November 2nd, 2007

Getting married: what’s in it for me? (Part II)

[Part I here.]

Marriage is an institution that is virtually universal across all cultures and throughout recorded history, but for most of that time it was an institution far different than it is today. One constant in Western (and many other) cultures was that it was an economic arrangement of major importance and even of necessity for most people.

Think about the ramifications of that fact. It meant that marriage had clear benefits to each party that made it a rare thing for a person not to be married. Whether the marriage was de jure or only de facto (so-called common law marriage), whether a civil ceremony or a religious sacrament, the roles of husband and wife were more clearly differentiated and defined, and more necessary to each other.

Understanding that everything I say here is a mere generalization, and that individual differences always occurred—as well as changes over time—the basic bargain during the late 1800s and much of the 1900s was this: marriage provided the man with sexual access to a woman in exchange for his financial support, whereas it allowed both to have children who were raised primarily by her and supported by him. As I said, there were many exceptions, especially among the very poor (mothers having to work) and the very rich (children raised by servants). But I’ve described the basic template, which was in the form of a quid pro quo.

This is not to say, of course, that women did not often enjoy sex, or that they didn’t sometimes come to the marriage with some money as well—the dowry was just such an institution. And marriages were often economic alliances between two families, as well as two people, so that the families had a stake in the continuation of the union.

Earlier, both spouses had more equal economic, work-related contributions. For example, in farm families, both adults had an enormous load of chores that kept them busy from sunrise to sunset, and the work of each was necessary for the smooth functioning of the family enterprise. The spouses needed each other, not just in an emotional way (part of what we call love) but in a survival sense. The children were raised, especially when young, with hands-on care mostly by the mother. This was necessitated by certain biological considerations such as breast-feeding, and the fact that more of the woman’s economic work (sewing, cooking) was tied to the home, where the children could be more easily minded.

Divorce was relatively rare during the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, at least in the legal sense. Of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The poor man’s (or woman’s) divorce was through desertion, whereas in the case of the very wealthy both spouses often had affairs with the knowledge of the other and yet remained married for practical and social reasons—a sort of emotional divorce. Also, since the death rate of even relatively young people was much higher in those days—particularly for women in childbirth—people often had a series of spouses throughout a lifetime without ever having gotten divorced.

Within this structure, one check on divorce was that society frowned on it. There were often social penalties for the divorced and for their children. During most of the 1800s, if a women wanted out of a marriage, there was the additional check that she was extremely likely to lose her children, who were considered the property of the father.

This changed towards the latter part of the 1800s. As usual in the law, these new legal principles at first reflected changes that were already occurring in society:

Several major historical trends converged to weaken this paternal presumption in the late 1800’s, including society’s increasing focus on children’s welfare, and the effects of the industrial revolution. As fathers increasingly sought work beyond the farm or village, mothers remained at home as primary caretakers. The resultant division of family responsibilities into wage earner and child nurturer influenced subsequent custody decisions. The paternal preference was gradually replaced by a maternal preference, based on the “tender years” presumption.

In general, the new idea was that children were no longer the property of either spouse, but were entities in their own right worthy of having the best possible emotional start in life. Even back when I was in college, the “tender years” maternal presumption still held sway, which was the idea was that women were better suited to raise young children. And the reality at the time was that most of the rearing of young children fell to women as a rule anyway, so the “tender years” doctrine was merely a continuation of the status quo.

During the 60s and 70s, a period of so much societal transition, this presumption increasingly came to be replaced by a new doctrine, the “best welfare of the child.” Custody was not awarded automatically to the mother, but instead to whichever parent was deemed more capable of best furthering the child’s welfare. This was not a form of men’s rights or women’s rights, but was seen as a childs’ rights issue.

As with most reforms in the murky and difficult area of divorce and child custody, the “reform” created new problems. The first one was lack of clarity; it became more difficult to predict who would get custody, and increased the frequency of disputes over the issue. It also had the effect of promising something to men it never delivered—because in actuality, applying the new doctrine meant that most often women still received custody anyway. This was usually the result of the fact that the mother was already the primary caregiver in most cases, and the court felt that continuity of care would naturally be in the child’s best interests.

This meant that a whole new set of facts came into play for many fathers: they felt the law promised them parity in child custody but failed to deliver. Nevertheless, they were still required to pay child support, for children they only saw rarely, if at all. At the same time, many of the social and economic underpinnings that made divorce rare and marriage a necessity were being lost. As more women entered the workplace, it became more possible for women to survive economically on their own, even though they ordinarily still received less pay than men.

I’ve been unable to get a definitive answer on the question of whether the percentage of divorces initiated by women (which is usually reported as being about two-thirds) went up with the advent of women’s economic independence and the no-fault divorce. But my strong sense is that it did, and that there is now a much higher number of women who initiate divorce not for the traditional reasons such as a husband’s affair or desertion, but for the much more poorly defined reason that they are unhappy in their marriages. And if they do so in greater numbers now, it’s because they can; each spouse is far more able to survive on his/her own.

Of course, it’s not strictly on their own in many cases. It’s commonplace for custodial parents to be awarded child support payments. Statistically, about half of all custodial parents get child support, and the ratio of women to men who are awarded child support payments is about 10 to 1.

The entire situation often puts the non-custodial parent in the position of handing over money to a spouse for the benefit of a child whom he (I’ll use the masculine noun here, because it is by far the most common situation) feels has been taken away unfairly. In addition, he is expected to trust that spouse to use the money solely for the child’s benefit and not for her own pleasure or capricious needs.

That’s a tall order, and requires a level of trust that’s usually not present in a divorce. But it’s made even taller by the fact that our society promotes a narcissistic, “what’s in it for me?” stance on the part of both spouses. The experience of divorce is seen as a loss of property and power—whether the power be over one’s own money, or the power to influence a child. And divorce’s proliferation and relative ease makes it possible for many more spouses to feel the sting of these losses and to blame the legal system for problems that are inherently insoluble. These problems are at least partly a result of the decline of the benefits marriage used to have to all involved, coupled with the greater freedom of both sexes in modern society.

What’s the remedy? Going back to the rule that the child is the property of the man doesn’t cut it, nor does an automatic presumption that a mother is always the best custodial parent. Joint custody has its drawbacks, both for the child and for warring parents who are required to cooperate at a high level of functioning. And children still need to be supported financially by their parents.

I haven’t gone into the women’s side of the equation, but it exists and is as fully justified as the male side. I’ve seen some men who use the threat of taking custody away from the woman in order to get her to drop all financial claims, even though these particular men had no interest in actually raising those children and had been neglectful fathers within the marriage. I’ve seen abusive fathers win custody in certain cases. I’ve seen women who never get the money the court ordered them, even if it was a small amount and the men involved were quite wealthy. And it appears to be true that, despite the perceptions men have of being taken by the system, it’s women who lose more economically in divorce.

That said, it is also my perception that the groundswell of post-divorce dissatisfaction among men that is reflected in the comments to Dr. Helen’s article is very real. It seems to be a result of women’s greater ability to unilaterally leave a marriage they find wanting, and to take the children whom the father is than required to continue to support financially. From this comes the related idea on the part of many divorced men that marriage is a trap, and that men would be best not to enter into it in the first place.

That idea, however, can only flourish in a society in which narcissism has become rampant, and in which marriage’s benefits have shrunk to the point where the institution is already seen by many as mostly a tedious obligation.

What’s marriage needed for these days, anyway? Most people can have plenty of sex without getting married, and even become parents (although out-of-wedlock parenthood does not absolve the parent from the duty of child support on the dissolution of the partner relationship). Most people can support themselves without marriage, as well—at a lower level than they can with a working spouse, it’s true; but still, decently enough. And it’s simpler and easier not to have to cater to the wants and needs of another person.

The benefits of a good marriage—which are very real, and very valuable—seem far more amorphous than they used to be, because they now exist primarily in the realm of the emotional, and because the proliferation of divorce means they can’t be counted upon to last. There’s love, and trust, and companionship. There’s the satisfaction of a shared commitment, the deep and rewarding pleasure of knowing another human being intimately over time. There are still some economic benefits, too. But all of this requires a level of emotional maturity that seems more and more rare these days, and an ability to compromise and to regard the needs of another person as equal (or nearly equal) to one’s own.

It’s a testament to human hope that so many people still enter into marriage at all. But they now commonly enter with a combination of unrealistic emotional expectations and a lack of those very qualities that would allow them to fulfill their expectations of marriage. And, with divorce easy and commonplace, the inequities that were always present in divorces (although the details of those inequities have changed over time) have affected greater and greater portions of society, because more and more people are divorced.

This topic is so large that I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’d like to say, but I’ll close now, with a passage written by commenter sergey:

These frustrations and hostile attitudes to ex-partners are products of dysfunctional culture that made idols from individual rights and comletely severed these rights from obligations. It produces egotists who expect everything from others but do not want give them anything above absolute minimum. Marriage is a litmus test of maturity and socialization, and majority of modern men and women fail this exam.

I’m not quite as pessimistic as sergey, although I think his basic point is correct. And I don’t see the situation changing for the better any time soon. But those who think the courts are to blame, or who think it’s all the fault of one sex or the other—be it men or women—are failing to see the big picture.

105 Responses to “Getting married: what’s in it for me? (Part II)”

  1. Looking Glass Says:

    I’ve never seen you bloviate before, Neo-Neocon.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    The law functions under the normal restriction that you can’t make people do what they don’t want to do, unless you use punitive measures such as pain, execution, etc.

    This sort of runs into the situation Machiavelli described. The more oppressive you are, the higher the possibility of rebellion in the streets, which would then require more oppression, inevitably resulting in an endless spiral from which one of two results will occur. The Prince kills off everybody, or everybody kills off the Prince.

    Government functions better when it tries to get people to do things when they have a reason, usually positive, to do such things. For example, if couples paid less taxes than individually, then such things might balance out the risks of divorce and what not. It would also provide an incentive for taking care of their children financially, since they could divorce and have less money or they could remain together, albeit estranged, and be able to pool their economic resources for the children.

    In any situation, the government has to deal with individual problems, and we all know how effective that is.

  3. Looking Glass Says:

    John Ross, of “Ross in Range” wrote
    Would You Go on a Cruise Ship that Didn’t Have Lifeboats on a Cruise Line Where 60% of the Cruise Ships Sink?

    “I returned home from a 3-day visit with my best friend from college, and for every room except my study, it was like moving into a new apartment. Not a single fork, plate, roll of toilet paper, curtain, drape, salt shaker, napkin, bar of soap, nothing. She even hired an electrician out of the Yellow Pages to take down some ceiling light fixtures she liked. (Our regular electrician refused. I think he had visions of me skinning him alive.) When I’d tell people what had happened to me, their eyes would get big and they’d invariably tell me of two or three other friends they knew whose wives had done exactly the same thing.”

  4. LabRat Says:

    Bravo.

  5. Trey Says:

    Thoughtful, well written, and thought provoking article. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

    Trey

  6. Americaneocon Says:

    Well, I got to the party a bit late for Part I, so I didn’t comment there. I did read a good bulk of the comments at Dr. Helen’s post, and there does seem to be a sense of violation for many men, a violation of the patterns of traditional family practices, which are now essentially yanked out from under their feet.

    The ideal 19th century practices you mention here – sex in marriage for the man, security for the woman – remains the hope for many men today, although the feminist revolution and gains in women’s economic progress have cut that prospect down to size.

    I was raised, however, by parents who both worked, and they shared household responsibilities with a fair amount of equity. The main thing was that my Dad did most of the cooking (yummy stuff, too!), and he taught me and my sisters the value of pulling our weight around the house.

    So, when I married, I had no expectations for a patriarchical relationship. I should note, though, that my parents did divorce, as did my wife’s, so when we got engaged we talked about how important for us staying together would be.

    We also have two boys, and I’m traditional in thinking that marriage is about procreation, and I think that kids are best raised in a nuclear family – with one father and one mother – and that the family forms the core unit of society. Education and economic attainment for the kids develops from the deep, conservative social institution of the family unit, an organization that is the basis for American individualism and the culture of self-sufficiency.

    So, I can see how men today are scared to enter into an arrangement where a woman can just book it, take the kids and the sue to high heaven, taking the guy to the cleaners. But love should determine how one decides, at least if one is committed to the hard work of making a marriage last.

    I don’t always love being tied down, but the alternative – social drift and anomie – is much worse, and unthinkable as I get older.

    Stimulating stuff, in any case.

  7. Ed Says:

    I have read similar analyses of marriage before and all of them are wanting. To reduce marriage (at some previous time) as a barter of sex for security is true only in some perverse least common denominator. Among the stories in the comments of Dr. Helen’s article were some apparent narcissists as well as some well meaning men who tried their best and met tragedy. I doubt that any of them thought they were marrying for sex, any more than their fiances thought they were marrying for security. Likely in the nineteenth century there were also no people making those arrangements.

    Marriage used to be difficult to leave for many reasons, which you outline, that have lost much of their force today. Still, people don’t marry for those reasons, either men or women. It is mutual attraction and the hope of psychological, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment. Always has been, always will be. Calling it “love” works too, provided the proper definition for love.

    Just as changing technology has forced us to moderate our sleep habits with something other than the rising and setting sun, we must now moderate our relationship desires with more maturity than the neighbors’ opprobrium. For many, sadly, that doesn’t happen, and the legal system will never provide any satisfaction, as you note.

    Still, I am optimistic that society will eventually pull into its collective wisdom the knowledge that lifelong relationships have extended “down” periods that can be survived, and that a deep commitment to surviving them produces far greater benefits in the end. It’s just going to take a while.

  8. Thomas Says:

    Hello Neo,

    Perhaps simply discussing the topic of marriage only isn’t sufficient to explain the widespread sense of disenfranchisement among men. Yes, there is a legal dimension to this issue, but I think it is only part of a larger issue beyond marriage. You can call it the cliched “battled of the sexes” if you wish.

    Any objective view of the current social landscape would show that it is heavily weighted in favor of women over men. Casual castration and belittlement of men is ubiquitous, from TV shows, to movies, to commercials, etc. One might object and say that women are being belittled just as much as men on tv and movies, but I claim that within the context of the show, this is just not so.

    I unfortunately watch quite a good amount of television. In many instances where these castrating incidence occur, there is a complete role reversal. The man would be the shy, insecure party and the woman would be the strident, domineering party.

    It is almost as though many women have taken into themselves the worst caricature of men and portray that crass behavior has strength and powerful when it is really just being crass and ill mannered.

    With respect to the inequities of marriage and divorce, I’ll refer to an analogy given by G.K. Chesterton. In one of his essays, he said that modern philosophies are liken to a child reasoning that the wind blows simply because of the wavering movements of the trees above him. The leaves rattle, thus wind blows.

    This is obviously absurd. In like manner, to point to the legal system as the culprit for the abysmal state of affairs between men and women would be equivalent to G.K. Chesteron’s analogy. It confuses the result with the cause.

    It is clear to me that divorces and the hysteric clashes between the sexes is the result of a moral landslide within us as a people. No amount of legislation can cure this no matter how you cut the cards. Legislating morality, to make morality carry the weight of law is just a stop-gap measure, and I believe it would be one that would have catastrophic results.

    In my opinion, the only remedy is to make sure your personal actions in any relationship is clean, and I would also add that one would have to humble oneself before God and man. Apart from this, I don’t really see a solution. Things would going along its majestic course to its inexorable conclusion.

  9. LabRat Says:

    I’ve occasionally quipped that true love isn’t romance, it’s cleaning up someone else’s puke without payment or resentment.

    I’ve begun to wonder if that isn’t as glib as it sounds.

  10. Doom Says:

    There are so many interesting topics, presented by you and the commentors. It is difficult to know where to start, still, begin I will. Oh, and thanks for introducing the topic.

    As a man “in the market” for a wife, I realize I am up against it. Though I would be hard pressed to ask for or initiate a divorce, I realize the choice can and probably would be made without my consent and that choice would be made regardless of my guilt or innocence pertaining to the marital relationship’s perceived nature. Beyond, I realize that I would lose my children, possibly completely, and very possibly simply through innuendo, barring any proof or truth. I realize I would probably, if she wanted it, lose my home, but certainly large chunks of any collected wealth and future gains, both in direct payment(s) and losses due to lawyer costs, moving, and all else. And yet I am “in the market”. As someone said, it is not about economics, purely. Nor do I believe it is purely sex, children, or a family center, or any one thing, but about the nature of men, women, and life, as I believe they were designed to function. Yet, I cannot help but believe that the government and women share a larger chunk of the responsibility for the dissolution of the family. Perhaps thoughtless from both parties, perhaps with intention from a government which wishes fewer children (think: a US version of China’s one child policy).

    I am not sure, in the larger picture, if there is hope for this precious, and finally, necessary, social tool (marriage). I do know that without it, societies fall, then are conquered, then adopt the conquerer’s (often draconian) family values, family values that have allowed it’s culture to thrive and ultimately win over other cultures. Whether by real war or by influence and conversion, that is what this nation faces without a major see change in how it governs marriage. To see the results of status quo, US, look to Western Europe. It is America in 10 to 15 years. If you wish to see status quo in 15 to 25 years, look to Russia. We have little enough time, they have very little to no time. They are on the brink, we are chasing them, and it is over a cliff.

    Still, how can I really worry. Perhaps, as all things have their time, our time is over. Intertwined in this, for me, however, is the feeling of a loss for something I will probably never find in my life, a stable family, a civil nation, and hope in this world.

  11. Mark Says:

    After 75 years, 52 married, it’s all about kids and grandkids. It’s about hard work(find some or create some if you don’t have it) and holding each other up when necessary. All it requires is finding someone with good character and having a good scale to measure it. The parties, banquets and balls outside of marriage don’t have any glue. If your preference is to run to the parties and away from life, don’t get married.

  12. etahasgard1986@aol.com Says:

    This has to be the most biased presentation I have ever skimmed. Its hard to believe such anti-male bigotry exists in such a blatant form , supported by stupdity, mendaciousness, and gynocentrism .
    If you are a man, you sure have to get down in the muck to deal with women like this one– who are all to typical. You ‘d like to deal with people who have some rational and moral bases for their opinions– but dealing with feminists and their anti-male agenda, means you have to devote time reading such utter drivel as this woman dispenses. Most men don’t want to waste the time to dispute each ridiculous assertion, there are so many.. so all this BS passes as information– when its propaganda.

    One wants to take a bath after reading this stuff.

    It would be the usual turkey shoot to deal with feminist agitprop– its so sad our society is in creasingly controlled by the attitudes and bigotry of women like this one. And its so cleverly camoflaouged..

    One need only consult the universal knowledge of women in our culture–
    the female DA prosecuting female heroine Clara Harris for murdering her husband.
    She said that the murder was indefensible ( shockling and dismaying women across the nation), because , paraphrasing –

    ” She could have done like every other woman does — take his kids , his house , his car and make him wish he was dead.”

    This self- appointed “expert” argues there is no basis for this universal awarenes shared by both men and women.

    No rational person can dispute the system is systematically biased against men— and no one seriously does… The ” Women uber alles” crowd merely argues that it is justified. Thats the debate.

    ” He that disturbeth his own home — will inherit the wind”

  13. jw Says:

    Your ‘history of marriage’ is VERY faulty for most of the British Empire although it applies well enough for the US (colonies). When my 5X great-grandfather spent all those years traveling around to get people married he did so because the law of the land for Canada at that time allowed one license to marry people for 12,000 people spread about 900 square miles of farm districts. This changed with the second Canadian Government, circa 1838.

    Plus, marriage even then was expensive and most people could not afford it, half a crown was a LOT of money, about $1,100 in today’s money! Furthermore, the gender system most used was the “wife” system which is completely different from the gender system used in the American Colonies (wife literally means “the one who buys and sells” and her being gone to market at least once a week was a major factor in most families).

    Using your idea of narcissism is also faulty. What the men are mostly complaining about is loss of legal-right to stop a woman who is behaving badly. Thus, we are talking about a major justice issue and not at all a personal-reward issue.

    Furthermore, without an allowance for men who have been treated EXTREMELY badly to talk about the extremity of their bad treatment we are creating a pool of rage which will cause our children & grand-children immense harm.

  14. sergey Says:

    The very approach adopted in these two posts (what’s in it for me?) is wrong. I understand your irony, Neo, in your’s stating the problem in these terms, but a lot of commenters here do not. So let me state it explicitly: marriage is not a bargain, family is not a marketplace. It is institution absolutely indispensable for the very survival of human race and any culture. Human beings can survive biologically only if they are moral beings, and the transfer of morality in generations, known as socialization, can be done only in families – extended, patriarchal, or nuclear. This is not a problem existent only at community level, this is true even for individuals, because full socialization of an young adult – male or female – also is possible only in a marriage. Bachelors and never married women are not fully developed persons, they are in many aspects immature, subhumane. An illustration is my own experience. As an young man I suffered a rather severe bipolar disorder, with prolonged periods of depressions. No amount of entertainment, social events and friends of both sexes could save me from this, and what was even worse, I did not understand my problem as a medical one. Only getting married I became aware of it and successfully overcame it. Everyday emotional feedback from my wife was essential for continuation of personality development, blocked at some point, and complete cure. And, of course, I understand amount of patience and self-sacrifice from her needed to deal with a deep depression lasted for several years, with very problematic outcome.

  15. Cappy Says:

    I view it less as “what’s in it for me” and more like “I’ll never make that mistake again. And those judges that make unconstitutional decisions, those that built and cheer and support these decisions and anti-male agenda should be removed from office”. That will never happen. But it certainly made me have a good, hard look at those that built this legal monstrosity. And it was the liberal that did it. And this was years before 9/11.

  16. Tatyana Says:

    I have been reading the threads to these posts in bafflement.
    My own experience is completely the opposite to what men here claim. My (female) family member has been trying to end a disastrous marriage and to get custody of her son for over 2 years. The marriage, thanks to her perseverance ( and $57 thousands in borrowed money to pay the lawyers) , is finally over, she was awarded the custody a year ago – but the ex (who has plenty of money, unlike my relative) continues filing motions and so the trauma for the kid goes on.
    During this time we’d seen the judge to be absolutely unreasonable, biased and bullyish. Court-appointed child psychologist (for which my relative was made to pay a $1000 fee) had recommended, after conversations with the kid, to remove him from contacts with his father, at least for several years (the child was 5 and frightened) and to leave him in his mother care. She has the custody, but the judge ruled so many visitation days for her ex-husband, that the kid is constantly sick and scared, can’t sleep at night, every time she brings him for exchange in the public library there is a heartbreaking scene. The kid clings to her and cries “I’ll be a good boy, don’t send me to Daddy”. (The library was the judge’s ruling; she was given a choice between a police precinct and a library. How horrible).

    The judge has disregarded multiple threatening phone tapes, police, neighbors and daycare witnesses, order of protection given by another court (after an extensive hearing). The ex was fired from his job (he’s incapable to keep a job for more that 6 months in a row) and filed a case to make her pay HIM alimony (after the divorce) – and if not for my realative’s expensive lawyer, the judge would have awarded him the money! Child support doesn’t come regularly – the courts do nothing about it. She had lost her job of 4 years and tried to get work anywhere (it’s hard to find it in Michigan now) – the judge ruled she can not leave the state without her ex’s permission, even if it means she’ll be left destitute. Recently the ex tried to run her and kid over in his jeep in a public park – there were witnesses, complete strangers, who came over to my relative and offered to go to court with her. He doesn’t care: he knows by experience the judge will be on his side no matter the evidence.

    I can’t decide if the wave of male hatred towards their ex-wives, expressed here and in the other thread, has any factual reasons in reality; it must be, at least in some cases – I see so many men saying the same thing – but the pettiness, the sense of their entitlement to the joint property (I don’t know how much the wives earned, probably less than the husbands – but isn’t their taking care of the home worth something?) , the rage of having lost control of the lives of their kids and wives is palpable.
    I, too, feel – after reading – it’s better not to be married. The pain is not worth it.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    Tatyana: yes, there are many stories such as the one you tell. I alluded to this fact in my post.

    But some people can’t acknowledge there’s another side, because their own stories (and the stories of the friends they talk to) seem to bolster their own one-sided view. For example, men tend to talk to men and share their war stories, and women tend to talk to women. Therefore it can seem as if all the inequity is on one side. It most assuredly is not.

    And the narcissism I speak of is not only the tendency to see the whole world as reflective of one’s own experience, or the experience of one’s cronies. It is also reflected in the ideas one brings to marriage.

    For example, it would be a really good thing if both parties came into marriage thinking compromise was a necessary and intergral part of the pact. It would also be great if both sides understood that once children are born they are an obligation, both financial and otherwise, until they reach maurity. This means that, if the arrangement within the marriage is that the wife is the primary caretaker and the husband the primary breadwinner, if a divorce occurs this will probably continue to be the situation—the wife may indeed have more to do with the children, and the husband will probably pay some portion of his income in child support. It’s part of the bargain one makes when one marries and has children, and decides to raise them in a certain way.

    Reading the level of vitriol in the comments at Dr. Helen’s article, the writers seem to be indicating that their anger is merely a result of what happened to them in their divorces, that they were models of lovingkindness within their marriages, and that they were shafted by rotten women. No doubt that’s true in some cases. But somehow I find it a bit difficult to believe that it’s quite as prevalent as asserted, just as I find it difficult to believe that, even if this were true, they could not have seen the characters of the women they married at the outset.

    I am with those who maintain that if one chooses carefully at the outset in marriage, not only is it more likely that the marriage will last, but it is also more likely that, should a divorce occur, both parties will behave decently and fairly to each other. Notice, however, that I say “more likely.” Nothing is certain, and it is indeed possible to act well and yet be treated very unfairly in a divorce. This is true for both men and women.

  18. Looking Glass Says:

    Dr. Helen said it perfectly when she wrote, “I see things differently; I think there are few places for men to go to talk with others about their feelings on relationships, love, marriage and kids. So when they have such a forum, a lot of pent up frustration may show through. The media, including daytime tv is mainly geared towards women who complain non-stop about men, their inability to communicate and how they are being kept down by these oafs, so there is always a place to vent. Experts are always telling men to open up about their feelings, then when they do, suddenly they are good-for-nothing selfish whiners. Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

  19. LabRat Says:

    The logic being, presumably, that because culture does not provide many “safe spaces” for men to vent without criticism, Neo-Neocon should?

    ‘Cause, if anyone said that this was it… they lied.

    (Places on the internet where men gather to rage about women being totally nonexistent. I mean, they’re like Sasquatch or something!)

  20. Tatyana Says:

    Thank you for the response, Neo. I agree with most of what you said – and I admire the way you said it. You’re a model of consideration, balance and calm.

  21. Paul Says:

    Marriage is a great institution if you like institutions. 🙂

  22. Cham Says:

    Tatyana:

    You bring up a good point:

    I see so many men saying the same thing – but the pettiness, the sense of their entitlement to the joint property (I don’t know how much the wives earned, probably less than the husbands – but isn’t their taking care of the home worth something?) , the rage of having lost control of the lives of their kids and wives is palpable.

    I have noticed something in the work world. When you speak to a married man with whom I work about his home he calls it “my house”, when you speak to a married woman with whom I work she will call her home “our house” or “the house”. I have never seen a man refer to the family’s home as “our house”. Perhaps the anger and vitrol expressed has more to do with perception of mine and ours.

  23. ad Says:

    marriage provided the man with sexual access to a woman in exchange for his financial support

    That sound like the relationship between man and mistress, not man and wife. To quote the French Revolutionary Genaral Louis-Lazare Hoche: “you may take a whore as a mistress, but not as a wife.”

    If that were the point, no man would have cared if his wife slept around, before or after marriage.

    I am inclined to argue that marriage provided knowledge of paternity, which largely depended on denying other men sexual access.

    Incidentally, if you are analysing marriage in the past as providing benefits to the marrying parties, why do you think that the people involved were more narcissistic than people today?

    All you can really say is that they had more motive in the past to get married and stay that way.

    (And I do not think that the stereotype that women benefit more from marriage is all that new.)

  24. JKB Says:

    Paul,

    I would offer this modification of your comment:

    Marriage is a great institution if you like being institutionalized.

  25. ChiefTestPilot Says:

    Neo,
    Your analysis of marriage is incomplete! Just recently a Saudi cleric recommended that you beat your wife if after many attempts to inflict your point of view has failed.

    I have another solution. I am an expert on angles because I married an angle. Our marriage is founded on three essential human relationship elements — namely Mind, Body and Spirit. I will leave it to you to decide how to define those elements. Caroline and I have. We never retire for the night mad and therefore have negated the requirements for lawyers, prenuptials or therapists.

    Perhaps more couples should have found their mates through Eharmony.com. Just think of the grief they could have avoided and how many lawyers they would have put out of business.

  26. Teri Pittman Says:

    It’s because people do not think about what happens as they age (me either.) All this stuff is easy when you are young. But as you age, you are likely to find yourself in a situation where no one is going to care for you or help you. That’s especially true if you don’t have kids. We just don’t talk enough about the emotional benefits of marriage. I blame a certain amount of this on television and the movies, which gives people an unrealistic view of what to expect.

  27. Heather Says:

    About Helen’s comments section. It’s not fair to judge their marriages because these guy’s are real bitter now. If you talk to my step dad you’ll get some of these comments. I love my mother, but what she took from my stepdad during her divorce was just plain wrong. And he was a good husband. Yes, he is feeling burned.

  28. expat Says:

    Neo,

    I think your point about choosing well is right on. The question is whether society today is helping young people define the criteria for choosing well. To the extent that we push things like having the latest technical fad, getting into the best school, breaking glass ceilings, we not only tell kids that these things will make them happy, we also tell those who can’t compete on these terms that they are loosers. We push political activity as a substitute for character, but aving whales is not a good basis for marriage.

  29. jw Says:

    Choosing well is important; there are many things which are important.

    Let’s look at choosing well as one for instance. If we teach boys how to choose well we are being sexist to girls and therefore breaking the social-law and possibly the Law itself. Canadian law, for sure, but it is not all that different in other places due to social pressure. However, if we teach girls how to choose well that is not being sexist to boys and is quite allowable. Now, what we’ve done is taught the bad girls how to choose the good boys without providing the boys with protection against the bad girls. We have a PROBLEM.

    Or think of this: I am disabled and do the housework and such. If my wife were to divorce me she would face no obligation to support me. However, if the sexes were reversed then I would face a legal obligation to support her! Oh I know I know! The law allows a judge to award a man spousal support, it just doesn’t happen except for VERY minor amounts, without regard to need. And you are probably right in saying that EVENTUALLY that will change. The bigger trouble is that ‘eventually’ is an awful long way down the road of history.

    Or related to the above: I get the CPP-D as well as my private pension. I get about $15 less per month than a woman with an identical history. There are myriad areas of gender-law like that wherein the male is the one being hurt and NO, ZERO, possibility of changing those areas of law. Women will not tolerate equality where the change needed is for male benefit.

    Or look at it like this: Both sexes can be burned in a marriage. BUT! All of the government funded programs to fix that blame and shame MALES ONLY. So, picture yourself a man who cannot see your kids through no fault of your own. There’s the government putting ALL of the blame on you. How do you feel? On top of that there is the press and bloggers dumping ALL of the blame on you. How do you feel? Angry eh?

    It doesn’t surprise me even a tiny bit that there are more and ever more angry men and there will be an increase in the rate of growth of angry men until we can get PEOPLE to see males as human beings with feelings and rights of our own!

  30. Tomre Utsu Zo Says:

    Honestly, to most of us men, what really sux about marriage now adays is not that women aren’t under out thumbs, it’s that women are not being held to their word. It think all it would take to get men back into the marriage business, is to let two people state in the outset what their oblegations are, and then the courts hold both sides to it. If oneside is to stupid or low on the scale to demand their worth, that is their problem. This goes for men as well as women.

    Or so it seems to me.

  31. sergey Says:

    The only alternative to institutionalized behavior patterns is random experimentation, which in most cases is disastrous. Besides, for smooth and effective cooperation both partners should know pretty well what to expect from each other, and tradition gives them these general guide-lines, which need only some modification and customization. This is a great advantage in comparison to building from scratch. In sociology these traditional patterns are called social capital, and it is needed for success in any cooperative endevour. Homo politicus and Homo economicus are two different animals, that is why libertarian approach indentifying them is a gross fallacy.

  32. Alifa Says:

    One thing that intrigued me about your post is that you didn’t mention religious ideals in connection with marriage. The sacramental aspect of marriage, when understood properly, is intended to strengthen commitment and to give a sense of holiness to the union — deep friendship and the development of true intimacy (not only sexual) is often a metaphor for the holy love of God, and the intimacy of marriage has sometimes been viewed as a door to beginning to grasp the love of God. The Catholic Church, as one example, is involved in promoting better marriage preparation and emphasizes marriage as a lifelong commitment. So I wonder if you have noticed any difference in working with couples who have this element of religious commitment in their relationship.
    Of course, as I can attest from personal experience, a failing/failed marriage can also stress out one’s religious ideals and lead to a vast disillusionment that is part of the pain of divorce. It can be a good thing to be disillusioned, since it means rethinking one’s faith and commitments to find a deeper level.
    So I wonder if in general, those who are connected to a particular faith that values marriage start the process of making a commitment from a more mature and hopeful place.
    Can you comment on this a little?

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Alifa: I did some research on religion and divorce. Unfortunately, most of the data I encountered dealt with religious affiliation rather than depth of religious commitment. In general, for example, people who defined themselves as born-again Christians had the highest divorce rates, not the lowest. But I don’t know how to evaluate this data because it just measured religiosity in a cursory manner—that is, people reporting themselves as born-again Christians. Another examle is that Jews had a slightly higher rate of divorce. But there was no attempt to measure whether the Jews were religious or secular (most in the US are the latter). So the data was no help.

    There was, however this study, which indicates that depth of religiosity has the effect of reducing the divorce rate.

  34. AmericanWoman Says:

    Neo, I read both your and Dr. Helen’s blog regularly. The comments on Dr. Helen’s blog are not new, they’ve always been like that. I stopped reading the comments there awhile ago because it was rather disturbing. I think Dr.Helen would be better served to just call her blog ‘Place where men can bitch about women’ and be done with it. I’ve also had a few run ins with the good Dr.Herself.

    I agree with your comments on marriage. I have to believe that most of the people commenting on that blog were not prepared for marriage or relationships in general. One only has to look at how they post about themselves and their former significant others.

    I’m am eternally grateful for my husband. We have a good marriage. It’s not always easy and it takes a lot of personal sacrifice and patience. But we are partners, that’s the key. We both work towards the goal of the relationship. It’s not a contest about who can get the best of who.

    I do feel sympathy for some of those posters and hope they get some help for their issues.

  35. br549 Says:

    American Woman:

    You are, in a round about and thinly veiled way, blaming the men. Dress it up as you will, but that’s all you’re doing.

    And, in a court of law, it IS about who can get the best of who. Divorce court and lawyers, MAKE it so.

    I invite you to do what I have asked of others. For you, it is because you have obviously been blessed without ever having to be there…..

    Take a week of vacation. Spend the entire week in the last row, against the wall, in your local divorce court. Take it all in. It is unbelievable.

  36. AmericanWoman Says:

    br, I didn’t mention divorce or divorce law at all. I am speaking of the toxic comments on Dr.Helen’s blog.

    I’m sure (as neo said) that divorce hurts people. I have friends (men and women) who have been hurt by divorce. But it is by no means a one way street and I would never claim that it is.

    It seems that when people see comments by women or men, they want to immediately attribute some sort of bias towards it.

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    If people are not given reasons to work together, then they will work against each other.

    Such behavioral trends are magnified in Iraq, for example.

  38. br549 Says:

    Maybe I’m old fashioned. We married after a few years of knowing each other because I loved her, and wanted to be with her forever. I am certain she loved me as well.

    One thing led to another. We wanted a home, stability for she and me, both. I worked myself raw, and brought it all home. For us.

    Later still, children.

    It fell apart nearly a quarter century later. It was a tragedy. The system made it a travesty.

    AW – the comments on Dr. Helen’s blog are mainly about what happens when the “system” gets involved,
    how men get treated, and in their own words, from their own perception. I’ve never seen this type of outlet anywhere else.

    If you have what you claim to have between your husband and yourself, please understand in this day and age, you are one of the few. Don’t let it slip away. It can, and out of the blue. Literally over night.

    Maybe you, too, though, suffer from your third paragraph above.

    If I still had what you claim to have, I would be speaking with, or doing something with my wife right now. What it meant to me, and how much I miss it all, is ineffable.

    But never again.

  39. Jeff Says:

    Americanwoman wrote, “I have friends (men and women) who have been hurt by divorce. But it is by no means a one way street and I would never claim that it is.”

    Generally, men suffer most under the current divorce regime. This is provable.

  40. LabRat Says:

    Mmm. I avoid Helen’s comment section too, not so much because I think the men there are crazy as because useful discussion seems to be almost impossible there. ANY time anybody states that perhaps things have gotten a bit overboard in the bitterness and rage department, he or she is immediately accused of being a feminist or an idiot (not to mentioned “frightened of male anger”) and dismissed out of hand. Hell, in the comments to one of the latest posts there are a couple of over-the-top furious anti-female screeds in response to a book that happens to be aimed at little girls. I don’t begrudge Helen the right to set whatever tone she feels best and I don’t begrudge them the right to express their anger; every blogger gets the commenters he or she encourages and welcome to it. I just don’t see what point there would be in saying anything, so I don’t.

    What makes ME uncomfortable about is not that they’re angry and not that I think they’re misogynistic- which, for most of them, I don’t really- but that I think it’s not actually helping them, and may be hurting them in a way. The reason I’m interested in the subject to begin with is my own parents’ divorce; my father left my mother, and because my mother was and is a decent woman despite the flaws that led my father to leave- and he should have, now that I’m an adult I don’t think they ever could have been happy together any more- she didn’t screw him. She got a modest amount of alimony and child support, which as he continued in his wildly successful career became a financial drop in the bucket to him, and he never seemed to regard it as anything but his basic responsibility. (A traditional home-maker with few market skills, it remained vital to her.)

    The thing was, he was pretty angry, bitter, and sad, because family was always a very central concept to him. He became convinced that women were just like “that”- not designed to treat him or any other man fairly or at all unselfishly- and because family was STILL important to him… he settled down with and had another child with the first woman that would have him. The problem there was that she was not only just as nuts as my mother, but vicious in the bargain. She treated me badly from the outset, and once she had had my brother and felt secure, began to treat him just as badly and probably worse when I wasn’t watching. He never left her partly because he knew she would screw him utterly as my mother had not and probably prevent him from seeing his son again- which is why I became interested in the issue, and why I still read Helen silently- but also because he truly believed all women were just like that, and there was nothing better out there for him. (This confused and hurt me, since the end implications of these speeches was that I would, by my female nature, inevitably treat the men I was with poorly and selfishly. It was the one black spot in our relationship.) He needed a family to feel whole. Eventually, he committed suicide. My brother was just 14 at the time.

    Men have a right to their rage, and their pain, and Helen is right that they need to have it treated as valid reactions. But losing hope that there are good women as well as those that will hurt them, and constantly having that belief reinforced by those around them, isn’t much better for them than being constantly silenced.

  41. AmericanWoman Says:

    Labrat, I agree. The men there seem to be stuck in a pattern. Perhaps men haven’t had the plethora of self help books that women had (remember, bad men and the women that love them etc!). They were awful, but at some point you have to realize your relationships aren’t working and that it could be you and not the other person.

    I myself had a string of relationships with men who were emotionally unavailable (probably because my parents were not very demonstrative) and always blamed them. Then when I met my husband, I was confused because he was the opposite. I began to think there was something wrong with him!

    I think one of the best books is ‘He’s just no that into you’. I wish I had that one way back when. What is needed is a male version of this book.

  42. JHoward Says:

    Wow, thousands upon thousands of words in these two posts and their comments, and all of it to say not much more than (1) I get turned off reading stuff I don’t like the look of, and (2) surely it can’t be that bad. Oh, and (3) enter pop-psychology and (4) vaguely peripheral experiences.

    Talk about blaming the messenger. Much as I hate to say it too, what Commenter #1 said.

    Folks, it’s that bad. If you haven’t the personal experience to understand how losing all your rights concerning your children, home, and financial property because society has parasites isn’t mindless rhetoric (it’s daily occurance, unless you’re into denying the reality hundreds of thousands have already lived) then I ask you to couch your opinions and your appearances-centrism as such.

    What you think you think and what you like the look of is irrelevant. What’s actually going on (read the book, live the nightmare?) isn’t.

  43. LabRat Says:

    Wow, it’s generic scorn and reassertion of the point (the laws are unfair, hurtful, and should be changed) that most of the commenters have already agreed with as though that were what was being attacked.

  44. Mark in Texas Says:

    The level of unhappiness in the comments of these various threads worries me for a number of reasons.

    Primarily because it provides a feasible path towards the rhetorical straw man argument that is often tossed around the net, “How does Islam threaten to put American women into burkahs?” Given the fact that everybody seems to acknowledge that the current legal system treats men unfairly during a divorce. Without a doubt, men would get much better treatment under Sharia law. Certainly a Sharia court is unlikely to disregard a wife’s infidelity, no matter how good a mother she is and a Sharia court is unlikely to require a man to pay child support for a child conceived during that infidelity. The current system would seem to be creating a growing constituency for adopting Sharia law as it has been proposed in Canada — for those who are at least nominally Muslim.

    Some people seem to have more of a need for religion in their life than others. For those who don’t care, there is absolutely no down side to declaring oneself Muslim in order to be covered by Sharia divorce laws. Others might be drawn to an attractive American born Muslim-Lite version of offering a similar kind of “God wants you to be happy” message combined with a lot of community activity and very little Hell and damnation or that creepy Arab stuff. It could get pretty popular pretty fast. Throw in an overseas matchmaking service and it might attract a lot of men who would like to marry and have children but who find the prospect of marrying a secular American woman too risky.

    I should probably point out that as a practicing Catholic with two daughters I do not find such a future particularly appealing.

  45. Mark in Texas Says:

    Well, I screwed up the format of that link.

    I meant to say an attractive Muslim-Lite version of Joel Osteen with a link to his mega church website.

  46. AmericanWoman Says:

    Mark, putting aside the religious aspect, your post scares me. First we had men getting mail order brides from overseas because American women didn’t make good wives. Now we have the shadow of Islam to ‘keep women in their place’.

    Are American men so incapable of accepting women who aren’t subservient to them? Or are they simply choosing the wrong women (basing their choice on superficial qualities such as looks) and can’t deal with the consequences.

    Women do have more choices today, and it seems that men haven’t done that well coping with it. And also some women. I know many independent working women who will not get married because they don’t want to get taken advantage of financially by some guy.

    I suppose the modern reality is that people no longer need to be married (as neo pointed out). Maybe everyone shouldn’t get married.

    But as always, it’s the children who will suffer.

  47. Jeff Says:

    AmericanWoman wrote, “Are American men so incapable of accepting women who aren’t subservient to them? Or are they simply choosing the wrong women”

    You have offered us a false dilemma. Logic seems to be a weak point for you.

    Perhaps the problem is with American women. I’ve lived in three countries outside the US: the UK, France, and Hong Kong. American women stand out as markedly inferior for marriage potential.

    Most American women have lost all sense of decorum. They turn every conversation into a competition, to show men they are “equal.” Most European and Asian women possess an exquisite sense of decorum. Foreign women can often make a man’s say with a few well chosen words. American women are often too concerned with busting a man’s balls. yo many men, it appears that most American women don’t like men as a class.

    Most American women are conflicted over their sexuality. They will dress provocatively, yet raise offense at the slightest notice of their bodies — in the name of “sexual objectification.” Foreign women are not conflicted. If the dress provocatively, they EXPECT attention. Again, American women often lack decorum.

    Most American women have forgotten that men have social needs. Ask an American woman what men should do for women to be polite, romantic and desirable. you will get hours of advice. Then ask what women should do for men. you will get silence. Silence. And even indignant that a woman might have any social duties towards a man. Foreign women still possess grace and charm — they know what to do to make a man feel special. American women lack this ability utterly.

    It’s true what you write, “women do have more choices today,” but you are very wring when you write, “it seems that men haven’t done that well coping with it.” Men are coping with it — by availing themselves of THEIR choices — specifically, the choice to choose foreign women.

    Many men prefer foreign women, and for good reasons.

  48. Jeff Says:

    Mark in Texas wrote, “Certainly a Sharia court is unlikely to disregard a wife’s infidelity, no matter how good a mother she is…”

    First, I’m opposed to Sharia unequivocally.

    You use of this figure, the disloyal wife as a good mother, is rather striking. Why? Because a woman cannot be disloyal to her husband and simultaneously be a good mother.

    A woman is a BAD mother, who puts an orgasm above her child’s continuity of parentage. (This is also true of men.)

    This is obvious, so why does this cliche — the “good” mother screwing around on her child’s father — why does it endure?

    Maybe because it benefits women? Just a thought.

  49. Consanescerion Says:

    Jeff, Sharia is our inevitable future, because Western society is on a steady downward trend when it comes to producing children. Only one large society is left that eschews contraception and abortion, and it ain’t the West. The future belongs to the fecund; demography is destiny.

    If secular western society cannot survive this elementary exercise in the game called “Survival of the Fittest”, it deserves to perish. I hope to die before it collapses, but at this rate, I’m not optimistic.

  50. Jeff Says:

    Consanescerion wrote, “Only one large society is left that eschews contraception and abortion, and it ain’t the West. The future belongs to the fecund; demography is destiny.”

    True. But human nature can only be bent so far.

    Perhaps, American men will avoid American women and secure marriages with non-Western females because they are better mates.

    The non-Western family may breed faster, but we will take their women — consider the Roman raid on the Sabines — this is the age old response of men without prospect for a decent wife.

    It’s speculation, wild speculation, but this mating strategy is an enduring historical pattern.

  51. br549 Says:

    As with most blogs, the more a subject is discussed, the more murky the water becomes.

    At least it is being discussed. Look at the hits here, and the hits PJ Media and Dr Helen are getting from it. Right, wrong – or worst – indifferent, there’s trouble in paradise.

    AW, and children grow up to be adults. I have three beautiful kids. I want them to be happy. I don’t see how at this juncture in our country’s present social situation.

  52. flan Says:

    I know four women, each of whom receive child support from two different men. Two of them have remarried or shacked up, and consequently now have a third supplemental income, in addition to any employment pay.

    On the other hand, I have never know any woman with a divorce experience similar to
    Tatyana’s “female family member”. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen.

    Whether the women I know planned it or not, the net effect of their divorce was financial benefit. People, even women, behave in a statistically predictable manner. If you penalize an activity, you will get less of it; if you fund an activity, you will get more of it.

    Child support and alimony fund divorce. Under the present system of Family Law, most women can be assured of a favorable outcome in a divorce. Any woman who gets a better offer can unilaterally dissolve a legal contract with no penalty. It is a foregone conclusion, that some of them will exercise that option.

  53. SaltedSlug Says:

    “[…] marriage provided the man with sexual access to a woman in exchange for his financial support, whereas it allowed both to have children who were raised primarily by her and supported by him”

    No. Marriage *was* an arrangement by which two people agreed to a division of labor and responsibility in addressing the requirements of living on earth, for themselves and the progeny they both wished to have, hopefully in such a way that the sum was more efficient and successful than the individuals alone. Ideally, love was involved, if not at the beginning, then (in the case of arranged marriage) hopefully later, and subsequently had those intangible rewards mentioned in other comments (“psychological, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.”) This did not have to change in contemporary marriage, but it has, largely through the politically-fabricated idea that the traditional division of labor was both a consequence of women’s subservience to men and a tool to enforce it, to be avoided at all costs, along with many other “evils of the patriarchy”.

    Your entire paragraph on the increase in female-initiated divorce to reach two-thirds of all divorces is amusing in its entirety. “Explaining” this by suggesting that the reason is “because they can” due to their changed economic abilities is a convenient whitewash of one of men’s major points of contention … if women are initiating divorce substantially more often than men now “because they can”, why aren’t they merely at parity with male-initiated divorces, unless there is either a) a greater level of commitment on the part of husbands or b) an overwhelming social and legal bias against men in the case of divorce, deterring them. Both of which are denied by people who say the same things as you.

    “I haven’t gone into the women’s side of the equation, but it exists and is as fully justified as the male side.”

    Pointing out that occasionally the man bites the dog is particularly galling to a gender that is dying from rabies.

  54. JHoward Says:

    “American Woman” is an ironic moniker. It’s ironic because it’s consistent with entirely outdated notions of patriarchal American community.

    Such are long dead, room temperature, and sux feet under.

    Let’s get to the statistics (or you could buy the book and see just what it is to be an American woman…or have to deal with one.)

    -Years ago Shere Hite concluded that 90%+ of divorce is initiated by women. She’s a feminist. Ask your attorney – she knows too.

    -Some 85% of all sole custody decisions go to women. Look it up. With them goes about eight hundred bucks per kid, bare minimum. Most of the time, with it goes the house as well. Alimony. Not a dime less than half the property, regardless of origin. This is the no-fault in “no-fault” divorce (with one important exception.) This is where you simply walk away and get paid for it.

    -Tally it up and women own billions more in personal property than men. Again, ask the federal government – it’s statistical.

    -Baskerville’s contention is that bogus accusations wielded by women looking for protection orders to hide this theft behind (the only fault in no-fault) constitute common divorce strategy.

    That practice exists in spite of the fact that domestic violence is roughly gender-neutral and the overwhelming majority of all abuse of juveniles is committed by women. Yet the fraudulent protection order is the mother’s silver bullet and your attorney knows it, his attorney knows it, and we all should know it by now.

    Right there is were we can pause and see where the unintended consequence of no-fault divorce became the intended strategy of gender feminism and led to federalizing the wholesale reshaping of society itself.

    If you’re going to muse about the delicate balances between the sexes, please do not. It does not exist. Enormous designed incentives exist that make such balance impossible.

    So. Who’s subservient? I can tell you who’s not: Mom’s not.

    Why? Read the book: The gender feminist lobby and the trial lawyer’s lobby. One rung higher up that food chain you find the local legal association, where bench and bar co-mingle.

    One further and you find foolish “conservatives” demanding welfare reform (making predominately minority drive-by fathers pay nearly everything they have) and in the vast legal system spill-over into white folks, the equally foolish liberals espousing all sorts of myth about gender – about “American women”.

    Because, you know, it’s so easy to rationalize taking everything, especially if you’re not a guy.

    At the top of the federalized divorce industry’s pile, Title IV-D, Washington’s onerous and massive fiscal kickback to all 50 states whereby it pays the state to tear up families in the name of “child support”.

    Ever wonder why nobody gives a damn if the now-single-parented kids get turned into losers that statistically lead every category of dysfunctionality but you’ll go to jail if you don’t continue to pay the extortion that makes your kids dysfunctional?

    Buy the book and wonder no more. This is the biggest civil rights abuse and fraud in 50 years. This is tearing the heart right out of America. This is not a subtle discourse about how the sexes gently dance about one another anymore.

  55. strcpy Says:

    Beyond the whole thing of listening to just one side, it can be really hard to decide who is being screwed.

    Take the following example: Two people meet in college and get married. One – and English Major and the other a Business Major. Both go on to get their masters. Now, out of college the female becomes a middle school teacher and the male a junior executive at a fairly large company.

    Fast forward 20 years to the divorce – the female is still a teacher (tenured now) and the male is vice president of a fortune 500 company. Both risen to the near top ranks of their chosen profession. Maybe they also have a few kids.

    How does on split the parts “fairly”. How much did each contribute, how much did one sacrifice for the others prosperity, and how much does it matter that they were considered “joint” throughout their entire marriage?

    The female looks at the world and says “I took care of the kids, kept the house up, and did all those things that made it possible for you to focus on work”. The male looks and says “You did nothing that a nanny could not have done and took WAY more than I would ever have payed one”. In that sense they are *both* correct.

    The female looks out there and says “While I didn’t marry you for money (we were both poor at the beginning) I am used to this lifestyle and I contributed to it in good faith”. The male looks at the world and says “I payed for 99% of the stuff and didn’t mind when you spent far greater than 1% for many years – you have been WELL compensated”. Again – both are correct.

    So, what divorce settlement is going to be “fair”? The female stands to not gain anywhere near as much as she would normally (which we often define as a “loss”), especially when looked at over time. However, given the difference in their worth the male stands to loose WAY more real world money and also suffers a large loss.

    This is a large part of that statistic that Neo linked too – in the case above they could have given 100% of their current assets plus 10% of future to the female and she would *still* have a reduction in long term economic ability whereas the male will only go up. I do not think any sane person would consider that a “fair” settlement. There is nothing the courts can do about it and has way more to do with the choices males and females makes about their jobs. Add in that females still tend to make less than males for the same job and it gets worse (though that is quickly changing and in some fields is now reversed).

    From that point of view both sides get screwed – but then that is a “divorce” – if one side *didn’t* get screwed then something is wrong.

    *shrug* In my opinion the males still generally tend to get the short end of the stick, the laws and rulings still tend to view the female as not being able to work/support and dependent on the male. One can easily point to cases where the opposite happened (I know of people that occurs too also), but I am talking overall (and no, I’ve never been married nor do I wish to be and I have many male *and* female friends). Though we are generally getting much closer to parity.

    Though I would say that both sides need to get nicely screwed in the whole divorce process. I don’t particularly mind where we are today.

    Now, if one *really* wants to open a can of worms lets talk about the ability of a female to totally forgo any responsibility she chooses of unprotected pre-marital sex (that is, pregnancy) and the male having absolutely no say so in the matter in any way (well, other than the first act of *consensual* sex). After all the female is just as complicit as the male in the whole “lets go procreate and damn the consequences” as the male, yet isn’t bound by those consequences. There is a totally one sided legal protection there – we are no where near arguing the finer points of who got screwed.

  56. Niccolo Says:

    Neo –

    [sigh] Where to start? Maybe with an axiom.

    Life is a war. The old “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” thing. Take that as a given.

    Sometimes we’re lucky and we have a childhood on the winning side: Americans born in 1940, we had that. We had our privations, but as we grew up, we knew kids who were on the other side, Polish kids, Dutch kids, who lived through the war and the aftermath.

    So we grew up knowing life is a war.

    That’s the truth of it: at any given time there are twelve to fifteen wars going on this planet. It’s been like that pretty much forever.

    Any job you go after, there are 25 or 30 other contenders. Any business you start, there are a dozen competitors looking to eat your lunch. Any country you ally yourself with, there are a dozen looking to cut you down and add your citizenry to their “tax base”.

    So you start to grow up, you’re standing there in your skin, and you’re alone.

    If you’re lucky, very lucky, you meet someone who’s been through these same experiences, understands this same world, and you become friends, colleagues, collaborators.

    Not much later, it starts to make sense to team up. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, you manage to wake up your Sleeping Beauty. That was 52 years ago for us, and it’s been quite a ride.

    All sorts of reverses, bumps in the road, floods, hurricanes, deaths in the family, near-poverty, taking in indigent family members (in all sorts of directions).

    But through it all, we were together forever. One of the most joyful moments were when it was spring, and we had just got a toehold in the world, and the tree outside the open window of our little bedroom in our first apartment was unfurling its new leaves. Very early in the morning. I woke her up to see it.

    Did our ‘life is a war’ attitude color that? Not at all. Did it color the times when it was “grab the guns, I’m on point, you’re on high cover”? Not at all. It’s just life as it comes.

    If you can’t trust a woman to competently and trustworthily cover your back, why would you marry her? It just means you’re still going to be alone out there, on point. Getting all the early incoming.

    Because if she’s on point and I’m on high cover she can trust me.

  57. Mark in Texas Says:

    AmericanWoman

    As I said in the post, I also think that the possibilities are very worrisome.

    Since the Industrial Revolution and the welfare state there is probably nobody who needs to be married but most people still want to be married. The problem seems to be that for many men, the perceived risks are becoming greater than the rewards.

    What if everything you are saying is true, that the problem is entirely American men being incapable of dealing with absolutely positive changes in relationships between men and women? What should those men do? As you said, they can’t cope with American women. Their choices seem to be outsourcing their marriage choices or refusing to marry at all. That seems to be what is happening.

    If somebody with a long term plan to promote Islam in America were to take advantage of these unhealthy trends, I think that they might enjoy a significant amount of success.

    Is there anything that we could do to counteract this trend? Well, we could try to lower the perceived risk that men face when marrying. Remove some of the worst injustices in the system. For example we could change the law so that a man does not have to pay child support for children that are not his. DNA tests would be a part of every acrimonious divorce just like accusations of spousal and child abuse are today.

  58. Looking Glass Says:

    Niccolo wrote, “If she’s on point and I’m on high cover she can trust me.

    The reverse is less likely to be true.

    From a commenter on Maggie’s Farm, “The Problem with Women.”
    I used to work with inner city teenaged mothers in my youth who viewed men as useless and unreliable, good only for sex, and I know many carefully reared white suburban girls these days who have a similar view.

    White suburban girls carefully reared to despise men.

    If one of them slips under your radar, expect no sympathy from Neo-Neocon, who wrote, “I find it difficult to believe that…they could not have seen the characters of the women they married at the outset.

    Men have it coming, in other words.

  59. Talkinkamel Says:

    Sorry, Looking Glass, but, working on the edge of the legal business, I have seen men who were totally blind to the characters of the women they married. No, they didn’t have what happened to them “coming to them”, but, what comes up must come down, fire will burn you and if you don’t look out, you will get hurt.

    Labrat & American Woman, yes, unfortunately, many men do seem to pick the beauty with the silicon boobs—and, alas, a silicon brain; I’ve noticed that many of the guys here have said that they prefer foreign women who are more modest, refined, ladylike, etc., but, seriously, how often do we see them chosing American women with the same qualities? Such women (as long as they’re American, not exotic foreigners) are viewed as “dowdy”, “old fashioned”, “dull”, “Unattractive.” They’re the “good girl” character from “Grease”, who has has to be stampeded, pressured and bullyragged until she adopts proper skankazoid behavior, in order to win the love of her greaser boyfriend (instead of, say, finding a guy who loves her the way she is).

    Of course, when some of the beauties show they can be real beasts, the cry goes up that all women are wicked, taking advantage of helpless, selfless men! (Or, more hilariously, the man may make excuses for her, as she alienates his kids, goes through his bank account, and generally wrecks his life; “she’s had a hard a life!” “She’s nervous!” “Her last husband treated her bad.”)

    The level of animosity against women exposed here, by the way, is frightening. I really could see a shari’a law system taking root in America, given the current level of male animosity towards women. And, as I’ve said before, the problem is one faced by both sexes. Sorry, guys, but, little as I like feminism, and much as I hate its hatred of males, the problem lies with both sexes. It’s not just a question of innocent, angelic men, being preyed upon by evil womyns, brainwashed by feminists into taking thier kids and hard-earned dollars away from them, doubtless cackling “We’ll get you, you poor male suckers, and your big bucks, too!”

    (Men, if you really believed that, you’d be adopting widespread homosexuality, or entering monateries in droves.)

    Sadly, given the level of commentary here and on Dr. Helen’s site, I don’t see any real change happening soon.

  60. Doom Says:

    Whoever said marriage is not a market, has no concept of where I am. Which leads me to the possibility that I am incorrect, or that the writer was. It is mostly definitely a market, as I see it. I am selling certain quantities and qualities, though I do not do it necessarily on purpose, I do exaggerate the positive and hide the negative aspects pertaining to myself, at least initially (with the hope that in time, even my “bads” may be exposed, explored, and strengthened safely with some woman cum wife). I might dance while dating where I probably will not when married (unless she might be interested in ballroom dancing lessons!), I might do this or that while dating, while that will be less visible or actionable when married. And yet, a general idea of who and what I am will develop (as well, we might get to explore things together we hadn’t explored independently!). From what I have seen, women do much the same thing. Somewhere in there are the clues to any potential mutual future. In a society that has gone absolutely mad, with no mutual or collective expectation of what marriage means, what is expected within the marriage from both parties, or even how people are supposed to act morally, ethically, and socially (we seem to have gotten rid of social expectations based on sex, part of my problem is that I retain, hold, and cherish these). So, picking up the clues, pasting together the montage, and making decisions based on this is quite difficult.

    It has come down to trying to find a woman with similar values, which for me, turns to finding a genuinely Christian woman. This, again, has become difficult with the weakening and watering down of Christianity to, in many cases, a general belief in a simple God and Christ who have no expectations other than a simple belief that they will do as advertised. So many have no belief that they must actively attempt to lead the Christian life, follow the W(w)ord, or are responsible for their actions. Sin being completely disposable in some lesser versions of the religion, minus even guilt.

    What I am attempting to sell I do not actually have. I am attempting to sell a future me, a husband and father. All I have currently is a bachelor to offer. I have a medium income, with no great prospects toward medium to great wealth. Owning a home, though difficult, might be doable, and a family home at that, over time. Few women are interested in either being a traditional wife, working long and hard at a home (going without in the short term to get ahead in the long term), let alone leaving their cellphones off long enough to have a conversation. Most women I have met are quite disinterested in having a child, let alone 4 or more. Pregnancy and delivery is downright inconvenient and dangerous, so I have heard.

    Anyway, it is a market. I am bartering. It is a trade. And, it is stacked against me like it never has been before in history. Which, in the end, will leave women vulnerable and the generic atheist-agnostic male free to sample all the “goods”, since women do have needs and wants which can be denied no more than men’s. And, with any smart man without a moral base, marriage is stupid. Still, I do look. With God there is hope. Sometimes I wish I could just be an atheist. Back when I was, life was as easy as most women (in my experience).

    About choosing the “wrong woman” though, I have dated dozens, more?, women in the last 3 decades. You are kidding me, right? I am no angel, but I have certainly not been a devil. What I have noted is that any person, man or woman, given too much power will abuse that power. This is the way it is. Whoever indicated that holding women to their word is vital, and missing, also touched a truth.

    In the end, our society will either revert, or be converted. There is no shadow of Islam, that is simply one very possible future.

  61. sergey Says:

    “Law may prescribe that the male nipples be made equal to the female ones, but they still will not give milk.” This is from Allan Blum, Closing of American Mind. A nice expression of impossibility to change or reform human nature by legislation. The law can also prescribe that broken family is still a family, or that gay couples can be given adoption rights. Formally, broken vessel can be called a vessel, but it does not hold water.

  62. Talkinkamel Says:

    Doon, are you kidding me?

    I can scarcely believe that you’ve dated so many women, and not found one who wasn’t interested in marriage, or children. I hope you’re not confining your attentions to pretty, shallow young things, on the prowl for money and a good time? You may be dating the wrong sort of women.

    Also, what is this power you seem to think women have too much of, and that they are using against you? Women, in this society, do have the right to turn you down, if they’re not interested. Sorry, that’s just how it is. I don’t think you’re either an angel or a devil, but comments like this—-and your rather creepy ones about conversion/reversion, and your pickitiness about finding a “genuinely” Christian woman make me think your dating problems have more to do with you and less with some sort of strange power women possess.

  63. Jeff Says:

    Talkinkamel wrote, “Also, what is this power you seem to think women have too much of, and that they are using against you? Women, in this society, do have the right to turn you down, if they’re not interested. Sorry, that’s just how it is.”

    Powers women have that men do not:

    — Women have reproductive rights; they can unilaterally terminate their parental responsibilities and rights — and the father’s — through abortion.

    — Women have the presumptive right to demand child support from men who did not father their children.

    — women can force their husbands to pay child support for children conceived in infidelity.

    — Women can obtain restraining orders without a show of evidence, effectively stripping a man of his constitutional rights without a hearing.

    — Women can assault, and even kill men, with no legal consequence.

    — Women can, under VAWA, lay unsubstantiated allegations of abuse and force a man from his domicile and deny him access to his children.

    — Under the rape shield laws, women can lay charges of rape against a man in secret, tarnishing his reputation while protecting hers.

    I could go on for a long time.

    Women have too much power under the law.

  64. Sinner Says:

    I am with those who maintain that if one chooses carefully at the outset in marriage

    This assertion is my biggest problem with this whole debate. “Choosing carefully” is not a consideration from my point of view. The “choice” to put the power of (at lest financial) life and death into the hands of someone else is insane. That is exactly what marriage today is to men. At least men today can avoid marriage, guys married in the past when it wasn’t an issue find themselves in a position that is impossible. Imagine thinking about life one day and realizing, while I love my wife and we have a good marriage, that everything dear to me even my own freedom could be stripped away with the simple say so of someone else. Its not going to happen, at least I tell myself that so I can sleep nights.

    For the record, I am happily married for over 25 years to my high-school sweetheart. I am the only one of my high-school friends that is still married.

  65. Jeff Says:

    Sinner wrote, “This assertion is my biggest problem with this whole debate. “Choosing carefully” is not a consideration from my point of view. The “choice” to put the power of (at lest financial) life and death into the hands of someone else is insane.”

    I completely agree. women should not have a superior status anywhere in the law. Anywhere. Yet, women believe they deserve to put on a legal pedestal.

    [satire alert]
    Imagine if men of the 1950’s had told women, “well sure men have all these rights….but you chose your husband unwisely, and that’s the root of the problem little lassie. And my oh my, aren’t you just emotional? Your anger is positively frightening little lady. You’re projecting your bad experiences onto a situation you caused by your own choices. I do declare.”
    [end satire alert]

    If anything is frightening, it’s reading women’s “arguments” (if one can call them that, they are really just personal attacks). Women are recycling the worst rhetoric, rhetoric that was used to deny THEM equality.

    Jeeesh.

  66. 7 Deadly Sins Says:

    Anger: Marriage Objections == Narcissism…

    Well, what do you know… I just learned that my opinions on marriage makes me guilty of narcissism.
    In reference to the Dr. Helen post of last week…
    It [men’s anger] seems to be a result of women’s greater ability to unilaterally l…

  67. Consanescerion Says:

    Rome did not fall because Germans invaded. It took decades of official corruption, unfair taxes that ruined the economy, and a low birthrate to lay it low before it was too weak to fight off invaders.

    Such will happen to the West if we do not change the road we’re on. Who will be at fault? Will it matter? “If you don’t change the road you’re on, you’ll get to where you’re going” – old Chinese proverb.

  68. Talkinkamel Says:

    Jeff

    Jeff, men have greater physical strength than women. When was the last time you heard of some 4’11 female, raping, murdering and dismembering some 6-foot marine, and leaving his body in a dumpster? And men have frequently assaulted and killed women, with no consequence (often they aren’t even caught). Serial killers, such as Jack the Ripper and Son of Sam are male. And restraining orders really mean nothing. And for every woman who may be passing another man’s child off as her husband’s, there’s that corresponding other man, who made him a cuckold. Men aren’t blameless in the sexual wars.

    There have been countless men who have forced girlfriends and wives to have abortions. There have also been many men who have fathered children on more than one woman, and refuse to support any of the kids. Then they wonder why there kids want nothing to do with them. It’s their evil mothers’ fault.

    VAWA holds too much power over both men and women. Women as well as men have been swept up in the child-abuse hysteria, as witness the McMartin case, and I haven’t yet heard that the right to confront one’s accuser has been abrogated, so I just don’t buy that whole bit about a woman ruining a man’s life with one false rape accusation. And, of course, many women really have been raped and, if they survived the experience, have had their lives ruined by that.

    I’m sure you probably could go on and on, but I wish you wouldn’t. Your hatred for the opposite sex is depressing, and disturbing. I’m not sure what the problem is—-I suspect some female out there treated you badly at some time, but I do think you need help.

  69. Ymarsakar Says:

    When was the last time you heard of some 4′11 female, raping, murdering and dismembering some 6-foot marine, and leaving his body in a dumpster?

    To be fair, there were those times in which the girlfriends and or wives cut off the male’s penis with some scissors while he was tied up.

    Foolish of him for agreeing to even be tied up, of course, but foolishness is a trait freely given to all.

  70. Ymarsakar Says:

    Yet, women believe they deserve to put on a legal pedestal.

    Speaking from a warfare point of view, which emphasizes strategy and human nature, it isn’t women so much as power hungry individuals and narcissists, or bureacrats.

    Also, getting offended by Dr. Helen is going too far. Such things do not originate from her side, after all. People get offended, naturally, because they don’t like hearing or seeing things that they wish to avoid. Dr. Helen brings up a necessary point, which is often what women do when they talk over these sorts of topics. You can and should argue about it, but taking it personally is rather unproductive and even counter-productive to equal rights for men and women.

  71. Consanescerion Says:

    Talkinkamel: This happened to my best friend: His wife asked for divorce. They went to counseling. He found photographic evidence that she was having an affair. She then falsely accused him of child molestation and coached their four year old in an accusation. He signed over durable power of attorney to her and gave her all his assets (.25 mil$) to provide for the children and fled abroad to avoid that special treatment purported child molesters are accorded in prison. Finally, he found that the DA had found insufficient (no) evidence. However, two years later his visa and Driver’s License was revoked for lack of support. He returned a year ago and has just now convinced her to sign a final agreement. She’ll waive future payments in exchange for all he’s saved since he gave her everything. She lives with her boyfriend. He’ll never be able to see his children. She used the respectability of being church-going to cloak her plan. I’ll give her credit: She’s fiendishly cunning.

    I’ve heard of two other cases almost exactly like this that happened to relatives of friends.

    That said, I’ve been married for nearly ten years and likely to remain so. There were long stretches where it wasn’t a happy relationship; with work and perseverence, we get along well now.

    So… is my friend maladjusted? Was it all his fault for choosing poorly? Am I maladjusted for advising my nephews to think seriously about staying single?

    And given the long-term trend of ever-lower rates of marriages and births, are all men to blame as you have blamed Jeff?

  72. Looking Glass Says:

    Domestic Violence Against Men in Colorado provides many examples of women slaughtering men in domestic violence.

  73. Karl the Krud Says:

    Compared to ages past the stresses of modern life are mere piffle. When the Mongols, Saracens, Huns, Norsemen, etc., etc., etc. were roaming about security meant more than just providing three hots and a cot. Since then our rich and oh so sordidly soft society has gradually made men non-essential to a long term domestic regime, with the result being, as is displayed by such things as the “gang culture” and the “Peter-Pan Syndrome”, the development of a huge and growing coterie of rootless men who despise women for their emotional if not physical banishment. For them there is no real stake in sticking around. These fellows are the “New Mongols” who will ultimately crudely enforce a new will. Let us hope that we soon return to honoring our Judeo-Christian heritage (a true enlightenment not fundamentalism) instead of being forced to adopt the Sharia alternative for male stability. Unfortunately, it seems that true change only sails on oceans of blood.

  74. Talkinkamel Says:

    I don’t know your friend, or his wife, and I have only your side of the story, as it was told to you by your best friend, so I really can’t judge that relationship.

    Conascerian, I do think you’re a bit malajudsted in using those three incidents in your life—which all happened to friends, not to you, in trying to turn your nephews against marriage. And what are they to do instead? Have serial affairs, fathering children out of wedlock, or urge all their partners to get abortions if they end up pregnant? Turn gay? Enter a monastery? Have you really considered the emotional havoc you might be sewing in their lives, and the lives of any women they might encounter, or any children they might have?

    And I don’t blame all men. Go back and read all my posts. I do think Jeff expresses a great of hate towards females, and so any debate with him is pretty much useless.

    I think both men and women are to blame for our present predicament, and the overall ugliness of our divorce and hook-up culture. And, unfortunately, I don’t see any solution for this in the short term, because, judging by the comments here, and on the thread that inspried Neo’s thread, men, sadly, are taking up the Oprah Winfrey tack of “WE’RE ALL VICTIMS HERE!” It’s all the fault of women, we’re not to blame! Just as women have been encouraged to do the same. Nothing is going to change as long as each sex sees each other as the enemy.

    Neither sex is going to get anywhere playing the victim card. We’ll all simply have a lot of women, and men, whining, playing the victim and stabbing each other in the back. And lost and abused kids.

    Looking Glass, I didn’t realize the women were all so physically powerful in Colorado; I’m sticking to my contention that men are physically more powerful than women, and male/female violence is more the norm that vice versa.

    And Ymar, I agree. It is only the bureaucrats and power hungry narcissists who gain from instituting open war between men and women—and the attorneys, of course, love it. Unfortunately, as I said, as long as both men and women see each other as merely helpless victims of the other (with “kindly” lawyers and “mediators” arriving, to “save” them from each other) I don’t think much is going to change.

  75. Ymarsakar Says:

    So… is my friend maladjusted? Was it all his fault for choosing poorly?

    Warfare is warfare. IF you are outmaneuvered by an enemy which prevented you from protecting that which you loved… then well, whose fault do you think it was? The attacker’s fault for attacking or the defender’s fault for not destroying the attacker? Both have responsibilities, in a sense.

    Men aren’t blameless in the sexual wars.-Talkin

    Read carefully,C, because it is rather pointless to talk about whether it is all her fault or his fault when the idea being communicated is that not all men are blameless in the sexual wars. Even a partisan can admit to that without undermining his own position.

    are all men to blame as you have blamed Jeff?-C to Talkin

    Didn’t I just tell you to read carefully?

    I swear, people make stuff up as they go along because they aren’t paying attention to what their opponents are actually doing. Very bad situation tactically or strategically speaking.

    No, they didn’t have what happened to them “coming to them”, but, what comes up must come down, fire will burn you and if you don’t look out, you will get hurt.-Talkin

    A little bit of assessing what a person actually believes can save you a lot of hurt down the road, C.

  76. Ymarsakar Says:

    Have serial affairs, fathering children out of wedlock, or urge all their partners to get abortions if they end up pregnant?

    The recommended non-marriage relationship is living with girlfriend/boyfriend and act as if you are married, without ever actually making a legal contract.

    There are some positive benefits to such a relationship, although each would inevitably have to handle their own financial problems with no pooled resources. The modern times, however, inevitably makes “pooling resources” a tricky subject given taxation and the courts.

  77. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m sticking to my contention that men are physically more powerful than women, and male/female violence is more the norm that vice versa.

    That is actually the reason why women who assault men in relationships aren’t prosecuted nor do people even know that it occurs more than men beating women. It is just that there is inevitably no punishment for the women because the men won’t admit that they got beat down by a woman. Thus it becomes a cultural issue, in which crimes that are not punished will flourish logically speaking.

  78. br549 Says:

    My ex came down with a serious mental disorder, way down the road. All kinds of stuff going on, with no way to explain but to the few who have experienced similar unbelievable things.

    Sadly, the (medical) professionals fully understood the situation. No matter. The lawyers, courts, even police department came after me. Friends and neighbors knew the facts. No matter. Hotel receipts, credit card receipts, sign in logs at customer places of business I was visiting when many of the accusations were made – proving I was not even in the same state at the times many of these accusations were made – no matter. But people who do not know me, people who do not know my ex, people who do not know the situation – they called all the shots. They stated what was true and what was not – and THAT is what stood. So my personal problem is with the system. And, those who are a part of it that make it the way it is, and those who helped make it that way.

    Not all women are bad. Not all men are bad. But the system is certainly not good. Tennessee, you gotta love it. And no, I don’t live there anymore.

  79. Consanescerion Says:

    Ymarsakar & Talkinkamel: Sorry, I had not carefully read the entire previous thread.

    Talkinkamel: How many personal examples of husbands being destroyed do I need to see before regarding the institution as fundamentally broken? How high do the divorce rates in California need to be before calling it a longshot? Before it becomes an unwise bet to be taken only in rare circumstances? We’re not talking about Oprah-esque whining here; just clear-eyed, cold-hearted calculations.

    “And what are they to do instead?” Spend their adulthood celibate; worked for me for 20 good years. I’m not telling my nephews never to marry under all circumstances: But to avoid it unless they are certain of their prospective wives beyond the shadow of a doubt… unless her character is unimpeachable.

  80. AmericanWoman Says:

    Talkinkamel, Yes it is frightening, but I think these men are the minority. Just as the penis cutting women and the women who have other men’s kids while still married (and make the husbands pay child support).

    It’s all and excuse to ignore their own problems. Just as it is for women who bitch about ‘all men’ is a cop out.

    I have to say it has made me appreciate my husband even more and am glad I’m not out there with this lot as potential mates!

  81. br549 Says:

    AW, after “seeing who you are” on this blog, and “seeing who you are” on another, I’m glad you’re not out there either. Seems who you are depends on who you’re with.

    You discount your situation. You are married still because you have, obviously, a great husband. It is becoming more obvious by your mounting posts it is he who keeps the relationship solvent. You are tearing men down, here and over there. Surely, then, you do the same at home.

  82. Ymarsakar Says:

    Neo, due to her family therapist background, must get a lot of this carping back and forth. It must be tiring for her to try to see both sides and figure out the truth, not just what people perceive.

    Good training for 9/11, but rather fatiguing, Neo.

  83. Looking Glass Says:

    Consanescerion wrote, “How high do the divorce rates in California need to be before calling it a longshot?

    The National Marriage Project has some interesting data. The articles available there are not well written, but seem to provide the nearest thing to hard data on the subject.

    “The Future of Marriage in America, 2007” states “the divorce rates for highly-educated Oregon and Washington being above the national average (probably California, too, but unfortunately divorce rates for that state are not available).”

    Without the California data, “For the average couple marrying for the first time in recent years, the lifetime probability of divorce or separation remains between 40 and 50 percent.”

    “Marriages that end in divorce also are very costly to the public. One researcher determined that a single divorce costs state and federal governments about $30,000, based on such things as the higher use of food stamps and public housing as well as increased bankruptcies and juvenile delinquency. The nation’s 1.4 million divorces in 2002 are estimated to have cost the taxpayers more than $30 billion.”

    Difficult to reconcile such an exact figure with the claim of lack of data for California.

  84. Jeff Says:

    Talkincamel wrote, “Jeff, men have greater physical strength than women. When was the last time you heard of some 4′11 female, raping, murdering and dismembering some 6-foot marine, and leaving his body in a dumpster? And men have frequently assaulted and killed women, with no consequence (often they aren’t even caught). Serial killers, such as Jack the Ripper and Son of Sam are male. And restraining orders really mean nothing. And for every woman who may be passing another man’s child off as her husband’s, there’s that corresponding other man, who made him a cuckold. Men aren’t blameless in the sexual wars.”

    This is one giant red herring.

    I wasn’t, nor were other posters, referring to women who are not caught. We are referring to women who ARE caught for murder, but who are not punished. Women are held to a lower standard of self-defense. It is so low, that a woman can shoot a sleeping man and be set free by a court.

    You say restraining orders mean nothing!? Believe me, neither judges, nor police, nor men under restraining orders will agree with you. This claim clearly demonstrates that you are dishonest. No reasonable person will even require me to respond to such silliness.

    When you write, “men aren’t blameless in the sexual wars,” you equivocate in the most sophomoric way. Justice is a quality that attends to individuals only. An infidelity by a wife doesn’t betray “men” in the sense of “all men,” but she betrays “a man,” the husband. A particular man is not interchangeable logically with the category “all men.” The husband bears no responsibility just because the other man also happens to have a penis. You have committed an elementary mistake: it’s called the fallacy of composition. Really, this is so obvious as to be stupid in the extreme.

    No one is claiming that men are blameless or morally superior. Some of us are claiming that the laws treat men unjustly. That is the locus of issues.

    Talkincamel wrote, “There have been countless men who have forced girlfriends and wives to have abortions. There have also been many men who have fathered children on more than one woman, and refuse to support any of the kids. Then they wonder why there kids want nothing to do with them. It’s their evil mothers’ fault.”

    All of these are widely recognized as evils. Seeking to change the unjust laws that treat men unfairly, and criticizing women who defend the status quo — none of that entails that men commit no wrongs. The law stands by the woman in all the situations you present. The law does not stand by men in the situations I have presented.

    Talkincamel wrote, “I just don’t buy that whole bit about a woman ruining a man’s life with one false rape accusation. And, of course, many women really have been raped and, if they survived the experience, have had their lives ruined by that.”

    Then you are steadfastly avoiding the facts. Rape has the highest false reporting rate of any crime. FBI studies put it at 40%, more reasonable estimates from the states put it around 20%. No woman is served by a climate of lies in which rape victims are not believed, yet women lie about rape all the time. Given the recent, and prominent, examples of men who have had their college lives ruined by false rape allegations — you once again show yourself to be impervious to obvious facts.

    This isn’t some tit-for-tat game. The law should punish rapists. That doesn’t excuse the unjust treatment of men under the law. This is elementary.

    Talkincamel wrote, “Your hatred for the opposite sex is depressing, and disturbing. I’m not sure what the problem is—-I suspect some female out there treated you badly at some time, but I do think you need help.”

    Ah. Women seem to always arrive here. A man who disagrees with a woman must “need help.” Why, a woman couldn’t be illogical, equivocating, and dishonest! It must be a psychological problem with the man!

    How silly. If you ever wonder why men doubt that women can have rational, dispassionate discourse — you are the poster child example.

  85. Looking Glass Says:

    Ymarsakar wrote, “Neo, due to her family therapist background, must get a lot of this carping back and forth.

    And she’s divorced.

  86. Andrew Says:

    Looking Glass / John Ross (comment #2):

    That happened to a guy I worked with, 20 years ago. He drove home one day after work and found that the only thing left in their apartment was a nasty note stapled to her attorney’s card. It took us almost a year to get him put back together again, covering for him on the job all the way. Fortunately, there were no kids.

    Me? I just got back from a settlement conference with my soon-to-be-ex wife and our attorneys. Fortunately, we live in a state sufficiently enlightened that I’ll get half-time custody of our kids, and she can’t really prevent that (although she wishes she could). On the other hand, if we lived in a state sufficiently unenlightened that it required grounds for divorce — there would be no divorce, because she has no grounds. Many people who know us (including some of her long-time friends) have gone out of their way to tell me that I don’t deserve this.

    As it is, though, I’ll wind up paying her at least $300k for the privilege of getting a divorce I don’t want, despite the fact that her income is close to mine. Oh, and she has about $2 million in real estate in her own name (never jointly, she made sure of that), while I have only a used car and a used laptop. I’ve got to find a way to borrow five times my take-home pay, when I ought to be saving for retirement and the kids’ college tuition instead.

    What did I do wrong? Damfino. Near as I can tell, she went crazy near the end of her second pregnancy. There’s precedent: her grandmother went crazy during her own second pregnancy, and spent the rest of her life in an asylum. Just my luck — my ex didn’t go crazy enough.

    Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve heard bitter old men muttering, “Don’t get married. Marriage is for suckers.” Hah, I thought. I’m not a loser. I’ll beat the odds.

    Hah, indeed. Those bitter old men get the last laugh.

  87. Looking Glass Says:

    For the more on John Ross’s story, go to the Internet Archive and search for “http://www.john-ross.net/marriage_ii.htm”

    Every man thinking about marriage should read it.

  88. Doom Says:

    No, I have dated many types. The few who were actually interested in marriage were not risk worthy, of those few were interested in children (some significant portion were, or said they were, incapable of having children). Beats me, maybe I’ve had a string of bad luck. As for the power women maintain, which is supported by the law, that is the power to do just about anything withing a marriage without retribution and still leave with most of the goods. They absolutely have absolute power over whether to bear a child, whether to stay married, and how to go about getting every nickel they can. And, as per statistics, they do use those powers to our full disadvantage.

  89. Looking Glass Says:

    Why don’t men show up? Battlespace preparation by their spouses.

    Criticize Him Daily …by carving into his ego like a Thanksgiving turkey, you can effectively break down his self-esteem… A man’s self-image is greatly affected by his perception of his virility. If you degrade his sexual ability, you will essentially emasculate him — his entire sense of self-worth will be dismantled.” – Divorce War — 50 Strategies Every Women Needs To Know To Win

    A husband has a fifty-fifty chance of facing that, and paying for privilege.

    The Website link for this comment will take you to the page.

  90. AmericanWoman Says:

    “You are tearing men down, here and over there. Surely, then, you do the same at home.”

    I’m stating my thoughts and feelings. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Why do you want me to supress how I feel?

    And why do you feel I’m ‘tearing you down?’ the only time I reacted negatively to you was when you admittedly posted something negatively to me. Why do you assume that everything I post is directed at you?

    I think you are projecting. One woman hurt you so therefore all women are bad and are threatening.

    I do not apologize for stating my opinions, and if they offend you or others, so be it. It seems that you and others don’t want to hear others opinions unless they mirror your own.

    Healthy relationships require open communications.If one party feels stifled, then the relationship is not going to work.

  91. Jeff Says:

    Americanwoman wrote, “I do not apologize for stating my opinions, and if they offend you or others, so be it. It seems that you and others don’t want to hear others opinions unless they mirror your own.

    Healthy relationships require open communications.If one party feels stifled, then the relationship is not going to work.”

    Please. Woman often take a false high ground in discussions. They confuse the pedestal of deference normally accorded them for moral superiority. One of the most common rhetorical strategies is to claim some obvious virtue while simultaneously exhibiting its corresponding vice.

    Americanwoman is an excellent example.

    Here’s a smattering of quotes from her posts.

    Stifling communication by inventing personal histories: “I have to believe that most of the people commenting on that blog were not prepared for marriage or relationships in general. One only has to look at how they post about themselves and their former significant others.”

    Impeding open communication by unwarranted evaluations: “The men there seem to be stuck in a pattern.”

    Ignoring facts, claims, arguments and evidence in favor of vapid personal characterizations: “It’s all and excuse to ignore their own problems.”

    Psychologizing from the other side of a keyboard instead of examining claims rationally: “Women do have more choices today, and it seems that men haven’t done that well coping with it. ”

    Responding to reasoned argument with insult: “Then you can take lessons from them on how to beat your wife if she doesn’t behave properly.” (Dr. Helen’s blog)

    Improperly attributing ideas to the other side to poison the well: “I’m sure you will make some woman, sorry, femnazi, very happy.” (Dr. Helen’s blog)

    Lying outright about what she’s written: “My first posts cites generalizations on this comment board, not just ones by you.” (Dr. Helen’s blog)

    Simple name-calling: “And it was exactly neo’s blog entry that made me once again venture into the ‘He-Man woman haters club’ that is the comment section here.” (Dr, Helen’s blog)

    All this, yet she claims the moral high ground of “open communication.” It’s a typical female ploy.

    Americanwoman is not interested in “open communication.”

  92. Mark in Texas Says:

    There are certain tipping points that people seem to have. For example, when tax rates get higher than one third, people go to a lot more effort to avoid paying those taxes than they do at lower rates. When enough people carry concealed handguns in an area, robberies go down because robbery is perceived as too risky for the rewards.

    We may now be entering a zone where the perceived risks of marriage are becoming more important than the perceived rewards, at least for men in the United States. “But not all women are heartless bitches who will cut out your heart, take everything you own and steal your kids away!” is the countervailing argument and they are correct. However, there are enough of the other kind and the rules seem to be written in their favor.

    Think of it as walking through a minefield to reach some reward on the other side. If one in a hundred people who walks through the minefield steps on a mine, most people view that as an acceptable risk that they would be willing to take. If half the people step on mines before making it across, there will be a lot fewer volunteers. If 90% of the people who attempt to cross the minefield are blown up, almost nobody will make the attempt.

    Assuming that you would like to see our society survive for another generation, we should probably do something to change the risk to reward ratio. We can’t really change the reward, which is the same as it has always been, an opportunity to work hard and sacrifice for your family in the hope that your spouse and children will be happy and thrive. We might try to remove some of the land mines or at least use smaller ones so that the unlucky ones lose a foot instead of being blown to hamburger.

    One example that seems to be universally recognized as unjust is for a man to be required to pay child support for a child who was conceived by his wife’s infidelity. Before DNA tests, it made sense to assume that any child conceived during a marriage was the responsibility of the husband. Now that we can determine parentage absolutely, such a legal assumption no longer makes sense. If we changed the laws to remove this particular land mine, it would help lower the perceived risk of marriage. Heck, given the 25% to 33% of children who are conceived with someone other than the legal father, it might persuade some women from filing for divorce in the first place.

  93. Consanescerion Says:

    Mark,

    “Assuming that you would like to see our society survive for another generation, we should probably do something to change the risk to reward ratio.”

    Sadly, I believe Western society will fail within one generation. It’s simple math given current trends. I can’t imagine people taking corrective action until their very existence is threatened… and I suspect it will be too late.

    I find myself reading late Roman empire literature of late. All societies are destroyed eventually.

  94. br549 Says:

    Everything else aside, as I don’t see a blog solving any societal problems, I can and do agree with what quite a few have said, and because of personal experience. That being the suffering of children in messy divorces. Often, one of the two parents is prevented from seeing the children after all is said and done – by the custodial parent. Usually the father is the one deprived. It appears this is used as a weapon. The weapon also wounds the child(ren). That is sad, and cruel.

    I was lucky, and ended up with my children. My ex has complete access to the kids whenever she wants. The kids can see mom whenever they want. That is a situation made up completely by my family, of our own design, our own wills. It took a while to get there, as trust had to be re-built (she grabbed one of the kids and ran away with her before). The “system” has no say in the matter. We don’t “report” to anyone to tell them where our kids are staying at this time, etc. It’s none of their business, from my point of view. No one owns my kids. Least of all “the state”.

    This men / women thing; it isn’t brand new, although it has morphed. Like Rome, the U.S. can only fall apart (or be destroyed) from the inside. There are many social problems that are simply not being solved logically and fairly, intelligently. Hurray for me, and screw you. Yeah, that’s new. Too many hollering “gimme!”.

    I have three wonderful kids. I love them beyond words. However, I am deeply disappointed in myself, and every other adult on this planet, and especially in this country.

    There is simply and truly, not a single solitary snowflake in this avalanche who is blameless. Surely, we can at least all agree on that. And with that said, now what do we do? Perhaps to a greater or lesser degree, we are all in some position of misery. And we all know what misery loves.

  95. Looking Glass Says:

    Mark in Texas wrote, “Assuming that you would like to see our society survive for another generation, we should probably do something to change the risk to reward ratio.

    Yes. Digg even had a thread on this a year ago, “Why Men Don’t Want to Get Married.” Some of the best comments are buried deep.

    Things are just as bad in Britain. Men are getting the word out.

    All I see is a callous indifference to the situation. The most Neo-Neocon can bring herself to do is write, “The formerly married [men] say, ‘Never again,’ and the never-married [men] merely say, ‘Never.’

    The National Marriage Project at Rutgers has the same curiously detached approach as Neo-Neocon. It points out that the Federal Government collects very little information about marriage. So the NMP uses bits and scraps of dodgy info. The accepted divorce rate for first marriages is 50%. California, meanwhile, doesn’t make divorce data available. Which direction do you think that skews the results?

    One-third of children are currently born out of wedlock. Allegedly, blood types on birth certificates show that one-third of listed fathers could not have sired the named child.

    The Equal Justice Foundation estimates that only one child in six will be born into and grow to maturity in an intact household with their biological mother and father.

    If there’s an online forum to air the issues I haven’t found it.

  96. Looking Glass Says:

    br549 wrote, “Everything else aside, as I don’t see a blog solving any societal problems.”

    Society won’t try to solve a problem it doesn’t know about.

  97. Mama73 Says:

    I agree that the scales right now are skewed against men. But the anger on Helen’s blog scares me because this issue must be solved by men and WOMEN together. It sucks, but the weaker party (right now men) usually is the one that needs to take the high ground. (Psychological passive resistance if you will).

    Branding all American women as out to get men, materialistic, etc. doesn’t help the cause…the good women you want on your team will just withdraw into their happy marriages and think that its only “other men” who have these problems.

    All sorts of psychological studies have shown how beneficial to children it is to have a father. This is LEVERAGE. The men’s movement has to come out and show they are PRO-child, and PRO-family. This will subtly indict the women who divorce for frivolous reasons as anti-child (and no mother wants to think of herself this way).

    At the same time the men’s movement might want to come down really hard on the *very few* men out there who beat their wives or harm children. But make it known that statistically their numbers are actually quite small–its only television that make the numbers seem larger than they are.

  98. Looking Glass Says:

    mama73,

    I”ll make one final attempt to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding between us, then let you have the last word.

    What’s in those blog comments isn’t anger, “branding,” or, ludicrously enough, vitriol.

    It’s pain.

    “At least 7 out of 10 guys I talk to tell me that it is one of the worst mistakes that they ever made. Some tell me not to marry American women, that they are all feminist at heart. One married guy told me that I could get the same effect by selling my house, giving all my money away and having someone castrate me.”

    It’s a spontaneous outpouring of agony, the result of decades of systematic abuse. It’s happened on Digg, at the Free Republic, on the website of the Daily Telegraph in Britain, on Dr. Helen’s blog, on Pajamas Media, here, and probably countless other places on the Internet. Anywhere men feel they can tell their stories.

    And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Men who have been humiliated by their wives are reluctant to talk about it. But a critical mass of suffering has been reached, and the Internet is a place its voice can be heard.

    No amount of advocacy, activism, or public relations program will change the public perception of men as brutal sexually predating child abusing wife beating pederasts in the face of the Main Stream Media, the education system, Women’s Studies, Oprah Winfrey, Lifetime Network, LMN, EEOC, VAWA, sexual harassment laws, National Organization for Women, etc. ad nauseam.

    LabRat illustrates this, obsessed with the thought that some men are physically stronger than some women.
    To the exclusion of any rational thought, despite a listing of women who are literal man killers in domestic violence. You can’t argue with that mindset. You can only avoid it.

    This isn’t the start of a movement, it’s the end.

    As for leveraging women, if they cared about children there wouldn’t be 37% of children born out of wedlock, most to women over 20. An infant would have more than one chance in six of growing up in a home where his biological parents are married and living together.

    If women cared about their fathers, brothers, or sons it would never have come to this.

    In 2003 the following exchange happened on The Free Republic.

    A woman asked, “Why don’t men get themselves out of this mess?”

    “They are. They’re not marrying. If women are interested in marriage, then don’t ask men to fix it.
    Your response is typical of why this is a trend on the upswing. There are more registered female voters than male voters, and more females are interested in marriage.”

    It’s going to get a lot worse.

    Meanwhile, divorce lawyers giving this advice to wives.

    Criticize Him Daily …by carving into his ego like a Thanksgiving turkey, you can effectively break down his self-esteem… A man’s self-image is greatly affected by his perception of his virility. If you degrade his sexual ability, you will essentially emasculate him — his entire sense of self-worth will be dismantled.

    It’s all about empowering women.

  99. br549 Says:

    Yeah, looking glass, it’s pain.

    But not for the reasons many might gloat over. James Taylor said it pretty good a long time ago. Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.

  100. Mama73 Says:

    LookingGlass,

    There is pain on both sides.

    If I dwelt on mine I wouldn’t have my wonderful husband or the beautiful little boy that I do.

  101. Child Custody Says:

    in a custody battle over her son during a divorce A group of lawyers and advocates is raising funds for the FreeState Law services programs in the entire country,”

  102. E.B Says:

    AmericanWoman:

    “Neo, I read both your and Dr. Helen’s blog regularly. The comments on Dr. Helen’s blog are not new, they’ve always been like that. I stopped reading the comments there awhile ago because it was rather disturbing. I think Dr.Helen would be better served to just call her blog ‘Place where men can bitch about women’ and be done with it. I’ve also had a few run ins with the good Dr.Herself.”

    Right, venting about having their livelihoods’ destroyed and being denied access to their children is “bitching”. Given your indifference to their obvious pain (yes, men can feel pain) I wouldn’t be surprised if your husband ends up “bitching” about you on Helen’s blog.

    “I agree with your comments on marriage. I have to believe that most of the people commenting on that blog were not prepared for marriage or relationships in general. One only has to look at how they post about themselves and their former significant others.”

    Feminist Translation: When a women wrongs a man he should never under any circumstances say anything the least bit negative about the princess. Any less would indicate a deep seething hatred of women.

    “I’m am eternally grateful for my husband. We have a good marriage.

    That is not possible for a wymyn who does not know the difference between lamenting a horrible experience of a woman – and the legal system – and an attack on herself. It’s called the victim complex, something Americanwomen(pun intended) have turned into an art form.

    It’s not always easy and it takes a lot of personal sacrifice and patience. But we are partners, that’s the key. We both work towards the goal of the relationship. It’s not a contest about who can get the best of who.
    I do feel sympathy for some of those posters and hope they get some help for their issues”.*

    *not sympathy for what they went through, god no, but sympathy for their “issues”, you know, feeling bad about being betrayed and abandoned by their wives, complaining about being raped by the courts…you know, petty stuff that you should just get over.

    After I reading a number of -men-are-angry-and-hate-women post by Americanwomen, Jenny, and Talkincamel I first thought that it was just the typical defensiveness that any harpy queefs up when confronted with the fact that women are less that goddesses. Now I am sure it’s more than that. They are seeing themselves in the mirror. If these wymen were warm, loving, nurturing, caring, and loyal women who didn’t at all resemble the creatures described in men’s horror stories, then the anger and the so called vitriol would just roll off their broad shoulders. When a Dr.Helen angry women hating He-man describes his self-absorbed, abusive, vindictive, frigid, nagging whore of an ex-wife the Harpies motioned above take it personal because they are those women and need to defend themselves accordingly(and in America that means pretending that the man is in the wrong for having the audacity to complain).

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  104. How To Get Custody Says:

    A belated welcome to the “dark side” 🙂 I became a neocon years ago after going through my liberal 20s and 30s.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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