Your Chances of Divorce May Be Much Lower Than You Think

June 13, 2012

One of the most frequently cited reasons for the development and persistence of hookup culture is that young people do not trust the institution of marriage. During the 90s, when hookup culture took hold, many Gen X’ers had experienced divorce in their own families, and expressed distrust of relationships in general. So far, Millennials voice more favorable attitudes about marriage, despite a constant drumbeat of gloomy news about marriage from the media. The common myth that the overall national divorce rate is 50% is just one example. (It’s 40%, and has been declining steadily since 1980. That’s bad enough – why exaggerate?)  Additionally, the politically correct bias so prevalent in the media renders much of the coverage deceptive at best.

Though the mainstream media often covers trends in marriage and divorce as a national aggregate (see above), examining the data through a variety of lenses often yields interesting and surprising results. Due to the extreme heterogeneity of the American population, I believe that the national marriage rate, divorce rate, and first age at marriage are almost meaningless for individuals (though they may be very meaningful for economists and other folks concerned about national welfare). The real insights are revealed in looking at the data according to various subgroups, including age, race, geographic location, level of education, income and religiosity. In addition, I think it’s worthwhile to discuss trends as they pertain to my audience here at HUS. 

Regular readers know I’m kind of a data junkie, and on this rainy day I was in the mood for a bit of statistics, so I’ve taken a look at some of the data around education and geographic location. Here’s the scoop:

1. Rising age and education levels in marriage have led to a steady decrease in the divorce rate.  

The national divorce rate has dropped 27% in the last 30 years:

1980: 22.6

2009: 16.4

(Rate per 1,000 married females, aged 15+)

From The State of Our Unions, 2010:

Two probable reasons for this are an increase in the age at which people marry for the first time, and the fact that marriage is increasingly becoming the preserve of the well-educated—both situations are associated with greater marital stability.

2.  The Northeast has the lowest divorce rate in the country, while the South has the highest.

 

 % Marriage Divorce
U.S. 19.1 9.2
Northeast 16.0 7.2
South 20.3 10.2
Midwest 18.0 9.1
West 20.7 9.2

Source: CDC Martial Events of America, 2009.

(Rate per 1,000 population aged 15+)

Deborah Carr, a professor of sociology at Rutgers, cites three primary reasons for the high divorce rate in the South:

  • First, Southerners tend to marry young, partly due to a lower rate of college attendance.
  • Second, couples don’t usually move in together while unwed, a trend tied to religious beliefs. They often frown upon birth control, and are “more likely to have nonmarital pregnancies, which… then trigger ‘shotgun’ marriages.”
  • Third, there are simply more marriages in the South. New Jersey had the second-lowest marriage rates, just above Maine. The Census survey reported while New Jersey’s marriage rate is 14.8 for men and 13.3 for women, Georgia’s is 22.1 and 20.4, respectively.

Conversely, the higher age at marriage in the Northeast and higher college enrollment produces the opposite result. 

Higher than average divorce rates for men occurred mostly in Southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
 
In contrast, nine states had divorce rates for men significantly below the U.S. average, ranging from 6.1 to 8.5. Of these states five were in the Northeast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Higher than average divorce rates for women included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Meanwhile, 10 states had divorce rates for women below the U.S. average, ranging from 6.0 to 8.9. Four states with below-average divorce rates for women were in the Northeast: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

3. Average age at first marriage varies dramatically by state.

 
 Age Females Males

Arkansas

Utah

Oklahoma

24 26

New York

Rhode Island

Massachusetts

28 30
U.S. 26 28

 

4. Education has a strong impact on attitudes about marriage.

 

% Agreeing HS Dropouts HS Diploma Bachelor’s Degree

“Divorce should be more difficult

to obtain.”

40 50 48
“My marriage is very happy.” 52 57 69
“I have had 3 or more sex partners.” 64 70 57
“I have cheated on my spouse.” 21 19 13

Source: CDC General Social Surveys and National Surveys of Family Growth.

5. According to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia: 

 

“Your Chances of Divorce May Be Much Lower Than You Think”

The background characteristics of the people entering a marriage have major implications for their risk of divorce. Here are
some percentage point decreases in the risk of divorce or separation during the first ten years of marriage, according to various
personal and social factors:

 

Factors % Decrease in Risk of Divorce

Making over $50,000 annually
(vs. under $25,000)

30%

Having graduated college
(vs. not completed high school)

25%

Having a baby seven months or more
after marriage (vs. before marriage)

24%
Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) 24%

Coming from an intact family of origin
(vs. divorced parents)

14%
Religious affiliation (vs. none) 14%

 

Life offers no guarantees, and the marriage rate in the U.S. is declining overall. The risk of divorce is daunting to many, for good reasons. When it comes time for you to chart your own course of action, you owe it to yourself to know the facts, straight up, with no political chaser. 

 

6 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://permanentguest.wordpress.com PermanentGuest

    “I believe that the national marriage rate, divorce rate, and first age at marriage are almost meaningless for individuals .”

    Meaningless, or statistically insignificant? From my stats education, the former means the latter.

    Last [type]: Stop Caring What other people think about you

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Meaningless, or statistically insignificant? From my stats education, the former means the latter.

      I remember everyone freaking out about AIDS transmission. As a monogamous married woman and mother of 2 who did not use drugs or work in a health care setting, I recall feeling concerned about the epidemic even though I was certain it would not affect me personally.

  • Chris_in_CA

    Divorce is a process by which people dissolve a marriage. During this process, two people divide any shared assets, separate their entanglements (as much as reasonable), and arrange for, if involved, continued raising of children.

    At least, that’s what it used to mean.

    Now it’s an industry worth billions, pumped along by greed and ego. For the most part, it’s men who are thrown into it and come out devastated in every respect. Financially ruined. Separate from their children. Emotionally, sometimes physically beaten down. Even jailed.

    Men KILL themselves to escape divorce proceedings. Sometimes they snap and murder others beforehand!

    Even if all these statistics are 100% accurate, they only lighten the shadow which remains over men in the West.

    Some young people fear divorce – and subsequently marriage – for these reasons. And they’re right to do so! (This is not an endorsement of hookup culture; that’s just hypergamy ruining more lives.)

    Other people fear marriage for its own reasons. With currents laws such as VAWA, men are de facto ‘aggressors’ and live under a constant legal threat.

    What if there’s a power struggle within the marriage? If the wife doesn’t get what she wants, when she wants it? Nothing to stop her from threatening divorce. Or damaging property. Or making a false accusation. Man’s fault. Always the man’s fault.

    So you’ll understand if I view this as not very promising.

  • Abbot

    “So you’ll understand if I view this as not very promising.”

    That is why any little thing that feels uncomfortable for a man or has any twinge suggesting that the woman is not a special angel who he can have a deep and dedicated love for will cause him to back off from commitment, and rightly so.

  • Chris_in_CA

    @Abbot

    I don’t know whether to laugh or just shake my head.

  • Passer_By

    @susan
    “The common myth that the overall national divorce rate is 50% is just one example. (It’s 40%, and has been declining steadily since 1980. That’s bad enough – why exaggerate?) ”

    This raises a couple questions:

    1. I don’t understand how this higher numbers relates to the lower quoted numbers (for example, the 24.6% and 16.4% that you quote in your Item 1).

    2. Following up on number 1, what are these a percentage of? Divorces before one spouse dies? Divorces with 10 years of marriage?

  • Passer_By

    Sorry, that last question should read “Divorces within 10 years of marriage?”

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Not sure whether the researchers clarified this or not, but it’s clearly impossible to ADD the risk-reduction factors. If you take a couple who has all of the factors…and I don’t see anything mutually contradictory or even all that improbable about such a couple…and add the numbers shown, you get a risk reduction of 131%, which is clearly impossible.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Passer By

    I don’t understand how this higher numbers relates to the lower quoted numbers (for example, the 24.6% and 16.4% that you quote in your Item 1).

    The 40% number is the percentage of all marriages that will eventually end in divorce in the U.S. The numbers under Item 1 are defined in the fine print:

    (Rate per 1,000 married females, aged 15+)

    Most marriage and divorce data subscribes to the second format.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @David Foster

    Good point – the numbers were laid out exactly as I’ve presented them here, and I’m sure there is some overlap among factors, though I don’t think they even calculated that. It looks like they analyzed based on individual factors only.

  • Passer_By

    @susan
    I see – ok. But doesn’t mean that you should remove the “%” signs in Item 1? I think that is what threw me.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Passer By

      Ah, you’re right, thanks.

  • J

    “I believe that the national marriage rate, divorce rate, and first age at marriage are almost meaningless for individuals .”

    I’m happy to hear you point this out. People become very involved in the stats as though they are predictive for individuals, which they really aren’t.

  • J

    That is why any little thing that feels uncomfortable for a man or has any twinge suggesting that the woman is not a special angel who he can have a deep and dedicated love for will cause him to back off from commitment, and rightly so.

    Sometimes you just have to accept that a potential mate is a flawed human, just like you and everyone one else, and work with what you have. When “perfect” is the enemy of “pretty damn good and we’ll work on the rest together,” people are liable to end up alone.

  • http://permanentguest.wordpress.com PermanentGuest

    “I recall feeling concerned about the epidemic even though I was certain it would not affect me personally.”

    Gotcha.

    Last [type]: Stop Caring What other people think about you

  • Joe

    @PermanentGuest

    Meaningless, or statistically insignificant? From my stats education, the former means the latter.

    Hum? Either you misunderstood or your stats prof. is wrong. I stand on my training as a scientist – meaningless does not mean statistically insignificant.

    I just started a rant about our misunderstanding and misuse of statistics. But I deleted it. I’m sure you get the idea.

  • Herb

    @J

    Sometimes you just have to accept that a potential mate is a flawed human, just like you and everyone one else, and work with what you have. When “perfect” is the enemy of “pretty damn good and we’ll work on the rest together,” people are liable to end up alone.

    For men now days it’s less perfect being the enemy of good, but:

    1. Pretty damn good is still too low to justify the risk side of the equation. Utterly amazing is closer to what’s acceptable.

    2. Too many women don’t think they need to work on it and are willing to put the blame on men. Our broader culture even encourages this view with things like “the man always apologizes” rule.

    I’ll freely admit that if my gf didn’t have certain very uncommon characteristics (in my experience), the first and foremost being not treating my money as hers (in fact, fighting over me spending on her) and the fact that she left the house and pretty much everything else behind in her divorce (initiated by her ex) I wouldn’t be nearly as far along in the process of evening moving in together as we are. As it is how far along are we? We might do it next year (as in 2013).

    As a divorced man I don’t want perfect but I do demand pretty damn amazing or better to shoulder taking that risk again. I’ll encourage my nephews to have that standard before taking it once. Chris_in_CA has it right. The odds may be low but the cost is so high to balance the risk women need to be better than their grandmothers.

  • Sassy6519

    @ Herb

    I’ll freely admit that if my gf didn’t have certain very uncommon characteristics (in my experience), the first and foremost being not treating my money as hers (in fact, fighting over me spending on her) and the fact that she left the house and pretty much everything else behind in her divorce (initiated by her ex) I wouldn’t be nearly as far along in the process of evening moving in together as we are. As it is how far along are we? We might do it next year (as in 2013).

    Awwwwww!

    Congrats man. Things seem to be moving in the direction that you predicted.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Off-topic, but something I thought the crew here would enjoy: I’m in the SF area right now, and spent a couple of hours today at the Computer History Museum. What should I see but the cover a Lois Lane comic book from 1961, in which our girl Lois decides to try computer dating (for purely jurnalistic reasons, of course), as enabled by the mighty UNIVAC computer.

    Since only the cover was on display, I had to google to see how the story turned out:

    http://gayforloislane.blogspot.com/2010/05/lois-certainly-has-type.html

  • mjay

    Why should I enter into a partnership which the other party can dissolve at will, taking my children, house and half my assets, largely because of my gender, while legally compelling me to pay a portion of her expenses perhaps the rest of her natural life?

    All this is adjudicated in a court where there is no evidentiary due process nor are precepts of contract law adhered to?

    Right now, according to the CDC, if I pay too much attention to my wife, that is defined as domestic violence, as is not paying enough attention to her.

    Sorry, I’ll keep playing the field and enjoying my freedom. I’ve already been cleaned out twice by the same ex-wife.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Off-topic, but something I thought the crew here would enjoy:

    Me loves classic Lois and Supes. So dysfunctional and funny and yeah Lois had a huge hypergamy issues wanting to marry Superman, although I can’t hardly blame her since he usually used to lead her, he had a sick game going on, although not in this comic he usually did a lot of tricks to her to keep her away from any suitor, YMMV.

  • Michael

    Looking around, I notice that most of the older men who are still married are living an endless nightmare of putting up with the wife for the sake of the kids, lol.

    Most of them haven’t had sex in many, many years. The stress of living with women has made them lose their looks, which reflects itself in the lack of ability in getting sex out of the marriage. Most of them don’t know game, and I don’t think they’d become proficient at it anyway, lol.

    What I don’t understand is why their wives aren’t divorcing them. Maybe they are dimwitted where it concerns the divorce laws(women get most of everything), or maybe they enjoy having casual sex with pool boys and letting the husband(s) know about it, lol.

    Most of these guys are middle-class, with a few on the upper-side of the scale. They told me that every relationship begins with loads and loads of sex, but that eventually, as the fish as taken the bait(commitment), the women no longer see a reason to have sex with them.

    The telling is that, I’ve seen pictures of these guys when they were married. Most of them were at least 6 feet tall, fit, rather good-looking, with heads full of thick hair. They ALL married below average and average-looking/height/money/intelligence women.

    Despite women’s natural hypergamy, and the fulfillment of said condition, they are designed to lose attraction soon after making a man commit.

    So what is a young man to do? Do the smart thing and stay away from commitment-minded women and use a condom for those casual one night stands, LOL. Better have the vasectomy, too.

  • Michael

    By the way. Marriage is so rare around here, most people – even those who’ve never spoken to the bride before celebrate it – can’t believe it when it happens. The men 25-35 aren’t even bothering with co-habitation or a Long-term relationship, and the men younger than 25 spend their time in nightclubs trying to get some sex, lol.

    We’re really heading to a grass-eating world-wide society, LOL!

  • Michael

    ”he common myth that the overall national divorce rate is 50% is just one example. (It’s 40%, and has been declining steadily since 1980. That’s bad enough – why exaggerate?) ”’

    And how many of those ”successful” marriages aren’t maintained due to religious reason or because the woman is waiting for a bigger, better deal to come along before pulling the rug from under the feet of her current hubby? LOL.

    Life is already pretty hard as a single man, in my prime, with little to no sexual options because I wasn’t born as Mr. Brad Pitt, or because I’m not Tom Sawyer from ”Lost”, so if my sexual life equals that of the Pope, in my prime, it’s safe to assume that by marrying I’d be paying a woman to eventually rip me off, without ever having to have sex with me, and if by any chance she actually had sex with me, I think that being financially and emotionally destroyed is not worth a few sex sessions, LOL.

    It does seem that sex quickly ceases to be well into the formation of a relationship. Some other guy said in another thread, when I pointed out the sex scarcity for men within a marriage that the guys who complain about lack of sex are having it once a week, but want more, feel entitled to more.

    So, wait. I’m risking being cheated on, murdered while I sleep(it does happen), getting my penis chopped off(it has happened to some dudes), being given a lifelong std, getting addicted to sex(most of the guys who are sexually active NEED sex, virginal men are free from that) and I have to give her my house and my assets for a half-interested companion that was, with me, only a few years?

    I think I’ll pass, hehe.

  • Ramble

    Your Chances of Divorce May Be Much Lower Than You Think

    So are your chances of marriage.

    It’s 40%, and has been declining steadily since 1980. That’s bad enough – why exaggerate?

    Think of all the statistics they get wrong. Off the top of my head I can think of how many of us were supposedly obese. What percentage of us are homosexual (if you really think that 1 in 10 men are gay, I have a bridge to sell you).

    At some point, someone hears a number and it sticks in their head. Most people do not want to spend hours (or even minutes) looking up numbers, even if the weather is bad. (Good for you).

    Rising age and education levels in marriage have led to a steady decrease in the divorce rate.

    Yes, less attractive and less fertile women get divorced at a lower rate.

    First, Southerners tend to marry young, partly due to a lower rate of college attendance.
    Second, couples don’t usually move in together while unwed, a trend tied to religious beliefs. They often frown upon birth control, and are “more likely to have nonmarital pregnancies, which… then trigger ‘shotgun’ marriages.”
    Third, there are simply more marriages in the South. New Jersey had the second-lowest marriage rates, just above Maine. The Census survey reported while New Jersey’s marriage rate is 14.8 for men and 13.3 for women, Georgia’s is 22.1 and 20.4, respectively.

    The South also has less wealth and more blacks. You had mentioned race as a factor early in the post and then never actually addressed it.

    Divorce rates among the races is quite similar to crime rates.

    Education has a strong impact on attitudes about marriage.

    Or, you can look at it from the opposite angle: Those people who are the most likely to have successful marriages are also the most likely to finish school.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      Yes, less attractive and less fertile women get divorced at a lower rate.

      That seems counterintuitive – any idea why that is?

      The South also has less wealth and more blacks. You had mentioned race as a factor early in the post and then never actually addressed it.

      I intentionally addressed education and location, as these two factors apply most to my readership. My point at the beginning of the post was that the data is available broken out into many forms.

      In the past I have looked at data by race. Specifically, when I wrote the Pareto Principle post I looked at lifetime # of sexual partners by race. That tells a different story than the aggregate as well.

      Or, you can look at it from the opposite angle: Those people who are the most likely to have successful marriages are also the most likely to finish school.

      Absolutely, it indicates future time orientation rather than impulsivity, which is a key correlate of an individuals sociosexual orientation.

  • Ramble

    I remember everyone freaking out about AIDS transmission. As a monogamous married woman and mother of 2 who did not use drugs or work in a health care setting, I recall feeling concerned about the epidemic even though I was certain it would not affect me personally.

    When I was a freshman in HS our Health class taught us about AIDS.

    And, if you had asked me after my freshman year, “Ramble, what is AIDS?”, I would have responded,

    “AIDS is just not for gay people”.

    And I am not kidding.

    We heard that over and over again.

    My freshman year in college I took a Health class that had this little factoid in it: 85% of people with HIV/AIDS are either gay, intravenous drug users, or both. The majority of those infected are homosexual.

    After learning that, it all made sense.

    Oddly enough, this section of the book was never covered in class or assigned to us to read.

    ================================

    I am sure that those numbers have changed since I was a freshman in college (especially since the stat would have been a year old or 2 at the time)

  • Tom

    Superman was a major Alpha just because of his indestructaility. (save kriptenite) Clark Kent was his altra ego beta self. Lois knew them both. Superman was her “ideal” while Clark was tossed into the friend zone…lol

  • Herb

    @Susan

    Yes, less attractive and less fertile women get divorced at a lower rate.

    That seems counterintuitive – any idea why that is?

    Because they get married at a lower rate? Also, because they have less to gain in getting divorced and women are more likely to seek it and do so when they can gain. While economic gain is highest I think it’s problematic to dismiss the “I can remarry better” factor as well. Since these women had more trouble getting married they are probably less likely to be seduced by the happy divorcee model. Thus, the female side of divorce (which, even accounting for mutual divorces being more often filed by the woman is at least 50% and I suspect higher) is diminished.

    Absolutely, it indicates future time orientation rather than impulsivity, which is a key correlate of an individuals sociosexual orientation.

    I’d rephrase that to a non-present time orientation. The excellent book A Framework for Understanding Poverty makes the point that the multi-generational wealthy have a past time orientation (obligation to the family name and status) more than a future time orientation (which indicates a middle class mindset). Both those groups have more sable marriages than the multi-generational poor who have a present orientation.

  • Lavazza

    Older, less attractive and less fertile women more often rightly conclude that their chances of a fabulous single life and/or remarriage are slim, so they don’t file for divorce.

  • Lavazza

    Also the age of getting married/having children going up means that there will be a delay in divorces, which will look like a lower risk for divorce.

  • GudEnuf

    I wonder how much being conscientious of divorce and actively trying to reduce the risk is worth.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf

      I wonder how much being conscientious of divorce and actively trying to reduce the risk is worth.

      Can you expand on this?

  • Ramble

    That seems counterintuitive – any idea why that is?

    Let’s say you HAD married one of your first boyfriends (and, obviously, not the current Mr. HUS), would you rather have gotten divorced, and re-entered the mating market, at 28 or 38?

    As delusional as some of us can be, many still have a fairly food idea, on some level, what their SMV is.

    Absolutely, it indicates future time orientation rather than impulsivity, which is a key correlate of an individuals sociosexual orientation.

    I once saw a documentary where this researcher had just one test: a child was placed in an empty room with a chair and a table. The researcher offered a cupcake (or cookie, or something) to the child and said that he could eat it now. However, if the child waited 30 minutes he could have the cupcake and a really good toy. (Don’t quote me on any of this, I am sure I am getting some of the details wrong).

    The researcher revisited these children many years later and found that that one test was significant in determining which children would have successful careers and relationships and which were more likely to get divorced, have illegitimate children and commit crime.

  • J

    Pretty damn good is still too low to justify the risk side of the equation. Utterly amazing is closer to what’s acceptable.

    I’m thrilled you found someone who is amazing to you, Herb, but I think amazing people of either gender are few and far between. For most people the choice is going to be pretty good or nothing.

    I have to say I am amazed that your gf walked away from the marriage with nothing. I certainly wouldn’t try to rake DH over the coals, but I did participate in building our net worth and I’d want my end back. I’d say your gf was more than fair

  • Escoffier

    Susan, two points:

    1) re: your reaction to AIDS: there was a major propaganda push to get you to believe exactly what you ended up fearing, viz., that you were at risk when really you weren’t. Remember the big magazine cover (Time?) “No One Is Safe From AIDS”? When Michael Fumento published “The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS”, the ACT-UP! gay brownshirt crowd went insane in their denunciations. Well, turns out Fumento was right and the whole thing was exagerrated deliberately by activists who calculated that if they could make straight people fear for their lives, they could more easily get the federal government to cough up research money.

    2) The 50% divorce rate figure I don’t think was deliberate propaganda. But it WAS bandied about everywhere during the media’s divorce hysteria phase in the early to mid 1980s. The number just got stuck in everyone’s head and people repeat it all the time now even though it hasn’t been true for around 20 years.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Escoffier

      I recall the hysteria surrounding Tina Chow’s death in the early 90s – proof that straight people get AIDS too, and that you never know who is bisexual.

  • J

    Think of all the statistics they get wrong.

    My favorite example is the study that hit the cover of Time magazine around 25 years ago that said a 30+ yo single woman had a better chance of being killed by terrorists than of getting married. I was practically suicidal (until a few weeks later when I met my husband).

  • Ramble

    When Michael Fumento published “The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS”, the ACT-UP! gay brownshirt crowd went insane in their denunciations.

    Escoffier, I did not read the Fumento piece until many years after it was published, but, it was people like him and pieces like that that had a big effect on my thinking.

    For instance, when I read or hear something that smells even remotely PC, I start questioning how accurate it is.

  • Ramble

    My favorite example is the study that hit the cover of Time magazine around 25 years ago that said a 30+ yo single woman had a better chance of being killed by terrorists than of getting married. I was practically suicidal (until a few weeks later when I met my husband).

    Was he a terrorist?

  • J

    Or, you can look at it from the opposite angle: Those people who are the most likely to have successful marriages are also the most likely to finish school.

    My DH’s senior thesis (back in the day) involved crunching a lot of government stats involving race, religion, SES, divorce, crime, educational achievement etc. SES, not race, was the single most salient and predictive factor.

  • Escoffier

    J, my recollection of that story was the the cut-off age was 40, not 30.

  • Ramble

    SES, not race, was the single most salient and predictive factor.

    J, while I understand the statement, I am not following why you posted it in response to what I had said.

  • deti

    But none of this, however, discusses the equally pressing problem of people never finding suitable mates and never marrying to begin with.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Deti

      But none of this, however, discusses the equally pressing problem of people never finding suitable mates and never marrying to begin with.

      Well it’s not as if that’s a topic I generally ignore, haha. In this post I wished to specifically address the misconceptions around divorce, and to highlight how dramatically the narrative changes when you dig just a little deeper into the data.

      For example, who would have thought that the Bible Belt has the highest divorce rate in the nation? Or Massachusetts the lowest? (By the way, I found that fascinating – even with the most favorable alimony laws in the country for many years, MA women divorce less than anyone else.) Looking at the demographics more closely it makes sense.

      It also suggests very clearly that marrying early predicts higher divorce rates. In this era of “extended male adolescence” – to age 26 as defined by psychologists and sociologists – I certainly would not recommend that women marry men younger than that. YMMV of course.

  • J

    @Ramble

    (until a few weeks later when I met my husband). Was he a terrorist?

    If I told you I’d have to kill you, but do bear in mind that I’ve previously expressed a preference here for swarthy and heavily bearded men.

  • J

    It might have been, Ramble. I was closer to 30 at the time, but the numbers for women my age must have been dismal as well. I had a posse of single friends in their early 30s, and we were all upset. Now we’re all married (and still all upset). ;-)

  • J

    Whoops, I answered Ramble when I meant to answer Esco regarding the terorist stat.

    @Ramble

    Because I thought the interplay of those stats was related to what you said. Education is both a measure of SES and predictive of a family’s staying in a higher SES.

    @all—Gotta run.

  • Ramble

    For example, who would have thought that the Bible Belt has the highest divorce rate in the nation?

    Anyone that has lived there.

    Also, some Bible Belts are different than others. North Dakota and Alabama are significantly different.

  • Ramble

    Susan, on the topic of what was most fascinating, I would say South Carolina takes the cake. I would never have predicted that.

  • Donkey

    I live in the south. I speculate 3 contributions to the higher divorce rates in the south.

    #1) Earlier marriage means women attractive enough for infidelity longer.
    #2) More poor, therefore more risk for divorce
    #3) Government programs designed to help the poor encouraging bad family situations.

    People here get married earlier. Female infidelity is the reason for most of the divorces I’ve seen. Male infidelity, although present, is a minority.

    As women’s opportunities for illicit relationships and remarriage decline with age, so too does their divorce rate. If they are still fertile they can still find a man to marry them, lowering their economic losses because they have less of a risk of indefinite divorcehood.

    Also southern states have lower income overall to begin with, and low income is the number 1 risk factor for divorce.

    I know no one who has gotten a divorce in order to gain government benefits, but I know of several women who refuse to marry because their paramours with whom they have children for that reason. Even when their paramours are living with them and they present themselves to the public as married they refuse to get legally married.

    In Texas you can make up to 185% of the poverty level and still get very generous children’s assistance (a mother with one child making $27k a year.) If you have a husband who brings in another $7k over the course the year you are ineligible for benefits. No lonestar, no WIC, no free food, no free medicine, no free cellular telephones, no government assistance internet, etc.

    I can imagine a similar economic motivation encouraging low income people to divorce as what I’ve seen in real life for low-income people not to marry.

    Anyway just some thoughts, take them with a grain of salt if you will.

  • Todd

    Agreed on #51. If you’re in a mediocre marriage, and you have a decent financial incentive to leave, you leave. Also, methinks if dude was making $70k instead of $7, all of a sudden, the State looks much less attractive. Also, I have to give you credit on the whole looks thing as an incentive to go find someone else. In my experience, girls who tend to marry young (esp. outside of the various Latino communities in the US, where marrying young is just culturally accepted behavior) tend to come from more unstable homes anyway. They tend to have more poverty, drug use, neglect and various forms of child abuse. I do seriously wonder if these women would have trouble staying married even if they waited until they were 30.

    On the flip side though, I think we have a lot of reasonably gunshy men hear amping up the fears. Even though the actual divorce rate has gone down, the age bracket of the men who are looking to marry (roughly 21-40) were the children of this divorce wave. When you see what has happened to some men post-divorce, you have a lot of traumatized men taking one look and saying to themselves “no thanks.”

  • Jacko

    These stats may be right, but anyone marrying today is still taking a huge risk of being put through the family law wringer.

    I’m a lawyer in an office with a busy family law practice. There is literally no end of work for family lawyers. If you or someone you know is thinking about a career in law, you would be well advised to consider specializing in family law because you will never be without lots of work.

  • Michael

    Yo Rumble, what do you think of this post on why it’s unwise for a man of any age and social class to ever marry(or commit in any way or shape to a woman);

    ”There was a recent thread about women and their appearance issues, ie: fingernails, make up, earrings, shoes, clothes etc., where I made the point that guys need to forget about their own personal belief that such activities by women are useless …. because they AREN’T!

    Such female activities, emphasis on appearances so as to increase their attractiveness to the high status /high power male, extend from lost almost stone age tribes just found in the Amazon, to tribal adornment culture in African tribes, to the elaborate adornments of women in Asia, to NYC and Beverly Hills. Such female adornment rituals are so widespread and have gone on for so many thousands of years that I commented in that thread that they are now “hard wired” into the human DNA.

    Non-verbal “clues”, such as those women attempt to create with their adornment activities, are a BIG interest of mine … and EVEN AS MALES, we give them off ALL THE TIME.

    People treat me very differently (and much more deferentially) when I walk down the street in a very expensive suit, expensive shoes, a nice haircut, and wearing an expensive watch, than they do when I dress as an older guy in loose fitting jeans, bright white tacky ($15) sneakers, with a non-descript older golf shirt and a $25 Timex … A LOT DIFFERENTLY! (one can be wearing “casual almost worn out clothes” and still give off the “air of success” or “power” – so it isn’t just “the suit” that does it).

    In this vein just yesterday there was an article that ran about how even non-trained people could, AND DID, ACCURATELY JUDGE a person’s personality just from their shoes:
    You can judge 90 percent of people’s personalities by their shoes, researchers say:

    For men imo the two biggest non-verbal clues imo are Shoes and Watches. People do NOT even realize that they are noticing those two items … but they DO and BOTH serve to either move you UP or move you DOWN on the perceived “social status” board. Deny it all you want, but it applies whether you are in nowheresville North Dakota, Selma Alabama, or New York City, and PEOPLE (not just women – but men too) treat you differently depending upon where the clues tell them you are on the “social status” /”power” scale.

    Good sales people of course know this, and use it to their advantage (you want to be at or just somewhat above who you are selling to for most products, NOT way above … and NOT much below if at all possible, exception maybe being the Mercedes or RR salesperson – but that brings a different dynamic into the mix that needs to be played).

    As a final note I will add something that an old (good looking and hard chased by a number of successful men) GF told me years ago … “Women are more attracted to Power than ANYTHING else. It is THE most powerful aphrodesiac out there. MORE powerful than Money.”

    “Power” btw, in the sense she used it, is an ability to dictate to and to control other people … it doesn’t necessarily mean an official position in anything or any formal organization, OR (surprise to many) MONEY. “Attraction” when it comes to the female mind, is something that is “hardwired” into their subconscious, and MOSTLY is activated by CLUES (about one’s status and power) that most people don’t even know they are giving out.

    (ever have times in your life when women just flock to you, one after another, or guys defer to you on almost all decision making?, and then bam, a few months, or shoot even just a few weeks later, not even the ugly women will talk to you, and guys will argue with you incessently about decisions you are trying to make? Something changed wrt the NON-verbal clues you are giving off – and if you are in sales in particular it is time to sit up and work hard to figure out what happened to change the “attraction” dynamic)

    Learn to read the simple clues women give out (particularly shoes, earrings, nails, hair) and try to figure out what clues YOU give out … and voila you will understand the subconscious way people think and react MUCH better.

    And yes … women ARE HARDWIRED to mate with the best deal available, and if someone comes along who is WAY ABOVE who they are already mated to, then I agree marriage vows or relationship status be damned! They will subconsciously CRAVE the opportunity to “mate” with them, or at least defer to them or assist them. (if it is only marginally above their current mate then I do NOT agree that they will most likely break their vows or relationship status – a several steps up the ladder person though, then yep they are hardwired to “go for it”)

    Older and Wiser”

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “Women are more attracted to Power than ANYTHING else. It is THE most powerful aphrodisiac out there.”

    Famously, Henry Kissinger remarked that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” to one of his Cabinet colleagues, who responded “That’s good Henry, you need one!”

  • Ramble

    Yo Rumble, what do you think of this post on why it’s unwise for a man of any age and social class to ever marry(or commit in any way or shape to a woman);

    I am guessing you wanted me to respond.

    1.) I don’t believe that men should NEVER marry.
    2.) I do believe that how we present ourselves is important
    3.) I believe many girls can marry, see “opportunities” after they marry, and remain faithful and happy.

    It’s #3 that you are probably most interested in. Without getting too much into it, I believe it has a lot to do with how genuinely satisfied she is with her man that will determine who she reacts to later opportunities.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Without getting too much into it, I believe it has a lot to do with how genuinely satisfied she is with her man that will determine who she reacts to later opportunities.

      One of the things guys frequently cite is the research that shows women like more dominance during ovulation. What they usually leave out is the caveat that this will only lead to extra-relationship sex if her mate is insufficiently dominant for her in general. In that case, it’s during ovulation she’s most likely to act on that dissatisfaction.

      IOW, there is a dominance threshold, not an ever-increasing standard.

  • Michael

    ”In this era of “extended male adolescence” – to age 26 as defined by psychologists and sociologists – I certainly would not recommend that women marry men younger than that. ”

    lol, psychologists and sociologists. My cousins met and dated many psychologists and sociologists who partied hard and maintained the whole ”no strings attacked” lifestyle well into their mid 30’s and upwards.

    I’ve met many of those older women(older than me) when I was looking around at college degrees and it baffled me how the majority of these, intelligent, mature, dedicated women had Brad Pitt’s and Bad Boys living with them, with whom they intended to reproduce, got nothing out of the deal, besides getting banged by highly attractive men and their eventual genetic contribution, but financially supported these men, and shunned the dudes they worked with, the dudes who studied or worked hard to make themselves appealing to women.

    What really struck me hard in the face was, how many of these women had low to mid SMV and instead of choosing their college partners or work partners, the same dudes who worked hard to be appealing to women in their looks-range were consistently ignored, only to watch a meathead have the woman, lol.

    I also don’t understand what you mean by extended adolescence in males. I don’t know of any woman who is remotely attractive(who isn’t obese or ugly) looking to settle down with someone other than the son(s) of the rich people who live near us.

    I’ve also found that the majority of the crowd who hang out every night in nightclubs and in pubs, wherever attractive men or rich men can be found, are women in their late 20’s and 30’s. They’re hardly paying any attention to the men who aren’t suited in expensive cloth or are the spitting image of Christopher Reeves aged 25, lol.

    What we’re witnessing is the abandonment of men, sliding away from society, because it is extremely dangerous for a young man who decides to man up, to go out to find himself a wife. There aren’t that many women who are worthy of marriage. The vast majority of young women, independently of what they claim to do, are pretty much enjoying the vast sexual power they have over younger men, by indulging their sexual urges with men who are apex Alpha males in looks, basking in the financial benefits of being seen hanging on the arm of guys who have the money, and are gorging themselves in the free male attention of the vast legions of young beta males.

    It’s not really men who are choosing to live in extended youth; would you walk over a mine field, knowing that you could have your legs blown up at any moment?

    Young men aren’t interested in being legless, either, lol.

  • Michael

    ”It’s #3 that you are probably most interested in. Without getting too much into it, I believe it has a lot to do with how genuinely satisfied she is with her man that will determine who she reacts to later opportunities.”

    Well, I’ve seen too many times what commitment to a woman can mean to a man’s financial and emotional state, so I’m not really tempted into marrying. I’m also not seeing myself having any fun, can’t really compete with the Alpha males in my college. I’d be rather unhappy if I was to get married in my 30’s, right after the woman in question had had her fun and I was basically stuck with her.

    I know a Brazilian guy who dated his wife from the age of 18 to the age of 28 and now she asked for a divorce, he’s paying child-support and alimony, the only woman he’s ever been with. How is he going to make himself attractive to women out there? He doesn’t have social status as a ”trash man” worker, while she immediately lost a LOT of weight and is looking to have some fun(her own words). At the same time, she’s talking to this older dude in his 70’s, lol.

    I’m not sure how this is going to work out for young men, in general. I know a couple of attractive young women who aren’t sexually active, never had a boyfriend, but they’re always found in the hairdressers, looking for the better clothes, and doing the whole treatment to increase their sexual value. Even the most plain of girls around here doesn’t pay attention to 99% of the young men.

    The very few young women who are truly connected to their religions are all to be married to young men who earned more than them.

    I don’t really see marriage panning out well for young men. I’m sure that more than a handful of young women have the potential to be loyal to the men they marry, but I doubt they’ll marry young men of equal social standing and earning potential, and we can’t all out to be Robert Redfords or Donald Trumps.

  • GudEnuf

    Susan wants me to expand on how being aware of divorce risk and actively trying to reduce that risk can make a marriage more stable:

    It is obvious that some people do not take the risk of divorce seriously. I know a couple that got married barely a month after the bride cheated. In her defense, the groom had been withholding sex for some time before then. It was one of those argument that started little and just escalated throughout their engagement. The bride’s entire family (except her sister) refused to attend the wedding, because they knew it was junk-grade investment.

    On the hand, my aunt knew she wanted a reliable husband and knew that she would need to be selective and assertive to find one. She literally made a checklist, but instead of filling it with crap like “drives a new car” she wrote things like “can solve problems while staying calm.”

    While her future husband was driving her to their first date, the tire went flat. He did not blow a fuse like lesser man might. He just smiled and got out his spare. She later thanked God that the tire went flat because she got to see how he would react.

    After two dates she realized this man had everything on this checklist except for one thing: he didn’t go to Mass on Sunday. So she told him that she was falling in love with him but she needed a man who was a Catholic in good standing. So he said he would start going to mass, praying the rosary and going to confession. Now she had a man who was everything on her checklist!

    Long story short, they got married. They started a beautiful family and she was the happiest woman in New Jersey. He died rather suddenly after about 15 years, but if it weren’t for that I’m sure they could have made it 100 years.

    These two women were demographically similar, but had vastly different attitudes toward marriage and divorce. That is why my aunt’s marriage ended with death and my friend’s marriage will end in divorce. And that is why my aunt is my role-model.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf

      Thank you so much! Wow, what a great example and what a contrast! Why on earth the first couple went through with the wedding I can’t imagine! He was outright insane.

      Your aunt’s story is lovely. She reminds me a bit of Hope and her approach to finding a man. It’s so sensible, and yet there’s no hint that your aunt did not feel attracted to your uncle – I assume they were in love. I would really love to hear your aunt speak about this. Any chance she would let me interview her?

  • Michael

    ”ne of the things guys frequently cite is the research that shows women like more dominance during ovulation. What they usually leave out is the caveat that this will only lead to extra-relationship sex if her mate is insufficiently dominant for her in general. In that case, it’s during ovulation she’s most likely to act on that dissatisfaction.”

    And during the rest of the month they are attracted to men who are physically feminine or emotionally supportive etc etc, but the man should also be more masculine during her ovulation? And how would this come about?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      And during the rest of the month they are attracted to men who are physically feminine or emotionally supportive etc etc, but the man should also be more masculine during her ovulation? And how would this come about?

      No. Women are not attracted to different men before vs. during ovulation. At ovulation, testosterone spikes and our sex drive goes up. We are more attuned to male dominance. Meaning that we want to have sex a lot and conceive. It seems to me that a man would do well to simply step up to that opportunity four days a month by taking (rather than negotiating) sex, getting a bit rough during sex, etc.

  • INTJ

    There’s lies, damned lies, and then there’s statistics.

    1. Rising age and education levels in marriage have led to a steady decrease in the divorce rate.

    Well duh. If fewer people are married then fewer people are going to get divorced. Has nothing to do with greater marital stability. If you marry when you’re 30 then you have fewer years to get divorced than if you marry at 20 (especially since few people divorce beyond a certain age).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If you marry when you’re 30 then you have fewer years to get divorced than if you marry at 20 (especially since few people divorce beyond a certain age).

      A bad marriage at 30 has plenty of time for divorce. Delayed marriages and fewer divorces is better than earlier marriages and more divorces. It’s not true that divorce stops after a certain age – there’s a big spike when kids are grown, known as gray divorce. Often the reasons cited occurred many years before, e.g. infidelity, and the couple stays together for the kids.

  • Ramble

    INTJ, you are slightly off. The divorce rate that Susan quoted is not based on total population but per 1,000 married people. So, it is an apples-to-apples comparison.

    Of course, many of those that were likely to get divorced did not get married in the first place.

  • Escoffier

    I am probably more into clothes than any of the guys here and I don’t believe any of that stuff about shoes.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Superman was a major Alpha just because of his indestructaility. (save kriptenite) Clark Kent was his altra ego beta self. Lois knew them both. Superman was her “ideal” while Clark was tossed into the friend zone…lol

    Totally wrong, Superman at the beginning was mocking everyone including Lois with his Clark act, a bit of revenge on part of the creators at how easy was to make women “tingle and lose it” just by changing a couple of behaviors this was the Superman Kill Bill speech was about. Later on Lois noticed that Clark was an act and started to relentlessly trying to proof he was Superman to force him to marry her and he did everything within his power to discredit her, again dysfunctional, it was later on when they shift the attention to Clark and his “salt of earth” upbringing, that Superman became the mask and Lois started to develop feelings for the real persona at the time Clark to a point that they started dating without she knowing there were one and the same and then they revealed and got married. Thank you for probing my point once again that most American don’t bother with a tiny bit of research before making up their minds. Remind me of this article about smart people and prejudice: http://bigthink.com/against-the-new-taboo/the-dangers-of-being-smart?utm_source=Big+Think+Weekly+Newsletter+Subscribers&utm_campaign=47164388c7-Wed_6_13_DangerSmart6_13_2012&utm_medium=email

    1) re: your reaction to AIDS: there was a major propaganda push to get you to believe exactly what you ended up fearing, viz., that you were at risk when really you weren’t.

    Oh boy some people doubted my virginity claim when I mentioned that I already had four AIDs’s test when I meet my hubby, well I was convinced that I was going to get infected by accidentally just sitting on the same chair that a person with the disease seated on or in a visit to the dentist or something like it, the propaganda was really heavy and scary back then, YMMV.

    Was he a terrorist?

    Heh funny.

    It’s #3 that you are probably most interested in. Without getting too much into it, I believe it has a lot to do with how genuinely satisfied she is with her man that will determine who she reacts to later opportunities.

    I would also add on how she handles frustration can she see that whatever issues she had with her husband are going to be resolved in the future and is better to wait it out? Or if is she incapable of handling the slightest amount of “unhappiness” how about personal assessment of divorce? I’, convinced that people that think that divorce is better than anything else are just waiting for the anything else to happen to jump ship regardless of satisfaction, YMMV.

  • Ted D

    Michael – “And during the rest of the month they are attracted to men who are physically feminine or emotionally supportive etc etc, but the man should also be more masculine during her ovulation? And how would this come about?”

    I’ll tell you what I did with this information. I have an app on my phone that tracks ovulation. I’m only using menses info so it isn’t dead on accurate, but it gets close enough. When the week around my SO’s ovulation starts, I kick up the dominance in bed a bit. I may also joke around with her a bit more (kid sister treatment) if she seems to be looking for some excitement. I can’t really say how I know, I just usually throw out something and see how she reacts. If it’s positive, then I “pick” on her a bit. If not, I let it go.

    other than that, I don’t change a thing, and she seems to be completely content. I don’t think most women go from wanting an “emo” guy to desiring a jock dripping testosterone simply because they are ovulating. I think generally they just want to be treated a bit more roughly/aggressively/”tossed around a bit” more during ovulation. The cool thing is, it doesn’t take much to keep track of, and it gives the impression that you “somehow know what she wants without being told”, which I still think is a ridiculous thing to expect from a mate. As an added bonus, for those of us not wanting to have children (and whose SO’s can’t use “the pill” or other chemical protection) it clearly indicates when you SHOULD NOT take any chances to avoid pregnancy. I don’t advise using it as a means of birth control at all, but Catholics have been doing it for ages. And, it also helps to plan vacations since the application can predict months in advance when menses should start.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ted D

      I’ll tell you what I did with this information. I have an app on my phone that tracks ovulation. I’m only using menses info so it isn’t dead on accurate, but it gets close enough. When the week around my SO’s ovulation starts, I kick up the dominance in bed a bit.

      Ha, I posted before I’d seen you wrote this! That’s brilliant!

  • Ramble

    [Note to self: never argue with Ana about comic books.]

  • Michael

    ”Oh boy some people doubted my virginity claim when I mentioned that I already had four AIDs’s test when I meet my hubby, well I was convinced that I was going to get infected by accidentally just sitting on the same chair that a person with the disease seated on or in a visit to the dentist or something like it, the propaganda was really heavy and scary back then, YMMV.”

    Virginal women are almost as rare as a politician who has the best interests of the people at his heart. Even the chick who everyone secretly abhorred, she was 300 pounds on a 5’7” frame, wasn’t a virgin. I remember going to a nightclub with a whole bunch of classmates and this girl was getting hit from left to right, by Alpha males, lol.

    I did meet a girl who was a complete virgin. She was average for her age, Dated a friend of mine for a couple of years. They never did nothing(nothing beyond kissing) because she wasn’t ready. That is, until the day she met an Alpha male. She dropped my friend as soon as the Alpha male told her he wanted to sleep with her.

    It sure does seem that the speed of women’s underwear being tossed aside depends not on how ready she is or not to indulge in(any) sexual activity, nor in how emotionally connected she feels with her boyfriend; but on how good-looking/tall/fit/tight game the guy who comes along is and has.

    lol, sure taught us both a lesson. She better drop the panties as soon as we meet, or I’ll go back to the babes of the TV show A Game of Thrones, lol. Perfect women, gratuitous porn, and we can close the internet explorer with no need to worry about pregnancy or stds.

    As Charlie Sheen says, this is bi-winning, lol.

  • Emily

    I dunno… I find that when I’m ovulating, I’m more sexually attracted to everybody.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Emily

      I dunno… I find that when I’m ovulating, I’m more sexually attracted to everybody.

      Even when you’re in love? If you are in the majority, then women must be more self-disciplined than they’re usually given credit for, because that would produce a rather high rate of cuckolding.

  • Ted D

    Susan – “Ha, I posted before I’d seen you wrote this! That’s brilliant!”

    For us it works like a charm. And, to be honest, I don’t mind having some of the “mystery” behind my SO’s period dissolved. I know when I can expect her to be more moody, and I know when she expects me to “rough her up”.

    Strangely enough it wasn’t just the ‘sphere that got me started with this. It was another couple that we know through friends. We had a few folks over for a pool party, and they stayed late with the stragglers and we ended up segregated by sex (male/female groups). The conversation drifted until someone mentioned another couple that accidentally got pregnant, and this guy pipes up how he tracks his wife’s ovulation religiously to avoid that issue. (Again, Catholics aren’t supposed to use contraception, which to me is SO stupid…) Right then the light bulb turned on, and I connected ovulation tracking to the ‘sphere info about how women want more rough and tumble… As an IT guy, the first thing I did was see if there were any free apps on Android for it, and sure enough there is one called My Days. If you are serious, you can input temperature and other data. That would be more useful if we were trying to conceive and failing. But all I’m looking for is an idea of when ovulation and menses will occur.

  • Sassy6519

    @ Emily

    I dunno… I find that when I’m ovulating, I’m more sexually attracted to everybody.

    Me too.

    I’ve already spoken of my near lycanthropic change when I’m ovulating once before. I’ve learned to just chain myself up inside my house. That seems to work wonders.

  • Emily

    >> “Even when you’re in love? If you are in the majority, then women must be more self-disciplined than they’re usually given credit for, because that would produce a rather high rate of cuckolding.”

    Yeah, I don’t feel it to the same extent that Sassy described, but it’s still a noticeable difference. I’ll tend to deliberately ignore/push away any thoughts about other guys if I’m in a relationship though. And I’m WAY more likely to notice other guys while I’m single. I suspect it’s a combination of being “blinded by love” as well as self-discipline.

  • J

    @SW, Ramble

    For example, who would have thought that the Bible Belt has the highest divorce rate in the nation?…Anyone that has lived there.

    LOL. My DH spent some time on a military base in the South when my FIL was in the Marines. “Drunk on Saturday night, church on Sunday morning” is how DH describes the lifestyle. I can see how that sort of schizophrenicness might contribute to a high divorce rate.

  • http://eradica.wordpress.com Firepower

    The BEST WAY to avoid divorce?
    It’s financial ruin?

    DON’T marry in the first place.
    What benefits does marriage give men?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      What benefits does marriage give men?

      Good marriages confer lots of benefits on both parties. The difficulty is in predicting whether one will have a good marriage.

      I won’t list the benefits here – a simple Google search will do that. Of course, opinions may differ on what constitutes a benefit.

  • J

    3.) I believe many girls can marry, see “opportunities” after they marry, and remain faithful and happy.

    It’s #3 that you are probably most interested in. Without getting too much into it, I believe it has a lot to do with how genuinely satisfied she is with her man that will determine who she reacts to later opportunities.

    I think that satisfaction hinges on the quality of the “friendship” aspect of the relationship and on the genuine caring people can build together. In the course of the past 25 years, I’ve met a lot of guys who’ve given me transient tingles, including a few whom I would consider relationships with if something happened to DH, but nothing really matches up to our total relationship or the history we share together. There might be richer guys, or younger, more fit guys, or funnier guys, but I can’t imagine jeopardizing what I do have just to see if someone else could provide me with something better than what DH and I have built together. The whole hypergamy notion is overblown in my book.

  • J

    @Gud Enuf

    Your aunt’s a smart woman.

    Did I ever tell my flat tire story here?

    My DH, then boyfriend, was supposed to give a speech at a politcal fundraiser dinner, but on the way his tire got a flat. We were dressed to the nines, and the lug nuts were rusted so badly that it was clear that all DH would accomplish in trying to loosen them would have been to ruin his suit. We had no cell phones (Yes, I’m that old!) and very little time to get to the dinner. I gave him my AAA card, and he calmly walked to a local business and asked to use the phone. We made it in time to eat dessert and for my DH to make his speech. He bought me a nice dinner afterwards. Cool, calm, collected and in control of himself. When I contrasted DH’s cool with the sort of hysterical rages my alpha thug daddy was subject to, I KNEW I had found a keeper.

  • Wudang

    I`d like to know about the relationship between divorce and very good mental health. I have, unsurprisingly, read that bad mental health correlates strongly with divorce risk. It seems reasonable that those who aren`t just not mentally unhealthy but are very mentally healthy with great self esteem/self love/self control and who exercise a lot would have even lower divorce rate than average. If two people from the 10 or 5% most mentally healthy and balanced marry what are their odds? Very, very god I would presume. ANd if everyone was that emotionally healthy think what that would do to the overall divorce rate. Much of the other indicators such as education and wealth might in large part in reality be a reflection of mental health.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Wudang

      Interesting point about mental health. Along those lines, what about narcissism? That’s increased significantly in the population since 1979, from 1 in 100 to 1 in 6 (Twenge, 2008). Narcissism has some positive effects, but also many negative ones, especially on relationships. I’m assuming that narcissists of either sex are going to have a higher divorce rate.

  • J

    Even when you’re in love? If you are in the majority, then women must be more self-disciplined than they’re usually given credit for, because that would produce a rather high rate of cuckolding.

    There’s this underlaying notion in the ‘sphere and parts adjacent that women will act on every tingle they feel. That’s just not true. I co-sign Emily in saying that all men are generally more attractive during ovulation. Back in the days when I still had eggs, I’d jump the husband during ovulation. When I was single, I’d just try to *cough* deal with it as best I could. But I NEVER EVER went out an an alpha thug search when I was ovulating.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    GudEnuf…”While her future husband was driving her to their first date, the tire went flat. He did not blow a fuse like lesser man might. He just smiled and got out his spare.”

    Note that this incident *also* gave him a chance to observe her in terms of how she handled situations. If she’d shown extreme irritation because something minor went wrong, that would have been a bad sign for an LTR.

  • GudEnuf

    Susan: I will call her and see if she’s interested!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf

      Susan: I will call her and see if she’s interested!

      Thanks, I would love to share her wisdom on the blog – she sounds like an amazing woman.

  • Passer_by

    @escoffier

    “The 50% divorce rate figure I don’t think was deliberate propaganda. But it WAS bandied about everywhere during the media’s divorce hysteria phase in the early to mid 1980s. The number just got stuck in everyone’s head and people repeat it all the time now even though it hasn’t been true for around 20 years.”

    Ok, but is 50% materially different than 40%? Also, when I click through to the study susan linked, they estimated that the likelihood of someone marrying today ultimately divorcing to be “between 40 and 50%”

    So, it’s not like 50% is some wildly inaccurate number.

  • http://www.postmasculine.com Zac

    I wasn’t very surprised to see a direct correlation with level of education and age married with divorce rates. I think that makes a lot of sense.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    It sure does seem that the speed of women’s underwear being tossed aside depends not on how ready she is or not to indulge in(any) sexual activity, nor in how emotionally connected she feels with her boyfriend; but on how good-looking/tall/fit/tight game the guy who comes along is and has.

    Well my husband’s only game was to show he was compatible, loving and a good man willing to marry me. So keep dumping virgins that don’t put out please you are doing them a favor ;)

    It seems to me that a man would do well to simply step up to that opportunity four days a month by taking (rather than negotiating) sex, getting a bit rough during sex, etc.

    I do crave more sex and rougher from hubby, and funny enough he seems to feel it because he complies enthusiastically, but all men are still invisible to me and that was the same when I was single. I could get horny but even if a guy showed willingness if he wasn’t the type of guy I could trust it was pretty much like no one was there. I know I’m boringly monogamous just wanted to add that higher sex cravings doesn’t actually mean “finding an outlet for those cravings” at least in my case all I did was masturbate six to seven times a day and try to take many cold showers, YMMV.

  • OffTheCuff

    Sue: “It seems to me that a man would do well to simply step up to that opportunity four days a month by taking (rather than negotiating) sex, getting a bit rough during sex, etc.”

    Replace “four” with “all thirty” and you’ve got it right…

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    [Note to self: never argue with Ana about comic books.]

    Or Anime or Twilight or Star Trek or Star Wars …. ;)

  • http://jabootu.net/?p=4714 Pip

    These articles and stats, while they are interesting to read concerning the general trends out there, should not be taken too much as tea leaves that can or should necessarily be applied to any individual person. These stats aren’t like a raincloud that soars over a crowd and rains down on everyone equally, rich or poor, girl or boy, black or white, foolish or wise.

    It’s like the news articles one reads during election years like this one. “Here’s why you’re worse off now than four years ago…” Here’s some news back at them: I’m a lot better off financially now than four years ago. I’m still as happy, healthy and whatever else. While I’m influenced by the outside world, I’m my own person first and foremost. (A special snowflake, if you will!)

    Ultimately, the most important individual variable is the individual herself. Are you long-term marriage material? Well, are you honest enough to look inside yourself, and in the mirror, and see if you are? Are you intelligent (and lucky) enough to know if the guy/girl next to you in the morning is as well?

    (I am and I know I’m not because I don’t want to be, but that’s me!) Anyway, don’t get too wrapped up applying generic data like this to yourself.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    Ok, but is 50% materially different than 40%?

    The difference is ~ 13 million people, a little larger than the population of Illinois or Pennslyvania.

    My understanding of the 40-50% number thrown around is that it’s a prediction of the future, based on past divorce rates. Who made up those divorce statistics? Baby-boomers, when they started divorcing en mass between 1975 and 1990. There’s no guarantee Gen X or Gen Y will necessarily follow the same pattern. In fact, there’s reason to believe Gen X hasn’t and Gen Y won’t.

  • http://footpole.wordpress.com Inlone

    So, you want to reduce your “chances” of getting a divorce, do you?

    Move to the rust belt and get an edumacation and stop believing in anything beyond the purely physical, material universe.

    Ta-da! Hooking up smart indeed.

    (btw, apparently divorce is a now a mere function of Probability, or dumb luck, like the odds of getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery — rather than the result of human behavior and choices).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      (btw, apparently divorce is a now a mere function of Probability, or dumb luck, like the odds of getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery — rather than the result of human behavior and choices).

      Not really, there are implications for behavior here.

      1. Stay in school.
      2. Use birth control.
      3. Delay marriage until your mid-20s.

  • Michael

    ”Well my husband’s only game was to show he was compatible, loving and a good man willing to marry me. So keep dumping virgins that don’t put out please you are doing them a favor ”

    Most of the young women who are voluntary virgins aren’t looking for marriage. They’re only interested in Alpha males, PUA’s and bad boys, and the women’s looks range from below average to above average.

    There’s about 200 young women who belong to our local church. They aren’t interested in finding a mate. I’d hardly believe someone who uses dresses and skirts and thongs right in the middle of winter is looking for someone to take them serious.

    Besides, every year my Church is filled with girls and young women, but they’re never to be seen again. Why? Because the Bad boys and the Alpha males realized that Churches are a hotspot for young women who are both attractive, std-free, and interested in free love. I suspect that the young women who abandon the church inform their friends and their sisters that the church(es) are great hunting fields for Alpha males. That’d explain why there are so few young woman interested in the Church few months into joining the Church.

    Yes, I’m sure you were different and all that, but most men aren’t going to find quality women, so it doesn’t make sense to wait 1000000 years for a woman to put out; guys, here’s a tip. Women will put out as fast as Flash can run as soon as she meets a Bad boy or an Alpha male. It also doesn’t make any sense to get married to a woman to have sex with her. The very vast majority of the older men in my community married 18 year old, completely average women, but virgins nonetheless. Most are living sexless marriages and are the constant victim of cheating.

    Even among the young women who put out for the Alpha male, very few grow resented from the casual sex they have with the Alpha males, including the loss of their virginity to the Alpha male.

    What’s interesting is that I’m intimate with many older men and they’re always surprised to see the young women, when both of them were 15-17 years old return to the church after 20 years.

    Why are they returning to the church? Because they want to get married and virginal men are pretty easy to reel in.

    Reminds me of this lady, she’s one of the greatest supporters of her Church. I grew up with her son, albeit him being older than me some 8 years. The guy ”dated” a Church girl for 9 years, waiting patiently for her to be ready to get married – no sexual contact before the marriage.

    Turns out she was cheating on him, sexually cheating on him, with the 35 year old model-looking priest, LOL.

    I’d be away from my city for about 2 years, but I finally realized why so many women who weren’t religious and married had suddenly joined the church, LOL.

    This guy graduated from one of the World’s top Universities. Took a degree in engineering and returned to get 2 more; one to become a pilot and the other to become a doctor.

    He’s one of the youngest residents where he works, and despite all of his earning potential, social status, and money, and with his average looks and height, all he managed to find was a 35 year old, overweight, single mother.

    I think I’ll pass on that, LOL.

  • Michael

    By the way. My friend’s mother has always found me to be simply adorable. She knows I’m single and has tried to hook me up with the girlfriends of her daughter. First, before I entered college, she tried to get me to hook-up with decent young women, but they all preferred to be with the local druggies.

    Those situations taught me to not invest emotionally or financially in women. When my friend’s mother was told that my application to one of the world’s most sought-after universities had been accepted, she reminded me of her 19 year old daughter, doing a numerical count of her daughter’s many qualities.

    Yeah, I give her that. Her daughter joined MIt at the age of 15 and was a member of Mensa at the age of 13. She knows how to cook, knows how to sew and clean and take care of babies. Is very feminine, sweet, and attractive.

    I also found her, one day, in one of the Church rooms giving oral sex to the same guy who was kicked out of our school for impregnating 20 girls 4 years young than him(he was 18 at grade 10), LOL.

    She spent the last 3 years away from her family, living across the Country, sharing a house with several girls. God might not know what she’s been up to, but I sure as heck suspect the fraternity brothers had a lot of fun with her, LOL.

    I’m under the belief that, was I to get married to her, I would only have sex with her until she got her baby and then I’d be relegated to walking ATM machine status. According to the many older men I’ve met in my lifetime, their very average(or below average) wives stopped the sex after the baby was born, and they were also forbidden from watching porn.

    I think I might troll the local all-female schools near my college. Most of the senior girls are 18 years. Lets see how my superior social status will do. But I doubt the Bad boys and Alpha males have left these schools alone, LOL.

  • Michael

    I could give many examples, lol, but the most memorable I have brings me back to my first day in college. This girl I grew up with had been dating the same guy for 10 years. She was 18, waiting for her graduation to get married, never had sex or anything close to sex.

    I brought a friend of mine along to see the place. He notices the girl, asks me if she has a boyfriend, I say yes, that it’s the dude over there. He approaches her – 5 minutes later I’m at the men’s bathroom door acting as a watch dog in case her boyfriend wants to relieve himself, LOL.

    Roissy seems to be about right. Women would rather take 5 minutes of Alpha than a lifetime of docile and loving betahood.

  • KK

    I’ve had two cases where I’ve caught some girl’s attention and we’ve hit it up, done a two-week escalating courtship and then she’s been on her period when going for sex. This means that she felt the initial tingle for me near the ovulation peak.

    My strengths are not in the dominance department, so I’ve thought that ovulation lowers a girl’s attraction threshold pretty universally, just as some earlier commenters already claimed.

    Tracking my girlfriend’s cycle was something that came naturally to me even before reading Roissy etc. Made sure to fuck her good during the right times. Call it engineer game, if you will.

  • GudEnuf

    J: That’s brilliant. I think we should all get flat tires before we get married.

  • J

    @GudEnuf

    It’s just really good to see in advance how people are going to react to life’s daily problems.

    Another story: Our first date was on a hot summer night and ended up on the beach with a six pack of Coke that was left over from an office party at DH’s workplace and had been sitting and heating up in the car all day. I suggested that we put it in the water to cool it. I dug a hole in the sand on the shoreline and place the six pack in it. As we sat talking on the beach I noticed that the six pack was bobbing in the waves about 25 yards from the shore. I expected DH to tell me what a stupid idea I had come up with, but he rolled up his jeans, took off his shoes and went in after the Coke. How can you resist a guy who is cool and takes care of business?

    A long discussion about what makes a good relationship took place while we drank the Coke. I felt pretty sure that I was going to marry him by the end of the date.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @J

      I absolutely love hearing your dating stories. Last summer I was on the beach with a girlfriend. It was windy but I wanted the umbrella up anyway. Sure enough, it blew up and out into the water. I went racing in after it (water temp on Cape Cod was 55!) but could not catch it. Everyone on the beach was laughing at me. I watched the bright pink umbrella drift away for the rest of the afternoon. By the time we left it was a tiny dot on the horizon. I’d like to think it made it all the way to Portugal.

  • http://www.rosehope.com/ Hope

    Fun stories, J!

    I have one of my own. My husband and I ran out of gas in the middle of the Utah desert once. It was before we were engaged, and we got to see how the other responded to such a situation.

    http://www.rosehope.com/a-desert-adventure/

  • Iggles

    @ J:

    My DH’s senior thesis (back in the day) involved crunching a lot of government stats involving race, religion, SES, divorce, crime, educational achievement etc. SES, not race, was the single most salient and predictive factor.

    +1

    Poor communities regardless of race will have similar rates of divorce & OOW births (i.e., poor whites in Appalachia will follow similar trends in this regard as poor blacks in urban areas). Likewise middle class whites, blacks, asians, & latinos will follow similar patterns, which is why class shouldn’t be discounted when breaking down statistics such as these, to get a more accurate picture.

    As Susan mentioned earlier, the national average for divorce is meaningless on a individual level due to differences such as age of first marriage, education level, etc. — which again, are tied to class.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Iggles

      True, it is about class. The New York Times recently wrote about this.

      Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.

      …One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/us/for-women-under-30-most-births-occur-outside-marriage.html?pagewanted=all

  • GudEnuf

    Susan: I just called her. Please check your email.

  • http://eradica.wordpress.com Firepower

    @Susan

    I agree, google can provide a list of marriage benefits, but it can also provide a list of benefits of staying single.
    http://jaypeeonline.net/lifestyle/top-10-benefits-of-being-single/

    No offense, but I can’t imagine marrying a female from SATC – or the younger crop of HBO “Girls”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Firepower

      My favorite on that list was that you can let yourself go :)

      As for the girls on SATC or Girls – no sh*t. I wouldn’t want my son anywhere near any of them! They’re all headcases, which is where the humor comes from.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    @Michael
    Oh well I really can’t compete with your personals stories, I have similar stories from men in my country so all I need to say is that maybe you need to move out to other places and social circles. I know plenty of good girls that haven’t go down on a man just because he is hot or he had the right pick up lines,YMMV.

  • Michael

    ” to say is that maybe you need to move out to other places and social circles. I know plenty of good girls that haven’t go down on a man just because he is hot or he had the right pick up lines,YMMV.”

    Yeah, from what many of the older dudes who’ve gone through the divorce grind and such, women from third world Countries are much different, but I’m not really interested in moving to a third world Country nor am I interested in being with women who are ”into” me because I have the money/can make the money they crave or because I’m the passport to enter the western world, lol.

  • Ted D

    “That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education”

    This is a deeply profound statement to me. We are quickly coming to a point where having a “successful family” is largely a sign of wealth and education instead of a basic desire of everyone. So, not only do the poor feel like they can not get a college degree and a decent paying job, they now believe they can never have a successful and long lasting marriage and/or the possibility of raising their children in a two-parent household.

    Doesn’t this seem like a VERY bad sign for our society and economy? Family used to largely be how people invested in our countries future. What is there to invest in if family isn’t an option?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @TEd D

      Doesn’t this seem like a VERY bad sign for our society and economy? Family used to largely be how people invested in our countries future. What is there to invest in if family isn’t an option?

      Yes! Marriage as an elite institution will be terrible for us in every way.

  • Iggles

    Thanks for the article link Susan! Indeed, it is a sign of the times :(

    Almost all of the rise in nonmarital births has occurred among couples living together. While in some countries such relationships endure at rates that resemble marriages, in the United States they are more than twice as likely to dissolve than marriages. In a summary of research, Pamela Smock and Fiona Rose Greenland, both of the University of Michigan, reported that two-thirds of couples living together split up by the time their child turned 10.

    This is why I’m weary of the cohabitation trend! It’s no substitute for marriage!

    I’ve live with a boyfriend before. I don’t intend to live with a guy again unless he’s my fiancé or husband. Emotionally, you get so close to one another that it’s much harder to break up when you see signs that your relationship isn’t working. At least in my case I felt that way. You really share a life together in the same way a married couple does without the life-long commitment part, which is bad if you *do* want to get married someday.

    It’s best to determine if the person you are with is marriage material and wants to marry you before taking that step! If not, you’re backing the wrong horse and headed towards an eventual break up.

    This may sound like common sense but when I was 22 it sounded like a great idea because I didn’t want to live at home after graduating from college and I didn’t want to live alone! (Now I do and I love it, lol)

  • SayWhaat

    Iggles re: cohabitation

    I agree 100%. I mean, I kind of have an excuse on my side in that my parents would have a fucking CONNIPTION if I was living with a guy before marriage, but I wouldn’t do it unless we were engaged and I absolutely knew that he was all-in. I don’t think I would even introduce him to my parents unless I knew that he was all-in, because there would be a huge family pressure component to deal with, and I would need to make sure that he would be there with me for it.

    On the other hand, that would be a huge filter for the wrong kind of guy. It might be the same kind of shit deal as virginity, but at least I wouldn’t be led on by a guy for 6 years wondering if he would ever propose.

  • J

    I absolutely love hearing your dating stories.

    Thanks, SW. It’s sort of neat to have a platform in which to tell them.

    I watched the bright pink umbrella drift away for the rest of the afternoon. By the time we left it was a tiny dot on the horizon. I’d like to think it made it all the way to Portugal.

    Aw, I hate it when I lose things, but the thought of a pink umbrella drifting all the way to Portugal makes me smile.

    @Iggles

    Thanks for the +1

    @Firepower

    That list reminds me of when I got engaged and showed my ring to a “spinster” coworker. She told me that she would never want to get married because she didn’t want to have to make compromises about what kind of car to buy or house to live in. I suppose I’m pretty lucky not to give a damn about my car because it’s been fairly easy to live with whatever compromises I’ve had to make. I can’t imagine being that fussy, so that list seems a bit sour grape-y to me.

    @Iggles and Saay What

    I’ve never lived with a man other than my husband and didn’t move in with him till we were married. I don’t believe in pre-marital cooking and cleaning. ;-) Srsly, I don’t see the point of cohabitation. It gets people to comfortable with living in a sort of limbo that offers the fun of playing house without the responsibility of marriage.

  • J

    @Hope

    I can’t get into your blog again. :-(

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @Hope
    I too believe that in taking the marriage step, one graduates to the next level, including living together at that point. Much to the frustration of my SO, who wanted to move in with me much sooner. She probably thought I was stringing her along for awhile, and maybe it was kind of a test to see if we were truly compatible over the long-term.

    Conventional wisdom is that you MUST live with someone before deciding whether to tie the knot because that experience tends to uncover all kinds of potential domestic problems. I’ve heard this often, especially from people who still aren’t married.

    * Let’s assume you’ve been dating someone exclusively for awhile, are compatible, in love, share similar beliefs and values, met each other’s friends and family, stayed over at each other’s respective places, and seen how the other person lives and works…

    I’ve posed this question to those who still say you’re stupid not to cohabitate: * assuming you’ve done the above things, what could you possible learn from living with someone that would then cause you to break up with him or her?

    The person breaking up after all that on the basis of living together would signal a very large and superficial red flag IMO. Of course, this wouldn’t apply to incredibly deceptive people who hide their true faces when not at home. Not sure they’re in the marriage market anyway.

  • OffTheCuff

    “That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most educatio”

    I detest this phrase. The economic amd social rewards of marriage are not locked behind a cage, reserved for special lucky people. Want to get married? DO IT. Nothing is stopping people from getting married except for their own choices.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I don’t believe in pre-marital cooking and cleaning.

    Heh love this.
    Hubby wanted to take the fiance visa (you come here and can marry within 90 days) out of concern I wasn’t going to adapt to the country do to a close woman on his family that married and went to live on Europe couldn’t adapt and have to drag her husband back to USA, it was really hard for him to start over here after decades of career, they did made it and are still together but it was not easy. I really had to tell him that aside that they could deny me the fiance visa just for the lolz (I have two friends that this happened to them) I really was 100% sure of what I was doing, that I’m not the middle ground type of person (I love and hate not lukewarm feelings on the middle) and that my family will never forgive him to make me live in sin no matter how short amount of time that was. I do think that having a family backing up a choice of commitment helps a lot, hubby agrees now that I was right about getting married but it was not the way most of his friends did it and peer pressure plays a part on this choices even for men, YMMV.

  • Augen

    Divorced father myself. I’ll say this – my case should be obvious to the courts. Mentally unstable ex and one of my kids has ADHD. Put together a mentally unstable parent with an ADHD kid and no one should be surprised at the outcome.

    Instead, apart from the storied financial destruction (been trying to recover >2 years now – and I am “high income” and supposed to be uniquely capable of this), I must share legal custody and 50/50 physical custody with the mentally unstable ex.

    Well, surprise – ADHD kid – not doing so well. Unstable ex – after 5 days in her care, kid comes into harm, she takes him to the ER and concocts an elaborate story of heinous abuse at my hands that it takes 7 pages of discharge notes to describe.

    So – looks like it will cost about $30-50K ****MORE**** to finish this divorce and put an end to custody rights she never should have had in the first place.

    Better yet – that isn’t even guaranteed. It is entirely possible I could spentd another $50K and even with an ex who is demonstrably prepared to create any lie to destroy her and her children’s one source of livelihood (somehow she doesn’t work???) rather than come to terms with her own failures as a parent … it is entirely possible the court will decide that it should do nothing at all and “preserve her parental rights” “in the best interests of the children”.

    GirlSaysWhat has an article that says most of what needs to be said to close the knot on this article.

    Let me say: I believe in marriage and monogamy and I support Susan and what she’s trying to do here, but … marriage isn’t marriage anymore. You cannot shock a dead horse back to life. This horse is long dead.

    After a long and highly relevant quote from Heartiste, GirlSaysWhat goes on to say:

    “And I think it’s important to note that the reality of divorce and family law in our culture plays a HUGE part in men’s growing contempt for marriage as an institution. It’s not that men are commitment-phobes. It’s that women seem increasingly commitment-incompatible. The word ‘commitment’ has in fact, in female parlance, come to mean, ‘up until the moment I’m no longer 100% satisfied with the person I married’. And that attitude is only going to lead to more and more divorces as more and more successful women effectively set their sights higher than they reasonably should while their youth and attractiveness wanes, leading to a growing number of them feeling like they settled even if they didn’t–even if they scored someone 2 points above them on the overall attractiveness scale.

    “And oddly enough, no one, least of all women, seem to really give a shit what MEN desire in a partner. Why can’t men just be happy with what’s available? Well, let’s look at what’s available to the *average* man in his 30s: a 35 year old woman who hollers yes over the jangling of her biological clock while unable to keep the grimace from her face because he’s a bigger loser than the 5 guys she dumped in her 20s and now she has to settle, a divorcee who’s already financially annihilated and emotionally crippled at least one man, and a single mother who’s collecting reams of child support from one poor schmuck while her other baby daddy manages to duck his obligations because he’s a drug dealer and his income’s off the books. “

  • Iggles

    @ Anacaona:

    I do think that having a family backing up a choice of commitment helps a lot, hubby agrees now that I was right about getting married but it was not the way most of his friends did it and peer pressure plays a part on this choices even for men, YMMV.

    Interesting point about men & peer pressure! I definitely think it was a good thing that you stuck to your guns on this point. You were willing to go ‘all in’, so why compromise? I’m glad you guys we’re on the same page :)

    When it comes to marriage and true commitment both partners’ ability to go ‘all in’ is vitally important. There’s a world of difference between playing ‘for keeps’ and ‘seeing where this goes…’

    The latter seems to be what people prefer when they are unsure and/or have been burned in the past. I get it in some ways — it’s the fear of failure. The idea is, “if I don’t give 100% I can’t be as completely crushed if we don’t work out”.

    It’s flawed logic because in the event of a break up with someone you love, you will be crushed and harboring that attitude can & does contributes to a relationship breaking down in the long run.

  • Iggles

    @ J:

    I don’t believe in pre-marital cooking and cleaning. ;-)

    Lol!

    “No cooking” is easier in the beginning when you see each other once or twice a week. My bf and I see each other up to 4-5 times a week, and even when I was single I didn’t dine out that much. I cook for myself often so I have no problem preparing enough food for two (when we go shopping he picks up his share of the tab anyway).

    Now cleaning, nope! Not for a boyfriend. That one I intend to do for my future husband!

    Srsly, I don’t see the point of cohabitation. It gets people to comfortable with living in a sort of limbo that offers the fun of playing house without the responsibility of marriage.

    Word!

    I like that my boyfriend and I have separate residences. Yes, I love spending time with him but my last LTR soured me on living together! It’s great at the beginning, but my mind fast-forwards the end. Breaking up with someone you live with. I know some engagements do not end in marriage and divorce happens but if you’re committed from the start I think it makes a huge difference.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    @J

    Srsly, I don’t see the point of cohabitation.

    You answered your own question in the next sentence.

    It gets people to comfortable with living in a sort of limbo that offers the fun of playing house without the responsibility of marriage.

    I see it as basic risk management. If for whatever reason things don’t work out in the first year or two of cohabitation, you just break up and move on. Much better than being forced to decide between staying in an unhappy marriage or going through divorce.

    And if things are going great… well, what is there to complain about? IMO, the real commitment should come LONG before actual marriage. Marriage is just the legal document and a party.

    Nobody’s going to say at age 80 “Life would have been so much better if we only would have got married 2 years earlier!”

  • SayWhaat

    Nobody’s going to say at age 80 “Life would have been so much better if we only would have got married 2 years earlier!”

    How about, “life would have been so much better if only we had gotten married 2 years earlier, before my biological clock ran out and we spent a fortune on useless fertility treatments just to try to have children.”

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Interesting point about men & peer pressure! I definitely think it was a good thing that you stuck to your guns on this point. You were willing to go ‘all in’, so why compromise? I’m glad you guys we’re on the same page

    Well it was a hard position to maintain but hubby understood my position and stopped listening to this relative of his. The fact is that in marriage you have to a team and sometimes that implies ignoring some relatives well meaning advices, it was more like a test of conflict resolution.

    The latter seems to be what people prefer when they are unsure and/or have been burned in the past. I get it in some ways — it’s the fear of failure. The idea is, “if I don’t give 100% I can’t be as completely crushed if we don’t work out”.

    That is part of the issue with me, I’m waaay to sensitive. I know I will be crushed no matter what I might as well do my homework and use my logic to select as best as possible and don’t “jump in love” and go all, is better than wonder “What if I had given him more? Maybe things would had been better if I would had been more into him” I rather fail because I tried to hard than fail because I didn’t tried hard enough, at least I will have the peace of mind of knowing that it was not my lack of love but something else, YMMV.

    I see it as basic risk management. If for whatever reason things don’t work out in the first year or two of cohabitation, you just break up and move on. Much better than being forced to decide between staying in an unhappy marriage or going through divorce.

    You should ask men that had lived with the girlfriend how easy is for them to live in comparison with anything else. Good men hate breaking up I know at least two of my husband’s friends that stayed till the women got fed up and decided to leave themselves because it was too hard to admit their “marriage lite” died. It might had been less legal fuss but the personal toil was as bad as divorce and they didn’t even learned anything about it, at least one of them is currently living with a girlfriend that spent 90% of the time hinting at the ring and he is like “not here” which according to our female friends was the same thing that happened years ago with another girlfriend.

    And if things are going great… well, what is there to complain about? IMO, the real commitment should come LONG before actual marriage. Marriage is just the legal document and a party.

    Yeah except that once living together the signing of the papers gets pushed back, specially if there are no kids involved. How would a woman (that you know very well has a limited window of opportunity for childbearing) will know things are stagnant with their “hubby lite” even men have time to lose that could be invested on chasing tail or finding a suitable male. Moving in is a huge statement is not as bad as divorce but not as good as breaking up with a person you are dating, YMMV.

    Nobody’s going to say at age 80 “Life would have been so much better if we only would have got married 2 years earlier!”

    We actually do we also love to say “If you had gotten married 2 years earlier you would have had a 10 year old by now! What a waste of time” Most of my friends that waited more than one year to marry told me not to wait that much, whatever issues a person has they only come after the papers are signed whether you have live together or not, all we can do is an educated guess but is never the same no matter what, YMMV again.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Wow many typos is Then “jump in love”, too not to, and leave not live.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    How about, “life would have been so much better if only we had gotten married 2 years earlier, before my biological clock ran out and we spent a fortune on useless fertility treatments just to try to have children.”

    No disagreement from me there.

    All the more reason for guys to date younger girls to give themselves enough time to evaluate her through all the relationship steps.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    And likewise, for a girl to get serious about looking for a marriage partner while young so she can have enough time to evaluate him throughout all the relationship steps, and not have to rush due to the biological clock.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    Good men hate breaking up I know at least two of my husband’s friends that stayed till the women got fed up and decided to leave themselves because it was too hard to admit their “marriage lite” died.

    There’s no question that breaking off a relationship sucks no matter what stage it’s in. But again, breaking up in a “marriage-lite” is still light years better than going through a divorce, or being forced to stay in a bad marriage because you can’t afford one.

    Just imagine how much more miserable those guys would have been if they had to go through the divorce meat grinder when their wives got fed up and realized their marriage had died?

  • Iggles

    @ Jimmy Hendricks:

    And likewise, for a girl to get serious about looking for a marriage partner while young so she can have enough time to evaluate him throughout all the relationship steps, and not have to rush due to the biological clock.

    And what happens when her first “marriage-lite” doesn’t work out? She’s not so young anymore. Factor in time to get over that relationship, plus time spent dating before finding in another suitable LTR partner and suddenly “marriage-lite #2″ has the loud sound of her biological clock ticking!

    Remember, as commentators at HUS often point out, at 27 fertility starts to decline for women. So the bright-eyed 22 year old girl moves in with BF #1 at 23, breaks up two years later at 25, takes a year* to move on and re-enters the dating area at 26, then finds a new partner and moves in at 27 — For this all to work out either BF #1 or BF #2 has to be the right guy. There is no margin for error, because if not she wastes valuable years “evaluating” and “being evaluated” in “marriage-lite” living arrangements.

    I think continuing to date is a wiser strategy for women and men. Don’t move in until you both decided to marry. Couples who try out “marriage-lite” often have a harder time breaking up (i.e., the process is drawn out a lot longer because your lives are so intertwined — sharing the same living space, finances, etc.).

    I understand how some may feel it’s important to live together first, but that can happen during the engagement period. There’s no need to “test drive” and live with each boyfriend or girlfriend to see “how things go”.

  • Iggles

    FYI, found a c0uple of good links that back up the notion that live-in arrangements are harder for people to leave. The term is called “lock-in”:

    Sliding into cohabitation wouldn’t be a problem if sliding out were as easy. But it isn’t. Too often, young adults enter into what they imagine will be low-cost, low-risk living situations only to find themselves unable to get out months, even years, later. It’s like signing up for a credit card with 0 percent interest. At the end of 12 months when the interest goes up to 23 percent you feel stuck because your balance is too high to pay off. In fact, cohabitation can be exactly like that. In behavioral economics, it’s called consumer lock-in.

    http://bridgesandtangents.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-downside-of-living-together-before-you-get-married/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?_r=4
    (NY Times)

  • Jackie

    Regarding Cohabitation:

    Did anyone else watch “Mad Men” this season? It was pretty interesting: One of the storylines involved Peggy Olson deciding to cohabitate with her BF Abe.

    This is back in 1967 and, holy smokes, Mrs. Olson (her mom) flies completely off the handle! (They break the news while having her mom over for dinner. Mrs. O responds by leaving in the middle — and taking the cake she brought with back home. Eek.)

    Apparently back then, living together before marriage was a huge deal and really upset a lot of people. Peggy’s mom delivers an absolutely scathing speech about how “That boy is going to use you *for practice*” then marry someone else. She (Peggy) asks, do you want me to alone for the rest of my life? Her mom tells her to get a cat. :(

    Also interesting was the way it came about: When Abe took her out to dinner to ask her, Peggy thought he was going to “pop the question.” She goes out and buys a new dress and is truly expecting to hear about marriage. The look on her face when Abe asks her to move in together is some really fine acting by the girl who plays Peggy, BTW.

    This long comment was brought to you by: Things have changed a lot in the last 45 years.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      I admit I was disappointed when Peggy agreed to live with Abe. I felt like she was agreeing to a situation that never would progress to marriage. He certainly showed no inclination to take the relationship further than being roommates for convenience – as I recall he was tired of making the trek to her place late at night.

      In the mid-60s cohabiting was definitely not something mainstream, it raised a lot of eyebrows and the woman would have been viewed as extremely unwise. Peggy’s mom may seem ridiculous to us now, but her view was mainstream. A devout Catholic would have been deeply shamed to have a daughter living with a man. (Not to mention the child Peggy had.)

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    There’s no question that breaking off a relationship sucks no matter what stage it’s in. But again, breaking up in a “marriage-lite” is still light years better than going through a divorce, or being forced to stay in a bad marriage because you can’t afford one.

    So what would anyone want to live in? Is better than divorce but worst than dating so why no just date? There is no logic on getting yourself on a position where leaving a person is more harsh than than the alternative, so what is the point, again? Why no just date till you are 100% sure of that person being worth the risk of marriage?

  • Jackie

    @Iggles (#133)

    Hi Iggles!
    Those are some really interesting links! Un mil gracias :)

    I am probably a outlier (although I wouldn’t be in 1967!) in that I don’t believe in pre-marital cohabitation, for me at least. Living together is a very public statement of some tacit beliefs.

    I know myself well enough to realize that cohabitation is not the best choice for me. It would be almost impossible for me to recover and start fresh if it didn’t work out. If I’m in, I’m IN.

    Besides that, I think I am one of the religious outliers on here, so it would be against my beliefs, my family, my mentor (who is an awesome nun, but strict) and my social structure. There is no way I can think of it working out in a positive manner.

    Once I met a man on the train — he was actually really nice and took both me and my sister out, as my chaperone– and he was telling us about how he had moved in with a GF and broke up. Only neither could afford to move out! (This was NYC area) He said that they were living together a YEAR after breaking up. You probably save a ton on rent living together!

  • Jackie

    @Anacoana Cullen

    Hi Ana! It is really good to see you! How is the novel and the baby? :D

  • Jackie

    Or pregnancy, I should say. I hope you are doing OK!

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    You know what’s harder to leave and even more of a “lock-in”? Marriage. So a logical course of action is to take every precaution and minimize every risk before going into high stakes (and in some cases, high risk) situation like that.

    I think continuing to date is a wiser strategy for women and men. Don’t move in until you both decided to marry.

    I think we’re actually on the same page here. I’m saying cohabitation is the logical step once a couple has decided they’re going to get married… it’s just a smart way to push the legal risk back a few years in case something unexpected happens early in the cohabitation process.

    And what happens when her first “marriage-lite” doesn’t work out? She’s not so young anymore. Factor in time to get over that relationship, plus time spent dating before finding in another suitable LTR partner and suddenly “marriage-lite #2″ has the loud sound of her biological clock ticking!

    Again, all the more reason for guys to focus on girls in the 21-25 age range, and girls in that range to be serious about looking for marriage if they want it.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    @Ana

    Why no just date till you are 100% sure of that person being worth the risk of marriage?

    I don’t think it’s possible to become 100% sure if a person is worth the risk until you’re living in a situation that will be identical to married life.

    If you’re not doing that, then you’re making an educated guess at best. Which is fine for a lot of people, but given the high risks that go into marriage these days, you’re going to see a lot more starting to take every precaution possible to go in with eyes wide open.

  • Iggles

    Jackie,

    Glad you enjoyed the links! I found the Times article eye-opening because here was a doctor putting a name to situation I knew very well from prior experience (i.e., “lock-in”).

    It’s great that you know yourself well enough to know that cohabitation isn’t for you! Plus having a strong support system in the form of your family, mentor, and religion provides guidance that will help you stay true to your values.

    He said that they were living together a YEAR after breaking up. You probably save a ton on rent living together!

    Yikes! That sounds pretty horrible.

    It was convenient for them when they were in a relationship, but it would have been better for them have lived with platonic roommates if they needed to save money on rent! But of course, hindsight is always 20/20!

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Hi Ana! It is really good to see you! How is the novel and the baby?

    I’m doing fine. The first novel is done (although I had said is done like four times already 93,000 words, hopefully no more) and I’m sending query letters already. Is okay to call him baby, my husband was joking that I was already projecting things like the baby could hear me, and feel me and have personality, since he was conceived (is a boy) I told him “Honey I come from pro-life country the moment the pregnancy test is positive we already think of it as a baby even if I know the progression steps logically (embryo, fetus…), emotionally/mentally is a baby”. He finds me so cute when I’m that naive. :p…
    He is doing fine kicking, moving… we already picked up names and are going on a babymoon next month, after that we are going to start to prepare the house for his arrival and buy stuff, we are so lazy. :p
    Thanks for asking and welcome back! :D

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      we already picked up names and are going on a babymoon next month

      What a great concept! All expecting parents should do this!

  • Jackie

    @Iggles
    “Yikes! That sounds pretty horrible.”

    I know! I have had to live with roommates for a month until the lease ended when we weren’t getting along. The longest month of my life!

    Re: platonic roommates. That is a good point! I had one experience with that: sharing a house, two guys and two girls (me and another). It was interesting in that the guys were more than happy with the situation: The house was always tidy and there was always cookies, baking and a full fridge. :) The girls frustrated a *lot* over little things: dishes in the sink, crumbs around the kitchen etc.

    I was glad I had the experience because I learned a TON from it. I kind of wish people could be just as particular about their platonic cohabs as they are about their romantic ones!

    PS: Hey did you mention you were reading “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy? Maybe I’m thinking of someone else? If you are reading it, I hope it’s going well. :)

  • Jackie

    @Ana Cullen, Stephenie Meyer the Second

    Wow, congrats!!! :D What names are you thinking of? Edward? ;) Stay healthy, have fun on the babymoon and keep us posted!

    Make sure and tell us about when the book gets published, too. Stephenie Meyer, look out!! Just remember your friends at HUS after you make it big. :)

  • Iggles

    @ Jimmy Hendricks:

    I think we’re actually on the same page here. I’m saying cohabitation is the logical step once a couple has decided they’re going to get married… it’s just a smart way to push the legal risk back a few years in case something unexpected happens early in the cohabitation process.

    Yeah, I agree with that. I think it needs to happen before marriage as a intermediary step, but if a couple is going to live to together they should have already discussed and decided they wanted to get married.

    Unfortunately, that’s not what’s generally happening. What is happening is that people start dating/hooking up and find that they’re spending quite a lot of time at each others place. When their leases are up, the couple decides to move in together because they like each other a whole lot/are in love and feel that living under one roof is more convenient than shuffling between two apartments. Marriage isn’t discussed let alone decided on. One may feel like it’s a step towards marriage while the other thinks it’s a sweet deal for regular sex (no negotiating nights with roommates anymore). As the months turn into years they amass a life together similar to a married couple but without the commitment. It’s a shaky foundation, but could lead to a lasting marriage. However, if they find they’re not a good match then the union dies a slow death since breaking up is so hard (this is what I mean by “lock-in”).

    Today people date, mate, shack up, and break up again and again with different partners. Rinse, wash, repeat. This is the new “normal”.

    Again, all the more reason for guys to focus on girls in the 21-25 age range, and girls in that range to be serious about looking for marriage if they want it.

    Agreed. This works out well for men.
    I was just pointing out, what about the women? If the first go ’round doesn’t work out, she can suddenly find herself aged out of that bracket.

    But I guess, such is life! I think the earlier people start seriously looking for a partner, the higher their chance of success — namely, because they will have a larger window of time to find someone than those changing course late in the game.

  • Iggles

    Wow, I’m Queen of typos today!

    Meant to say:
    “I don’t think it needs to happen before marriage as a intermediary step”

  • Iggles

    I was glad I had the experience because I learned a TON from it. I kind of wish people could be just as particular about their platonic cohabs as they are about their romantic ones!

    This made me lol! :lol:

    It’s so true. It’s amazing what glaring red flags people can overlook when their in the “new relationship” haze!

    PS: Hey did you mention you were reading “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy? Maybe I’m thinking of someone else? If you are reading it, I hope it’s going well. :)

    You know, I remember seeing that book at Barnes & Nobles a few months back. I picked up a bunch of reprinted classics that day but for the life of me can’t recall if I bought that one! However, I just finished another classic this morning, “Agnes Grey” by Anne Brontë (I really liked it!).

  • Jackie

    @Iggles

    Agnes Grey? Another Bronte sister book? And it’s even free on Project Gutenberg? :D Thanks, Iggles! This looks awesome.

    BTW, can you imagine if Jane Eyre (from Charlotte Bronte) was writing into HUS?

    Dear HUS,

    I am 18 years old and nannying for a 40-something dude’s illegitimate kid (“ward”) from his hookup with an exotic opera dancer. We all live together. He’s kinda mean to his ward, though! And he negs me all the time.

    Not only that, but he has cross-dressed before, pretending to be an old gypsy lady. Plus he’s super shady about his former wife. Every time I bring up the attic, he always changes the subject.

    Will this relationship work?
    Love,
    Jane Eyre

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      OMG, that’s hilarious!

      Dear Jane,

      I’m concerned about the age difference. If you halve his age and add seven, he should not be hitting on anyone younger than 27. I think he sounds shady.

      Re the negging, does he keep implying you’re fat? I can’t figure out why guys think that makes women feel sexy!

      How odd that he seems sensitive about the attic. Not sure what’s going on there, but be on the lookout for these red flags:

      unexplained screaming
      servants running to and fro in the middle of the night
      fires

      I don’t have a good feeling about this, Jane. I think you owe it to yourself to try dating some guys your own age. Have you tried Match?

      xoxo
      Aunt Sue

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    @Iggles

    I’d say we’re mostly in agreement then. That shacking up scenario isn’t at all what I was talking about. I honestly don’t see that situation much at all (granted I’m in my mid 20s in the midwest… I imagine it’s probably more prominent on the coasts and with older demographics).

    What I see a lot of in my circles:

    1) Couple meets through social circles
    2) At some point they decide to start dating
    3) After dating for anywhere from 2-5 years, they decide they’re likely headed for marriage
    4) They move in together for another 1-2 years
    5) They get engaged
    6) They get married about a year later

    Like I said, in this system “marriage” is really just the legal fine print at the end of the road. In all reality, they made the commitment years before saying their vows and signing the contract.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Wow, congrats!!! :D What names are you thinking of? Edward? ;)

    My cat’s name is Edward so already done also hubby threatened me with bribing the doctors into sedate me and name the kid Dave or John because he knows I hate common names, if I picked a Twilight name, so we compromise on the name of his favorite author as first name and my weird name “written on the skies” that I picked for middle name. Not telling it because I’m pretty sure is weird enough that people will know is me and no one knows who might be lurking. ;)

    Stay healthy, have fun on the babymoon and keep us posted!

    Thanks will do. :D

    Make sure and tell us about when the book gets published, too. Stephenie Meyer, look out!! Just remember your friends at HUS after you make it big. :)

    Ohh of course I will remember all of you. I will tell my secretary “If anyone from HUS calls, tells them I’m not here…” :p :D ;)

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    I was just pointing out, what about the women? If the first go ’round doesn’t work out, she can suddenly find herself aged out of that bracket.

    I also wonder how that will look on the eyes of future prospects if the woman in question already lived with a man and didn’t got the ring would the new man think it was just bad luck or assume there is something really wrong with her and not want her for anything but pump and dump? This is also an important point. I wonder how the men of HUS would react to that particular arrangement. Please share if you have an opinion on the matter.

  • J

    @Ana

    A babymoon! How cool! It’s a great idea. I can’t even begin to tell you how a baby changes the time you and your DH will spend together. One last go ’round as a childless couple is wonderful. After the baby comes you will always be parents–not that it’s a bad thing by any means–but it will be different.

    After my older son was born, on a day when I was feeling particularly frazzled, I told my DH that I couldn’t wait for things to “get back to normal.” He laughed and said, “J, this is our normal now.” Oddly, adjusting to #2 son was easier.

  • Ramble

    In the mid-60s cohabiting was definitely not something mainstream, it raised a lot of eyebrows and the woman would have been viewed as extremely unwise.

    I have stopped watching Mad Men, but, so far, almost everything the characters have done on that show would not become mainstream for at least another 5 years.

  • Ramble

    Re the negging, does he keep implying you’re fat? I can’t figure out why guys think that makes women feel sexy!

    Negs are not meant to make a girl feel sexy. They are meant to calibrate, or define, status differences.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F3qv8VgfFE

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ramble

      Yeah, I know, a neg is a hit to self-esteem. It’s probably the most misapplied Game concept, as it is easy to do (poorly). It’s one thing to tease Miss California about her button nose, and quite another to tease Lena Dunham about her BMI.

  • Ramble

    It’s probably the most misapplied Game concept

    Absolutely.

    It’s one thing to tease Miss California about her button nose, and quite another to tease Lena Dunham about her BMI.

    In the first case, it would likely be playful teasing (if she is smiling or giving you “that look”, it is likely teasing), in the second, it would just be mean.

    Playful Teasing != Neg

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  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    A babymoon! How cool! It’s a great idea. I can’t even begin to tell you how a baby changes the time you and your DH will spend together. One last go ’round as a childless couple is wonderful. After the baby comes you will always be parents–not that it’s a bad thing by any means–but it will be different.

    I’m the oldest of four siblings I sort of know how a new member to the family ask adjustments that become permanent. I was always happy to have a new brother and sister nevertheless, and we shared a bed, clothes, and food, I didn’t ate a whole apple till I was in my twenties for example and I vividly remember when the whole house couldn’t sleep because one of the babies was denting and wouldn’t shut up or take the pacifier…I can’t wait to do all that now as a mother! I know, I know I’m insane hubby keeps telling me that, oh well someone had to be insane it might as well be me, at least I’m not boring. :p

  • tweell

    The full name of the study cited is:

    The State of our Unions Marriage in America 2010
    When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America

    I recommend that folks read it for themselves.

  • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

    @Tweell

    I clearly linked to the PDF of the study, as I always do. I wonder why you felt the need to leave such a comment.

    Just under the link I quoted:

    Two probable reasons for this are an increase in the age at which people marry for the first time, and the fact that marriage is increasingly becoming the preserve of the well-educated—both situations are associated with greater marital stability.

    Regular readers know that I address the declining marraige rate, most notably here:

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2011/12/15/relationshipstrategies/the-grim-beeper/

    and here:

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2010/03/17/relationshipstrategies/divorce-american-style/

    The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia addresses this 50% decline in its 2009 The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America:

    Much of this decline—it is not clear just how much—results from the delaying of first marriages until older ages: the median age at first marriage went from 20 for females and 23 for males in 1960 to about 26 and 28, respectively, in 2007. Other factors accounting for the decline are the growth of unmarried cohabitation and a small decrease in the tendency of divorced persons to remarry. The decline also reflects some increase in lifelong singlehood, though the actual amount cannot be known until current young and middle-aged adults pass through the life course.

    From Brad Wilcox, head of the National Marriage Project on the 2010 report:

    What can sometimes get lost in all these headlines is that the general “marriage in retreat” story is really three stories that we told in When Marriage Disappears , the 2010 State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values:

    1) Among the poor and the least educated Americans (about 20% of the nation), marriage has almost vanished;

    2) Among working-class and lower-middle-class Americans or Americans with a high-school degree (what we call “Middle Americans”–about 50% of the nation), marriage is in trouble, is losing ground, and nevertheless has not yet disappeared from the family scene; and,

    3) Among more affluent and college-educated Americans, marriage lost ground in the 1970s and 1980s but now marriage trends have stabilized in this segment of society (about 30%).

    While I am concerned about the decline in marriage overall, I very much write for the third group, so I’m quite optimistic that young educated women who want to marry should be able to do so if they “hook up smart.”

    (Note to visitors: Hooking up may mean anything from a single kiss to intercourse.)

  • Kathy

    Yes, very interesting, Susan. Why make such a comment?

    You plainly linked to the study.

    There appears to be some sort of inference, from Tweell, that you are trying to hide something.

    He has obviously come straight over here , fresh from reading s’kcorlaD latest, thinking he was onto something. *shakes head”

    BTW, it’s not a site I bother to read these days, however when someone sends me a link (as they did in this instance) I usually take a look.

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