Practical tips from “Real World Divorce:” “Don’t slide into marriage”

Most of this post is not me! It’s from Real World Divorce, a book by Alexa Dankowski, Suzanne Goode, Philip Greenspun, Chaconne Martin-Berkowicz, and Tina Tonnu. The most important part is: “What’s her best advice to people hoping to have a lifelong marriage?” And the answer: “Don’t slide into marriage. When you move in or have a child together, do it on purpose,” which is one of the things I’ve done right in my life. I’ve never gotten married, and although I’ve been rammed by the so-called “family court” system, at least I haven’t gotten hit with the alimony too:

“Marriage used to be something you did first and then you built your life on that,” said Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott, an American sociologist currently teaching at University of Otago. “Now it is a capstone event that you do after you achieve other things. This results in people waiting until they are much older to have children. In New Zealand right now there are more women age 35-39 having children than women 20-25.”

In light of Professor Hohmann-Marriott’s observation, staying married is more important than it used to be because people are getting married at an age where they have fewer remaining years in which to recover from a mistake.

Hofmann-Marriott’s research, in collaboration with Professor Paul Amato at Penn State, shows that there are plenty of divorces in marriages that are just as happy as those that continue for decades. “Nothing distinguished the quality of marriage for those people who got divorced out of low-distress [nobody hitting anyone] marriages,” Professor Hohmann-Marriott told us, “so it has to be just a lack of personal commitment to the institution of marriage that explains some divorces.” What’s her best advice to people hoping to have a lifelong marriage? “Don’t slide into marriage. When you move in or have a child together, do it on purpose.”

Based on our interviews with attorneys, psychologists, and sociologists, as well as our review of the literature, a good starting point is to find people who have a cultural or religious commitment to marriage. They are the ones who will be willing to put in some work and effort when there are bumps in the road, rather than picking up the phone to call a litigator. At the other end of the spectrum are children of divorce who are themselves prone to becoming divorced. “If she didn’t have a close and loving relationship with her daddy,” we were told, “she isn’t going to be able to handle being a wife.” This perspective is echoed in the psychology literature. From Father-Daughter Relationships: Contemporary Research and Issues (Nielsen 2012): “Which mothers are the least likely to be gatekeepers? Generally speaking, mothers who keep the coparenting gate open share several things in common (Titelman, 2008; Cannon, 2008; Chiland, 1982; Krampe & Newton, 2006; Pleck & Masciadrelli, 2010). First, these mothers had good relationships with their fathers while they were growing up. They value and appreciate fathers. They believe men and women should be equal parents. In contrast, the gatekeepers more often grew up in single-parent, divorced, or unhappily married families. Their relationships with their fathers were distant, troubled, or virtually nonexistent.” Most states’ divorce courts substantially reward gatekeeper mothers by awarding custody to the “historical primary caregiver” of a child. By definition a gatekeeper mother will have been the dominant parent during a marriage.

The research of Brinig and Allen shows that your chance of being sued for divorce rises with the amount of money that your spouse can get from you and with the probability that your spouse can win sole custody of the children. You can increase your chances of staying married, therefore, by marrying someone wealthier than yourself and by ensuring that you are not in a jurisdiction where the other spouse can easily get sole custody of the children (e.g., if you’re a man, try to settle in Arizona or Delaware).

“Why Happy Couples Cheat” from Esther Perel

Why even happy couples cheat” is a talk from Esther Perel, and I found it on the Sex Positive sub-Reddit. Her book Mating in Captivity should also be read closely, and Red Pill guys will get different things out of it. Although Mating in Captivity is superficially about how to maintain an erotic spark in a long-term relationship, a better reading is simpler and, for many men, harsher: All long-term relationships eventually curdle. Partners get bored with each other. Boredom is baked into the structure of relationships.

Expect cheating or misery or both from long-term relationships of sufficient duration. The only way out is not to engage in them (or, possibly, to engage in them at a much older age: 40+ at a bare minimum).

“Why Even Happy Couples Cheat” is an extension of Mating in Captivity: they cheat because cheating is a way of avoiding both the trade-offs of relationships (security, reliability) and being single (novelty, fun).

The important point, however, is not about the why “happy” couples cheat, but about what lessons you should incorporate into your own life:

  1. Don’t get married. This should be obvious.
  2. If someone tells you the baby is yours, make sure a DNA test proves it.
  3. Always have a contingency plan in any relationship. You’re only as good as your options.
  4. Don’t live together. This one is personally important because a couple weeks ago I told a woman I was dating that I didn’t want to live with a woman again. She was flabbergasted and wanted to know why. I explained that I think sex is better and relationships are better with distance. This strategy is less economical, but I’d rather live in a tiny studio on my own than a palatial two- or three-bedroom apartment with someone else. I also lived with a woman in my 20s and had two kids with her. I made the usual mistakes but I avoided two very important ones: I never married her and we never bought property together. Owning property in today’s day and age is slavery, not freedom. When our relationship ended, I could just leave the lease. I got reamed through the usual ways with child “support,” but I could still leave by letting the lease end and avoided giving up more money through alimony.

The latest woman and I broke up because the relationship “wasn’t going anywhere.” To me, it was its own reward, but that wasn’t true for her. I actually respect her for the solid breakup and no backsliding.

  1. Most people have no idea what they actually want. I’m not an exception to this. You probably aren’t either.

I think we’re undergoing a slow but real realignment of the fundamental structure of society. You can fight it or accept it. I used to fight and think I was different. I’m not.

Also, you have to realize that you’re going to cheat or be cheated on. The question is: Which?

There is no viable modern alternative to learning game.

“Women Are Now Cheating As Much As Men, But With Fewer Consequences”

Women Are Now Cheating As Much As Men, But With Fewer Consequences” appears in a mainstream outlet, which is the only surprising thing about it. The venue may be surprising, but the content is not:

The crazy part, she elaborates, is not the apparent epidemic of adultery, but that it’s the women who seem to be fueling it.

It is, perhaps, another milestone in the march to equality. Women and men are now taking an equal-opportunity approach to extramarital hanky-panky. A report out of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that, for the first time in modern history, women are cheating at nearly the same rate as men. Another study, published in the National Opinion Research Center’s 2013 General Social Survey, found that while the percentage of men who admitted to infidelity has held constant over the last two decades, the percentage of wives who reported having affairs rose almost 40 percent. Gary Spivak, founder of FidelityDating, a dating website designed to help users “find a loving non-cheater” — typically after being two-timed — says that last year membership on the site was largely female. Just one year later, it’s an even 50-50 split.

Experts suggest there are a few reasons for this shift. There’s the internet, which has made finding a better and/or different partner easier than ever. There’s opportunity — more women are working outside the house, and meeting new partners in the process. And there’s economics. As women are increasingly filling the role of family breadwinners, they no longer “need” men the way they used to and so feel freer to take chances they might otherwise not. That’s the theory, anyway. Then again, a 2015 study by researchers at the University of Connecticut found that while, for men, breadwinning increases infidelity, for women, breadwinning decreases infidelity. (“By remaining faithful,” writes study author Christin Munsch, “breadwinning women neutralize their gender deviance and keep potentially strained relationships intact.”)

There actually isn’t much to elaborate or analyze. Read the article and read “Open Cuckoldry” and you’ll understand what is going on. The only remaining question is, “How should you react?”

I’ve said this before but it’s still true:

  1. Don’t get married.
  2. Don’t cohabitate.
  3. If you MUST get married or cohabitate, despite knowing that you shouldn’t, at least have a firm, actionable exit plan. You are only as good as your options.
  4. Demand DNA tests for any children “you” may father.

Finally, understand that there are really two kinds of men in this world: the ones cheated on and the ones cheated with. Which do you want to be?

The evolution of monogamy in response to partner scarcity: don’t marry

If you bother reading the Red Pill and seduction you should also be reading evolutionary biology. Nature has an article, “The evolution of monogamy in response to partner scarcity,” that postulates “fitness payoffs to monogamy and the maintenance of a single partner can be greater when partners are rare. Thus, partner availability is increasingly recognized as a key variable structuring mating behavior.”

Previous papers have speculated that child investment caused humans to become more monogamous. This paper has an alternate theory, however, with important implications for modern dating life. The authors say:

we show that when partners are abundant, multiple mating, and not pairbonded, males generally see the greatest fitness returns to their strategy. On the other hand, when males are abundant and partners are rare, males that pairbond generally do best.

In most of today’s world, however, partners are abundant, not scarce. People’s behavior changes in response to scarcity. So we should see more multiple-partner sex, which is indeed what we are seeing. We should see less male investment in any individual woman, which we may or may not be seeing. The authors write:

Accordingly, in humans, we contend that the transition from males mating multiply to providing paternal care possibly passed through an intermediate step of male mate guarding in response to partner rarity. This interpretation is consistent with recent phylogenetic analyses of primate social organization, indicating that bonded relationships (i.e., pair-living) derived from an earlier state of multi-male/multi-female groups61,62. Pairbond formation through mate guarding provides a mechanism to ensure paternity certainty and a possible avenue to open up paternal care to selection. Once pairbond duration lengthens, the reproductive interests of males and females may become aligned.

We do see why marriage today is not a good idea. Potential partners are everywhere and the growth of online dating has only made this more true. At the same time, while the authors don’t discuss this, it is likely that ancestral humans had powerful means of dissuading defectors from monogamy via violence—and both men and women could be punished that way.

In contrast, you cannot viably punish mating defection via violence in the modern U.S.; if you do you will likely go to jail, or worse. I’m not arguing that this is fair, I am arguing that it is true. Today there are no sanctions that enforce monogamy for women.

Now look at contemporary marriage from a woman’s point of view: if she cheats and gets caught, she can still walk away with half the property that’s jointly owned; the kids themselves; and she’ll likely get a large share of the man’s income for the next two decades in the form of “child” support. In other words, modern marriage rules reward her for cheating and reward her for divorcing. That is worth keeping in mind for anyone who thinks marriage is a reasonable outcome.

In today’s world males likely see higher returns by seeking multiple women rather than one, and women will often interpret heavy investment as a sign of weakness rather than strength.

As a man you are only as good as your options. If you make sure you are living in a world of abundance (as happens in cities and liberal arts colleges) you will have a very different experience than if you are living in a world of scarcity (as happens in rural areas and technical colleges). Optimal mating strategies change based on your environment. We have collectively created an environment that encourages promiscuity and discourages male investment in women.

I really enjoy this promiscuous as I am not interested in monogamy, but those of you who still believe that monogamy is a viable route in the contemporary U.S., Canada, and Europe should know what you are up against.

Don’t get married. If you do, you have only yourself to blame when the system screws you horribly.