This week, my friend Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret, sent me a link to a Daily Beast article. The author of the article interviewed anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD, of Rutgers. (Fisher has written five books and conducted extensive research on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love. Her latest is Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love.) Fisher’s latest study is of singles in America.
Fisher explains it this way. “We have a stereotype in this culture that it’s men who are the ones who don’t want to commit, who don’t want to settle down, who are the scarce resources. But in fact, it’s the opposite.”
There’s an old adage: a woman who can’t find a man is a spinster; a man who doesn’t want a wife is the envy of all his friends. Fisher says “We have a stereotype in this culture that it’s men who are the ones who don’t want to commit, who don’t want to settle down, who are the scarce resources. But in fact, it’s the opposite.”
There’s an old adage: a woman who can’t find a man is a spinster; a man who doesn’t want a wife is the envy of all his friends.
Rather than living up to the stereotype of commitment-phobic bachelors, modern men reported that they fell in love just as often as women, and were just as likely to believe that marriage is “forever.”
The study found that 31 percent of adult men said they’d commit to a person they were not in love with —- as long as as she had all the other attributes they were looking for in a mate –- and 21 percent said they’d commit under those same circumstances to somebody they weren’t sexually attracted to. The equivalent numbers for women were far lower.
“There’s this transformation going on,” says Tom Matlack, co-founder of The Good Men Project, which aims to discuss and debunk modern male stereotypes. “It’s kind of like feminism on its head: for years, women were trying to earn the right to get out of the house, and here are all these men dying to get back into [it].”
Said one study participant, “We all marry our second or third or fourth best choice. It’s just life.”
This article echoes Lori Gottlieb’s Atlantic article-turned-bestseller, Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. In it, Gottlieb counseled women to forget the search for a mythical soulmate and nab a good man who wants to be a husband and father (lest they end up, like Gottlieb herself, alone and regretful at 40).