Skip to comments.A 'Marriage Strike' Emerges As Men Decide Not To Risk Loss
Posted on 07/06/2002 5:00:19 AM PDT by buccaneer81
A 'marriage strike' emerges as men decide not to risk loss
By Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson
Katherine is attractive, successful, witty, and educated. She also can't find a husband. Why? Because most of the men this thirtysomething software analyst dates do not want to get married. These men have Peter Pan syndrome: They refuse to commit, refuse to settle down, and refuse to "grow up."
However, given the family court policies and divorce trends of today, Peter Pan is no naive boy, but instead a wise man.
"Why should I get married and have kids when I could lose those kids and most of what I've worked for at a moment's notice?" asks Dan, a 31-year-old power plant technician who says he will never marry.
"I've seen it happen to many of my friends. I know guys who came home one day to an empty house or apartment - wife gone, kids gone. They never saw it coming. Some of them were never able to see their kids regularly again."
Census figures suggest that the marriage rate in the United States has dipped 40 percent during the last four decades to its lowest point since the rate was measured. There are many plausible explanations for this trend, but one of the least mentioned is that American men, in the face of a family court system hopelessly stacked against them, have subconsciously launched a "marriage strike."
It is not difficult to see why. Let's say that Dan defies Peter Pan, marries Katherine, and has two children. There is a 50 percent likelihood that this marriage will end in divorce within eight years, and if it does, the odds are 2-1 it will be Katherine, not Dan, who initiates the divorce. It may not matter that Dan was a decent husband. Studies show that few divorces are initiated over abuse or because the man has already abandoned the family. Nor is adultery cited as a factor by divorcing women appreciably more than by divorcing men.
While the courts may grant Dan and Katherine joint legal custody, the odds are overwhelming that it is Katherine, not Dan, who will win physical custody. Overnight, Dan, accustomed to seeing his kids every day and being an integral part of their lives, will become a "14 percent dad" - a father who is allowed to spend only one out of every seven days with his own children.
Once Katherine and Dan are divorced, odds are at least even that Katherine will interfere with Dan's visitation rights.
Three-quarters of divorced men surveyed say their ex-wives have interfered with their visitation, and 40 percent of mothers studied admitted that they had done so, and that they had generally acted out of spite or in order to punish their exes.
Katherine will keep the house and most of the couple's assets. Dan will need to set up a new residence and pay at least a third of his take-home pay to Katherine in child support.
As bad as all of this is, it would still make Dan one of the lucky ones. After all, he could be one of those fathers who cannot see his children at all because his ex has made a false accusation of domestic violence, child abuse, or child molestation. Or a father who can only see his own children under supervised visitation or in nightmarish visitation centers where dads are treated like criminals.
He could be one of those fathers whose ex has moved their children hundreds or thousands of miles away, in violation of court orders, which courts often do not enforce. He could be one of those fathers who tears up his life and career again and again in order to follow his children, only to have his ex-wife continually move them.
He could be one of the fathers who has lost his job, seen his income drop, or suffered a disabling injury, only to have child support arrearages and interest pile up to create a mountain of debt which he could never hope to pay off. Or a father who is forced to pay 70 percent or 80 percent of his income in child support because the court has imputed an unrealistic income to him. Or a dad who suffers from one of the child support enforcement system's endless and difficult to correct errors, or who is jailed because he cannot keep up with his payments. Or a dad who reaches old age impoverished because he lost everything he had in a divorce when he was middle-aged and did not have the time and the opportunity to earn it back.
"It's a shame," Dan says. "I always wanted to be a father and have a family. But unless the laws change and give fathers the same right to be a part of their children's lives as mothers have, it just isn't worth the risk."
Dianna Thompson is the founder and executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. She can be contacted by e-mail at DThompson2232@aol.com. Glenn Sacks writes about gender issues from the male perspective. He invites readers' comments at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.
|In order for the multinationals to flourish they must get you to buy stuff you dont need. Family structures mitigate this consumption pressure hence they have been successfully destroyed
Ah, dammit, you told 'em. Well, now that the cat's out of the bag, I might as well 'fess up. I used to sit on board of Amalgamated General, and yes, we used to sit around planning the destruction of the American family so we could sell more fried bananas. We figured the more divorces there were, the more unmarried men there would be living alone in apartments; and that's who eats fried bananas. It was us who made Bill Clinton president. We wanted those soccer moms to swoon. They'd get dissatisfied with their measly doctor and lawyer husbands, and presto -- some cleaned-out men and more fried banana sales.
Und how long have you been haffink zees dreams?
More like this: Is it safe? AAAAAGGGH! Is it safe?
This isn't about you. Not everything is about you. This is about government.
Is that algebra, or economics?
When the risk of divorce unreasonably raises the potential cost of marriage for men, there will be fewer buyers.
Women think these a##holes are "exciting." They do not see the correllation between the "exciting guy" and their "miserable marraige." Meanwhile, many perfectly fine men acquire the "boring" label. The women also do not see the correllation between "boring" and a "peaceful" stable marraige.
It appears that women want to find a guy - any guy - then marry, and change him into someone she wants. Why do you suppose she doesn't look for someone she wants in the first place?
We don't need to wait a few years. Most children in single family homes were born out of wedlock. None of them would have been born without pre-marital sex.
You are suggesting that men take this a step further and go on a "conception strike," thus placing the continuation of the society itself in peril.
I'm only calling on men to face the reality that their concept of proving their manhood by nailing any willing woman is being used against them, but men are too obsessed with getting some to see it.
I believe government's response would be to begin supporting the children of single mothers via the tax system. There would always be loser men out there who had nothing to extract in terms of child support who would be willing to serve as society's studs. All you'd have is bunch of frustrated, celibate males who got dinged anyway in the form of higher taxation.
So men would provide the stud service, and then men in government would provide the support via tax dollars. Are men really that pathetic?
You know, he's got a good point.
Just like people used to re-arange their entire lives around the tax code and the (moment of silence in respect) "Credit card interest deduction" now people are arranging their lives around the laws governing the marriage contract.
Whoever said "Life immitates art" was an idiot.
Because in reality, life immitates law.
(that's what they have done, legislated marriage right out the door. The kept weighting it and beating on it till they killed it. And now they blame the victim, so typical..)
I am glad you put this up.
"Hell hath no fury..."
Well said. Caveat Emptor, let the man beware...
My dad is somewhat of a jerk. He has a drinking problem and anger issues. I love him to death, but I am not going to say he is a saint when he surely is not.
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