The Sweet Spot for Tying The Knot

April 9, 2013

Susan Patton’s recent warning to Princeton women proved controversial among political types and journalists, but I couldn’t find a single young woman who felt strongly either way. They certainly aren’t going to take advice from a woman in her mid-50s (bwahaha!) about how to date in college.

As someone who is pro-relationship, I would never advise someone to end a good relationship or avoid emotional intimacy in order to preserve “career development” time. That’s nuts. If  you meet the man of your dreams when you’re 18, and he feels the same way, I think  you should do whatever you can to make it work.  However, it’s not easy; many obstacles loom that make it hard to take a college relationship all the way to the altar. It’s not surprising that only 14% of marriages are between college sweethearts.

  • Separation at graduation if  you’re not in the same class.
  • Geographical separation during summers, semesters abroad, internships, etc.
  • Long-term geographical separation at graduation as students move for job offers or return to their home turf.
  • The frustration of long-distance relationships – studies show they stand the best chance of working when the separation is not open-ended.
  • The geographic disruption of graduate school.
  • The interest of both sexes in marrying later, once they’ve gotten “their ducks in a row.” 

It’s this last one that sticks in the craw of social conservatives. They see early marriage as a return to family values, in part because it lessens the amount of premarital sex in society. It requires one person subordinating their own plans in favor of the other – unless one person is willing to follow the other, eliminating physical separation, relationships rarely survive. My own mother dropped out of college after her junior year when my father graduated and went into the Marine Corps. (Something she regretted all her life, though I’m in no position to second guess that decision.) Of course, the discussion is academic – we will not return to that era because neither women nor men want it. 

There’s a lot of research on the best time to marry. The National Marriage Project’s recent report Knot Yet looks at the rising marriage age:

Education

Delayed marriage has helped to bring down the divorce rate in the U.S. since the early 1980s because couples who marry in their early twenties and especially their teens are more likely to divorce than couples who marry later.

The median age at first marriage for college education women was just over 27 in 2010. The median age for first childbirth was about 30. 12% of those births are to unmarried women. The divorce rate among college graduates is just 17%.

In contrast, women with a high school education or some college marry at 26, but have their first child at 24. 60% of births in this group are to unmarried women.

There are several factors that decrease the risk of divorce:

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%

 

Income

Women enjoy an annual income premium if they wait until 30 or later to marry. For college-educated women in their midthirties, this premium amounts to $18,152.

A woman married under 20 has a mean annual income of 32K, while women married over 30 make 50K. However, college educated women earn almost as much when they marry in their mid-20s:

Figure8

In fact, there is little advantage to delaying marriage to age 30. In an era where men are increasingly using female earning potential as a selection criterion for marriage, a woman who brings income to that table reduces the burden on the male and helps provide for future offspring at a time when men are experiencing economic decline. It’s hardly romantic, but the trend is real. Men are marrying women who earn more.

The Effect on Divorce

Marriage delayed carries another big social and personal benefit: it’s cut down the divorce rate. Studies have consistently shown that couples who marry before age twenty-five are more likely to find themselves in divorce court. Our own research based on data from the National Fatherhood Initiative Marriage Survey supports this conclusion: women who marry in their early twenties and especially in their teens are significantly more likely to end up divorced than those who marry in their midtwenties or later.

Some people conclude that this finding implies that the older a couple is when they marry, the less likely it is that they will split up. This is true, but only up to a point. As divorce insurance, marriage after the midtwenties has diminishing returns; a twenty-five-year-old bride is at not much greater risk of splitting up one day than is a thirty-five-year-old bride.

In general, couples who wait till their midtwenties or later enjoy more maturity and financial security, both factors that make it easier to sustain a lifelong marriage.

Fertility

In my post The Grim Beeper, I highlighted women’s costly ignorance around the facts of their own fertility:

A recent survey found that women dramatically underestimate how much fertility declines with age. They estimated that a 30 year-old had an 80% chance of getting pregnant in one try. The real likelihood is 30%. They also thought a 40 year-old woman would have a 40% success rate, while those odds are less than 10%. 

Of course, we’re not limited to one try, but the first drop in fertility occurs at around age 27:

infertilitygraph

It’s more a question of when, not if.

Young people remain very interested in marriage. From the Knot Yet report:

Some might see marriage delayed as proof that young people, being especially open to change, think marriage is obsolete, or that being naturally rebellious, they don’t believe in the institution anymore. Not at all. The large majority of young adults say they hope to marry someday.

True, in the final quarter of the twentieth century, the number of high-school seniors who believed they’d wait five or more years after high school to get married grew significantly. But about 80 percent of young-adult men and women continued to rate marriage as an “important” part of their life plans; almost half of them described it as “very important.” In fact, in 2001–2002, 30 percent of twenty-five-year-old women wished they were already married, on top of the 33 percent who were. For men, it was comparable—19 percent wished they were married; another 29 percent were.

It’s not surprising. Married people are much more likely to report feeling very satisfied with their lives: 

Thirty-five percent of single men and cohabiting men report they are“highly satisfied” with their life, compared to 52 percent of married men. Likewise, 33 percent of single women and 29 percent of cohabiting women are “highly satisfied,” compared to 47 percent of married women.

Relationship Culture

The biggest hurdle to healthy relationships is the culture, which is what I choose to address here at HUS.

Today’s twentysomething men and women get little in the way of constructive guidance on the topic of marriage. To the extent marriage is a topic at all, it’s often framed as something best left for a young adult’s late twenties or thirties, often after a string of failed relationships. Media images have largely steered clear of addressing the central role that parenthood continues to play in the lives of most twentysomethings.

Equally important, today’s relationship culture offers virtually no signposts for young adults seeking to navigate romance, sex, and relationships in ways that will be fruitful for their current lives and their future families. All this is unfortunate, because as Meg Jay argues inThe Defining Decade, when it comes to relationships, twentysomethings should not “settle” for “spending their twenties on no-criteria or low-criteria relationships that likely have little hope or intention of succeeding”—especially when those relationships might lead to parenthood.

Meg Jay’s TED talk hits the high points of her message. From the TED blog:

“The 20s are not a throwaway decade — they’re a developmental sweet spot as it is when the seeds of marriage, family and career are planted.

There are 50 million 20-somethings in the US — that’s 15% of population. And Jay wants them to consider themselves adults, and know that this period is as important for their development as the first five years of life. Because the first 10 years of a career have an exponential impact on how much money a person is going to earn. Love is the same way: Half of Americans are with their future partner by the age of 30.”

Claiming your 20s is one of simplest things you can do for work, happiness, love, maybe even for the world. We know your brain caps off its second and last growth spurt in your 20s as it rewires itself for adulthood. Which means whatever you want to change, now is the time to change it.

None of these statistics or observations predict your personal success or failure in marriage. Nonetheless, based on a thorough cost/benefit analysis, it’s clear that at least for the college educated, the marriage sweet spot for women is right around 25-27. In my view, that means seeking a life partner like it’s your job the minute you graduate, if you haven’t already found him. 

  • Ted

    @Susan
    Thank you for this detailed derivation of why 25-27 is the right age to marry. I long suspected that this was true due to declining fertility with age and brain development concluding at 25. Despite this I’d never thought about it in quite this way. Good analysis of the competing forces on marriage and child rearing success that can narrow down the sweet spot to a brief 3-year period. I know I don’t post very often, but I’ve been keeping up, and I really enjoy posts like this one.

  • biff

    Interesting. I don’t disagree with the conclusion for women. This may be useful to the girl who thinks she should wait till 30 before finding a husband. However, I think most girls actually kind of already ideally want to get married around the 25-27 age, but often they get busy with other things or hold out for someone better, not fully appreciating that their SMV is already rapidly on the downswing after this age. There are other important questions for a woman as well, such as how old should the guy be. I tend to think 5-10 years older may be ideal. And how can the girl make herself into the type of person a good guy wants to “marry”. Looks are key for determining hook-up desirability. However, I think most men impose additional requirements on their wives–these are actually usually not that complicated, i.e., can see her as future mother of his children, comfortable dealing with her history for the rest of his life, etc. This is something a woman needs to think about long before 25…

    • This is something a woman needs to think about long before 25…

      Yes, that is why I urge women to focus seriously on it the minute they land somewhere after college.

  • Tomato

    Great post!

    Have there been any studies examining the time between when a man and woman first start dating to when they finally get married? I’m curious as to how long the “courtship period” was back in the 1940s-50s compared to today. I would guess that men and women today are exclusively dating for a longer period of time before typing the knot, and I would also hypothesize that men and women who date for a longer period of time are less likely to divorce. Would love to see some stats!

    • @Tomato

      Those are excellent questions. I’ve never seen stats like that I don’t think, but will have a look around. I’m away, but you could also try a quick Google search, which is all I would do.

  • dragnet

    “Delayed marriage has helped to bring down the divorce rate in the U.S. since the early 1980s because couples who marry in their early twenties and especially their teens are more likely to divorce than couples who marry later.”

    Perhaps if there was more cultural support for these unions more of them would go the distance. I think young couples would be less likely to get divorced if people around them weren’t constantly second-guessing their decision to get hitched (ie, “Are you sure about this?”, “You’re too young!”, “You’re going to regret this!”, etc).

    Are young marriages more successful in communities where there is greater social support for them? I would be interested to know if any researchers have looked at this angle.

  • Jimmy Hendricks

    Good post. I don’t disagree with any of it.

    As I’ve said in the other threads, my main beef is with the cultural messages that young people receive, as Dragnet pointed out.

    I think constantly hearing “You’ll never find your future husband/wife in college/early 20s, so don’t even bother. It’s your time to have fun” has turned a lot of otherwise responsible and marriageable young adults into extended adolescents. I find that to be a shame.

  • Passer_By

    Some of these comparison categories chose by the study authors seem a bit sketchy.

    “Having graduated college (vs. not completed high school)”

    Really? That’s the operative comparison? Nothing in between?

    “Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18)”

    Again, is that a very useful comparison? Those who marry under 18 are bound to be an odd group in this day and age.

    But if your main point is to point out that there is no need to wait until 30, then I can’t disagree with that.

    As to household income, if you take situations where the ultimate education level is the same, my guess is that any difference between household income for those who marry in their early twenties vs early 30s is largely attributable to decisions as to whether the wife will keep a career or stay home. In fact, many of those who married after 30 are likely to still be “DINKS” when the wife is in the 33-35 age range.

    • @passer by

      The link to the Knot Yet report will take you to a ton of data. For example, it was only when I looked at the income details that I realized there was almost no difference between 27-29 and 30+.

      My point is that the returns increase up to 27 and then diminish. Women should aim to marry before they turn 28. Again, this is a general statement YMMV.

    • As to household income, if you take situations where the ultimate education level is the same, my guess is that any difference between household income for those who marry in their early twenties vs early 30s is largely attributable to decisions as to whether the wife will keep a career or stay home

      Right it’s about when a woman exits the work force. The differential is lifelong though – it picks up if they ramp back on.

  • ^^^^^
    is not getting married.

    and i’m SOOOOOO fortunate i’m not a woman. as for the relationship culture in the US, it really does suck for woman in their later years. you should see some of the emails i get from woman in their 30’s.

    most of them just want validation.

  • Tomato

    Shoot, Susan, I was selfishly hoping that you might have something at your fingertips! To the Googles!

  • Jonny

    I’m questioning your opinion on social conservatives. “It requires one person subordinating their own plans in favor of the other – unless one person is willing to follow the other, eliminating physical separation, relationships rarely survive.”

    Why are expectations on women to give up their careers damaging to relationships? This is the premise that should be examined. The end result is still the same.

    1. Some educated career women will quit their jobs to take care of their children.

    2. Many stay at home women enjoy their lifestyles and don’t regret their traditional roles.

    3. Playing the field is unsatisfactory for many women and many seek long term relationships.

    I understand than women don’t want to marry young. I also understand that women want to achieve an education, have a good career, and they want to experience many men, but women should come to realize their dissatification with their accomplishment if they don’t get married and have a family.

    I have to say there are other problems with this economy. Women are suffering worse as the jobs market improves since men are gaining more employment.

  • lovelost

    @Susan
    In my view, that means seeking a life partner like it’s your job the minute you graduate, if you haven’t already found him.

    I know this for women, but from a Man’s POV, how long after graduation you should try or when it is the time to give up?

  • Lokland

    @JH, dragnet

    ” (ie, “Are you sure about this?”, “You’re too young!”, “You’re going to regret this!”, etc).”

    +1 to this being a problem;

    I got engaged when I was 24, married at late 26.
    People still try and tell me I’m to young, it will never work etc.

    Never my family or friends but some acquaintances treat me like I voluntary stab myself with HIV infected needles and that they are really doing me a favour by telling me it will end in divorce.

  • Mike M.

    Susan, as a certifiable arch-conservative, I disagree slightly.

    The problem isn’t so much women marrying early or late, it’s the idea of marrying on a timetable. A woman open to the idea of marriage early has a lot more time to look for a Grade-A husband.

  • Josie88

    @ Dragnet,

    I think that both men and women has less options as they get older.

    Unless an older man is reasonable young enough, attractive, and established, no young girl would want to date him because she has options.

    I think I read somewhere that the older a man gets, the more money he should have in order to attractive a much younger woman. For each years he ages, he should add about 10,000 dollars to his salary if he wants a much younger woman or a hot young woman.

  • Anacaona

    Never my family or friends but some acquaintances treat me like I voluntary stab myself with HIV infected needles and that they are really doing me a favour by telling me it will end in divorce.
    +1000
    I sincerely think that humans are made to shame and when you cannot shame one side you shame the opposite. You cannot shame people that wait too long anymore so the onus of shame is the ones that marry too young regardless of individual circumstances, YMMV

  • Josie88

    @ Susan and HUS men

    If men are so picky when it comes to making a girl his girlfriend or wife, why are they so afraid to break up with their girlfriend or wife if they got options?

    I ran into this loser that I dated for almost year when I was an inexperience, naive sophomore in college. It turns out that he had a girlfriend the whole time. I am glad that I was wise enough to dumped him.

    Anyways, he told me that he was too much of a nice guy to break up with her and that she was a psycho would had scorned both of us to death. He wanted us to be together, but he was too nice to break up with her. He told me that I should had been patience, and had his baby because he did planned to make me his girlfriend eventually after his girlfriend breaks up with him.

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    As far as I can tell, marriage is a poor joke now.

    The cultural programming is so strong: “Marriage is romantic!”, “Marriage is love!”, “Marriage is what real men do!”, etc., that they don’t see that it is really just an agreement where a man puts himself under the absolute power of his wife, and that wife can severely punish him for any reason. To make matters worse, any hope of sexual release is destroyed unless he runs absolutely tight game. He has to fulfill his traditional responsibilities of provision and protection, but he gets no authority, because the wife can revoke it at any moment and destroy him.

    One should have a clear-eyed view about what they’re agreeing to.

    • @Crisis

      I don’t know if you’ve been married, but many of us here have had a very different experience. What I might potentially be able to do to my husband of 28 years is irrelevant, as we have a marriage where no one punishes, sex is frequent and mutually satisfying, and hubby is a greater beta who thinks of game as something vaguely related to my blog.

      The data is clear – married men are much happier in their lives than single or cohabitating men.

      WADR, it sounds like you’re relying on anecdotal data from the manosphere. That’s an insidious form of cultural programming.

  • ExNewYorker

    @Josie88
    If men are so picky when it comes to making a girl his girlfriend or wife, why are they so afraid to break up with their girlfriend or wife if they got options?

    I ran into this loser that I dated for almost year when I was an inexperience, naive sophomore in college.

    So this loser managed to have two girlfriends for nearly a year. Why would he need to be picky if it managed to get him a mini-harem for nearly a year?

    “Y sigue la burra al trigo”, as they say where I spent a lot of my childhood…

  • Josie88

    When I first met, I had been single for almost 4 years. No one asked me out to the prom or for the last two years of high school and no one asked me out for the first two years in college.

    I was a shy, insecure, naive girl who was still depressed about that sleazy guy that dumped me. I avoided parties, so it was difficult to meet anyone.

    The loser approached me, told me that he was single, and flattered me with attention. he told me that I was beautiful, and after being single for 4 years, I was vulnerable.

    He just never talked to me about his girlfriend, and he would text me to hang out every other weekends until his girlfriend show up at his place by surprise. I went home for the summer break, and he told me that it was over between them. Another lied he fed me!!!

    Finally, when I was invited over to his place before winter break, only to discovered that she had her things there. He told me that she just needed a place to live, temporary. Another lie!!!

    So I broke it off with him before spring break, when it turns out that they had been living together and she text me to leave her boyfriend alone. I even changed my number.

    Urgg, I hate how naive I was!!! I just trusted him, because I wanted to be love and believe that all guys are good guys. Learned my lesson there.

  • Josie88

    I guess I went along with it because we were already hooking up, but he told me that he just wanted to get to know me better before we get into a relationship. He basically strung me along. I had high hope!!!

    It wasn’t like we were hanging out every day, it was just twice a month or every other weekend. I wanted to hang out more but, he teases me about being too clingy and I wanted to be cool.

    I realized one thing, this guy is a total loser and I had move on with my life. I feel sorry for him because his girlfriend took their baby and is now with another man.

  • szopen

    @Josie88
    Most of guys and most of girls ARE good. It’s the minority that you have to be aware of. BTW, you may consider change sligtly you nick, as some oversensitive people may think that the 88 references to your political views and more importantly, you may attract some people on internet you wouldn’t want to attract.

  • Lokland

    @Josie

    Despite your insistence that he is a loser he did;
    – have sex with 2 women concurrently
    – have a child
    – that he is no longer responsible for raising leaving him free to find another woman

    So

    “If men are so picky when it comes to making a girl his girlfriend or wife, why are they so afraid to break up with their girlfriend or wife if they got options?”

    Its not fear merely logic. Having two women is better than one, he never intended to break up with his girlfriend.

  • Lokland

    @Crisis

    “any hope of sexual release is destroyed unless he runs absolutely tight game. ”

    Women are biologically designed to seek out high value and then retain that high value.

    If it takes a man any game to get laid by his wife his;
    Value has dropped
    or
    She has found higher value

    Not allowing ones value to drop is not particularly difficult, actually its quite easy.

    Don’t be a doormat and don’t get fat. Simple really.

    If its the second he never should have married her in the first place.

  • dragnet

    @ Josie88

    “I think that both men and women has less options as they get older.”

    Agree and disagree. I think women have, generally, fewer options as they age while men, generally, have more options as they grow older (only up to a certain age, obviously).

    I definitely agree with the notion that young marriages are less stable due the greater options that young beautiful women, but I don’t think that’s whole story. I think there is a lot of cultural pressure that helps to destroy these unions. Would be nice to have a researcher tackle the question—controlling for other factors, of course.

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    @ Susan

    Your husband and many other posters here are extremely fortunate, then. I’m just pointing to the general situation: the incredible leeway that the system gives to wives who want to punish their husbands on a whim. The fact is that by marrying, I place myself under my wife’s absolute control, with little recourse.

    Just as one wouldn’t entrust absolute power to a government official who just says “trust me,” I wouldn’t even give the kindest, loveliest yamato nadeshiko total control of my financial future.

    • I’m just pointing to the general situation: the incredible leeway that the system gives to wives who want to punish their husbands on a whim. The fact is that by marrying, I place myself under my wife’s absolute control, with little recourse.

      You can reduce that risk to zero, or something close to it, by selecting a mate carefully. Regardless of the system, human nature gives husbands ample ways of causing their wives great pain and devastation.

      Of course you are free to remain ummarried. But that has a cost as well, as evidenced by the very consistent data. No human being can be loved without making themselves vulnerable.

      The point is that marriage is not a joke to the vast majority of people who live it – with love and respect. Regardless of how you feel about family law in the United States, I and many others will go on living married life to the fullest. I cannot imagine life without my husband. He has the power to destroy my life, but he will not do so.

  • Ian

    Mike C:  the problem isn’t so much women marrying early or late, it’s the idea of marrying on a timetable. A woman open to the idea of marriage early has a lot more time to look for a Grade-A husband.

    That grazes what’s interesting to me about the topic – the choices made by those with the most power to choose. What percent of men are “Grade A”, and what is that subset’s average marriage age? Do beautiful, obese, or average women marry sooner? What traits coincide with late or early marriage, does a dirth of mate-buying power make women focus on careers instead?

    OP:  …men are increasingly using female earning potential as a selection criterion for marriage, a woman who brings income to that table reduces the burden on the male…when men are experiencing economic decline…Men are marrying women who earn more.

    A smidge greasy, but the most troubling sociological thing I’ve read recently was that “MILF” was the most searched-for term on American pornography engines. What, in a dark room, would make a man search for that term over literally all other (aesthetic) options? To me, it seems like a complete, crackless internalization of a woman-(mother?)-dominated life. 

    Bradley Cooper and the 20-year old makes perfect sense to me, but this MILF stuff makes it seem like the Bodies have already been Snatched.

    Crisis:  The cultural programming is so strong:…they don’t see that it is really just an agreement where a man puts himself under the absolute power of his wife, and that wife can severely punish him for any reason…He has to fulfill his traditional responsibilities of provision and protection, but he gets no authority, because the wife can revoke it at any moment and destroy him.

    Simple question: Who will raise your sons if not their father? If it’s a fact that men fare worse in a modern society without their biological father in the household, then it’s a fact that the decline of men goes hand-in-hand with the decline of marriage.

    If you’d like your arguments and actions to be irrelevant to human history in 50 years, don’t have sons. If you’d like your sons to be sensitive, mumbling, hat-backwards MILF-watchers with marijuana-leaves tattooed over their broken little hearts, have sons out of wedlock. If you’d like to take a chance at positioning your genes above the tide, take a wife and act like it’s still 1000 years ago.

    Fearing consequences and wishing for (someone else) to lessen the dangers of an act, is powerless, crippling sensitivity. Risk it all on a one turn of pitch-and-toss, then lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breath a word about your loss.

    • If you’d like your arguments and actions to be irrelevant to human history in 50 years, don’t have sons. If you’d like your sons to be sensitive, mumbling, hat-backwards MILF-watchers with marijuana-leaves tattooed over their broken little hearts, have sons out of wedlock. If you’d like to take a chance at positioning your genes above the tide, take a wife and act like it’s still 1000 years ago.

      Brilliant.

  • J

    Are young marriages more successful in communities where there is greater social support for them? I would be interested to know if any researchers have looked at this angle.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I live near a community of Lubavitcher Hasidim. They tend to marry young, but, as young adults, they are also far more mature than the average American 20-something. Although they party hardy amongst themselves, the boys aren’t spending their 20s getting high or picking up girls in clubs. The girls, by 20, have already assisted in bringing up younger sibs and know how to run a home in which a large family lives. They come from homes that not only preach family values, but they have had conscious intruction in how to get along with others and have seen their parents’ marriages work by following certain rules. They tend to be far less selfish than average. Their marriages tend to last. I imagine that there are other subcultures that are similar, but I can’t imagine that the average American college student is anywhere near as well prepared to succeed in a marriage.

  • J

    @Josie

    Water under the bridge; you’ll be more aware next time.

  • J

    I don’t know if you’ve been married, but many of us here have had a very different experience. What I might potentially be able to do to my husband of 28 years is irrelevant, as we have a marriage where no one punishes, sex is frequent and mutually satisfying, and hubby is a greater beta who thinks of game as something vaguely related to my blog.

    Similar story here, Crisis. DH and I have been together over a quarter of a century, no punishment, no dread, frequent and mutually satisfying sex, been together through the bad times, still having good times, two great sons. People can and do build lives together.

  • Josie

    @Dragnet

    It is true that as a woman gets older, she does has less options than a man about the same generation as her.

    Although men should be more realistic. If you are a 40 year old man targeting a 16 year old, there is something creepy about it despite your desires for a youthful wife.

    This is why there are so many dysfuntional women, because older men were preying upon them in their teens.

    If you are 70, no 20 something girl would want to be with you unless if you are rich. If you happened to be rich, best to rent them instead of buying them.

    Honestly, a man in his 30 – 40s that targets girls in their 20s must be some what attractive and is already established.

  • Josie

    Anyways, my complaint is much more different:

    Did I miss an oppurtunity? He is at about 32 years old, tells me that I had always been the one, and that he plans to buy a wedding ring for us soon if I gave him a second chance. Before I walked away, he told me that he loves me and will wait for me.

    I am really happy with my cute, beta boyfriend that treats me well but he is in his early 20s like me. He probably had no desires to get married anytime soon.

    No, I had no desires to married this man who had misled me for about 1. He has two baby mamas in his youth with his long term girlfriends, but now he is ready for marriage.

    or, am I being trick again!!!

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    @ Susan, J, and others

    Good on all of you. Perhaps we need to hear more about marriages like y’all’s and how they’re done. I actually feel a little more optimistic, though I must remain vigilant.

    • @Crisis

      I actually feel a little more optimistic, though I must remain vigilant.

      That is wise. I’m glad we could offer a different perspective. Take it with a grain of salt – take everything you read online with a grain of salt!

  • CrisisEraDynamo

    As Charles Murray said about the elite classes of American society, they don’t preach what they practice.

  • Anacaona

    @Jossie88

    First if you have a boyfriend you shouldn’t be talking to this man at all. Block his e-mail, facebook account and if mutual friends talk about him let them know that you don’t want to talk about him. Zero tolerance works very well in this cases,YMMV.

    or, am I being trick again!!!
    He is auditioning you for the job of baby mama #3. A leopard doesn’t change spots.

  • dragnet

    @ J

    Thanks for weighing in—what you said made a lot of sense.

    “I can’t imagine that the average American college student is anywhere near as well prepared to succeed in a marriage.”

    I don’t disagree with this…but I don’t think it’s a contradiction to believe also that young marriages would have lower divorce rates if there was less ambient hostility toward their unions from the broader culture to go with the more local undermining of those unions from family/friends. This is why would it would be nice to have more than anecdotal data on this…but oh well.

  • dragnet

    @ Josie

    “This is why there are so many dysfuntional women, because older men were preying upon them in their teens.”

    Oh come on. Really? Sources? Anything more than your feelings/anecdotes??

  • ExNewYorker

    @Josie
    “No, I had no desires to married this man who had misled me for about 1. He has two baby mamas in his youth with his long term girlfriends, but now he is ready for marriage.
    or, am I being trick again!!!”

    This was you earlier comment:
    “I realized one thing, this guy is a total loser and I had move on with my life.”

    Since you already know he is a loser, why isn’t this just a simple case of doing what Anacaona recommends?

    “First if you have a boyfriend you shouldn’t be talking to this man at all. Block his e-mail, facebook account and if mutual friends talk about him let them know that you don’t want to talk about him.”

  • Holy Basil

    “This is why there are so many dysfuntional women, because older men were preying upon them in their teens.”

    Ha! Unfortunately the ones preying on us were never from the ethnic demographics that age the best. It was always from the demographic that looks 40 at 28, 47 at 35 and 54 at 40.

    Ladies, if you must go older, choose from the demographic that will look 35 at 50.

  • My parents got married when they were 25. It was clearly too early given their petulant behaviour post-divorce. On the other hand, neither became adults until about 55 years of age.

  • OffTheCuff

    Ooooo, all white men, look 12 years older than they really are. So slick. We wouldn’t want to make any unfair racial stereotypes, would we? That would be racist. Some have to dance around them indirectly.

    The reason is: being the devil incarnate ages us white men. Evil is hard work and takes it toll! Thats why all non-white non-men look their age, but we don’t. 🙁

    What do I do if a 24-year old targets me? I’m so confused. Do I have to kill her, you know, being evil and all?

  • Holy Basil

    “We wouldn’t want to make any unfair racial stereotypes, would we? That would be racist. Some have to dance around them indirectly.”

    Bring it!!!

    “The reason is: being the devil incarnate ages us white men. Evil is hard work and takes it toll!”

    Don’t shoot the messenger. Shoot the God of MMC.

    Has nothing to do with being evil and all to do with melanin, muscle and collagen.

    Divide the world map up by regions according to how people age and you’ll see what I mean.

    The paler the skin, the worse one will age, all else being, heh, “equal”.

    {And why on earth would you interpret a physicality comment to have anything to do with character? Unless you equate looks and character yourself, which would give us a glimpse into your character. Did I hear “shallow” from the bleacher seats?}

  • Ah, who needs melanin? Since I’ve only ever slept with younger white women, we’re in the same aging boat anyway. The browner folks can go do whoever they like.

  • szopen

    @OTC

    , all white men, look 12 years older than they really are

    Except us lucky Slavic guys :-D. Really, seems that a lot of Slavic guys feature a ot of childish features.

    I am 36 and some still think I am in my late 20s 🙂 When I was late 20s, I was called “sweet little boy” more times than I could count.

  • Holy Basil

    Szopen, are Albanians “slavic”?

    I recently gained an Albanian client and OMG – super handsome (and sweeeeeet natured).

  • szopen

    @Holy Basil
    They are not, though they, obviously may have a lot of Slavic genes. In Kosovo particularly – in XIX century there was category “Slavic muslims”, which mostly disappeared by XX century. Serbs are claiming they were cleansed and Albanians breed like a rabbits, but more likely is that Slavic muslims simply assimilated into Albanian community.

    BUt seriously, I have read and heard people claiming that “childish features” is something typical for Slavics. THis, and some say Slavics look like a “deaf” people, which I cannot understand (do deaf people have some typical look?!?).

    Of course, YMMV. Especially between northern and southern Slavs – southern Slavs have a lot of other types which are very rare in the northern Slavic countries.

  • sestamibi

    “Of course, the discussion is academic – we will not return to that era because neither women nor men want it.”

    Um, no. Some women and men DO in fact want it, and they will survive and breed while the rest flounder throughout their lives and die alone. Social Darwinism’s a bitch, ain’t it?

  • J

    Good on all of you. Perhaps we need to hear more about marriages like y’all’s and how they’re done. I actually feel a little more optimistic, though I must remain vigilant.

    It’s no big secret. You have to behave (not just feel or say) as though the other spouse’s wellbeing is as important as your own. And there needs to be mutual respect. The rest falls into place.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Crisis.
    Ref the elites not preaching what they practice.
    See Myron Magnet, “The Dream and The Nightmare”
    The lower SES practice what the elites preach–if it feels good….–but without, as Magnet says, an anchor to windward in the form of an education, money, connections. If the elites go the feel-good route, they can climb back when necessary. Not the lower SES.