Los Angeles, CA–In my co-authored column Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men’s Marriage Strike? (Philadelphia Inquirer, (7/5/02) six years ago I postulated that men were on a “Marriage Strike” because of the way they get manhandled in divorce. A new study supports that view. According to Reuters’ Men prefer being solo over a bad marriage: study (6/2/08):
[Carl] Weisman, 49, conducted a survey of 1,533 heterosexual men to research a book aiming to give women an insight into why some smart, successful men opted to stay single — and help lifelong bachelors understand why they are still the solo man at parties.
He concluded that most men were not afraid of marriage — but they were afraid of a bad marriage.
“Men are 10 times more scared of marrying the wrong person than of never getting married at all,” Weisman told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“This is the first generation of people who have grown up with bad divorces. People assume there is something wrong if you don’t marry but these are men who have made a different choice and not given in to social pressures”…
But while 72 percent of respondents said they were not afraid of marriage, about half of them said the situation that scared them most was marrying the wrong person…
Weisman also found that financial issues, both positive and negative, played a large part in men’s fear of commitment…
“[T]hose who are financially sound were terrified what a bad divorce could do to them.”
Another one the study’s findings, and a sad one, is this:
“Those with little money said they would have nothing to offer a partner, with some suffering self-esteem issues and withdrawing from the dating pool,” said Weisman.
One thing I found a little surprising is this:
Weisman said his research blew away any idea that single men were unhappy.
“A compelling issue was how many of them had found contentment in a never-married life,” he said. “They had created lives full of careers, friends and ambitions. It was not like they walk around all day worried about not being married.”
I’m of the general opinion that marriage and fatherhood is a good thing for men, and that unfortunately it has been poisoned to some degree by our anti-male family law system. Perhaps more of these bachelors are happy being single, as this research suggests.
One thing that disappointed me about the study’s findings is this–men apparently worried about losing their money in divorces but not losing their kids. This means either one of two things, neither of them good:
1) The men weren’t that concerned over losing their kids.
2) The men didn’t realize how common it is for fathers to lose their kids.