#2. Divorce is Terrifying
There is no avoiding divorce. Even if you never go through it yourself, you see it everywhere. My mother has been divorced and remarried so many times, I've legitimately lost count. To this day, I can't remember the last name of her third husband. My dad did the same thing. Most of my friends in high school came from single parent households. In my extended family, I can think of five couples who are still married to their first spouse.
Some have better reasons than others.
We cannot go through life without witnessing, first hand, the brutal hell of a breakup on that level. We see what it does to kids caught in the crossfire. And the friends who are forced to choose a side. And family members who have grown to love the removed party, and now have to shun them for the sake of their blood relative. And then you have the media putting statistics on it.
They're in the nightly news. They're in political ad campaigns, preaching that America needs to get back to "old-fashioned family values." They're in newspapers and Sociology classes and talks around the water cooler at work. I'm pretty sure I heard my 6-year-old daughter playing a game of "Divorce Lawyer" last weekend, though that could have very well been an extension of her normal game of, "Spouse Murder Trial." It's hard to tell -- they all blend together after a while.
"Your honor, I would like to submit as evidence, the actual corpses of the slain."
The most common stat we hear is that 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. If you remarry, the numbers get more depressing: 60-67 percent. Third marriages: 70-73 percent. I'm guessing the fourth time you get to the altar, you just burst into flames right when you say, "I do."
After hearing those stats, we tend to weave it onto our idea of "inevitable breakup" that I mentioned earlier. And unfortunately, our fears have now been backed up with solid numbers: We are doomed to failure the second we propose. Men don't typically argue with math. Math fights dirty. It cuts.
So going into the relationship, assuming things will end badly, we look into the future and see even more horrifying statistics. If we have kids, we can pretty much kiss them goodbye when the divorce happens. Mothers end up with the children 84 percent of the time. If alimony is awarded, it's probably going to be us paying it -- 97 percent of all alimony payments are made by men.
"Here you go. I wrapped it around my own shit."
Now, obviously, some of these stats are skewed, and the reasoning behind them is fairly logical. As that article points out, men typically make about 25 percent more than women of the same age. And as far as custody, only 33 percent of men even want to have sole custody of their children. But we don't see that part. We see dark, black, looming numbers forecasting the end of our financial lives, and we see those numbers reflected in real life demonstrations on a daily basis.
So how do we deal with it? We avoid the problem altogether by staying as far away from marriage as humanly possible. We can't be a statistic if we're not a part of the group they're studying.
#1. Loss of Power
Men, like most other animals, are territorial. Our apartment is fucking ours. The mess is our mess. The chaos on top of our computer desk is exactly the way we want it. Nobody can tell us what to do -- we put those posters of Wolverine on the wall, and goddammit, nobody can make us take them down. Not even Wolverine.
Introduce a woman into the mix, and suddenly our bed sheets need to be washed more than once a year. The blanket hanging over the windows needs to be replaced with actual curtains. Underwear doesn't go on the floor. It goes in the hamper. Wait, what the hell is a hamper, and when did I get one?
"Hey, what are you doing to my mold?!"
But it's not all just about cleaning -- there are plenty of men out there who are meticulous in their apartment's hygiene. But even though the living style is different, the same message applies: "It's mine. Don't fuck with it." We see any woman's touch in the decor as emasculating, and that scares us.
After my fiance moved in, it took me over a year to stop referring to our place as "my apartment." And I'm not a very materialistic or selfish person. It's just that the average man has trouble coming to terms with the idea of "sharing everything equally." We still think of the money from our jobs as my paycheck, even though (as I've brought up in another article) both people are sharing all of the living expenses and mutual ups and downs together.
"Mmmmm ... one thing I know for sure: This will never smell like your fingers."
But what scares us even more is observing our married friends, and misinterpreting the husband's reactions to questions that used to require no thought. When we ask him if he wants to go out and grab a beer with us, and he replies with, "Sure, just let me run it by the wife real quick," we see him as imprisoned. As if everything he does requires permission from a secondary mother.
We don't see it for what it really is: a simple act of courtesy. Making sure that you both don't have prior plans. Or you're not hurting for money this week. Or that the kids don't have something that requires your attention. No, instead, we give him shit. "Sure, sure. You just go ask your mommy, and we'll be over here having a good time like grown fucking men."
Picturing ourselves in that situation is like trying to imagine the rest of our lives being reverted back to our six year old selves. Living our lives the way someone else dictates.
"She ... said no."
But as irrational as some of these fears may seem to you, at least they're honest and not some writer's bullshit assumption, picturing what they think the average guy is like (probably based on what they saw on TV when they were growing up). And if you do happen to be in a relationship with the rare "marriage ruins my fucking" guy, it's probably time to reevaluate your taste in men. A cocksucker like that doesn't deserve you in the first place.
For more Cheese, check out 5 Parental Dick Moves You Hate (Until You're a Parent) and 5 Unexpected Causes of Awkward Conversations With Your Kids.