, and so you spend all your money and energy trying to make yourself acceptable to them.

This part is true, more or less, and can really fuck you up as an adolescent.

Then later in life, when the shine wears off and you finally see how inferior they are to men in every way, you realize that you've wasted yourself on a bunch of crap.

This part is bullshit. Women aren't inferior, they're just equally as fucked up and superfical and screwy as men are, but in his mind he'd elevated them to magical beings of desire who held the key to happiness and when they were revealed to him as mere humans, it destroyed his worldview.
posted by jonmc at 12:51 PM on November 22, 2003


For a moment I thought I'd accidentally logged onto another one of my favorite sites, Cruel Site of the Day.
posted by kozad at 12:57 PM on November 22, 2003


Funny, if you titled this "Why women should not marry" it'd still make sense. Perhaps this individual has had troubles in relationships because he is an enormous asshole. But at least he has realized that because of his hatred of women, he shouldn't have a relationship with a woman. Unless she's foreign, of course.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2003


My first reaction was, "Bitter, depressed man creates website. Film at 11." But then I noticed this:

Is the website written by you?
Most of it is not. It's a collective thinking of many different men (I found most of it on various discussion forums).


So it's "Bitter, depressed man plaigarizes other bitter, depressed men to shill self-published book. Film at 11."
posted by ook at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2003


I still maintain couples should have to take a test before they can parent. Random but appropriate somehow..
posted by Mossy at 1:11 PM on November 22, 2003


So it's "Bitter, depressed man plaigarizes other bitter, depressed men to shill self-published book. Film at 11."

Given the 90/70/50* rule, I guess there are a lot of bitter men out there.

*90% of single parents are female

*70% of divorces are initiated by women (conservative estimate)

*50% divorce rate

Dare I say men are primary victims of divorce.

(work it out for yourself)

I'm just sayin'........
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:38 PM on November 22, 2003


*90% of single parents are female

And in a large portion of those cases, it's because Dad decided to take a powder. It happened to a lot of people I know. Statistics tell only part of the story.
posted by jonmc at 1:39 PM on November 22, 2003


And in a large portion of those cases, it's because Dad decided to take a powder.

Speak plain English. You mean because the father was a drug addict? I think you live in the wrong neighbourhood, if it happened to a lot of people you know.

Have you not heard of the family courts? "Best interests of the child"? Parental Alienation Syndrome? Malicious Mother Syndrome?

I guess not......Spiderman was just a waste of time it seems.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Alright, I feel in the mood...

4) Is reproduction a right or a privilege?

Mostly neither - it's a duty.

7) What happens, and what should government do, when there is a significant male/female population imbalance? (China, for one, may soon have 25 million males with no probable chance for sex or marriage. India, similar imbalance.)

What the hell are those figures based upon?

8) Should some marriages be based on economic considerations?

Not just some but all.

9) Eugenics/genetic modification and reproduction.

How is that a question?
posted by zerofoks at 1:50 PM on November 22, 2003


Reading this guy's site, I am reminded of a certain little rascals episode. What a loser. No wonder he has a hard time with chicks.
posted by adamrice at 1:52 PM on November 22, 2003


Once you're actually married, you'll find that everything about marriage, legal, financial, and emotional, will be about HER and the kids. Your needs will be dead last, or even more likely, not even recognized. You will be just a provider, a mechanic, or whatever type of worker bee the woman and children happen to require at the moment.

Not saying all marriages are like that, but I reckon a big proportion of them arelike that. Don't you think the men of those marriages are regretting their marriage? A simple truth, but isn't one we should recognise?
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:57 PM on November 22, 2003


This page sponsored by The Marry Foreigners Foundation.
posted by skallas at 1:59 PM on November 22, 2003


Speak plain English.

Meaning left, walked out, abandoned his kids. And I've lived in all kinds of neighborhoods.
posted by jonmc at 2:00 PM on November 22, 2003


Wow, spacecadet, I'm just wishing I could have married a gem like you.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2003


China, for one, may soon have 25 million males with no probable chance for sex or marriage. India, similar imbalance
Hows about somebody telling me about a country with the imbalance the other way round for a change. You know, maybe an island somewhere; no male population; lots of bikinis; prgressive attitudes to sex; old fashioned attitude towards cleaning and cooking.

... And I don't want it to be like one of THOSE Star Trek episodes either, where it all turns out to be too good to be true.
posted by seanyboy at 2:07 PM on November 22, 2003


Well, LittleMissCranky, I hope you weren't chiding SpaceCadet for this one:

reckon a big proportion of them are like that. Don't you think the men of those marriages are regretting their marriage? A simple truth, but isn't one we should recognise?

Because, while I am not married, I have plenty of thirtysomething friends and acquaintances who are in similar boats. Maybe they picked the wrong women, maybe they're assholes, maybe they're neglectful-- I can't say for sure.

But in any case, their quality of life has plummeted since marriage. They work sixty or seventy hours a week to provide good standards of living for their families, and come home to TV dinners, frigid wives, and kids that view them less as parents than ATMs.

Between the ages of 25 and 35, they lost their autonomies, their incomes, and their sexual partners. And forget about leaving a legacy by sharing their values with their children-- their wives raise their children, because they're always at work, trying to pay the mortgage on the houses that their wives just had to have.

They're fucked. And there's nothing they can do about it.
posted by trharlan at 2:38 PM on November 22, 2003


Wow, spacecadet, I'm just wishing I could have married a gem like you.

It's such a shame, LittleMissCranky, that our paths did not cross.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:39 PM on November 22, 2003


If you pick a woman for her bra size instead of her character, and then expect to treat her like a household appliance with sexual privileges, don't come crying to me.

(Not directed to anyone here, thank God.)
posted by konolia at 2:46 PM on November 22, 2003


trharlan, you speak the truth that other people are afraid to recognise.

I acknowledge it.

People: give me a reason why men should marry.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:48 PM on November 22, 2003


Yes, spacecadet, I'm kicking myself. And thank you for your clever reference to my ironically self-chosen user name.

What I object to, trharlan, is spacecadet's assumption (that you apparently share), that men regret marriage because women suck. People regret marriage because a) they have unrealistic expectations and b) people in general suck.

I really don't want to hear how men are miserable because they work all the time and how the grasping, selfish women are staying home eating bonbons and maliciously turning the children against their husbands. Please.

Working 60-70 hours a week is a choice, one that many women make as well. If the men don't want to do it, they should sack up and not do it. And believe it or not, it is NOT the woman's responsibility to provide non-defrosted dinners and sex on demand. If you really believe it is, I would certainly advise you not to marry.

I love this site. If a man agrees with these things, it's certainly better for him and for all the women of his acquaintance that he not marry. It's wonderful when things are self-selective.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:51 PM on November 22, 2003


But in any case, their quality of life has plummeted since marriage. They work sixty or seventy hours a week to provide good standards of living for their families, and come home to TV dinners, frigid wives, and kids that view them less as parents than ATMs...their wives raise their children, because they're always at work, trying to pay the mortgage on the houses that their wives just had to have.

Things were so much better before feminism, back when men and women shared equally in parenting and men weren't expected to work long hours to provide for their families.

Look, these men married women who either wanted to be or were pressured into being stay-at-home moms (I assume they're stay-at-home moms, otherwise complaining about the "TV dinners" doesn't make any sense) and now they're complaining that they're stuck doing the traditionally male jobs in the marriage. What did they expect?
posted by transona5 at 2:52 PM on November 22, 2003


People: give me a reason why men should marry.

On the contrary, SpaceCadet, I don't think that you should marry.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:53 PM on November 22, 2003


I think SpaceCadet & LittleMissCranky should marry eachother.

Fetch Rev. Cardoso.
posted by jonmc at 2:59 PM on November 22, 2003


But in any case, their quality of life has plummeted since marriage.

Unfortunately I think that is true for a lot of men AND women, especially if there are small children in the picture. These days one has to choose from one parent staying home, and the real financial stresses that brings, and both parents working-thus decreasing time and energy for the kids and for getting necessary house stuff done, which means there is little or no time for the couple to spend with each other or with themselves.

A tired stressed woman is not going to feel like a tiger at 11 pm. Which makes a tired stressed husband feel rejected, which can't help but affect the rest of their relationship in and out of the bedroom.

I love my husband and kids, but there have been times when the stresses of life were almost unbearable. It does get easier eventually, but for many people it is already too late.
posted by konolia at 3:00 PM on November 22, 2003


Actually, things were so much better before feminism when marriages could actually survive on one income. There's no time left to do anything but earn money and then spend it. And, because parents are working harder and harder to keep afloat, kids are now often an unsupervised and exploitable resource. Yay!
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2003


no one has mentioned love yet, how sad.
posted by luckyclone at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2003


It must suck to have a small penis.
posted by bradth27 at 3:06 PM on November 22, 2003


no one has mentioned love yet, how sad.

Touché, luckyclone.

It seems to me that love is sometimes a luxury...
posted by trharlan at 3:10 PM on November 22, 2003


Actually, things were so much better before feminism when marriages could actually survive on one income.

Nowhere does trharlan say that his friends are in two-income families. If they are, it's especially egregious to blame the long work hours on the wife when she's working too.

And when could families survive without the wife working? Not when people lived on farms. Not in the tenements. Maybe for the middle class in some brief time in the mid-twentieth century (a time when words like "frigid" were considered acceptable.) Even then, my grandfather was a shipping clerk, and they couldn't have gotten by without my grandmother's job (they lived in a basement apartment, not some white elephant McMansion that she "had" to have.)
posted by transona5 at 3:12 PM on November 22, 2003


Clearly the only people who should get married are gay people. Maybe these guys should try dating men and see how that works out.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2003


"It seems to me that love is sometimes a luxury..."

definitely. marriages should be decided outside of the pressures of children and money and expectations. if there is no foundation of honesty and companionship, there won't be a happy marriage. it's easy to be naive about marriage and it's easy to say that all marriage is bad, but i think if two people can see through the bullshit together, the there is a lot of possible happiness.

wow i'm in a good mood today.
posted by luckyclone at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2003


no one has mentioned love yet, how sad.

Love is not a reason to marry. You can love someone just as much without getting hitched. Marriage simply bestows upon a couple certain advantages that make their lives much easier. The ease with which a marriage can be dissolved does is proof it is not much more than that; it is not a lifetime commitment regardless of what you may say at the altar.

The conventional wisdom is "If you love someone, you will want to marry them" but that to me seems like as much a non sequitur as "If you love someone, you will want a cheese sandwich." It doesn't follow.
posted by kindall at 3:24 PM on November 22, 2003


transona5:And when could families survive without the wife working? Not when people lived on farms. Not in the tenements. Maybe for the middle class in some brief time in the mid-twentieth century (a time when words like "frigid" were considered acceptable.) Even then, my grandfather was a shipping clerk, and they couldn't have gotten by without my grandmother's job (they lived in a basement apartment, not some white elephant McMansion that she "had" to have.)

Wow, what a peice of bullshit. You compare a 50 hour work week + 10 hours of commuting (typical modern job) with helping out on a farm while bringing up children? Hello????? Are you serious? Where were the day-care centres back in the day? How were kids looked after? Extended families? Ahhh, now you're getting the clue....now if you admit that, you will see the benefits of extended family, and family itself.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:36 PM on November 22, 2003


Love is not a reason to marry.

So Kindall, what is a reason to marry?
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:38 PM on November 22, 2003


"Gallagher says that one of the strongest, broadest, deepest findings of social science research is that married people live longer, healthier lives than their never-married or divorced counterparts. She cited a 1990 review of scientific literature that found that "compared to married people, the non-married. . .have higher rates of mortality than the married: about 50% higher among women and 250% higher among men." - from a brief google search result at a site that can't possibly have an ulterior motive for these statistics.

250%??? Cripes. You guys had better hustle for those foreign wives. I don't want you to die! Since I only run a 50% chance, I feel I can risk singledom.
posted by Salmonberry at 3:43 PM on November 22, 2003


I've worked a 50-hour week. I would much prefer it to "helping out" with farm work (I guess it's "helping out" when women do it and "work" when men do it.) Yes, they had extended family to take care of children. Something happened along the way to make that less common. It's called urbanization and the Industrial Revolution.

Or you could just blame the whole thing on selfish women, but at least get it straight as to whether you're blaming it on selfish yuppie career women or selfish lazy stay-at-home women.
posted by transona5 at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Or you could just blame the whole thing on selfish women, but at least get it straight as to whether you're blaming it on selfish yuppie career women or selfish lazy stay-at-home women.

Who's "blaming" anyone here?
posted by trharlan at 3:52 PM on November 22, 2003


Who's "blaming" anyone here?

Well, I'm a little curious as to why Space Cadet posted a link about how the institution of marriage is flawed because women are "inferior to men in every way" and then brings up the decline of the extended family, if he didn't intend to hold these inferior creatures somehow responsible.
posted by transona5 at 3:54 PM on November 22, 2003


Hey, my parents have been happily married for 40 years now, with two kids that have moved out and more or less achieved success at life. My big sister recently gave them a grandkid, and she's in her 4th year of marriage to a man she lived with for 8 years before that. I'm sorry if some misogynists find it difficult to nurture a fulfilling and loving relationship with the fucked-up gold-diggers, shrews, and failures to thrive they ensnare, but to conclude from their anecdotes that marriage is necessarily a bad idea is... really weird.

Is marrying your highschool sweetheart a bad idea? Probably. Someone you've known for 8 months? Probably. Should you go meat-market shopping and marry the first person you can stand for more than ten minutes? Probably not. If you want to have a kid with the person you've been in a monagamous relationship with for several years, a relationship that has only grown in depth, should you marry then?

Well, duh, yes you should.
posted by kavasa at 4:03 PM on November 22, 2003


Space Cadet, you might want to brush up on your history. The nuclear family has been alive and kicking a hell of a lot longer than you think it has. Just because you think medieval children were raised by extended family doesn't mean it's true.
posted by Hildegarde at 4:06 PM on November 22, 2003


To each their own....
posted by grefo at 4:09 PM on November 22, 2003


Okay, I'm not sure what SpaceCadet is looking for here. I do, however, have a few thoughts on the issue of marriage though.

I'm now past the age when most of my friends married, and though I've never been married (we'll come back to that) I have been able to watch these marriages both succeed and fail.

The successful marriages I've seen aren't always happy marriages. There are so many things that strain modern relationships that marital bliss is quickly stamped out by jobs, debts, housing payments, children etc. I've known people who have had every damn problem I could've thought of and they fought tooth and nail about every single thing. At the end of the day, however, they stayed together and did what the had to do to make their relationships work. That is what a relationship is, after all: work and lots of it. I've often scratched my head and wondered "why did they stay together? It seems like so much trouble." Logically I've never been able to answer that question, but something deeper in me knows without hesitation why they kept going: Love and lots of it.

I think marriages fail because someone in the relationship isn't willing to work. I don't mean putting in 50 or 60 + hours on some timeclock, but actually trying to stay interested and active in their relationship with their spouse. People seem to think that they deserve love, but it doesn't operate that way. Love isn't something that just happens, like in white-lie movies, but something people have to make happen, everyday.

When I read through the content of the linked site I can't help but ponder how lazy these men seem. They are willing to work to make money and they think that is enough to make them men. They don't understand why they have to work more when they come home, that they have to love and respect their wives in order to get love and respect. Marriage isn't a hot meal and a blow job, it's a interaction between two people who have different sets of needs but have decided to try to fulfill those needs together.

I've never married and it is possible I never will. I haven't gone out and found a wife because marriage is not the point of life. I wonder, at times, if people marry because they think they are supposed too; they can't imagine being single when all their friends on TV (and maybe a few in real life, I guess) are married. I don't want to marry for the sake of marriage. I want to marry because I'm in love with someone who loves me. I want to marry because I can imagine fighting, fucking, laughing and growing old with a woman I love, a woman who could handle the sight of the lifeless siamese twin growing from my neck.

(kidding about the twin, it just seemed like I was getting to hallmark and shit.)
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:12 PM on November 22, 2003


A study by a Brigham Young University professor warns that by 2020, China's government will be forced to contend with a population of 30 million surplus young males with no hope of marriage, a group likely to be uneducated, unskilled and unemployed.

Chinese traditions, a tough one-child-per-couple policy and modern medical technology have combined to create a demographic nightmare that threatens China's stability and endangers prospects for greater political freedom in the country with the world's largest population. Over the next two decades, as many as 40 million young Chinese men won't be able to marry, settle down and start families. There won't be enough wives to go around.

Studying the unintended fallout of family planning policies in developing countries, she says that when the State limits the number of children and where sex selection tests are easy to access, the sex ratio will turn negative in course of time. In 2000, China's sex ratio was 944 (females to 1000 males) and India's in 2001 was 933 (compared with 1,029 in the U.S.).

This will affect the entire world. We just don't know how yet.
posted by kablam at 4:31 PM on November 22, 2003


You compare a 50 hour work week + 10 hours of commuting (typical modern job) with helping out on a farm while bringing up children?

Your astonishment is appropriate. Farm-living for women, especially before modern tools and appliances would have taken 12+ hours a day, every day, what with all the cooking from scratch and cleaning with water drawn from wells and stuff. The "bringing up children" part probably amounted to just making sure they didn't fall into the fire until they were old enough to work in the fields themselves. I suspect a 50hour work week + 10 hours commuting sounds like a dream to most farm women, which is probably why so many women don't choose to live on farms anymore.

A study by a Brigham Young University professor warns that by 2020, China's government will be forced to contend with a population of 30 million surplus young males with no hope of marriage,

So SpaceCadet would think these are the lucky ones.
posted by dness2 at 4:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Marriage isn't a hot meal and a blow job.

I don't know, elwoodwiles, it seems to me that to these guys, that is what marriage is.
posted by Orb at 4:45 PM on November 22, 2003


Actually, things were so much better before feminism when marriages could actually survive on one income.

You still can, easily enough, in the vast majority of the US.

If you don't mind assuming a 1940's/1950's standard of living, that is. Small houses with one bathroom on small lots aren't that expensive in most of the US, and one unreliable, unsafe car can be had for cheap.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:47 PM on November 22, 2003


70% of divorces are initiated by women (conservative estimate)

Do you have a link to support this? And what do you infer from it?
posted by biscotti at 4:48 PM on November 22, 2003


So Kindall, what is a reason to marry?

Because the two of you've looked at what you'll gain from marriage, and what you'll lose, and have decided that the grass looks greener over in married-land. Legally you become one entity, which has advantages and disadvantages.

Making any major life decision (and merging your household with someone else's is a major life decision) primarily on the basis of emotion can be a terrible mistake. Love is the reason you'll be able to make the marriage work, if you decide to get married; it is not the reason to get married.
posted by kindall at 4:49 PM on November 22, 2003


"People: give me a reason why men should marry."

If I'm not mistaken, marriage used to be a dealie where the woman gave the man children, and he gave her food and a house. Sex was the grease preventing friction.

In modern society women are perfectly capable of providing housing and food for themselves, and I'm not sure if sex is something to base a marriage on.

So, to turn the question around:
Give me a reason why women should marry.

I don't care wether other men marry or not, but I'm not going to. It seems that the only things people can come up with in favor of marriage are centered on emotions - I know enough about my emotions to not base the rest of my life on them.

"7) What happens, and what should government do, when there is a significant male/female population imbalance? (China, for one, may soon have 25 million males with no probable chance for sex or marriage. India, similar imbalance.)"

I think the traditional solution to this is to go to war. It will certainly diminish the male population, and if they win they have access to new territories that now have fewer males as well. I'm not saying that this is a moral solution, mind you, but it makes sense from a purely Machiavellian point of view.
posted by spazzm at 5:03 PM on November 22, 2003


That figure of 70% of divorce initiators being women seems to hold true. From Can Abolishing Sole Custody Curb Divorce?

According to a study of 46,000 divorces conducted by economists Margaret Brinig and Douglas Allen, most divorces are initiated by women, and their primary motive in terminating a struggling marriage is to gain sole custody of their children.

But it also seems to be an artifice of custody laws too. In US states where joint custody is the default, there is more parity in the numbers. The imbalance comes from the fact that in cases where the legal system has a traditional view of custody, (s)he that files (usually) gets custody. Since women feel more of a sense of urgency to get the custody if it's sole, they are the ones doing the filing. Therefore, I interprete this number as more women than men want badly to continue their parenting role full time after divorce - maybe women take their jobs as parents more seriously.

The article continues:

A solution to the problem lies in the two shared parenting bills now being considered by the New York legislatures. Assembly Bill A3673, sponsored by David Sidikman (D-Nassau County), and Senate Bill S2818, sponsored by Owen Johnson (R-Suffolk County) create equality between divorcing couples by replacing the option of sole physical custody, which occurs in the vast majority of custody cases, with the presumption of joint custody. Divorcing parents would be expected to create and follow a shared parenting plan, and sole custody would be awarded to a parent only if he or she can prove that joint custody would be detrimental to the child.

Under these bills children would gain from the ongoing emotional, physical, and financial support of both parents that shared parenting allows. And once couples understand that they will be unable to drive the other parent out of their children's lives, cooperation between divorced parents rises markedly. In fact, as the Brinig/Allen research from American Law and Economics Review indicates, the presumption of joint physical custody may even serve to keep some marriages together.

posted by dness2 at 5:18 PM on November 22, 2003


If you don't mind assuming a 1940's/1950's standard of living, that is. Small houses with one bathroom on small lots aren't that expensive in most of the US, and one unreliable, unsafe car can be had for cheap.

Hey, do you know me?
posted by konolia at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2003


Metafilter: not just a hot meal and blowjob.
posted by stbalbach at 6:22 PM on November 22, 2003


marriages should be decided outside of the pressures of children and money and expectations.

I don't agree. When there's no strife, there's no real test. It's easy to be in love and have an idealized view of the person you're with when there's nothing to challenge the resolve of your commitment.

Better to find out you have no job prospects and your "love" is a secret alcohol before you tie the knot (around your neck). See how pressure makes you and your partner react. Do they get angry and defensive? Do they close themselves off from you? Are you the one who's always trying to "work things out?" even if you're not at fault? Strife brings out the best and worst in people -- if you both can see each other at your ugliest and you still want to be together, your marriage will probably be OK.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:28 PM on November 22, 2003


so much blame and bitterness, so little taking of responsibility and moving onward. i've been thru' just as much (possibly more but i won't divulge to strangers) as anyone else has but there's not a bitter bone in my body because i accept that whatever pile of shite i've landed in has been one i directed myself at. including my rotten first marriage and subsequent divorce. my choices, my consequences, my mess to straighten out.

People: give me a reason why men should marry?

every study i've ever read on the subject says married men live up to 10 years longer than single men. just saying. i'm not in any way a supporter of marriage. some men (and women) should, clearly a lot of them shouldn't.

spacecadet, i guess some really bad stuff happened to you but going all woman bad, man put upon is not going to help you in any way. focussing on stats that support your bitterness, especially after they've been put thru' the spin cycle by those man/father power sites... it's all designed to keep you down - misery loves company, you know.
posted by t r a c y at 7:34 PM on November 22, 2003


(After looking around the site)

Wow, that's just a shit-load of bitterness there, huh? I had no idea that the whole site is more of the same screed. It's almost an advertisement against being single -- "Hey, you wanna be pissed-off and miserable with so much time on your hands that you can fill up not only a website but a whole book on how much everyone else is a chump for not seeing life the same way? Well I got the answer for you!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:43 PM on November 22, 2003


Thank you, elwoodwiles, for saying what needed to be said.
posted by gd779 at 8:21 PM on November 22, 2003


Marriage is a funny thing. For it to work: Yes, you have to be in love. Yes, the sexual spark has to be there. Yes, you have to be compatible in your interests and outlook -- friends as well as lovers. It's a drag being around someone that you don't like, for goodness sake. So why should one want to be in a sexually and emotionally satisfying relationship? Because it makes you happy. Even on those days when the person is annoying you, or there are pressures and problems like a 3 year old kid who is throwing daily tanturms -- the good times get you through the bad. It is the best situation for raising a kid, if that's what you want, and it's something my wife and I wanted. Having a kid... well, it's an incredible bonding experience. It makes you grow up fast, or it should, and you realize, or you should, that there might just be something more important in this world than your petty concerns. So if you're the Daddy with the big paycheck (or the mommy, which happens) you save a little of yourself for the family. You can get by without the luxuries -- the precious thing is to be there in the house, holding that kid up to the ceiling and tickling her, and hugging that wife and being a good person to her and satisfying her in the ways a husband should.

Here's what you get out of it, men:
1. No more 24/7 on the prowl for chicks. You can apply your creative powers to your career, or your family or that screenplay in the drawer.
2. You will be healthier. When you get sick, she will make you go to the doctor. I would have ignored the pains in my back and chest this year -- turns out I needed some surgery. If I had ignored it, could have been a serious problem. So you get to be healthy and live longer.
3. Your bad habits will be discouraged. Probably you won't smoke, drink, toke, drop acid, drive fast, jump off cliffs quite so often. You'll have people counting on you. This seems like a loss of freedom, but it's not really a bad thing. There will come a day when you are too old to jump off cliffs or ride dirt bikes off road. That doesn't mean you won't enjoy your life.
If you want to experiment with drugs, I'd suggest popping a viagra and spending the night in with the wife -- you'll be as hard as a 18 year old with the staying power of 30 -- and you can go at it 2 or 3 times. Sex is a good habit, and if it's monogamous you don't have to worry about any nasty little problems that plague the singletons.
4. You can drop a lot of pretenses and just be comfortable with the person. Every day is no longer a performance.
5. There are tax benefits, especially if you have a kid.
6. It's easier to run a household with someone to help you.
One person cooks, another does laundry, and so on. It's a partnership.
posted by Slagman at 8:33 PM on November 22, 2003


So why should one want to be in a sexually and emotionally satisfying relationship? Because it makes you happy.

No, no, no, no. I mean, I'm not married, so take my perspective with a grain of salt, but to my mind this is absolutely backward. The one and only reason to marry is to sacrifice yourself. Only when you love someone so much that you're willing to commit your life to her and give up everything for her, only then should you marry.

Marriage isn't about you. It's about your spouse. It's about selflessness and giving, even when your spouse doesn't deserve your selflessness. As Lewis says in The Four Loves:

It is the very mark of Eros that when he is in us we had rather share unhappiness with the Beloved than be happy on any other terms. Even if the two lovers are mature and experienced people who know that broken hearts heal in the end and can clearly foresee that, if they once steeled themselves to go through the present agony of parting, they would almost certainly be happier ten years hence than marriage is at all likely to make them -- even then, they would not part. To Eros all these calculations are irrelevant -- just as the coolly brutal judgment of Lucretius is irrelevant to Venus. Even when it becomes clear beyond all evasion that marriage with the Beloved cannot possibly lead to happiness -- when it cannot even profess to offer any other life than that of tending an incurable invalid, of hopeless poverty, of exile, or of disgrace -- Eros never hesitates to say, "Better this than parting. Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. Let our hearts break provided they break together." If the voice within us does not say this, it is not the voice of Eros.

This is the grandeur and terror of love.

posted by gd779 at 8:53 PM on November 22, 2003


This will affect the entire world.

There is a similar imbalance, for some of the same reasons, in gender stats of children currently in elementary/middle/high school in South Korea. Ten years from now, this will be the primary driver for reunification with North Korea, I predict : not enough women, coupled with the abhorrence most Koreans, even modern ones, feel at the idea of marriage to non-Koreans (tho' it's not so bad if the wife is non-Korean, as the man carries the family line, predictably). Mark my words.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:56 PM on November 22, 2003


Having a kid... well, it's an incredible bonding experience. It makes you grow up fast, or it should, and you realize, or you should, that there might just be something more important in this world than your petty concerns.

There is nothing in the world more important than my petty concerns. Which is why I won't be reproducing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:58 PM on November 22, 2003


"every study i've ever read on the subject says married men live up to 10 years longer than single men"

Correlation != causality.
While the article hints that married men live longer because they adapt healthy habits, it is only one possible explanation.
Another explanation might be that the men that manage to convince a woman to marry them and stay with them are good specimens to begin with - i.e. healthy, strong and without major behavioral defects - thus they would have lived longer anyway. To put it another way: Healthy people have a greater chance of getting married.
posted by spazzm at 9:05 PM on November 22, 2003


And another thing about the study mentioned earlier:
They compare married people to non-married (i.e. single and cohabitants), but they do not compare cohabitants and married. Nevertheless, they come to the conclusion that it is marriage that produces longevity, not cohabitation.

I smell bias.
posted by spazzm at 9:10 PM on November 22, 2003


gd779

If you read my entire post carefully, you'll see that we do not really disagree. The part you referenced was to address the selfish question raised in some other posts -- what's in it for me? And there are selfish reasons for marrying, though that should not be the sole or main motivation, or the the thing will fail at the first sign of trouble. (Maybe. There are people who marry for the wrong reasons who grow into it and find that it was the right thing, just as there are those who got married for all the right reasons who simply grow apart or discover that they were not seeing clearly in the flush of emotion).
posted by Slagman at 9:12 PM on November 22, 2003


spazzm

interesting point re cohabitation versus marriage. I don't care what you call it -- I suspect longterm cohabitation brings the same satisfactions and benefits. I don't think the piece of paper is needed -- though it makes certain legal/financial things easier, because of the way our laws are set up.
posted by Slagman at 9:14 PM on November 22, 2003


Dryden's view.
posted by emf at 9:28 PM on November 22, 2003


I do not know which antagonist I should address this to, but here goes. I am 45 years old American male, I now live on a Caribbean Island, have never been married and have no children, am engaged to a Latina who has a beautiful heart and strong family values, and would seem to be unwittingly following the only road toward marital bliss described by the web-site authors. And on reflection I see my decision to follow this path as not a rejection of western women, but a rejection of western materialism. The western Man, and the keeping up with what Mr. and Mrs. Jones HAVE, is as equally caught in this web as is the western woman. The rejection of family and relationships, and the replacement of economic prosperity as the source of happiness, is cultural and shared by both sexes, each with their own agendas, behaviors and in the end with equal culpability. It is in the insane notion among us Moderns that as long as we have the latest stuff, are rich enough, and are independent and free to do as we please, that somehow the true happiness light will shine on MAH LITTLE WORLD. Plato postulated that what would ultimately keep order in his grand Republic was a “great lie” and this is our lie. It is hawked by every ad-man in our media, alive in our daily speech, insidiously unsaid in our gossip, and incredulously believed by the vast majority of both the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, what I hear being spoken of here is not exclusively about marriage, instead I hear the unraveling of the me-generation over the sadness and loneliness its untenable support structure is based upon. And in the ultimate irony this is also what we are globally exporting, often with force of arms, and we call it freedom.
posted by Hopoch at 9:35 PM on November 22, 2003


Slagman:
Agreed - what you choose to call it makes no difference.
So why should one choose one over the other?
(Because I don't think it's likely that the legal/financial things being easier can explain 10 years of added life).

And why did the study ignore this distinction?
I'm guessing that the fact that they recommend tax-breaks for married couples gives us one hint - it would be interesting to know if any of the researchers publishing this paper are married.
posted by spazzm at 9:35 PM on November 22, 2003


Slagman: yeah, I didn't mean to imply that we totally disagreed, it just came off that way. I simply meant to take issue with the narrow statement that I quoted.
posted by gd779 at 9:54 PM on November 22, 2003


Hopoch: I was going to post a comment earlier about keeping up with the Joneses when someone said that you couldn't still live on one salary anymore like you could in the 50s. You can. We've been doing it for 4 years now (and the one income isn't even all that big). It requires self control and not wanting to keep up with the "Joneses".

We just bought our first house, and though we qualified for a loan that would have bought a McMansion, we opted instead to find a smaller, older house that needed some paint and attention on a large lot, thus keeping our mortgage payments below the rent we were paying for our tiny apartment. I drive the '73 Dodge Dart that I inherited when my dad died, and he bought a used Chevy built in the 90s. No payments other than insurance on either of them. They both run fine and when they break we both work on them together. We don't eat out except on special occasions, and don't buy pre-processed foods to pop in the microwave. Fresh foods really are cheaper and better for you.

Meanwhile, I watch our friends going further and further into debt with two incomes, long work hours, enormous mortgages for houses they can't even afford to furnish, and driving one or two of the latest and greatest SUVs on their way to a restaurant every night. And they don't seem very happy. It's like they focus more on the things than on each other, and they can never afford to get enough "things". On the other hand, we scream at each other daily about paint colors and lawn mowing, live in a house that most of them sneer at when they visit, and we are blissfully happy. Why? We love each other, work together to make a life, and we aren't trying to live outside our means or keep up with anyone. We focus on ourselves and each other more than the things we can buy. And now we are focusing on making the house we bought a home that we will both enjoy while our friends are slapping down credit cards to hire designers to do their houses for them (and not a one of them have been happy with the outcome). It just makes me angry sometimes to see how focused they all are on having the very best of everything, when they should realize that if they are with the person they love and care most about, they already have the best of everything.

In the 12 years we have been together, our friends have all been through multiple marriages, because at the first sign that being married isn't "fun" anymore, one of them will bail. Well, it isn't always fun, but at the end of a bad day around here, no one is packing their bags and leaving. We are in it for the long haul. I feel lucky, and I guess I am. It's sad that these men have these horrible ideas about women, and that they generalize it to include ALL American women. We aren't all THAT bad. You just have to be looking for a life-mate and not a trophy wife to go with your trophy house and trophy SUV.

Sorry for the rant. Once I get going, I cant shut up.
posted by Orb at 10:54 PM on November 22, 2003


Orb: The Jones-centric outlook is taught to us at an early age. It lives in the rush felt as a child over the purchase by our parents of the new Stingray bicycle, the one you always wanted, and the adrenal rush we felt as we rode our new "thing" to show our friends, and then the sudden sink of the stomach as our best friend or enemy rides up in a bigger and "better" 10 speed. We had spent months living our happiness in the future and based it an object, and shortly after quenching this desire, we discover its fascination fleeting, so on to the next fantasy, the next dream, the next promise of fulfillment and on to more of the emptiness of coveting. It is an old addiction and less than easy to see, and difficult to begin to let it go of, to start the process of being free. Marriage partners for many seem to have become like my old stingray, a temporary satifaction and replacable.
posted by Hopoch at 11:45 PM on November 22, 2003


I believe this whole discontinuity arises (not with every couple) because men and woman approach each other with inherently different illusions about relationships. Men are interested in the woman they meet, fall in love in with: the person in front of them. Women give as much or more weight to the man they think will emerge from the crucible of the relationship: the diamond that may result from the pressure (not in a bad sense) applied to the attractive piece of coal before them.

Men seem to become disillusioned because their wives change from the person they first knew. Women become equally disillusioned that the man does not change (or, perhaps, mature).

Bitter and sad types prefer to believe they have been tricked, lured, when really one person has changed and the other has not. As to which is right, I cannot say. I assume neither. Long-term relationships are difficult. And, clearly, not for everyone.
posted by umberto at 12:05 AM on November 23, 2003


Slagman: I don't think the bit about discouraging bad habits and crazy risks and whatnot holds true - or quite as true - for men over the age of, say, 32 or so. I know I read this somewhere, but I can't find a page for citation. Most men just get more risk-averse as they get older, regardless of their number or lack of dependents, so marriage generally doesn't make quite as much of that pragmatic sort of difference for them.
posted by raysmj at 12:30 AM on November 23, 2003


I always thought the biggest perk to being married was to have someone with whom I can be my grossest, most unpolished, basic human self and still be accepted, respected and hell, even understood. The idea of a relationship of that level of comfort (I would think) is intensely appealing. We spend enough of our daily lives dealing with bullshit, we should be able to have somebody as part of that life who loves us and will listen to us because we listen to them. Who has made a promise to stick around, no matter how much bullshit there gets to be. That, and it's nice to have someone to laugh with, and a regular partner for the horizontal tango isn't such a bad deal.

We're all pretty nasty, selfish, imperfect creatures when you get right down to it, and I think it's because we can't readily admit that about ourselves or our lovers that it becomes so much easier to wax poetic about soul mates and romance and neglected blow jobs rather than shoving up the sleeves and getting your hands dirty with some good ol' fashioned self responsibility.

I honestly feel sorry for the fellows whose bitterness lead to construction of this website, their idea of what a marriage 'ought' to be is awful hard to get these days. Then again, so is mine.
posted by nelleish at 12:34 AM on November 23, 2003


Wow, this thread is the captain of pathetic.
posted by pemulis at 1:44 AM on November 23, 2003


Hopoch: Then I guess it's a good thing that both my husband and I grew up dirt poor and learned to appreciate the people we had and not the things.

Though I do remember my first bike. I never envied anyone else's bikes, even though most of them were so much better than mine. Purple metallic fleck Western Flyer with the high rise handlebars and the banana seat ... and streamers. It was awesome. And your stingray may be replaceable, but they'll have to pry the keys to the Dodge Dart out of my cold dead fingers (and I'm not parting with the husband either). :D

Bitter and sad types prefer to believe they have been tricked, lured, when really one person has changed and the other has not.

I agree with you on that. I think the reason we have made it as long as well as we have is because we have both changed over the years, and accepted each others changes. I think people should change as they have life experiences, but I know that some just don't and don't like it when their mate does.
posted by Orb at 2:15 AM on November 23, 2003


every study i've ever read on the subject says married men live up to 10 years longer than single men.

I think divorced men are at the bottom of the pile. The suicide rate for male divorcees is 10 times higher than female divorcees.

An interesting phenomena in Japan is that most divorces occur when the man retires from work. The woman initiates it as the man has lost his usefulness and they will be forced to actually (shock!) spend time together.

So many people marry because it's an expected "next step" in their lives. I did it. And I regret doing it that way. The woman who suddenly feels isolated because her friends are pregnant and talking all the time about babies suddenly becomes broody herself. A kind of peer pressure. They are thinking more about "I want a baby" than "let's have a family".

My advice to men would be, under the current anti-family court rulings (pick your Western country), marry all you like, but do not have children. There are many broody 35-year-old woman in Western society only looking for a sperm donor. Once you donate your sperm, the State will act as Daddy financially speaking. Not saying it happens all the time, but it sure happens a lot.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:01 AM on November 23, 2003


He's taken to calling me up now at odd hours, telling me all about her depression, her end-runs, her controlling ways. I listen and listen. He continues, alternately praising me for being such a good listener and damning me for ruining my life. He is all over the place, enraged one moment and placid the next.

He is scared she will leave him. He does not say this directly, but trashes his ex-wife's fate as though it was proof of a horrible fate for his current one should she leave him.

Meanwhile, the wife in question is searching around for answers. I listen to her. It is difficult. I always took her side during his pointless verbal abuse. She says that this has to stop. I ask her what she means. She says she doesn't know...yet.

Back when it was easy to muster streaks of outrage at his manipulations, when he was in relative good health, I could've told her to leave him. Leave forever. Now I'm the one hoping she doesn't. He needs her. There's no way out.

I wouldn't choose to die alone and I can't leave him alone and hope she doesn't leave him alone. I can't believe I'm writing this, but it's true. All his toothless efforts at impressing upon us his incredible importance have had the opposite effect. He needs us.

The salient point I'm making is the end game. As in...The End. Suddenly cruelty seems so very petty. He is family. I'm not going anywhere. A family is what he has built over the years. I don't even want to escape anymore. I want him to know that he is loved. This is the point of a marriage and its 'products' for me now.
posted by attackthetaxi at 5:06 AM on November 23, 2003


I want to marry elwoodwiles.

Or I guess I could move to China and wait for some of those millions of boys to mature. Or I could continue to live my only very occasionally lonely single life as all my friends' marriages collapse into pits of despair and think: whew.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:41 AM on November 23, 2003


elwoodwiles: Marriage isn't a hot meal and a blow job

I think a good marriage would encompass those two things, at the very least!

But running with that.....

Marriage isn't about being a wallet or being a sperm donor.

Regarding the site itself, what is wrong with being anti-marriage, given the divorce rates and anti-family court rulings that are biased against men?

Nobody is forcing us to marry Western women, who is the most likely to initiate divorce (most to gain from it), and as the site suggest:-

Yes, Latin American and Eastern European women do make better mates because both come from more conservative and family oriented cultures where relationships and commitment are actually revered.

If that is what the authors of the sight seek, what is wrong with that? It's a free world!
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:18 AM on November 23, 2003


I agree that the materialism prevalent in our society is the cause of a lot of unhappiness. However, I think that we are also mislead into thinking that another person can make us happy, and that it's their responsibility to do so. I think that a lot of people are unhappy in their marriages because they're unhappy in their lives and wondering why their spouse isn't fixing it. Your own happiness is your own responsibility -- someone else, no matter how great they are, can't do it for you.

SpaceCadet, it's fine to be anti-marriage. What sucks about this site, and what makes you a gigantic, gaping asshole, is the claim that marriage is crappy because all western women are stupid lying selfish bitchy whores.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:33 AM on November 23, 2003


SpaceCadet, it's fine to be anti-marriage. What sucks about this site, and what makes you a gigantic, gaping asshole, is the claim that marriage is crappy because all western women are stupid lying selfish bitchy whores.

I agree that the site caricatures Western women as being "stupid lying selfish bitchy whores", but I have to admit that it's a stereotype that is growing amongst many Western men (and certainly among non-Western men). Why would that be?
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:47 AM on November 23, 2003


Yeah, the site is stupid, but it's true the guy is right not to get married. It wouldn't work for him if he believes the stuff he has cobbled together. But if he has made this decision, why does he feel the need to prosletyze? To make it the focus of his actiivity? It's kind of like atheists who spend all their time arguing about God. I also agree that some of the discussion here has made assumptions about materialism -- that we need all this stuff, that we need two incomes to survive, and so on. I'd love to stay home with the kid while my wife worked, but I played the career game better -- she works part time and we can afford some child care for the overlap. But it really doesn't seem to pay to have her in a full time job -- just more child care costs. We didn't have a kid so someone else could be paid to raise her. But a lot of people live that way, and it's a different argument. There is a culture of "trading up" to trophy wives, of being in debt, having the new stuff, the biggest possible house and so on. All of these desires and pressures also put pressure on the marriage/family/partnership (and again, I don't exclude non-traditional cohabitation or gay partnerships or even polyamory if you could make it work). But it is good for society to have people in stable loving relationships of some sort (even an adult child living with an aging parent, or roommates). Humans are meant to be together. I lived alone for many years, and it made me a little strange. There are others who live alone all their lives and become sociopathic or depressive, threats to themselves or others -- criminals, rapists and killers, perhaps, or depressives at risk for suicide, with no one looking out for them.

On another point, yes, as we get older, we take fewer risks, but a man with something to live for takes even fewer risks.
A divorced man, cut off from that time and disillusioned, might take more risks, of course.
I knew for many years that smoking and heavy drinking were not good for me, and had evidence of my health being damaged, but it was not until I got married, had a family and realized that I might want to be here in 20 years when this kid grows up that I quit doing that stuff. Of course, it's all anecdotal, and a lot of the science is incomplete in these studies. Nor can one conclude that what is true for the aggregate or the majority will necessarily be true for you. There are no doubt a few 90 year old men out there who have had long and rewarding lives of womanizing and solitude with no commitments, with hearts that pump with vigor and minds as clear as a bell. I have not met any, however.
posted by Slagman at 8:03 AM on November 23, 2003


i really love my wife and my kids. i still have plenty of sex. we hardly ever fight because we discuss things, EVERYTHING, instead of letting shit boil over. i live in a modest house and we own two modest cars.

most marriages suck because at least half of all people suck. i've worked hard to not suck and made sure i found someone who doesn't suck, and then i fell in love with them and decided to spend my life with them. it's that simple.

no, really.
posted by glenwood at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2003


Marriage is what you make of it, and these days, that's most anything. It is usually pretty good for me. The biggest "burden" of marriage is really not being able to take off and go anywhere on demand, but that is countered by actually having a home, which is pretty nice thing at times.

I love my wife, and she makes my life considerably easier and far less lonely. I wish I could say the same thing about my girlfriend or occasional lovers, too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:13 AM on November 23, 2003


Slagman:But it is good for society to have people in stable loving relationships of some sort (even an adult child living with an aging parent, or roommates). Humans are meant to be together.

The author of the site agrees with you Slagman....but he's just making a point of making sure he marries for life, not for a couple of years and then get shafted in the divorce courts and not have any meaningful access to his kids. He wants what you want. He doesn't like his odds though with a Western woman when compared to a more traditional, family-orientated non-Western woman.

From the site:-

I will go one step further and differentiate between Western women vs. non-Western women. This is not just an American phenomenon, most women in Western countries have that cold, bitchy, superficial, stuck up attitude. A lot of Western women hold themselves as the pure center of the relationship. If the men don't fit a rigid and unrealistic criteria or she doesn't feel the man can take care of her enough (even if she has a higher paying job) then she will drop him like a hot potato, regardless of his character or commitment to the relationship.

Popular Myth: Western men looking for foreign wives are only seeking subservient slaves.

Truth: Most Western men today are evolved and modern and truly believe in the 50/50 system. Most Western men are dismayed by the lack of sincerity of Western women. I can do my own laundry and cooking thank you!

Yes, Latin American and Eastern European women do make better mates because both come from more conservative and family oriented cultures where relationships and commitment are actually revered.

posted by SpaceCadet at 8:22 AM on November 23, 2003


This guy needs to bone up on the art of negotiation. However, he seems like a sexist self pitying miserable ogre. Maybe it's the oncoming senility. Maybe it's his learned behaviour.

Blaming someone else for your miseries, when it's all up to you to change it, is pathetic. Pathetic I tell ya. Blaming the opposite sex, even more pathetic. Will he get therapy? Doubt it, he'd rather wallow in self pity and misery.

People change and it's the ability to embrace change and grow together. This guy clearly doesn't have it. I'll lump Space Cadet in the same category.

adamrice, this guy is the total opposite of that rascals episode [and thanks for the reminder, what a laugh].

What elwoodwiles said. Bingo.

Big up to Orb also. [And I miss my '68 Valiant.]

The negative and stereotypical invective aimed at women from some here is stunning and misdirected, I may add. Have a closer look at yourselves.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:31 AM on November 23, 2003


I'm sure those foreign women aren't just looking for a green card.

I'm just sayin'.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:44 AM on November 23, 2003


alicesshoe: Blaming someone else for your miseries, when it's all up to you to change it, is pathetic. Pathetic I tell ya. Blaming the opposite sex, even more pathetic. Will he get therapy? Doubt it, he'd rather wallow in self pity and misery.

What happens when your spouse ups and leaves at the first sign of trouble? That's what the author is saying - that if he ever marries, it will be because he will have kids and will want to make sure his wife won't just bail out at the first sign of trouble, (which woman can do via no fault divorce and also benefit from divorce much more than men). What man marries and has kids, knowing he has no legal protection if his wife walks out on him? Conversely, a woman knows that the State will look after her financially and also reward her with sole custody of her kids in the event of a divorce. Many women see divorce as a contingency plan. All men see it as a disaster (hence male divorcee suicide rate is TEN TIMES higher than female divorcee suicide rate). Blaming others? Absolutely - particularly when the system is so gender-biased, blaming others is legitimised.

Hildegarde: I'm sure those foreign women aren't just looking for a green card.

From the site:-

Foreign women from South America, Eastern Europe, and Asia are at the top. Only guys who travel (in other words, guys who are successful and ambitious enough to travel a lot) find these. But they never, ever go back.

I think he's advocating going to their country.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:09 AM on November 23, 2003


alicesshoe:Blaming someone else for your miseries, when it's all up to you to change it, is pathetic. Pathetic I tell ya. Blaming the opposite sex, even more pathetic. Will he get therapy? Doubt it, he'd rather wallow in self pity and misery.


Forgot to add.....can I use that quote against the feminist movement? They've been blaming their ills on a patriachal society for the last 40 years. Do they also need therapy? Or only the people you disagree with?
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:11 AM on November 23, 2003


On another point, yes, as we get older, we take fewer risks, but a man with something to live for takes even fewer risks.

Translation: Single people have nothing to live for. Nice.
posted by raysmj at 9:12 AM on November 23, 2003


I'm sure there are a lot of "traditional" American men who now feel out of step with the culture here, which has made great progress in empowering women to live the lives they want (including that of a wifely homemaker, and there are women who enjoy a modified version of that lifestyle). So I can understand why they might feel drawn to women from foreign cultures where traditional views are still prevalent. I have no objection to people seeking happiness in whatever country they think it lies. One of my best friends married a woman in Taiwan and settled there. He finds much of American culture repulsive. I live here and find aspects of our culture repulsive. But no matter who you marry, American or foreign, man or woman, gay or straight, you are going to have to deal with a changing human being, with different cultural expectations, and there will be problems that this guy is papering over because his main goal is to stereotype all American woman. Sure, there are women who behave in some of the ways he describes, especially when they are young and foolish, as we have all been (the Valentine's Day entry on the site had some sparks of truth). But when you read this site, you understand completely why he has been fucked over by woman after woman. He wants a 1950's wife that probably didn't even exist in the 50's (ten years later those women started the divorce explosion, "women's liberation" and all manner of upheaval, and their husbands
said things outright that this guy only hints at. Times have changed, for the better, and there's no going back, and those foreign women are slowly following our lead. The only option for guys like this will be to convert to Islam and go to a nation where the women wear veils and are property.)
posted by Slagman at 9:24 AM on November 23, 2003


raysmj

Re your translation "single people have nothing to live for"
That's not what I said. I was speaking only of my personal experience and speaking loosely/colloquially -- the correct translation of "something to live for" would be "increased responsibilities outside my own personal goals/desires." With a family, I have a greater responsibility to avoid risk than I did during my nearly 20 years as a single adult. When I was single, I felt little or no responsibility for anyone but myself (apart from doing no harm to others), and I lived accordingly, taking greater personal risks, like smoking or riding a bike without a helmet, because it was my life to trade away for thrills and whatnot. That was my personal calcuatlion; others will have a different approach. No doubt there are single people even now who are encased in protective foam and never go outside so they can live forever. There are single people with fatal diseases for whom every additional second is precious. There are of course a million different kinds of situations. I am not closed-minded about the single life, nor do I hold the view that you ascribe to me with your snarky "translation". Why don't you stick to stating your own views and not put words in people's mouths? You might be more effective in argument.

Here's a better counter to my statements, by the way: There is a flip side to this risk aversion that comes with a family,hat I have seen in some married family men and women, particularly in the workplace -- they lose their courage, they become like sheep, they are quick to look out for No. 1 and undercut others because they must protect their families at all cost. They vote against the strike, they brown nose the boss, they tattle, they protect their asses, they play dirty to get ahead, all in the name of family values. So you see, I am not saying there is something inherently virtuous about getting married and having a family, or something inherently wrong with the single life. Humans are complicated and troubled whether married or single, and generalizations about these two groups should be handled with care.
posted by Slagman at 9:40 AM on November 23, 2003


Slagman:ten years later those women started the divorce explosion, "women's liberation" and all manner of upheaval

Then you say:-

Times have changed, for the better

Tell that to all the children who are missing their fathers. Tell it to all the fathers missing their children. You seem to skip over the unsightly underbelly of divorce and the horrors it brings. Seems women's liberation was good for women, but not much use to the men and children.

Someone who isn't married can't get divorced.

The only option for guys like this will be to convert to Islam and go to a nation where the women wear veils and are property.

You like insulting 1/5th of the world's population? (and it's also the fastest growing religion). I'm not a Muslim, but I know you're wrong on both counts with your stereotypes. You should not complain about people stereotyping when you do it yourself.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2003


The woman initiates it as the man has lost his usefulness and they will be forced to actually (shock!) spend time together.

And you know this how? It never enters your mind that there could be (and most likely are) all kinds of different reasons for this, including many which are the fault of the husband (yes, men sometimes do things which make living with them untenable, like become abusive, or cheat), or the fault of no-one, it just doesn't work anymore (sometimes retirement changes people to the point where they're no longer compatible - THEY are no longer compatible, not "the poor, blameless man is now useless so the greedy, grasping bitch throws him out", but they are no longer compatible, and it's sometimes the case that after retirement MEN feel useless and take out their issues with that on their wife). The fact that women initiate the divorce does not mean that women are doing so for no good reason, nor does it mean that the women are to blame for the marriage breakdown.
posted by biscotti at 9:51 AM on November 23, 2003


Seems women's liberation was good for women, but not much use to the men and children.

Okay, spacecadet, pack up your bags and go to Russia. Please. North America does not need you. I'm sure you'll find a nice woman there who'll feed you borscht and tell you you're sexy. Go on! Quickly!
posted by Hildegarde at 10:12 AM on November 23, 2003


Many women see divorce as a contingency plan. All men see it as a disaster (hence male divorcee suicide rate is TEN TIMES higher than female divorcee suicide rate).

So when Newt Gingrich went to the hospital to dump his wife, he was trying to inflict a disaster on himself? When men dump their wives for a younger model, they're just masochists out to harm themselves? When my adoptive father ran off with someone from his law-school class, he was just trying to shoot himself in the foot? Please.

Your comment is certainly a candidate for Dumbest Thing Ever Said On Metafilter, or at least Most Easily Refutable Claim Ever Made On Metafilter.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2003


slagman: It wasn't actually so much a translation as exactly what you said, with the words slightly adjusted. Sometimes when typing out of our ass, we sound confused. Other times, we type what we really mean. I'm not sure what happened there, but it sure came out wrong.

As to why, for me it's pretty simple: I quit smoking about three years ago (I'm 37), I always wear a helmet with my bicycle, etc. Why? I'm not completely sure, but I think age and my love for what I do are important factors here. And even if I do ever get married or completely share a life with someone else, I'll hopefully still love what I'm doing outside of my relationship. I would think that men or women who feel that they have much to live for before getting married would have a greater chance of keeping their marriage alive than otherwise. In those other cases, when the marriage ends, the person's life collapses, and they write nasty, bitter screeds like the ones linked above.
posted by raysmj at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2003


I always thought the biggest perk to being married was to have someone with whom I can be my grossest, most unpolished, basic human self and still be accepted, respected and hell, even understood. The idea of a relationship of that level of comfort (I would think) is intensely appealing.

Well, of course it's intensely appealing. But again, I don't see why you have to get married to have this ultimate level of comfort. It's a non sequitur again. People attribute all kinds of miraculous powers to the institution that it simply doesn't possess, and no wonder some of them end up disappointed. No, marriage doesn't cause your mate to accept, respect, or understand you. In fact, if your mate doesn't already accept, respect, and understand you, you probably shouldn't get married.
posted by kindall at 10:54 AM on November 23, 2003


(Addendum: Seeing the effects first-hand of not taking care of yourself over time - via relatives and acquaintances, many of whom were married with children - also had something to do with my own lifestyle changes. But that's at least something of an age effect in itself.)
posted by raysmj at 11:00 AM on November 23, 2003


So when Newt Gingrich went to the hospital to dump his wife, he was trying to inflict a disaster on himself? When men dump their wives for a younger model, they're just masochists out to harm themselves? When my adoptive father ran off with someone from his law-school class, he was just trying to shoot himself in the foot? Please.

OK, I shouldn't have said "all men find divorce a disaster". My point was that men rarely gain anything from a divorce. They will lose their kids, and most probably their property (often they're the main mortgage payer on the house and are asked to leave it as they're literally outnumbered by wife and kids and it's not in the "best interests of the child" for the children to move out).

Women, on the otherhand, can lose the person they despise, and maintain a financial footing and keep the kids. What a bargain!! This is why most divorces are initiated by women. If you give one gender all the priviliges and advantages of divorce, of course they're going to yield to temptation when the going gets tough. We should punish initiators of divorce, unless there are exceptional circumstances. What happens though? We have drive-thru divorce, no questions, no reasons needed other than a hankering for a new lifestyle.

Are you telling me this is good for society?

Okay, spacecadet, pack up your bags and go to Russia. Please. North America does not need you. I'm sure you'll find a nice woman there who'll feed you borscht and tell you you're sexy. Go on! Quickly!

I'd go there, but it's too cold and they have the highest divorce rate in the world:-

Russia 65%
Sweden 64%
Finland 56%
Britain 53%
U.S. 49%
Canada 45%
France 43%
Germany 41%
Israel 26%
Greece 18%
Spain 17%
Italy 11%

SOURCE-Divorce Center, Time September 25, 2000

Most parents want to see their kids grow up. If there are certain countries that foster stable families, and there are certain countries that don't foster stable families, you are going to want to choose the countries that aid and promote stable families, should you feel the desire to be a parent and have continous contact and influence on your children. No matter how full of moral fibre you are, your wife or husband can change and seek divorce. Does that make the person who didn't initiate the divorce automatically bad? No. Marriage is about trusting the other person won't go off on a tangent and start becoming destructuve to the marriage. It can happen and does happen. Isn't it simply prudent for someone to weigh up the risks before marriage? And doesn't assessing risks also mean they have to observe the environment in which the marriage will take place?

The woman initiates it as the man has lost his usefulness and they will be forced to actually (shock!) spend time together.

biscotti: And you know this how?

It happens in Japan. I spent 3 years there. I have heard so many reports about it, like this and this:-

One trend given prominent media coverage in Japan involves older women who leave their husbands after the men retire and hang around the house all day. The generation of Japanese men now reaching retirement age typically spent most of their working lives apart from their wives, putting in long hours on the job or drinking with company colleagues.

If I was a Japanese guy, I'd loathe and despise the fact that I was used as a wallet for 40 years.
posted by SpaceCadet at 11:30 AM on November 23, 2003


Some pearls of wisdom I gathered from this mean little site:

American women offer up a shit sandwich and then get pissed off when men go elsewhere to eat

Marriage turns to crap no matter what you do.

Don't get married unless you are absolutely religiously in love with her. Like carry her sick aged body to the toilet and wipe her ass and be happy to do it kind of love.

If I cheat on my wife, she gets half my shit.
If she cheats on me, she still gets half my shit.


Life: it's all about the shit.
posted by groundhog at 11:35 AM on November 23, 2003


SpaceCadet: I wasn't asking if it ever happened, I was asking how you knew that the one reason you gave was the sole reason for those divorces (more than a little unlikely), or was the reason for every divorce. The answer is that you don't, but you choose to place the entirety of the blame on the women because that suits your prejudices. As to your comment about men being "used as a wallet", it's yet another example of how your view of relationships is entirely one-sided, it completely ignores the role the wife has played in the relationship, it completely ignores the fact that MEN often change when they retire (sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse), in short, it completely ignores the multitude of reasons for the marriage breakdown aside from the one which fits your narrow worldview.

People and marriages are a whole lot more complex than you seem to accept. It's got nothing to do with divorce laws or custody disputes, it has to do with individual people, some of whom act in good ways, some of whom act in bad ways but very few of whom you know well enough to be able to accurately judge their motivations. You are trying to make a very complex set of issues simple, I urge you to just consider that you just may not be looking at the whole picture.
posted by biscotti at 12:36 PM on November 23, 2003


From the statistics I have seen, after divorce more women have a lower standard of living, and some sink to poverty, while many males manage a higher standard of living. I understand there are exceptions, but thinking that men always get the short end is simplistic and in a lot of cases dead wrong.

Marriage is not for the weak.
posted by konolia at 12:44 PM on November 23, 2003


For a long time I've been thinking that divorce rates are rising because women have been liberated. Think about it: it's easier to hold together a "relationship" if one person is the clearly delineated boss. Conversely, it's hard for two people to evenly share responsiblity for every aspect of a relationship and continue to get along.

To rephrase my first sentence, divorce rates are rising because women have been liberated; not because they're bitches. (I feel I need to state that even though feminism has complicated things, I like it. I don't need a servant so much as a partner.)




What do you guys think about the foriegn women and american guy thing? I'm in the military and I've been told that if you take an assignment to Japan, the odds are great that you will return with a Japanese wife, even if you initially arrived with an American one. Why do these foriegn women hold so much appeal? Does the site's logic about this issue hold any water? Do those women try harder or are they just more manipulative and less confrontational? I'm trying to think of interesting questions to raise, if you've got better ones, let 'em fly.
posted by tcobretti at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2003


Metatalk
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:33 PM on November 23, 2003


if your mate doesn't already accept, respect, and understand you, you probably shouldn't get married.

Well duh of course not. I can see how you could infer something other than what I meant out of my words, but I don't think marriage suddenly bestows perfection on a relationship, it's just two people promising eachother, in a very serious way, that they can and will stand by eachother. I think it's perfectly possible to never get married and have exactly the kind of relationship I'm talking about, just go read Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About.

I don't think anyone should get married, it is just a word for an agreement of a public and private nature that nobody really technically needs, it's just a very basic human desire for the kind of relationship marriages, to me, should be based on. That doesn't translate into stomping around saying people shouldn't get married either.
posted by nelleish at 2:34 PM on November 23, 2003


For a long time I've been thinking that divorce rates are rising because women have been liberated.

tcoberetti, You observe a fact.

You are honest. I appreciate that in such dishonest, expedient times.

biscotti: SpaceCadet: I wasn't asking if it ever happened, I was asking how you knew that the one reason you gave was the sole reason for those divorces (more than a little unlikely), or was the reason for every divorce.

biscotti, I observe a fact that also Japanese media observe, and you question me? Why? Are you subscribing to the view yet again that because there are exceptions to the rule, the rule itself is invalid? Grow up. Why don't you click on the fucking links I provide in my previous post about Japan and divorce? I'm tired to research my point for you to ignore it. Baka yaro! Honto ni.....

On preview, nelleish, totally agree. Marriage is just legal enmeshment. Marriage fucks up father's rights, on the whole (speaking as a father).
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:48 PM on November 23, 2003


SpaceCadet- did you read the rest of my posts, or just the parts that you could agree with? I think we have similar ideas about how legal institution of people private lives is backward, contorted, and generally whacked, but I couldn't disagree with you more about marriage (strictly as an agreement between two people who care for eachother and which to state their commitment publicly) being "evil" and the bane of every American man's existence. For one thing, I think same-sex couples should be allowed the same use of vocabulary differentiating a lifelong relationship from that of 12 year olds holding hands. Somehow I doubt you feel the same way?

The majority of the opinions held in the site you linked horrify me, because it means its not just American women who are self-important, priggish, and only looking out for their own hides. Women who have undergone sexual assault at the hands of men are unmarriageable? (That's 1 in FOUR women, you jerk. How many abusive men does that imply?) Women should be subservient to their intellectually/financially superior husbands and perform sexual service at the drop of a hat? Women are evil nefarious demons who deserve beatings and should be "grateful" for a husband? WTF?

You have stated you are a father, and from that might I infer you at some point had a wife or at least a serious girlfriend. I would then perhaps infer someone hurt you very badly and you are bitter and angry as you have every right to be. But you need to clue in that not all women are alike, as I'm desperately hoping not all men are like those quoted on that site (which by the way, appears to be a long-winded endorsement for mail-order brides, rather than an intelligent deconstruction of why marriages don't seem to work anymore).

I've said we seem to have similar ideas about the current legal standing of marriage, or more specifically, the ending of marriage (i.e. it's messed up). A father plays as vital a role in the lives of his children as a mother, both have a right to an environment and legal standing that promotes the welfare of the children. But I have to be quite frank and say that I hope the general world view held by that website is not your own. If it is, I'm glad I'm not your daughter.
posted by nelleish at 3:25 PM on November 23, 2003


Why do these foriegn women hold so much appeal? Does the site's logic about this issue hold any water? Do those women try harder or are they just more manipulative and less confrontational? I'm trying to think of interesting questions to raise, if you've got better ones, let 'em fly.

Look, women from non-Western countries aren't stupid. They've got TV, they've seen L.A. Law. The thing is, customs and expectations are different. For instance, the idea of marrying for romantic love is much more highly rated in the U.S. than it is in Thailand (for example). But in Thailand, when you marry a girl, you marry her family as well. You're expected to take care of them financially, and offer some kind of dowry to boot. The relationship between a girl and her family is almost always paramount, at best equal to her marriage with you, so don't expect her to run away with a disapproved man. Also, I've found that "Eastern" women are much more pragmatic about marriage, so while they may cook and clean more often (just for example), they'll also be the ones in charge of finances -- the finances you earn. Guys who try to take advantage of these miserable situations are bottom-feeding assholes, IMHO.

Websites that claim "Asian women like older men because they are less flighty and more solid than younger men" are really saying, "Women in hard situations will sacrifice their personal preferences in looks for financial security." Russia is a great example of this. Russian divorce rates are high for the same reason Russian women live longer than men, which is the same reason there are all these "Russian wives" websites going around: because Russian men drink more and live less than their female counterparts. You can draw your own conclusions about how increased alcoholism will affect the living situation (i.e., more domestic abuse, more women left to care for their children alone, etc.)

There's no "male pancea" to be found -- it's just that some cultures value certain things more than others. If you go to Japan and expect to find a woman that's subservient to your desires, yet also a great companion and friend, you're going to be disappointed. The qualities I've noticed "traditional" (read: sexist) men like in women are usually at odds with the qualities of a good companion. You either want a marriage of equals and all that entails, or you want a relational heirarchy, with the sublimated resentment that usually results. Have cake != eat cake.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:55 PM on November 23, 2003


A father plays as vital a role in the lives of his children as a mother

nelleish, I salvaged one comment on your rant that rubs with me. Don't worry, you don't know me and misrepresented my views to a large degree. To summarise: I'm a family man, fucked-up by the liberal tidal wave that has resulted in one boy in this world not being able to have regular access to his father and one father in this world not having regular access to his son. No crimes committed: a travesty of justice, OKayed by the liberal shitheads who believe in anything goes....FUCK ALL OF YOU who shrug your shoulders. Crimes happen everyday, unpunished. Fuck all of you who think this is perfectly acceptable. Two more fucked up people in this world. Nothing to see people, move on, move on.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:02 PM on November 23, 2003


Civil_Disobedient, your last post is possibly the best advert ever for men NEVER to marry.

Thank you.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:05 PM on November 23, 2003


Civil_Disobedient, how does it feel to be instrumental in the breakdown of society? Are you proud?
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:13 PM on November 23, 2003


I observe a fact that also Japanese media observe, and you question me?

Well, given your posting history, yes, I do question you. And I'd question what you said even if you didn't have the history you have. And again, you didn't bother to read my whole post, I'm trying to be reasonable here, and point out to you that tarring an entire gender with the same brush is irrational, unreasonable, and just plain inaccurate, and all you do in return is wonder how I could possibly question something that The Media said - it was printed, it must be true. Just because the media says something doesn't make it a fact, and again, how does the media know that the only reason for these divorces was that the women didn't like spending time with their husbands, that this was entirely the women being intolerant, and not anything at all to do with the men? It's just not that simple. Where is their data supporting the assertion that the sole reason that the marriage failed was because the women decided to make it do so? Very few things in relationships are as simple as that, it's not about "the exception proving the rule", it's about the incontrovertible fact that no two relationships are the same, and no two marriages fail for exactly the same reasons.

I'll also point something out to you - unless the woman is holding a gun to the man's head or otherwise coercing him, the man is a volunteer. If he feels he's being used as a walking wallet, it's his responsibility to do something about it. I'm starting to wonder if you're actually a misogynist after all, or if you're really a misandrist - in your world men all seem to be the innocent, credulous victims of evil, scheming women, and have no control over their lives whatsoever. It seems you not only think women are all scheming, selfish, bitches, but that men are all helpless, hopeless, idiots. The world just isn't like that, maybe someday you'll be able to see that.
posted by biscotti at 4:18 PM on November 23, 2003


Well, given your posting history, yes, I do question you. And I'd question what you said even if you didn't have the history you have.

biscotti, if you have greater experience of Japan than my 3 years there and the various people I've met there (and their marital problems) then please share some links with me. Wakarimashita ka? Yamete kudasai. Onegaishimasu....

I'm trying to be reasonable here, and point out to you that tarring an entire gender with the same brush is irrational, unreasonable, and just plain inaccurate,

No. You are using the tired old excuse. You make things black and white to ridicule a particular point of view. I didn't say ALL Japanese divorces that occur between spouses in their 60's are caused by the man retiring. I'm saying that it's been observed in the media that many divorces have been caused by the husband retiring from work (in Japan). Not all divorces. Other people reporting. Links provided. Please read them. What is your problem?
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:25 PM on November 23, 2003


Women suck, but not as much as this site.
posted by rushmc at 5:29 PM on November 23, 2003


"What sucks about this site, and what makes you a gigantic, gaping asshole [...]"

Oh, come on. Is it really necessary to be rude?
And why are you equating SpaceCadet's opinions with the opinions of this site - is he and the author the same person?
posted by spazzm at 5:43 PM on November 23, 2003


Space Cadet: So many people marry because it's an expected "next step" in their lives. I did it. And I regret doing it that way.

Hey, this might be the only thing you've said that approaches any sort of insight on your part. You got married, probably ignoring the nagging doubt in your gut, because you thought it was what you were "supposed" to do. You probably married the woman you did because you thought she was the kind of woman you were "supposed" to want to marry. So instead of marrying when YOU wanted to get married, you caved in to pressure. It didn't work...and you're angry and dismayed??

My boyfriend and I had been discussing marriage details for a while there. Instead of feeling happy about it, I was beginning to feel claustrophobic. I went on a trip to Las Vegas and while sunning myself at the hotel pool and watching an endless parade of couples trooping in and out of the wedding chapel it hit me: marriage, or at least the "buy a $5,000 diamond ring, spend $50,000 on a wedding ceremony and vow always be madly, passionately in love like a fairy tale forever and ever" was a total crock and I didn't want to do it.

I went home and told my boyfriend this. Turns out he felt the same way and had felt the same pressure I was getting from friends and family. We decided that we are not getting married until we're good and ready, if at all. Our relationship is just fine as it is.

Now if we had gotten married I'd probably feel trapped and resentful - getting married because it's what all of your peers are doing it and everyone around you expects you to is a lousy fucking reason to get married. At 36, I'm begining to see alot of the "starter" marriages of my peers crumble. Some are a sad suprise, but I knew from the start that a lot of them were doomed for precisely the reason you mentioned: they thought it was the "expected next step" at that time in their life and married whoever they were with at the time, irregardless of whether or not they were really suited for one another.

You married the wrong person and she burned you. It happens. When the dust clears and you're a little less angry, maybe you'll meet someone who is worth it. Or not -maybe you're one lof those people who aren't meant to be married. Nothing wrong with that. But fer crissakes, quit blaming marriage, quit blaming western women.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:59 PM on November 23, 2003


raysmj: Well, it wasn't exactly what I said; perhaps I was imprecise, but your "translation" put the worst possible spin on the translation. In such discussions I prefer to think the best of the other person. It's good you wear a helmet -- everyone should. But for some reason, my single friends scoff at the notion -- though one just started wearing one after meeting the woman he wants to marry. There are lots of reasons people evaluate their risk taking. Marriage and kids are one of them. A bout of bad illness is another. Seeing a parent die.


spacecadet: I said he could go to a country where women wear veils and are treated as property; I did not say all Islamic nations are like this, but some extreme ones are. It's an interesting problem when religious beliefs of one culture come into conflict with the rights that we in the West hold to be inalienable and without boundaries or gender.

You are right that divorce has costs, but I wasn't specifically celebrating the greater freedom to divorce that came with feminism, but also the greater freedom not to marry or have kids at all, if that's not your thing. So this guy is a beneficiary of that -- used to be the only way to get laid was to get married or go to hookers. Now there is a thriving single sexuality out there that would have been deemed scandalous by the majority of people 20 years ago. (and still is by some).

But the flip side of this guy's yearning for the 50's style wife is that back then, it would have been pretty weird for this guy not to have a wife, or for a wife not to have a husband. Yes, I think things are better now, though there have been costs. Of course, children raised in some unhappy marriages might wish their parents had divorced.
posted by Slagman at 8:01 PM on November 23, 2003


We should really clean out all of the romantic views of marriage. Everything that can be done in marriage can be done in a regular relationship; long commitment, children, etc..

The big difference is the legal connection. It provides tax relief and ties economic possesions together. If one person makes more than the other, they are at a strict disadvantage economically. The other person can spend the other's money at will in the marriage, or divorce them and take half (common result).

Now with women in higher positions in the workforce, there are probably plenty of situations where men would make out financially in the marriage. But more often, men are the ones who make more money and therefore stand to lose if the love fails.
posted by destro at 8:02 PM on November 23, 2003


Slagman: Here's some research that addresses part of what I was talking about - research linked much earlier this year on metafilter. The relationship between health and marriage is quite complicated.
posted by raysmj at 9:46 PM on November 23, 2003


This may be the most important thing anyone has said on this thread:

Everything that can be done in marriage can be done in a regular relationship; long commitment, children, etc..

Destro is right. Marriage is a contract, nothing more. It's an agreement to pool two people's resources in order to get ahead. Anybody who expects more from a marriage is setting themselves up for disappointment. It's not the marriage that matters, it's the relationship.
posted by tcobretti at 9:46 PM on November 23, 2003


I didn't say ALL Japanese divorces that occur between spouses in their 60's are caused by the man retiring. I'm saying that it's been observed in the media that many divorces have been caused by the husband retiring from work (in Japan).

"The man retiring" does not mean "the woman hates spending time with him". "The man retiring" does not mean the woman thinks of him as a "walking wallet" to be thrown away when empty. There are a myriad of reasons why marriages fail, there are all kinds of changes which occur when people retire, it's just not as simple as "the one who instigates the divorce is the one who breaks up the marriage". Your evidence (many divorces are caused by the husband retiring) does not support your assertion (women don't want to spend time/don't want the walking wallet when it's empty).

Nowhere in your linked pages does anything support your assertion that "The woman initiates it as the man has lost his usefulness and they will be forced to actually (shock!) spend time together.". Quote: "Women initiate most divorces among elderly couples, but men are increasingly finding they want to pack it in after decades of married life."

Quote: "But that shame is slowly becoming a thing of the past, a trend attributed to changing values, including a growing rejection by women of sacrifices they were once expected to make in Japan's male-dominated society.

"Women in this country used to feel like they should put up with anything for the sake of their marriages," Yoriko Madoka, a national lawmaker who runs a divorce hotline, said on Wednesday. "That kind of thinking has changed. Still, divorce remains a risky economic proposition for many Japanese women because of a lack of workplace opportunities..."


You're in favour of women "putting up with anything for the sake of their marriages" are you? Oh, and look at that last sentence, women sure must be divorcing for the financial benefit, huh? The fact that couples who've spent the vast majority of their lives apart may have trouble relating to each other when they see each other all day every day, especially when they've hardly ever had a real conversation (as is mentioned in the second piece you quoted) doesn't mean that women divorce their husbands as soon as they stop being useful. The fact that people who hardly know each other might find they don't really like each other all that much when they spend all their time together doesn't mean women divorce their husbands as soon as they stop being useful. Do you honestly not see this? Do you really not see that your conclusions are not supported by what the evidence you linked actually says?

And what destro and tcobretti said.
posted by biscotti at 11:03 PM on November 23, 2003


I think that the reason that so many marriages fail is because people get married too quickly. They meet someone, enjoy being around them, lust after them, make all sort of assumptions about who this person is, and then they run off and tie the knot, only to discover that a few years later they really didn't know all that much about the person they are tied to. So what they see as someone changing into someone else is in a lot of cases just that person being who they actually always have been. Lin and I had spent years learning about each others hopes and fears and dreams. We knew each other's childhood stories and families as well as our own. I'm not suggesting that everyone take 9 years to decide that getting married might work for them, but I see so many friends and family members getting married after only knowing someone for a few months, and then I see those marriages fall apart over things that had they known the other person better might have not been an issue, or might have kept them from getting married in the first place. Something that might not annoy you when you are exposed to it for a few months may make you want to commit suicide if you had to endure it for years or decades. I also don't think people take enough time to get to know themselves and establish firm ideas about what they want, what their needs are, and what they can and cannot tolerate in a partner. All these things also need to be addressed before they decide to marry someone. If you don't know what you want, how the hell are you going to get it, and if you don't know who you are, how can anyone get to know you.

Also, in relation to the risk-taking issue that some people are discussing, while it might not be true in all cases, many men do stop taking unnecessary risks once they have a family of their own. Lin works for a company that builds cell phone towers. He used to love climbing the towers even when he didn't have to. One day I noticed that he wasn't bringing home photos of the scenery from 300+ feet, and I asked him why. He said he didn't climb the towers anymore. At first I was concerned that it was a health problem. He'd been having chest pains, and so I questioned him about why he'd stopped the climbing. I was surprised by his answer. He'd stopped climbing after we'd decided that I would stay home and work on my artwork/run the household rather than seek outside employment, because back when I was also employed and had a decently paying career, he knew that should something happen to him, and he die or become disabled, I would still have been able to support either myself or the both of us until the situation got worked out. With me not having a regular income, if something happened and he died (or couldn't work), I (or we) would most likely lose everything just trying to survive. That statement was a true declaration of love on his part, and it touched me deeply. I had never asked him to give up the risk he enjoyed, and yet he had. It had worried me sometimes that it was a high risk thing to do, but my worry had always been focused on him and his welfare, not what would happen to me if something disastrous happened. I think many married men and women feel this same way, at least the ones in functional relationships. He was demonstrating his concern for my continued well-being and his love for me by stopping the risk-taking.

After investing in the very best safety equipment on the market, I have since convinced him that it's really OK to take the risk and enjoy the view from time to time. Besides, I missed the stunning photographs. :D
posted by Orb at 12:12 AM on November 24, 2003


Women suck, but not as much as this site.

yeah, the site keeps sucking even after you're married.

well, someone had to...
posted by quonsar at 12:20 AM on November 24, 2003


Yes, it does ... but the question is, does it swallow or spit.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Forgive me.
posted by Orb at 12:28 AM on November 24, 2003


I just noticed that one of my sentences in the above post was transplanted to a different paragraph, changing a lot of the meaning. The sentence "Guys who try to take advantage of these miserable situations are bottom-feeding assholes, IMHO." shouldl be placed after the paragraph about guys going to Russian wives websites.

And SpaceCadet, I don't understand what you mean? How does anything I said reflect on the decay of society? Different cultures have different expectations of marriage -- that's not exactly rocket science.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:46 AM on November 24, 2003


4) Is reproduction a right or a privilege?

Or an accident?
posted by biffa at 2:13 AM on November 24, 2003


biscotti:-"The man retiring" does not mean "the woman hates spending time with him". "The man retiring" does not mean the woman thinks of him as a "walking wallet" to be thrown away when empty.

From the article:-

One trend given prominent media coverage in Japan involves older women who leave their husbands after the men retire and hang around the house all day.

What part of that don't you understand, biscotti? It doesn't say there's a trend of older men leaving their wives. It highlights the person most likely to initiate divorce.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:39 AM on November 24, 2003


They work sixty or seventy hours a week to provide good standards of living for their families, and come home to TV dinners, frigid wives, and kids that view them less as parents than ATMs.


I imagine they'd find their wives warmer, and their kids more interested in thema s people if they worked less and spent time with their families. Having set money as thier priority, what else should they expect?
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:10 AM on November 24, 2003


4) Is reproduction a right or a privilege?
...Or an accident?


No, no, I got it! It's a wonderful gift, a beautiful symbol of the love of two people, a special way for God to tell you He loves you and that He wants you to share this union of hearts with the whole world [SMACK!] Sorry.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:52 AM on November 24, 2003


It's interesting that at the cellular level the scientists might agree with the bible thumpers: Our purpose is to reproduce. We're just life support systems for our DNA which will trick us into replicating itself in any way that it can, even if that means marrying the wrong person. I don't get the people who get married after 3 months, and I don't get the people who marry when they barely share a common language. Maybe with luck it will work out, but I think you need to know someone for at least a year, intimately, before you even consider it. At the very least, experience one bad illness, one long road trip, the future in-laws, one drag-down fight, and a few other life-altering events.
posted by Slagman at 5:16 AM on November 24, 2003


At the very least, experience one bad illness

Of course I want to marry you but you'll have to wait until the shingles virus takes.
posted by biffa at 5:42 AM on November 24, 2003


While I disagree with most of what SpaceCadet has been saying here about women and marriage, I think I understand where it's coming from:
"one boy in this world not being able to have regular access to his father and one father in this world not having regular access to his son"
I am fortunate that my wife and I have a good relationship. We've been through good times and bad, and it would have been a personal tragedy for me if we had divorced. However, sooner or later I would have healed and moved on (assuming it was just the two of us). However, divorce and custody law generally favor women in this country, and the actual implementation almost always does so even in the places where the laws have been changed to be gender-neutral*.

Being shut out of my kids' lives would be an injury that I don't think I could recover from, because it's one that is never allowed to heal. The wound gets torn open again with every holiday, birthday, missed weekend trip and so forth. The question is whether I would allow my (understandable) bitterness over this subject to grow and poison my view on larger subjects. I like to think I'm a reasonably mature guy, but being unable to see/raise/experience my kids might drive me right over the edge. Add to this the all too common tactic of the custodial parent feeding the kid(s) poisonous attitudes about the non-custodial one, and it's a real recipe for pain.

* Example: I know a guy who got married to the woman he thought was forever (we all believed it was to the wrong woman, but nobody listens to friends when they're in love). A couple of years later they had a little girl, and shortly after that the wife had an affair with one of her coworkers. She eventually walked out on him saying (paraphrased) "you'll never amount to anything in this world and I am tired of carrying your ass". It got predictably ugly - one highlight was when she put one of the dogs to sleep, the day before he was to pick it up, because "I didn't have time to take care of the stupid thing".

The final legal resolution was that she got full custody, he got limited visitation. The court then assigned their respective child support responsibilities in accordance with VA state law (example here, chart here). Short version: non-custodial parent always pays the custodial parent, based on income proportions of total monthly gross income. If he gets a raise, his share goes up. If she gets a raise, his share goes up. If she remaries (she did), the new husband's income doesn't count unless he adopts the child (he hasn't). He's currently paying about 11% of his pre-tax income to his ex-wife. Here's another nice tidbit - child support is tax-free for the recipient, but not tax deductible for the payer.

Here's the real winner: if she decides to become a stay-at-home mom (she hasn't) because her new husband's finances allow it (they do) my buddy's share skyrockets because he is now responsible for 100% of the child care amount based on their old combined monthly gross income (this amount is only adjusted once a year, and the courts are loathe to allow it to be adjusted downward, regardless of actual events like unemployment). She could, if she wanted to, stick him with a child support bill that is 22.4% of his pre-tax income.

As illustrated above, she's a real charming piece of work, so he lives in terror that he'll somehow piss her off and she'll pull this out of sheer spite. This is one of the reasons that he felt compelled to consent to her and her new husband moving out of state (in visitation cases, the non-custodial parent has varying degrees of control over this kind of thing, depending on how the laws are written in the state the marriage/divorce took place in). He now gets to see his daughter for a weekend every 3-4 months or so.

Is he bitter? You bet he is. However, he's a good guy and limits his bitterness to his ex-wife and the state laws that control his situation for the next 12 years, not women in general. However, he has stated pretty clearly that he'll never get married again and that the prospect of additional children is pretty remote, too.
posted by Irontom at 5:54 AM on November 24, 2003


Oops, forgot the final part.

SpaceCadet - I'm sorry you got fucked. I really am. My heart goes out to any father who can't see his kids.

On the other hand, while totally understandable, the bitterness in your soul isn't going to solve your troubles. You might not be able to move past it, but it isn't helping you.
posted by Irontom at 5:59 AM on November 24, 2003


Spacecadet: I too was struck by the words you wrote which Irontom referred to, and see an honest wisdom in his response. Can you step outside the angry box you seem to have yourself in and take in what he is saying. I have not walked in your shoes, lived your anger, nor felt your hurt; but what he is saying is constructive and may help if you are willing to look at what your bitterness has really gotten you and decide to start shifting away from this (my opinion) dead-end approach.
posted by Hopoch at 6:22 AM on November 24, 2003


Irontom, I think you'd have to be a robot to not be bitter about such circumstances. Your friend has had a much worse experience than I've had, and I know guys who've been put through the mill by their spiteful ex-wives even worse than your friend (some have had their entire earnings garnished by the CSA). Clearly, the law needs changing radically to ensure that IF a couple find themselves in the divorce courts, a sensible arrangement can be made regarding all concerned. If you look at the divorce rates, and the number of fatherless children, I'm hardly a statsitical anomoly. Having my own set of problems, I meet many other fathers who face the same estrangement I am going through. There is growing dissent against biased court rulings that encourage divorce (if you give one party every reason to divorce, it hardly discourages divorce).

Yes we all move on from personal tragedies, however long it takes. That doesn't mean I am wrong and the system is right. Men are not going to be silent and accept discrimination (e.g. Fathers4Justice demos). Maybe I'm just a "curiosity case" for you (I'm on the "other side" of the marriage/divorce line than you are) but the line can be crossed by anyone, no matter how happy they are today. Don't you want to have proper legal protection and the right to see your son if your marriage goes wrong in the future? At the moment, you have no safety-net (and I'm testimony to that fact). If somebody has been a victim of an unfair system, isn't it their right to voice their dissent? Or should we put up and shut up? Also, you must look at it from the child's point of view. Imagine if you knew your dad was trying every avenue possible to see you, yet he was denied access (as visitation rights have never been enforced). How would you feel? We live in incredibly unfair times - and I won't be silent until there are changes in the law.
posted by SpaceCadet at 6:50 AM on November 24, 2003


Also, you must look at it from the child's point of view. Imagine if you knew your dad was trying every avenue possible to see you, yet he was denied access (as visitation rights have never been enforced). How would you feel? We live in incredibly unfair times - and I won't be silent until there are changes in the law.

Bravo Spacecadet I applaud your approach, this is using your anger as opposed to being a victim of it.
posted by Hopoch at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet - I think you missed a couple of points I tried to make...

"I think you'd have to be a robot to not be bitter about such circumstances" - I agree 100%. I tried to say that I think I understand why you are so angry, and that I think it's completely justified. It just seems to me that in your bitterness that you have focused on what are, IMO, the wrong targets.

"That doesn't mean I am wrong and the system is right" - nope, it doesn't. Maybe I didn't state my opinion strongly enough, but I think the entire system is fucked and that the outcomes are strongly biased in such a fashion that most men that encounter the system get fucked by it.

"Maybe I'm just a "curiosity case" for you..." - nope, you're not. You may not believe me, but my heart goes out to you, and to all the other men that find themselves in this situation. The single largest issue/fight/discussion my wife and I have are gender equality issues in society at large - I get very worked up about this stuff and so does she (from different origin points, obviously). I think that despite all the talk about institutionalized misogyny that goes on in our culture, that there is a corresponding misandry among women and the courts that is just horrifying.

"...you have no safety-net..." - I know that, and it's one of the underlying reasons for my anger at the system. I recognize that I am fortunate enough not to have been subjected to the dubious mercy of the system, but I know what a vile thing it can be.

"If somebody has been a victim of an unfair system, isn't it their right to voice their dissent? Or should we put up and shut up?" Of course you should voice your dissent, and work to change a deeply flawed and broken system. However, the site your post linked to and most of your text here has been aimed at women and the institution of marriage, not the fundamental flaws in the legal system that allow these injustices to cotinue. That was the source of my comment above about your bitterness not helping you.
posted by Irontom at 7:32 AM on November 24, 2003


We're just life support systems for our DNA which will trick us into replicating itself in any way that it can, even if that means marrying the wrong person.

Boy my DNA must be pretty stupid because it's FORCING me to fuck Ashton Kutcher every single night...and is that a side of Topher Grace and Danny Masterson? Oooo, it's a 70s Show Smorgasboard!

Our purpose is not to reproduce. It's to reproduce responsibly. Which we haven't been doing for quite awhile now. Damned free willies.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:55 AM on November 24, 2003


Also, I perceive that my feminism comment way up ^^^ there has been mis-interpreted by some. I'm not against feminism (some feminists are another matter, though), it's just that it seems to me that feminism has been raped by capitalism, and no one seems to have reported it to the authorities yet.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:06 AM on November 24, 2003


Everything that can be done in marriage can be done in a regular relationship; long commitment, children, etc..

this is true, but not the whole truth. ask any happily married person and they will tell you there is a difference between being married and living with someone. it's not something that can be adequately described; it's nebulous, but it exists. ask any couple that lived together for a long time before getting married...it feels different to be married. it's more than a legal agreement or "piece of paper". there's a huge difference in how i feel when my husband refers to me as his "wife" and when he used to refer to me as his "girlfriend" even though we had been living together for 5 years.

my husband was the staunchest "it's just a convention of society" believer, but since we have been married he's agreed that it is definitely not the same as living together in a commited relationship. the basics are the same...the day to day is the same, but underneath it all there is a bond, a permanency, a union. it sounds corny, but while we are still individuals and not "two halves of a whole", together in marriage we are a completely new entity.

like i said, it's hard to describe.
posted by centrs at 8:18 AM on November 24, 2003


"divorce and custody law generally favor women in this country..."

Yeah, no kidding.
posted by majcher at 9:10 AM on November 24, 2003


What part of that don't you understand, biscotti? It doesn't say there's a trend of older men leaving their wives. It highlights the person most likely to initiate divorce.

If you reread what I said, I didn't say Japanese women didn't leave their husbands after retirement, I said that the reasons you gave for that (wives cruelly discarding their husbands when they were no longer useful, their walking wallet becomes empty) weren't at all supported by the evidence you gave. And again "the person most likely to initiate divorce" doesn't necessarily bear the bulk of the blame for the marriage breakdown, they're just the person who starts the legal process. You're putting far more emphasis than is warranted on who actually starts the legal proceeedings, rather than considering that divorce is usually the end stage of a set of problems to which BOTH parties contribute. You cannot assume that the person who starts the proceedings is the only person who wants the divorce, or that the spouse who doesn't start the proceedings is an innocent bystander.
posted by biscotti at 9:21 AM on November 24, 2003


(quietly skims down through about 150 responses to this topic)

Hmph. Is there anyone still out there reading this thread? Shocking. What some of you are calling bitterness, I see as common sense based on life experience. However, it is misogynistic/misanthropic to accuse one gender of being bad at marriage, when both genders are equally suck at it, and have been since before the Women's Suffrage Movement. Modern society has simply evolved past the need for marriage, yet our mindset is still so traditional and old fashioned so as to cling to this institution as if it still matters. It does not.

Last night an ex-girlfriend sent me a cute little video mpeg through email. It showed a woman in an inviting bubble bath with romantic music playing and she was relaxing, letting Calgon take her away, when all the sudden her husband flew into the camera's view, completely naked, cannonballing INTO the luxurious bathtub. He then grabbed a beer outta nowhere and looked over at his shaken wife and shrugged at her. The title of her email: "Why Men Make Terrible Husbands." I could call it "Why Women Make Terrible Wives," cuz the woman in the bubble bath didn't offer to open the bottle for him or try to best him with a bellyflop.

Men and women usually do not want the same thing. Those rare precious times when they do, it's a temporary condition. So, getting married places two people who are bound to begin drifting apart into a position where they're stuck with one another whether their future selves like it or not. This is patently absurd, like trying to make birds stop their incessant annual migration ritual. Marriage places human beings in a place of perpetual denial, where they sacrifice freedom for an illusion of security. It really is quite laughable.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:59 AM on November 24, 2003


well, i've been with the same person for 10 years or so. can't say i have any complaints. maybe that's because she's a south american and we aren't actually married. or maybe it's because she's a raving feminist with her own career.

on reflection, it's probably because we don't have any damn kids.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2003


majcher: Have you seen the most recent entry to the site you posted? "The judge has ruled in my favor and denied my ex's motion to dismiss. . . . Supposedly, the judge had nice things to say." Sounds like this guy is getting a shot at a paternity test and joint custody, even where, according to his own site, he's been outlawyered from the beginning because both his ex-girlfriend and his ex-girlfriend's husband are lawyers or work at law firms. The wheels of justice may not be speedy, but they appear to be working, even here.

Note too that this site has nothing to do with divorce law, as this guy and his ex-girlfriend were never married, and in fact she's now married to someone else.

One trend given prominent media coverage in Japan involves older women who leave their husbands after the men retire and hang around the house all day. The generation of Japanese men now reaching retirement age typically spent most of their working lives apart from their wives, putting in long hours on the job or drinking with company colleagues.

If I was a Japanese guy, I'd loathe and despise the fact that I was used as a wallet for 40 years.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:30 PM EST on November 23


Somehow I missed the bulletin saying I get to play innocent victim if my marriage falls apart because I choose drinking with my friends over going home to my spouse. Bartender, that calls for another round!
posted by onlyconnect at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2003


A little late but I'd like to add my 2 cents :

First, that site sucks imho because it doesn't target the main issue, it's just a collection of complains and problems surrounding the main issue which is obviously marriage.

But it does a good job at stirring up conversation on the topic ; I think we should start from the one definition of marriage you can find here and quoting from that source:

In the English common law tradition, from which our legal doctrines and concepts have developed, a marriage was a contract based upon a voluntary private agreement by a man and a woman to become husband and wife. Marriage was viewed as the basis of the family unit and vital to the preservation of morals and civilization. Traditionally, the husband had a duty to provide a safe house, pay for necessities such as food and clothing, and live in the house. The wife's obligations were maintaining a home, living in the home, having sexual relations with her husband, and rearing the couple's children

So it apparently is a contract. And it's a contract that you register within your State to let the State know two people has agreed to follow certain rules that tradionally are contained into the marriage contract (on a tangent, what about new kind of marriage contracts, not tradional ? interesinting subject).

Any time you enter a contract, expecially written ones, as long as you follow every rule of the contract you're fine , but as soon as you break them (and sometimes you don't even notice you broke some rule) the revenge will be swift and mercyless. Enter the world of LAWYERS in which a punctuation mark become as important as your life, while it's only a ink dot on a piece of paper.

What I'd like to point out is that if a couple wants to stay togheter, they don't need any contract. If they really want to support each other, they don't need a contract to do that. If they really want to have the legal system to be a sort of "guarantee" for each other, then they should work out a contract themselves and not stick with the traditional interpretation of marriage contract ; but that requires very good lawyers and a strict adherence to the letter of the contract ; and when I say strict I mean lawyer strict, up to the punctuation. Do you know enough law to do that without running yourself into problems ?

I don't see why a woman or a man should bear the burden of such contract a contract, unless the contract manages to perfectly balance their positions, which is very unlikely.

Now for the kids part of the marriage: I agree that State protection on kids may be a good thing, expecially given that they're by definition defenseless individuals and we have many evidences of fathers and mothers behaving like complete strangers to their kids ; in other words, not taking their responsability for the kids well-being. But this is a very very heated and debatable argument, that of protection of kids from their own parents, which shouldn't become a tool to protect mother or father interests, but an instrument to protect only the kid interests ; among the kid interests there's probably that of having a mother and father avaiable around the clock and taking care of him/her, which would rule out divorce or separations.

It's an extremely difficult subject that requires a lot of work I think.
posted by elpapacito at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2003


30/50/70/90 for the married father.

30% chance the baby isn't even his (paternity fraud)

50% chance of divorce

70% chance it will be his wife who will initiate the divorce

90% chance she will win sole cusody

I don't like Mr. Married Man's chances......do you?

biscotti, of course it matters who initiates divorce. What parent would consider divorcing their children? Very few. People will initiate divorce if they know they stand an excellent chance of winning custody. For a woman, it's not so much as a divorce, more of "kicking the asshole out onto the street (while stripping him of his finances) and changing the locks". The great losers of divorce are the men and children. I've said it many times before:- the initiators of divorce are most likely to be those who will have the least to lose from the divorce. It's obvious. Why on earth is it that most divorces are initiated by women? Coincidence? "All men are bastards"? If the initiator of divorce automatically lost custody of their kids, you'd see a sharp decline in divorce rates.

That is why until there are fundamental changes in the law, men are idiots to marry under such gender-biased laws, totally unprotected by the courts. The men are just one decision away (hers) from losing it all.

I've been through the fire, and I will only shake my head at the queue of ignorant males marrying in the coming years, who then get shafted by the system and end up estranged from their children and penniless.

You can't say they haven't been warned!!

Call me bitter, yet millions of men go through the same mill every year, and will do so in the coming years. Think of all the future children, not yet even conceived, who will never see their fathers. It's a predictable pattern. Why not advise people to steer clear of such terrible situations? I think I'm doing a service here.

Marriage, kids, divorce, estrangement, financial responsibility as father without the rights of being a father:- not a life to aspire to.

Don't do it fellas!
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:09 PM on November 24, 2003


biscotti, of course it matters who initiates divorce. What parent would consider divorcing their children?

Um...if you look back you'll see that we were talking about older, retired Japanese couples. I somehow doubt that the divorce settlement in such cases will need to deal with things like custody of grown children. Now I see that in lieu of addressing my comments in the context they were written, you've changed the topic back to the more general "women bad/men victims" thing again, so by all means, carry on. There's just no way to discuss this with you, it seems, you can't seem to stay with the discussion at hand. Good luck to you.
posted by biscotti at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2003


centrs: ... there's a huge difference in how i feel when my husband refers to me as his "wife" and when he used to refer to me as his "girlfriend" even though we had been living together for 5 years.

That was something that I didn't expect to happen with us, since we didn't have the marriage initiation ceremony known as a wedding and had lived together for so long beforehand, but ... there IS something intangible and different now that we call each other husband and wife.

ZachsMind: Marriage places human beings in a place of perpetual denial, where they sacrifice freedom for an illusion of security.

What is it that I am denying or am being denied by being married, and how am I not free anymore? The only thing I see that I am not free to do that now is have an intimate relationship with someone else, and actually I could do that as well, but there would be a price to pay for it.

SpaceCadet: If the initiator of divorce automatically lost custody of their kids, you'd see a sharp decline in divorce rates.

We'd also see more women and children having to live in abusive/unhealthy environments with no way to get out.
posted by Orb at 1:19 PM on November 24, 2003


Irontom, Spacecadet, although your examples are obviously cases where men got screwed, it's worth remembering that there are also cases where women get screwed. The thing about divorce is that it's often ugly. Still, the fact that the standard of living for divorced women statistically falls hard post-divorce should help us keep in mind that it's not generally a positive thing for the woman either.

My dad has been divorced three times. There's no dispute that he cheated on the first two wives; he claims that in the third case they had already verbally agreed to separate and see other people. Neither of his first two wives ended up benefitting from the divorce. The first wife was a professional and has gone on to be very successful, but not due to any help from him. The second wife was a stay-at-home mom and ended up in difficult financial straits after the divorce; she borrowed from relatives and received help from the gov't for a while, but never really recovered. The third wife is more savvy and will probably end up with the house, but no agreement has been finalized yet.

My point is merely that each case is different, and lots of people, of both sexes, get screwed in divorces.
posted by mdn at 1:23 PM on November 24, 2003


biscotti, what is your fixation with Japanese elderly couples? I pointed out an article several posts ago that clearly stated:-

"One trend given prominent media coverage in Japan involves older women who leave their husbands after the men retire and hang around the house all day."

There's not too many ways to put a spin on that (although you've tried in vain to put the spin against men). That's how the media reported it. Women leaving men. Nothing much more to add. Except, why did the women leave the men as soon as the men retired? Why not one year before? Why not 10 years before? Why, the moment they lost their earning capacity, does Japan see this trend of "women leaving men"? No doubt you will answer because "they're bastards".

You seem to be a radical feminist not interested in men's rights (at least that's how you come across). You try to refute every point I make and counter-argue everything I say, no matter what. You are either a contrarian, or you really are a man-hater.

Do you accept that the family courts are gender-biased against men? Do you accept that the person with least to lose from a divorce is the most likely to initiate it? You know, the dictionary definition for "feminist" is somebody who believes in equality amongst the genders. Do you believe in equality amongst the genders, or female privilige? If you believe in equality amongst the genders, you are clearly on the side of people like David Chick (Spiderman) and other fathers fighting for their equal rights to access to their children. If you are against such people, you are against equality amongst the genders.

On preview:-

Orb:We'd also see more women and children having to live in abusive/unhealthy environments with no way to get out.

We've covered this one before:-

Women are the most likely child abusers:-

"Fifty-nine percent of perpetrators were women and 41 percent were men. The median age of female perpetrators was 31 years; the median age of male perpetrators was 34 years. More than 80 percent of victims (84 percent) were abused by a parent or parents. Almost half of child victims (41 percent) were maltreated by just their mother, and one-fifth of victims (19 percent) were maltreated by both their mother and father.

Check your facts before you utter such sexist crap. Seems feminist propaganda really has pulled the wool over many people's eyes.

mdn, sorry to hear about your dad....but I think that's made your views on divorce a little skewed. It's disengenguous to say all cases are different. No. There are trends. 90% of women win sole custody. That means 90% of fathers in divorce cases lose regular access to their kids. Within 2 years of divorce, 40% of fathers have NO access whatsoever to their kids (often through Parental Alienation Syndrome).

You never heard of paternity fraud, denial of visitation, garneshing of wages, debtor prison? These are male realities.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:50 PM on November 24, 2003


You never heard of paternity fraud, denial of visitation, garneshing of wages, debtor prison? These are male realities.

Just curious, there are still debtor prisons? Or are you being hyperbolic?
posted by dness2 at 2:09 PM on November 24, 2003


biscotti, from the gallery, you're leading the softball game 60-0 after three innings, and the mercy rule is in order. I say, let SpaceCadet foam into the void and get your victorious li'l self on over to Dairy Queen.
posted by clever sheep at 2:10 PM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet: re-read the discussion. YOU are the one drawing conclusions not supported by your own evidence. YOU were the one talking about these Jpanese women leaving for all kinds of reasons that YOU invented. If you cite something as evidence of an assertion, the thing you cite should actually support your assertion. I called you on misinterpreting your own links, which happened to be about Japanese couples, so you change the subject and ask me why I'm obsessed with Japanese couples? You seem like a smart guy, I expect you could do a better job of evading things than that.

I refute the points you make which are based on faulty logic, prejudice, or inaccurate interpretation of facts. You shouldn't assume that because someone calls you on your misogyny, that they are either a radical feminist or a man hater.

Anyway, I'm done here, there's clearly no point in continuing this discussion, your prejudice is insurmountable.

On preview: thanks clever sheep, I'll shut up now. :)
posted by biscotti at 2:13 PM on November 24, 2003


biscotti:-I'll shut up now.

Good. I'll hold you to those words. Go and hijack someone else's thread.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:32 PM on November 24, 2003


Go and hijack someone else's thread.

Oh. Dear. God. ...

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can't have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage
It's an institute you can't disparage
Ask the local gentry
And they will say it's elementary

Try, try, try to separate them
It's an illusion
Try, try, try, and you will only come
To this conclusion

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
Dad was told by mother
You can't have one without the other
posted by DaRiLo at 2:37 PM on November 24, 2003


dness2: Just curious, there are still debtor prisons? Or are you being hyperbolic?

Do Poor Fathers Deserve Debtors' Prison?

posted by SpaceCadet at 2:37 PM on November 24, 2003


[The next channel shows "Metafilter...With Children"]
NortonDC: [whines] Space...let's have sex!
Spacecadet: Ehh, no Norton.
[Audience laughs and claps]
[Spacecadet flushes a toilet, and everyone hollers and cheers]

posted by DaRiLo at 2:45 PM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet, the umpire just awarded biscotti another 10 runs for your unsportsmanlike conduct. It's 70-0 now, and she's off having a Dilly Bar while you're busy consolidating and compounding your misery.

As anastasiav charitably pointed out in a MetaTalk thread devoted to reflections on your recent behavior, sometimes you post threads that offer worthwhile content. Unfortunately, this has not been one of those threads. Cut your losses already and move on.
posted by clever sheep at 2:55 PM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet: So basically, you are saying ... fuck the children whose fathers happen to be among the 41% that are abusers? Tough noogies, because there are all those women out there that are abusers? Sorry kid, but because some women are abusers and women usually get custody of the children in a divorce situation, we had to take away your mom's right to get you out of there ... sure, she can leave, but she'll have to leave you behind with your abusive dad.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
posted by Orb at 2:55 PM on November 24, 2003


DaRiLo, you seem confused. NortonDC hasn't posted in this thread, and has posted nothing in the other SpaceCadet threads to put him in the same camp as SpaceCadet -- quite the opposite, in fact.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:07 PM on November 24, 2003


Well, SpaceCadet what about my point? Do you think we all might fare better if marriage weren't regarded as some sort of rite of passage, an item on one's lifetime to do list, or something necessary in order to be considered a normal person worthy of respect?

Those are the messages I get when people start nagging me about getting married, and it seems by what you wrote earlier to be one of the big reasons you got married in the first place. You focus on women as the root of all male unhappiness instead of the relentless, cultish pressure put on all single adults to get married even if they are not sure they want to so that "if you get divorced, at least you can always say you were married"(yeah, I've heard that one SEVERAL times, believe me).

The underlying message women (and men) have gotten is that they'll be considered "damaged goods" if they can't find someone to marry them STAT. I want to be married to someone because we have a solid emotional and intellectual relationship and are determined to look out for and take care of each other - not so people won't think I'm a loser.

You feel you have a worthy cause in the "Father's Rights" movement. Good for you and go to it. I believe that fathers are very important. Mine was the world to me, God rest his soul, and a childhood without him would have been very bleak indeed. But I'm not the enemy, nor are western women, nor is western culture. You are fighting the law and the woman you had the misfortune to have a child with. Hate her, hate the legal system all you want, but the rest of womankind is not the bad guy here.

A lot of what you say are similar to things I've heard my brother say. Sadly, I've watched him continually hook up with women I knew were trouble from the minute I laid eyes on them. He also meets many kind, supportive, warm-hearted women as well. Somehow, he always finds something wrong with them (for example, 'she has a tattoo...decent women don't get tattoos') and continues to gravitate towards the abusive, unstable ones, primarily because they look good on paper. I'm at a loss as to how to help him. I doubt any of what I'm saying is helping you either. I only hope you have loving friends whose judgement you trust enough to let them help you weed out the bad ones before you get too involved...and that you have the common sense to listen to them when they tell you that they think you're involved with a sociopath.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:26 PM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet: So basically, you are saying ... fuck the children whose fathers happen to be among the 41% that are abusers? Tough noogies, because there are all those women out there that are abusers? Sorry kid, but because some women are abusers and women usually get custody of the children in a divorce situation, we had to take away your mom's right to get you out of there ... sure, she can leave, but she'll have to leave you behind with your abusive dad.

So basically, orb, you are saying. ... fuck the children whose mothers happen to be among the 59% that are abusers? Tough noogies, because there are all those men out there that are abusers? Sorry kid, but because some men are abusers and men hardly ever get custody of the children in a divorce situation, we had to take away your fathers's right to even simply visit you ... instead he's been forced to leave you behind with your abusive mother.

Yeah, that sounds like reality.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:32 PM on November 24, 2003


echolalia67, it's not so much the pressure to get married that is the problem. It's a much more prosaic problem that men face: the high possibility of divorce and the very high possibility of estrangement from their children. This is a growing problem (that sickeningly many people seem to mock on this thread). People collectively put their head in the sand. Men say "it will never happen to my marriage" yet next year we will see millions more child/parent separations. I'm sure there will be another sucker on MetaFilter complaining about the unjust family court laws for you all to mock and deride, and fight word-for-word, and never take on his assertions, and claim that it isn't really as unfair as he's suggesting....but the truth will roll on relentlessly.

clever sheep and Darilo: your humour is passive-aggressive crap. Speak your mind, or don't bother to post.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:52 PM on November 24, 2003


fuck the children whose mothers happen to be among the 59% that are abusers? Tough noogies, because there are all those men out there that are abusers? Sorry kid, but because some men are abusers and men hardly ever get custody of the children in a divorce situation, we had to take away your fathers's right to even simply visit you ... instead he's been forced to leave you behind with your abusive mother.


Personal question, feel free to ignore: Do you believe that the mother of your child is abusing him? If so, are you keeping a log of all the things you observe that you believe are signs of that abuse, like dirty clothes, cringing in fear when he has a minor mishap as if he were going to be hit, etc.? This would be a far more effective focus for your your energy than trying to convince the world that women are evil.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:56 PM on November 24, 2003


it's not so much the pressure to get married that is the problem. It's a much more prosaic problem that men face: the high possibility of divorce and the very high possibility of estrangement from their children

Well, don't you think the pressure makes people more likely to marry unsuitable partners? Wouldn't a longer courtship give people a better opportunity to find out what their intended is really like?

Personally, I'm all for pre-nups. If nothing else, a legally sound contract would force everyone to play nice if the shit hits the fan. Work out a worst-case contingency plan that covers an equatable joint custody arrangement that can only be voided for demonstrable cause, such as a history of physical or emotional abuse in the marriage.
posted by echolalia67 at 4:06 PM on November 24, 2003


SpaceCadet, I've said most of what I wanted to say about your topic choice and your worldview over in MetaTalk. I urge you to check out that thread and consider why very few people are leaping to your defense there. Further, you may not want those defenders that you do have on your side.

As other posters have suggested both in the blue and gray, you appear to be in too much personal pain to think critically about the arguments you are espousing. This is why, at this time and on this topic, I decline to debate with you. You are incapable of rationally representing your position; your hate has made you blind.

And before you dismiss me as a manhater, like biscotti, know that I'm a proud and radical feminist who likes men, loves her husband, and reveres her father (and mother). Feminism and feminists aren't the enemy. Women aren't the enemy. Your ex-wife is. The legal system is.

Learn to make the distinction, and then maybe sometime we'll go a few rounds.
posted by clever sheep at 4:34 PM on November 24, 2003


Go and hijack someone else's thread.

i believe it is you who hijacked this thread, according to what little mefi etiquette there is; one does not post a FPP so that one can be the main contributor to it. the thread does not belong to you, you put it out there for the rest of us to contribute to.

I think you'd have to be a robot to not be bitter about such circumstances.

my mother went thru' just as much as you and she's not a bitter person, nor is she a robot. my father was given sole custody of me in 1961 and not because my mother was some sort of incompetent or monster; the courts just felt my dad was better able to provide everything i needed. then he moved away for personal reasons, screwing my mom out of access to me. she got on with her life and did what she could to see me, which turned out to be 3 short visits in 12 years (ages 3-15 of my life). yet somehow she managed to live her life well without blaming an entire gender, culture, or the system, for her woes. go figure. imagine the twisted mess i would have been faced with had she been like you once we were reunited, yikes. you really just have no one to blame but yourself, for how your life turns out. you can choose to be weak and wallow, or not.

i adore both my parents btw, and wouldn't change anything in regards to their divorce or my childhood.

Feminism and feminists aren't the enemy. Women aren't the enemy. Your ex-wife is. The legal system is.

sadly more than anyone else, he's his own enemy.
posted by t r a c y at 5:04 PM on November 24, 2003


Feminism and feminists aren't the enemy. Women aren't the enemy. Your ex-wife is. The legal system is.


Feminists sit on their hands while fathers are denied access to their children, and children are denied access to their fathers. It's not only me. It's not just a personal crusade, but millions of other fathers around the world are fighting a gender-biased system. Feminists talk the talk about gender equality, but when it's men who face the inequalities, they do nothing - even when it's their brothers, uncles and friends who suffer such inequalities. Not only that, but other men do nothing too. I can sense a lot of men holding their tongues here. Afraid of female wrath, I guess.

Am I bitter that I don't have regular access to my son? Ofcourse. Does it make the system right and myself wrong because I harbour bitterness? No. It's disengenuous to say that because someone is passionate about something, their view is distorted and somehow "wrong". Do you have close, first-hand experience of Family Court? If so, I respect your opinion based upon your experience. Otherwise, you're just treating this as an intellectual exercise.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:28 AM on November 25, 2003


Not to be too personal, SpaceCadet, but I thought from the the "Unmarried America" thread that you did have regular access to your son, though not obtained through the courts:

"100 children in the UK lose permanent contact with their fathers on a daily basis. You know, my own wife could have hung me out to dry at the Family Court if she wanted to. Divorce is a hard thing, and there are bitter arguments - how easy it is to use a third-party agent such as the Family Courts to get what you want. My wife saw the light and we have our own arrangements, but first we had to un-entangle ourselves from the Family Courts who had imposed upon us very damaging decisions."
posted by onlyconnect at 7:50 AM on November 25, 2003


If family court inequities and father's rights were really what you wanted to talk about, SpaceCadet, then your original choice of link was singularly unfortunate. You presented an absurd, hate-filled site to the community utterly without context; just a link, with no position statement. Were you genuinely expecting a factual discussion of higher issues to ensue?

It seems obvious to me that the answer is no, and that you've been disappointed in your hopes for a chorus of "amen, brother" and a jolly round of woman-bashing; but I acknowledge this is only one person's perspective, and your true motives cannot be inferred.

If the answer is yes, I recommend a course in argumentation in addition to the therapy.
posted by clever sheep at 7:51 AM on November 25, 2003


mdn, sorry to hear about your dad...

Just to be clear, I have a good relationship with my dad - he's made a lot of mistakes, and I would certainly never ask his advice about personal relationships, but he's ultimately well-intentioned, and he's an intelligent, interesting person. I feel a little bit sorry for him, and try to live my own life with greater awareness, but I don't believe bitterness is a good way to respond to someone else's actions. His first wife handled things best: she moved on and made something of her life. She's polite and reasonable with him when they have matters to discuss, but otherwise doesn't pay him any mind. Bitterness is useless.

but I think that's made your views on divorce a little skewed.

My friend, have you considered the possibility that your own experiences have made your views a little skewed? You were shown stats on another thread that showed that one reason women end up with custody the majority of the time is that they want it the majority of the time - that in cases where men actually fight for custody, the numbers are much less disparate.

You have also been shown statistics on how much women's standard of living drops after a divorce, and how men's generally goes up. If I remember correctly, you accused the person who presented that information of being willing to sell her children, since she was concerned with such unimportant details like income, when you were talking about custody. But if women are the greedy whores you take them to be, wouldn't that be just the sort of thing they would care about? Why do they initiate so many divorces knowing it's gonna drain their cash like that?

It's disengenguous to say all cases are different. No.
There are trends. 90% of women win sole custody.


(Before getting into this, let me make it clear that I agree that equality should be the goal here, and I do hope that any bias which exists will be worn away.)

First of all, it's 70% of cases where mothers get custody; 20% is joint custody & 10% men. What percentage of those fathers fought for custody is not clear, though; according to a canadian website, only 4% of custody agreements are contested in canada. I couldn't find statistics for the US.

And in any case, that does not mean that those fathers have "no access" to their children. My father's first wife had custody of their kids, but they (the kids) still came and spent most of the summer with us. Many of my friends have divorced parents; I don't know of a single case where either parent was denied access to his or her children.

Perhaps joint custody is the best solution, but it can be difficult to set up, and hard on the kids too. A primary house and a weekend / summer / other place might be the most workable way to go about things.

Anyway, what confuses me is that you fight so hard to make a case for women being the natural caretakers, that they shouldn't work, but should stay home and fulfill traditional family duties, and then you go ballistic when judges reward the primary caregiver with custody. If you're going to support the stereotype that women are mothers first, and suited to that job most fully, then I don't see how you can get upset if some judges agree with you.

Personally, I would be much happier if men were as likely to get custody as women, just as I would be much happier if women were as likely to be the president. But you're the one claiming that the sexes each have their strengths and we shouldn't fight nature, etc., so I find your arguments a little odd.
posted by mdn at 7:58 AM on November 25, 2003


Divorce and custody battles aren't pretty for either side. Stay-at-home mothers usually earn much less in the workforce after a split than the fathers whose careers they helped nurture during the relationship, and child support often is a pittance compared to the costs of supporting the household and children. That certainly was my experience as the child of divorced parents.

SpaceCadet: Like a lot of non-custodial fathers, you're the biggest enemy to your cause. Instead of focusing on the real problems you have experienced with family courts and child support laws, you're wallowing in a grand conspiracy about scheming Western women, feminists, and other bogeywomen.

People might be sympathetic to your claims that the courts and the laws are skewed against fathers, but all of this misogyny makes it easy to dismiss you as another bitter man who sees everything through the lens of an ugly divorce.
posted by rcade at 8:10 AM on November 25, 2003


Not to be too personal, SpaceCadet, but I thought from the the "Unmarried America" thread that you did have regular access to your son, though not obtained through the courts:-

onlyconnect, in the quote you provide, I never mention I have regular access to my son. I stated that my ex-wife and I have our own arrangements. I don't feel it necessary to divulge every detail of my life here, except to say that the arrangements are financial to save my wages being garnished by direct debit from the CSA (a recommendation from the Family Court). As far as visitation rights are concerned, the Court recognises and has ruled I am entitled to visit my son, but they can't enforce this ruling. My ex-wife has made it very difficult for me to have access to my son on a fortnightly basis, regardless of my desire to see my son. She can easily enforce the CSA to garnish my wages monthly if she so desires (and has made this a threat if I pursue visitation rights). (By the way, the CSA doesn't care how my ex would spend the money - she could blow it all on Red on the Roullete wheel and that's fine by them). However, the law will not enforce my right to see my son. So, can you see, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Once you involve the agencies, it's not just about withdrawing money from your bank account but they also threaten you with the potential loss of your property, they can intercept your tax refunds, report you to credit agencies, discontinue your driver's license, suspend your professional and business permits, hold you in contempt of court, put your face on a wanted poster or even throw you in jail if you are behind on payments. It's a very scary prospect, one given to me in cold tones by a mediator at the Family Court. So you see, I thank God for small mercies that I'm not threatened with all of the above, yet still cannot see my son and pay maintenance every month, on time.

according to a canadian website, only 4% of custody agreements are contested in canada.

It's not the message I'm getting from this Canadian Father's site.

SpaceCadet: Like a lot of non-custodial fathers, you're the biggest enemy to your cause. Instead of focusing on the real problems you have experienced with family courts and child support laws, you're wallowing in a grand conspiracy about scheming Western women, feminists, and other bogeywomen.


rcade, What I post on this site doesn't represent every single action I've taken in my life, nor what I do in my everyday life. It describes one particular aspect of my life (albeit important aspect), at a particular moment in my life. I don't see "everything through the lens of an ugly divorce". Also I don't see it as a conspiracy so much as about human rights. We're all entitled to human rights.
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:09 AM on November 25, 2003


SpaceCadet, if I were to change "woman" to "man" on the website you posted, you would easily see it for what it is - a hate-filled rant.

If I were to create a website decrying marriage because women get suckered giving up their youth, earning pontential, and intellectual freedom to a selfish, manipulative, disloyal American man who will proceed to fuck the 18 year old babysitter, and leave his wife in dire financial straits with the bulk of responsibility for the children the minute the poor woman develops even a hint of grey hair, you would rightfully recognize it as the product of a bitter, self-pitying woman who is blaming 1/2 of the world for something that they didn't do.

It would be logical to assume that the woman should be blaming her ex-husband or herself, instead of the entire male gender. You might even start to wonder after reading a bit more of the site whether the husband was really all that bad or if his abandonment of the marriage was actually an act of self-preservation.

None of us really know you. We don't know what you were like before your divorce. We only know who you present yourself to be now. Who we see now is a very hateful, angry person, albeit one has a good reason to be.

You have to admit yourself, you are currently a very bitter, unhappy man. I'd even wager that you're seriously clinically depressed - and please don't take this as an insult. I'm actually concerned about your well-being here. I imagine that the separation from your son is like one big festering wound from which you can find no relief. People have fallen into deep, dark depressions over far smaller losses. When I say that I hope you get some help, it's not because I am being condscending. It's because I hate to see anyone in that much pain.

I am a feminist and proud of it. And, as I have mentioned before, I have a brother who has been the victim of domestic violence. Ask yourself, which Echo is the better sister - the one who as a part of exploring feminist issues came to know that domestic violence is a serious problem and delved into the issue enough to know that men, too are victims? Or the sister who thinks such things are a private, not legal, matter and that a man who allows a woman to hit him is a wimp?

I heard a lot more anti-male rants in the context of my traditional, conservative Irish--Catholic upbringing than I ever did in my time as a self-described feminist. The difference is that my traditional background seemed to write off the anti-male worldview as unchangable and something that a woman just needed to resign herself to. Feminism, or at least my strain of it, doesn't accept that men are, by nature, oppressive of women and believes that things can change for the better for both genders. College-campus feminism is not representative of feminism as a whole. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest "Stiffed" by Susan Faludi. You might be pleasantly suprised.
posted by echolalia67 at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2003


echolalia67, yes of course I have suffered depression (and been prescribed medication for it). I don't find that insulting that you mention it (as it would be totally weird for me to feel fine about such a loss), but it also doesn't mean my point of view is invalid (as many people disingenuously have stated). I totally agree with you that issues should be explored, not just brushed away and people assumed to "just get on with it and stop moaning". It's funny that on threads regarding depression, everybody gets touchy-feely and understanding, but when it comes to men's rights, people clear their throats and avoid eye contact.

Don't you actually find the NoMarriage site actually kind of humourous, in a crass way? It's so over-the-top, how can anyone really take it seriously....ah well, I remember posting (what I thought) was a really funny article by Fred Reed and everybody got offended. I can't help but think MetaFilter is so conservative here (small "c"), yet pretends not to be. I've had the "all men are cheating bastards" mantra played to me all my life by female friends, the media, songs, magazines and films. Of course, I'm expected to laugh along and not be so serious when this line is fed to me. When the tables are turned, and in such an extreme, crass way, don't you think it's actually a little tongue-in-cheek? To be offended by such a site is to take it seriously.

Anyway, I bet your brother has had a hard time convincing people he's been a victim of domestic violence (and probably taken a lot of piss taking in the process, just to rub salt into his wounds). It's a fact that many men get fucked around by the courts to the extent where they've lost absolutely everything, done hunger-strikes, been ostracised by their entire family and friends (people don't know how to deal with them) and they end up absolutely insane. Is this the way to deal with people? Anyone who is a true egalitarian and feminist doesn't subscribe to double-standards of applying the law, or say "fuck them" when people fall through the legal safety nets.

College-campus feminism is not representative of feminism as a whole.

God I hope not. They still teach Women's Studies. :-

Suffice it to say that the field of women’s studies is not genuine scholarship, but rather an axis of feminist superstition, a victim mentality, and anti-male demonology. But even with their distaste for facts and grudge against reality, women’s studies departments are, of course, politically correct on campus. That’s why they won’t disappear any time soon, though by all scholarly standards, and common sense, they should. Students who are required to take these courses should avail themselves of the IWF study. (female author)

echolalia67: Feminism, or at least my strain of it, doesn't accept that men are, by nature, oppressive of women and believes that things can change for the better for both genders.

I will subscribe to that. Already there are many female sympathisers for fathers4justice (after all, they are sisters, mothers and girlfriends of such fathers).

At the moment, fathers have responsibilities but no (enforced) rights.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:05 PM on November 25, 2003


It's funny that on threads regarding depression, everybody gets touchy-feely and understanding, but when it comes to men's rights, people clear their throats and avoid eye contact.

I think it's because you are not presenting it as a dry, abstract "hmm, how interesting" subject. It seems to be coming from an angry, pain-filled place in you. You are expressing your sense of hopelessness and frustration as an indictment of a whole gender and the force of ithat rage is causing people, namely women like myself, to feel personally attacked.

Don't you actually find the NoMarriage site actually kind of humourous, in a crass way? It's so over-the-top, how can anyone really take it seriously....

Not really, it reminds me of the anti-women stuff I was exposed to (in conjunction with the anti-male stuff) as part of my traditional, conservative background. It's painful and frightening to have to hear that come out of people's mouth. If you're going for a humorous, biting rant against women, Jim Goad (who you linked to in the MetaTalk thread) is far better at it than the pathetic loser who compiled the site in question. But I must point out, assuming that you've read Shit Magnet or any of his other works, Goad doesn't suffer any fool gladly and is also just as ready to heap that scorn on himself as he is anyone else. That's why I respect the hell out of the guy - he's an intelligent, insightful shit-disturber who can back up his rants with well-researched facts. In other words, a worthy opponent for the collective minds of Metafilter. The assclown you linked to in this thread is not.

Anyway, I bet your brother has had a hard time convincing people he's been a victim of domestic violence (and probably taken a lot of piss taking in the process, just to rub salt into his wounds).

Actually, the police were great, urging him to file the report and get a restraining order. His therapist (a woman) kept urging him to get a restraining order. The only one who had any problem with it was my mom, and her biggest concern was that he'd snap under the pressure and hurt the evil bitch, be charged with assault, and have to deal with all that goes with it. I don't know if he told anyone outside the family, so I don't know if anyone gave him a hard time about it.

God I hope not. They still teach Women's Studies. :-

As for women's studies, I took enough classes to have graduated with a major in it. There is an overabundance of idealogues teaching in the field, unfortunately. But I had some fantastic teachers, one of which turned me from a "porn is rape" feminist (hey, I was 19) into the pro-sex feminist I am today by presenting the information from all sides of the debate and insisting we put aside all of our preconceptions, and draw our own conclusions. Another professor, turned me on to Mary Wollstonecraft, Emma Goldman and Christine DePisan (who supported her family by writing books on military stategy under a male pseuonym). I left the program with a healthy dose of skepticisim and a solid understanding of what real feminism is about because I had some very-sharp freethinkers for teachers who would not tolerate any parroting of the party line. Is Woman's Studies overdue for a revolution in thought and theory? Yes. Should we dismiss it in it's entirety? No.

I think the biggest problem with contemporary feminism is that it is dominated by women from the middle and upper-middle classes, and the issues they focus on reflect that. Coming from a working-class background, I couldn't give a shit about whether or not "women" should be spelled "wymin" or "wimyn". I give a shit about living wages for working class people so that women and men can raise their children without having to hold down two minimium-wage jobs apiece. I give a shit about men (and women) who are dying because the company they worked all of their lives for didn't tell them that they were working with toxic chemicals. I give a shit about the mental health of women who aren't being treated effectively for postpartum depressions and psychoses and the impact that has on their children. I'm concerned that we aren't doing more to get children out of foster care and into loving, permanent homes. I consider those things to be "feminist" issues. Most feminists (the ones outside of academia at least) out there probably agree with me.

Again, I am truly sorry that you have been separated from your son. I am also appalled that, if you are the loving, responsible father you claim to be, you would be separated from your child with no legal recourse. That's a horrible injustice. I'm down with making the family court system less gender biased - after all, happy, well-adjusted children are in everyone's best interest. The problem I have with what you're saying, SpaceCadet, is that you seem to be really, really pissed off at ALL women, ALL feminist women, in particular.

You hate lowest-common-denominator, mass market, dumbed down, men-are-stupid-and-evil, feminism a la Oprah? Preaching to the choir, man. You hate all of feminism and all of the women in the western world? That doesn't sit well with me, my friend.
posted by echolalia67 at 3:36 PM on November 25, 2003


Again, I am truly sorry that you have been separated from your son. I am also appalled that, if you are the loving, responsible father you claim to be, you would be separated from your child with no legal recourse. That's a horrible injustice. I'm down with making the family court system less gender biased - after all, happy, well-adjusted children are in everyone's best interest. The problem I have with what you're saying, SpaceCadet, is that you seem to be really, really pissed off at ALL women, ALL feminist women, in particular.

Ok, but accept that there is a fight on our hands (if you really are an egalitarian). You present a happy-happy rainbow view of the world where moral justice is nothing more than cause and effect. Knock on the door and it opens. No it doesn't. You don't know the fucking mess families face in the divorce courts.....and I mean, a fucking mess. I'm not even talking about the marital problems that pre-existed. I'm talking about how law exacerbates and inflames a bad situation into a shitslide for one parent and a position of power for the other. Hey, I look at myself as a cautionary tale. My life is pretty fucked-up at the moment (enjoy the schadenfreude) but I know my life will get better. There will be a critical mass of parents who will be as vocal as me (believe me, I don't just vent my spleen in this conservative place) who will force change, either through social change or legal change.

The beauty of life is that nothing stays the same.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:52 PM on November 25, 2003


Mary Wollstonecraft is a GOD. And that bird wot invented x-ray crystalography. If only I could remember her name.
posted by seanyboy at 4:42 PM on November 25, 2003


Spacecadet, my mother in law was screwed out of seeing her son (and daughter)even ONCE from about age 8 till 19.

They have a great relationship now, which would be better if we all lived closer, but my husband understood and understands who the villain in the piece was. (His dad in cahoots with the stepdad. It was evil all the way around.)

What I am telling you is please don't give up hope. Eventually your boy will be old enough to figure out things on his own. I hope for your sake that day comes quickly.
posted by konolia at 5:41 PM on November 25, 2003


My life is pretty fucked-up at the moment (enjoy the schadenfreude)...

Why would anyone be enjoying the shadenfreude? True, you come off as confrontational and abrasive and your posts give the impression of you being a misogynist. But I think metafolk are empathic people, for the most part. The problem is that your anger has obscured the fact that you're a parent who has been separated from your child and is feeling pretty hopeless and helpless about it. I'm choosing to bring this up with you because within the bulk of the "anti-feminist/anti-women of western culture" screeds are small but definite hints that you are hurting big-time.

You might be a lot like my brother (which is why I guess I feel like reaching out to you instead of fighting with you) - a nice guy who tends to be more conservative, but really wants a relationship with women, be they spouses, co-workers or family members, that is based on mutual respect and cooperation. But you hooked up with a petty, vindictive person who gets a mean satisfaction out of seeing you hurt, even if it ultimately is damaging to her/your son. Perhaps we metafolk are only seeing the end result of you being fucked over. I really hope that is the case, because that would mean, as you said, there is potential for change. I'd worry if the level of anger you express here is your default mode.

The problem I have with a lot of the "Men's Movement" is the level of anger and hostility I see directed at women as a whole based on some bad experiences with a few of them. I believe you'd agree that your problem with feminism runs along the same lines.

I don't know that there will be any real chance of change until there are enough people on either side who are willing to get past the "gender war" mentality and push for changes that are genuinely fair. Even then, unfortunately, there will be people who are very adept at using the judicial system as a weapon and decent people who will get hurt by them.

You wouldn't be the first person to accuse me of being idealistic; I do honestly want to live in a world that is morally just. I get pretty enraged and depressed when I see bad people continue to profit off the misery of the people they fuck over. I really hope things get better for you SpaceCadet. I'd hate for you to spend the rest of your life as angry and wounded as you are now. It's no way to live and you deserve better.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:44 PM on November 25, 2003


SpaceCadet, having just re-read this entire thread with the perspective of knowing how it all ends up, I feel a little more prepared to understand why you feel the way you do. I in no way condone the way you have acted or agree to any extent with your (seeming) view that all women are bad and SpaceCadet, having just re-read the entire thread with the perspective of knowing how it all ends up, I feel a little more prepared to understand why you feel the way you do. I in no way condone the way you have acted or agree to any extent with your (seeming) view that all women are bad and are the cause of misery suffered by men everywhere, but I can see how you have arrived at that place.

While we (I assume) are in different countries, I agree wholeheartedly that the court system with regard to family law is heavily biased in favour of women. While there are historical reasons for this, they have no place in modern society. After separating from the mother of my eldest daughter I, for various reasons, began steps to apply for custody and was horrified to find just how deep this bias went. Firstly, because we were not married, I had no rights whatsoever by default but I had an obligation to pay child support for my daughter. If I wanted any access I had to apply to the Supreme Court to get it, as children of parents who were not married were at that time outside the jurisdiction of family law (this has changed now). My ex had access to legal aid while I, because I was working, had to foot all my own legal bills. Fortunately, my ex was not aware that she could force the issue into the Supreme Court and therefore way out of my pocket, so our case was heard in a Magistrates Court. To complicate the whole thing, I had to address multiple (completely false) complaints of physical abuse made to not only my friends and family but to the police as well. Once again, the bias in the justice system came to the fore, with her word being taken over mine until I was able to prove my innocence.

Having been given less than 24 hours notice that a court case was to be heard denying me any rights to see my daughter and demanding that I pay a ridiculous amount of maintenance, I was forced to appear in court on my own behalf against a solicitor. I managed to buy some time mainly through the incompetence of my ex's solicitor and by my ex being caught out lying in court, so proceeded to find myself a solicitor for the next round. After speaking to six who were not prepared to help me because they considered that I "had no chance whatsoever of being successful because the courts are biased against men in these matters" I found a solicitor who, despite advising me that I had almost no chance of success, was prepared to take my case. As part of the custody application process, mediation sessions were ordered by the court, during one of which I was accused by the state-appointed psychologist of "only applying for custody out of spite and to gain revenge". At the end of the day, my application for custody was granted (with very generous access to my ex), again because her solicitor was incompetent and my ex was a poor liar, after which she disappeared and has not seen her daughter to this day, nor has she coughed up one single cent in maintenance. Despite the fact that she has not exercised her access rights nor contributed to my daughter's upbringing in any way over the past 15 years, she could turn up at any time and demand to see her. The only way I can change that is to go back to court, but I have to find her first to serve her with notice (at my expense).

Does this make me bitter against women? No. I know that this is only one woman and she is not representative of her gender in any way. I am not even bitter towards her, as she is the loser who has missed out on watching her daughter grow up for the past 15 years. I have put up with the ignorance displayed by people over the years with comments such as "who buys her clothes for you?" and the like and have seen friends who are single fathers victimised by the authorities and viewed with distrust at every turn, but it only make me more determined to do the best I can for my daughter. Bitterness towards anyone would only be a waste of energy and would take away from my ability to be the best parent I can.

While you have a right to be upset about the lack of access to your son, you would be better to use that anger and channel it into doing something to address the situation. No matter how hopeless things may seem now, the only way to make things better is to focus on the problem instead of casting your bile into the world (and women) in general. First though, you need to accept that the situation is what it is at this time and move on from the hatred and bitterness that you now feel. As mentioned above, the so called "mens' movement" is filled with the hate and bitterness that you need to leave behind, rather than embracing it before you can do something more constructive.
posted by dg at 11:32 PM on November 25, 2003


Eventually your boy will be old enough to figure out things on his own. –Konolia

Understand, Space Cadet, that you could end up with a son like me. By the time I wanted to get to know whom my father was and get together, it was too late, he had passed away. In fact, when he did pass away, I didn't attend his funeral, because he was a total stranger to me.

Was he bitter about the divorce? No doubt. I also think he took it out on himself and this lead to his early demise. Sad, but true.

Do I blame anyone? No. It was both these individuals [my parents] and their actions for which they were solely responsible for.

Accept that what you have no control over and what you can control or change, do so. Being positive may not be the easiest right now, but in the long run, a far better approach. Call it a ten year plan, it'll fly by.

In the meantime, see what you can do to effect change regarding current family laws and drop the women hating meet ups and drumming. It isn't constructive and won't lead to change, which should be your goal if you feel so strongly about effecting change.
posted by alicesshoe at 1:23 AM on November 26, 2003


You wouldn't be the first person to accuse me of being idealistic; I do honestly want to live in a world that is morally just. I get pretty enraged and depressed when I see bad people continue to profit off the misery of the people they fuck over.

There's nothing wrong with being idealistic.

What enrages me is apathy amongst people who feel they can't change anything. You have to admire people who didn't just "suck it up" but instead through their intense feelings of injustice have forced laws to change. At least now in the UK, the Family Courts are on the back foot to some degree. They have had a lot of bad publicity lately (thanks to protests). If this pressure continues, they're going to have to make some big decisions regarding their policies, or just become a public laughing stock. What government likes bad publicity? Public opinion is the God politicians worship. I am idealistic too. I hate the idea of a men's movement or feminism (I know feminism's original ideal is for gender equality, but it's been on "female terms" just as the men's movement is what it says on the tin). I'm idealistic enough to believe neither should be necessary.

I don't know that there will be any real chance of change until there are enough people on either side who are willing to get past the "gender war" mentality and push for changes that are genuinely fair. Even then, unfortunately, there will be people who are very adept at using the judicial system as a weapon and decent people who will get hurt by them.

I can only agree. The "gender war" has become like a pendulum. Currently, the law has become a weapon for one gender, and a bully for the other. I don't exaggerate. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but the rule is proven time after time. When I say "Why men should not marry" (although my link is crass), it's not so much a criticism of the female gender, more of two fingers up at the law, and how easily it can be abused. Governments supposedly want happily married people and stable, well-balanced children, yet the "mediators" and Family Courts treat marriage like a demolition derby.

The courts, as dg will testify, like neat decisions. Their noses are sensitive to a single drop of blood in the ocean. Domestic Violence accusation? The accusation is evidence enough! ("Lingering doubt"). This is a punch below the belt (excuse the pun) thrown by the woman to not only try and secure the children, but to cut out any visitation rights. My own ex didn't think of that one, luckily enough, but still doesn't allow me access (she uses the threat to release the CSA hounds onto me to keep me at bay). When people are spiteful, the lawyer and even the mediator will sense blood, and a speedy, clean decision. What person would not give into the temptation and play the family courts game, with spite running through their veins?

I know I sound bitter, but how do you tell the truth and not sound bitter, sometimes?

dg: Despite the fact that she has not exercised her access rights nor contributed to my daughter's upbringing in any way over the past 15 years, she could turn up at any time and demand to see her

dg, your story has a familiar ring to it (about the DV false accusations and court rulings). Lucky for you that you can see your daughter grow up though.

alicesshoe, your message is philosophical and true to a degree but I don't know what I can change and can't change yet. Maybe the boundary between what is possible and what is not possible can be influenced by determination.

I really hope things get better for you SpaceCadet.

Appreciate it, echolalia.
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:28 PM on November 26, 2003


Lucky for you that you can see your daughter grow up though.
A certain amount of luck was involved, but perseverance is important also. I have no knowledge of your situation with the CSA (Child Support Agency?), but from the little I have seen, it appears that this is your achilles heel in the current situation and the club that is being used to beat you into submission. Again, I don't really know your situation, but it seems to me you would do well to address that particular problem in some way, thereby disarming your ex and forcing her to comply with the access order. It may take some bluff and will no doubt result in further stress for you (like you need it!), but don't give up on your son - he needs you. Because of the bias against males in the court system, you will always be fighting the battle the hard way, but the fight is worth it.

Something I found useful in my fight was to maintain a calm, polite, rational demeanour on the surface, no matter how fucked up my head was at the time. This is probably not good advice for general well-being, but these situations are not the place for emotional behaviour and you may find that acting like this will push your ex into acting emotionally out of sheer frustration at not being able to provoke you. In some ways, you are in a siege situation, with you as the besieger and you need to be prepared to pick away at the defenses a piece at a time until you find the weak spot.

This can get expensive, of course, which is the tactic used by the custodial parent in some cases - sit it out until the other party runs out of money and gives up. If the worst comes to the worst, ditch the legal eagles and battle on yourself - standing up in a courtroom is not as scary as you might think and, as long as you are well prepared and know you are in the right, you will be OK.

Good luck.

disclaimer: the above may not be worth a pinch of shit in your situation, but please take it as it is intended - well-meant advice from someone who has been more or less where you are.
posted by dg at 2:47 PM on November 26, 2003


dg, you have been in this place.....the place where you must keep under lock and key all the anger and an incredible sense of injustice in order to display a sense of control to the very people who are creating the injustice that is driving you insane in the first place.....your ex and the so-called sensible mediators and lawyers who pretend to represent justice.

Your advice is right of course. If I go guns a'blazing in any official situation, it's just "proof" that I'm a "crazy, violent person" (or fill in your own stock phrase for somebody shellshocked by their experiences), and not somebody who's simply had one of the greatest injustices a parent can ever face. I've been there many times before dg. I've bitten my tongue on too many occasions. Sometimes I felt like screaming out to these mediators the basic truth. What would they do? They'd say "aah, violent male. No good. Deny visitation rights (not that we'll enforce them if we grant them anyway)". My tongue has teeth marks and I got visitation rights (jesus christ, like I didn't deserve it anyway OR that it would ever be enforced). SO now I never see my son and pay full maintenance, pinned down by the threat of the CSA on my case (and visitation NEVER being enforced, though granted). hmmmmm, suck it up SpaceCadet.

disclaimer: the above may not be worth a pinch of shit in your situation, but please take it as it is intended - well-meant advice from someone who has been more or less where you are.

dg, no disclaimer necessary. We all live different lives, but your own story and my story cross circles quite closely in a Venn Diagram.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:56 PM on November 26, 2003


SpaceCadet, we have our differences but if I were there (wherever "there" is) I'd give you a hug and take you out for a pint or two. You've been through the ringer but as others have said, don't give up. Your son needs you. Anyway, you're in my thoughts.
posted by echolalia67 at 5:56 PM on November 26, 2003


SpaceCadet, I did not say it would be easy (or good for your long-term mental health, to be honest), but you have to swallow down that anger and play at being a reasonable, well-adjusted individual or you have no hope. You can let out your frustration in private but never, ever in public and not even in front of people you think are your friends.

Oh and stay away from web sites such as the ones you have been posting here - they will only feed your resentment and anger without offering any assistance. None of their skewed statistics have any bearing on you anyway - just concentrate on your own issues and forget everyone else's problems.
posted by dg at 7:01 PM on November 26, 2003


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