Stories about midlife divorce are cautionary stories about why younger guys shouldn’t marry

You may not believe this, but I think you should read Eat Pray Lovebecause it demonstrates what goes through a woman’s mind when she blows up her relationship and everything that most women are told to strive to accomplish for going off and fucking randoms (that is not how the book is conventionally framed but that is a good reading of it).

Once you realize that women are valorized by the culture for both marrying and for divorcing, any residual desire you may feel about marrying should dissipate.

The latest example in this saga is from The Emancipation of the MILF, concerning Claire Dederer’s book Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning,

About six years ago, Claire Dederer realized she had a problem. The problem had to do with sex. It had to do with desire. It had to do with being a middle-aged wife and mother and needing and wanting to be seen and known by new people in a new way, maybe even by people she didn’t particularly like or love or respect all that much. Her problem had something to do with sex but didn’t stop there.

In other words, women feel the call of the wild much like men do, and they are willing to blow up their marriages to answer that call. Solution: Don’t marry in the first place.

I don’t know that I believe this,

By modern standards, the author’s misbehavior is mild — there is no marriage-destroying, Eat, Pray, Love–style romance or affair. Instead, she yearns and flirts; she stays out late and takes vacations with her best friend instead of her husband; she has a slew of inappropriate email friendships with various suitors, and at her most reckless, allows an unnamed, famous short story writer from California to stick his tongue in her mouth

And even if I do, why marry a woman who is going to yearn and flirt with someone else anyway? Better not to give her access to half or more of your assets.

How odd it is to exist in this moment of so many contradictions when it comes to our thinking about female sexuality. “We’re living at a time,” I said to her, “when women, some women, some young women, have more sexual freedom than ever before. It’s sort of okay now to not get married. It’s sort of okay to say you don’t want to have kids. It’s sort of okay to have sex with other women, or to have sex with men and women, or to be into kink, or to be sex-positive, or polyamorous, or whatever

It’s “okay” to not get married. So don’t get married.

You can have kids without marrying. I have three now, two with a woman I knocked up way too young (subject of another post) and one with an older woman who liked my Dad skills, I think (also subject of another post). The first woman took me through the grindstone of child support, which is as bad as everyone says, but I’m co-parenting with the second and that’s been great. I also know for sure all three are mine.

Lately I’ve also been slowing down on the game. I just don’t get the thrill from bedding women that I used to and now I find that time spent with my kids is much more fulfilling for me and for them than the time I might be spending chasing and sleeping with women.

Back on point, there is another useful article, ‘We Choose Each Other Over and Over Because We Want to’: Readers Share Their Open-Marriage Stories,

To tell this story with the kind of depth that it requires, you need to tell the story of those for whom nonmonogamy didn’t work out. In my case, after more than 10 years of marriage and two kids, my wife fell for someone else, and I agreed to open up the marriage.

In retrospect, I never really had a choice, and this was the beginning of the end of the marriage.

Now many here are vehemently opposed to non-monogamy. I do not share your feelings for reasons I mention here. To me non-monogamy done well is really next level pickup artistry in which guys share high-quality women for the benefit of all, like good ideas are shared by great scientists in order to further the scientific quest. I am never likely to attempt to be monogamous again. It’s not practical for me and based on the data not practical for a wide swath of the population. But I have never married and will never marry. If you practice non-monogamy without the economic bonds of marriage it is likely to work out much better for you. If you are married and non-monogamous then you’ve fucked up and just don’t realize it yet.

As you know I am vehemently opposed to marriage. The poor sap in the NYT story likely had half his assets stripped from him and has decades of “child” support in front of him. His ex will likely get full custody of the kids. In the modern era marriage is just stupid and dangerous, especially as conscious non-monogamy grows. He could have had kids without getting married and without getting as financially entangled with a wife.

Some of the guys here evince a misty nostalgia for a past era of relatively strong monogamy. I doubt that era was all that good (everyone had kids way young and got used up fast, men and women both) but whether it was or wasn’t it’s over. The only real way to protect yourself today is to not get married. As mentioned above I love non-monogamy, but I would probably not do it if I were also entangled in marriage and taking the risks marriage imposes.

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Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

5 thoughts on “Stories about midlife divorce are cautionary stories about why younger guys shouldn’t marry”

  1. Cool blog man!

    And this line from this article:

    > Once you realize that women are valorized by the culture for both marrying and for divorcing, any residual desire you may feel about marrying should dissipate.

    Like

  2. >> Once you realize that women are valorized by the culture for both marrying and for divorcing

    ^ I’ve never heard it put that way before.

    Mid-40s. Never been married (but have been cornered a few times). Gave up monogamy (again) a year and a half ago. Very happy bachelor and “street seducer” right now.

    I have a good friend, “Natural.” He and I are in the same boat… older men, high SMV, never been married. The only thing I don’t like about a POV like yours… is that is sounds like Natural and I… and I want to be certain I don’t get too far down a “bubble” in case I’m off about this stuff. The years prove I’m not off at all… but I am still keeping an eye on that “bubble blind” potential in myself.

    This ^ is my way of saying I agree with almost everything you wrote above.

    I’m loving my first look at your writing man… I’m going to go hit the street… but I’m looking fwd to reading more.

    Like

    1. Glad you like the writing… it’s funny… there’s almost no one I can talk to about this stuff in real life. In my work life, I’m the weird unmarried guy… or the guy who sometimes brings an inappropriately hot date to the social event. The guy who doesn’t eat donuts like everyone else. I can get away with being weird, but it’s like almost everyone else around me has bought in to the typical life course narrative. And lots of them are suffering for having done so.

      Like

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