The idea that men are scared of marriage is an urban legend. One that needs to go away. Sure it’s as important for men as it is for women to sow their wild oats before getting fenced into a beautiful pasture. However, it’s actually the opposite. In my opinion, we all need to grow and experience things like heartbreak at least once to know what it feels like. Of course there’s nothing wrong with marrying your high school sweetheart and living happily ever after too. But if you haven’t had that feeling of losing someone you wanted to wake up next to forever, then how can you know what it feels like to be on the giving end of breaking a heart? Men are not scared of marriage though.
Men WANT TO MARRY THEIR FIRST LOVE.
Don’t forget Romeo & Juliet was written by a Man. Men have intense and diversely layered emotions and feelings of love like women. In many societies they’re told to hide it. Repress it. Disguise it. Turn it into rage and energy for sports, or motivation for war. To “soldier up” and “boys don’t cry.”
Don’t be fooled. Men want to marry the first girl they kissed playing spin the bottle in 6th grade. The one they prayed the bottle would stop on and when it did their heart skipped a beat and was never the same again. But then she went for Joey because he surfed remember?
The high school sweetheart.
The college coed.
The first real girlfriend who moved in with you after college… The one that got away. The librarian.
Any of them. All of them. When men fall in love they fall just as hard as women. They dream about 2 kids and a dog and a cat just as much as women do. It’s only natural. It’s biology. It’s what makes most of us truly happy, or truly fulfilled.
Wake up ladies. We wanted to marry you, too! But here’s the real shocker: YOU WEREN’T READY EITHER. To understand why some might argue men are afraid of commitment and fatherhood let’s break it down.
First real girlfriends happen around: 12 to 18
First girlfriends like to play games. So do their friends. Remember all that fuss about who was “going out” with who and how complicated it was in junior high or high school? Lots of influence from peers. Lots of confusion. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t or didn’t want to marry you. It just means there’s likely too many awkward factors at this age.
Second real girlfriends are typically: 18-22
Second real girlfriends need to experience life. This age tends to be a “party phase” with college or college aged people. Many countries observe 18 as the legal drinking age. Some are even 16 like the UK, but here in the USA it’s 21 to drink alcohol legally. 18-22 is a growing and experiential phase. Many people experiment with everything from sex and drugs to music and traveling. It’s a time to spread your wings, leave your hometown, and try new things. It’s not the best time for boys or young men to get married. Some do though. Some of those marriages last forever. But for the majority it’s a time to try out many things before the settling down phase. But for those who settle down and live happily ever after it just proves men are not afraid of marriage.
I know men in their 40’s that married the first girl they ever slept with and they are still married today. It does happen. What most people like to disregard however is that it takes work. Relationships are work. Those who work at them and never give up on them will last. Sometimes that work involves third party professionals, strong support groups and peer support. To that point, a man can settle down at 18-22, but it might involve a little work to maintain it.
Third girlfriend’s are between: 22-27
Third time is the charm, right?! Your first serious relationship after college. That relationship is a fantastic experience. At this age you know what makes and breaks a relationship. Living with someone full-time is a test to see what married life would be like. However, sometimes expectations get in the way. In my opinion the key to handling expectations and living together is open and honest communication and planning so you can grow together.
Fourth girlfriends are generally ages: 27-35
I’d say 27-35 is the perfect time for most men to find “Mrs. Right.” But at the same time, why should we put that pressure on ourselves? Yes, biologically men tend to only live to be around 80 years old. However, many men in my opinion should be having children in their 40’s. That’s when men typically have themselves figured out. Fuck the pressure of a career and all that stuff. Of course it’s important for them to have stability, work, and provide for a family. But let’s be frank: Isn’t it more important for them to have their personal issues and self work done before committing to marriage and fatherhood?
I believe a man can be ready for commitment at any age. It just depends on the man, what he wants, and who he is committing to. If he commits to his high school sweetheart at 18 years old is she going to allow him to grow? Or will she smother his dreams and passions and keep him from experiencing his own social circle and support group that will likely help him to become a great husband and father?
Let me explain men and settling down further: Cheating.
We are afraid of the same things you are: cheating and not being fulfilled long-term.
Let’s be honest, we are scared to get our hearts broken just like you. It’s not just men who cheat. More than 50% of women cheat in all relationships too. Many times in loveless or bitter marriages. So who can blame them? Not me. At the same time many men are stuck in marriages with a raging sex drive and a wife who would rather do other things, or just isn’t interested in them anymore. But why should people suffer? Maybe that’s where options of safe, legal, and openly discussed sex work or connections outside the marriage come in? Some people do things to keep their partners happy. It’s not discussed publicly but maybe we should talk about it more openly.
I’m 40 and I still want to have sex daily. Morning and night. I think it’s genetics. My dad was known to be a bit of a lion in the bedroom. Does that mean I expect sex everyday? No. But there’s a happy medium. Would I be able to stay in marriage or relationship that I didn’t get what my body needed? Not likely. Would I substitute it a couple of times a week with a massage parlor as long as my wife/partner was cool with it? Maybe. It’s all about communication, discussion and progression.
When there isn’t communication and people are unhappy or sexually unfulfilled, the natural reaction for many is to cheat. I’d prefer to just break up, but that’s just me.
Statistically nobody really knows the exact percentage of people who cheat. Studies have suggested that around 20% of people in committed relationships cheat on their partner. But who admits to it? What percentage of people never get caught? Do men cheat on women more, or do men just not hide it as well?
That prompts a series of others questions like: what does each person consider cheating? There are many different definitions of cheating so how can we even quantify the numbers? Why should we? What if we could focus more attention on what makes people happy? With the normalization of polyamory, polygamy, swingers, fluid genders, fluid coupling: there’s too many things to list; cheating and happiness all comedown to you and your partner.
Should we even call it cheating anymore? Maybe it’s not discussed enough, but what if a woman wants to stay married to a man that she isn’t into having sex with anymore, or just can’t provide it daily as some men prefer? What if she’s ok with him going to a “massage parlor” once a week? How many marriages would that save? My guess is millions. But again there’s the fear that comes along with that. So many complexities.
Do I believe in cheating… no. I don’t. Does that mean I’ve been perfect all of my life? Almost. I did it once when I was young. I’m not a cheater though. I just don’t see the point. I did it once out of necessity when I was a teenager. I needed to break free of my first girlfriend. She was/is amazing and we are still like family to this day. But we’d been together since I was 16. She was really attached. She wanted to marry me. Lock it down. At 19! I wasn’t. I needed to see the world. Spread my wings and fly. I tried to break up with her a few times but the way she reacted got a little scary. I didn’t know what else to do. So I did it. I purposely let her catch me. It was hard because girls/women can use many things to get you back and make veil threats. She eventually realized what I needed: to taste the rainbow.
Thankfully I never cheated again. I love with my whole heart. When I say “I love you” to a woman I am all or nothing. Ride or die. Unless you break my heart or fuck up first. Like having a “transition boyfriend” for instance.
The Transition Boyfriend
Oh come on ladies we know you know what a transition boyfriend is. It’s another reason we have a hard time committing to you.
It’s when you’re together with someone and you meet someone more exciting on the side. Then, you transition your old boyfriend out. This works sometimes without anybody noticing other than your closest girlfriends, boyfriend and the guy you want to marry or transition in. Here’s a hypothetical: Let’s say this was us. You and your first boyfriend were together and then we met. You fell for me, left him and we got engaged. When he found out he showed up at our house and cried on our front porch. I had proposed to you so I stayed with you for another year and a half after that. But how could I not help myself from thinking when the next transition boyfriend was going to arrive? I spent a year paying off the vintage diamond engagement ring I got for you and at the end of the year when I was going to make the last payment you broke up with me to be single. Can I blame you though? I wasn’t ready either, but I would have been because I wanted to be with you. Instead I went on my own path and so did you… Beware of the “transition bf/gf types” y’all.
The last reason that I’m not afraid of marriage or commitment is the most important reason and many men will agree: Expectations.
For the last time, we aren’t scared of committing to you. We’re afraid that we can never live up to the expectations you have put on yourself, your dream life and finding the perfect husband and likely father. Think about the pressure and expectations those things put on us.
A lot of women have a crazy idea of what their husband is supposed to be. It feels like having to be in three places doing three different things at the same time. If you read the things women list on their dating profiles to find a boyfriend you would be blown away. They want a go getter career guy that makes money. Who will be a dotting father/ husband that’s home all the time. A partner who does cool things with them but also acts as the soccer team coach. Think about the pressure that puts on a man. Where is there any time for him? When does he have time to work on himself or self care?
Many women also expect their husband to replace their dad or father figure, who in their eyes is bigger than life itself. Their dream guy is supposed to walk into their lives and not only become their best friend, the perfect partner, the family doctor, therapist and mediator; but they’re also supposed to replace their almost God like dad.
To use a visual metaphor: The pressure put on men surrounding the idea and time of marriage is exceeding the weight at the bottom beams of the Eiffel Tower.
Literally. That’s what it feels like. Can you think about how frightening that is? Can you blame men for not wanting to attempt marriage, or put it off as long as possible?
I am not just talking about my own personal experiences, I’m talking about experiences and stories I’ve heard from people firsthand and seen in history.
Even the idea of a father’s blessing can be a stressful situation. Think about how hard it is to ask for that man’s blessing to replace him as the main man in her life? Sure in a welcoming environment that might be easy. In other family dynamics that might be the hardest thing a man will ever garner the courage to do in his life.
Father and daughter relationships can create a lot of pressure. Google Oedipus complex. I’ve seen it firsthand, the unhealthy obsession a woman puts on herself to find someone just like her father. And likewise boys/men can do the same with their mothers. Freud and Jung weren’t joking about those naturally occurring complex emotional stages and reactions many humans experience.
The most common form of pressure men speak about regarding marriage is the pressure to provide. Most recently the men-women paradox we have entered for our generation is women becoming the “bread winners” and there being less opportunities available for men financially in their careers. Or women having better educations and faster career climbs.
In previous generations like our grandfathers, they worked full-time. Back then, before inflation and the rise of rampant capitalism, one man’s income would provide enough for the whole family to buy an average house, a couple cars, and live a middle-class life. Not anymore.
Many times it’s not even possible with the wife/partner working full-time as well. The system has changed. And it hasn’t benefited the average person. It’s benefited the top 10% and that’s about it.
Add that pressure to the old cliché story of “Keeping up with the Joneses” that every man thinks about before marriage. I guarantee you, most men think about that nearly every single day of his life. Men don’t talk about it. They bury it down and drink it away, or do other things. They stress about it on a daily basis wondering how they can make enough money to create a lifestyle that’s going to keep someone happy.
This is a serious peril and dilemma I believe our society is in. Expectations too high for a society that has categorized men and stereotyped them for too long. The old guard is change. The new more evolved men are emerging but they need support and acceptance to live these new roles.
Let’s change the idea that men are afraid of commitment, marriage and fatherhood, and confront the reasons it seems that way. Collectively we should figure out how to take the pressure off of the ideals of marriage, and create better dialogue to maintain healthier relationships.
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