Believe It Or Not, Most Women Eventually Marry

Statistics Show Most Women Eventually Marry

If you believe marriage is in decline, think again. A new government report has found that 8 in 10 women will get married by the time they turn 40, a figure that is virtually unchanged from the 1990s.

82 percent of high school graduates will marry by the age of 40 and 89 percent of college graduates will as well.

“The idea that marriage is on the decline and fading away, that picture is misleading,” said Andrew Cherlin, a demographer at Johns Hopkins University.

“Lifetime marriage is far lower today than it was during the peak years in the 1950s, when more than nine-tenths of the adult population married at some point in their lives. But the new report suggests that the decline may have stopped in recent decades,” Mr. Cherlin said, as lifetime marriage rates have changed little since the 1990s.

The real changes in society aren’t that marriage is somehow obsolete, but rather that:

a) Divorce rates are still high because people marry too quickly based on attraction rather than values.
b) Women are having kids at epic rates outside marriage – 50% of women between 20-30 give birth out of wedlock
c) People get married much later than they used to.

But, no matter how you slice it, most women do eventually marry. According to the report, 82 percent of high school graduates will marry by the age of 40 and 89 percent of college graduates will as well.

So for all the noise created by the fiercely independent “I never want to get married” types who criticize my advice for assuming that most people are looking for marriage, guess what?

Most people are looking for marriage.

If you’re not, you’re the exception, not the rule.

Read the full New York Times article here and share your comments below.

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  1. 121

    Contrary to what Evan suggests above, I really encourage anyone who is bitter and/or deeply confused about dating to take some time off and reflect on themselves. Continuing to go on dates in a state like that just increases the likelihood of attracting poor long term matches. If you’re screwed up, you’ll probably find someone else who is screwed up. I have done this multiple times, and frankly, I’m a hell of a lot clearer about what I want, and what I don’t need, because of these breaks. I’ve learned plenty from dating a lot, and being in my share of relationships. But the times in between all of that really made all the difference.

  2. 122

    Fiona, it sounds like you’re more interested in having a baby than having a husband.  Why aren’t you considering a sperm bank?

    Or find Evan’s blog post on…what was it, sperm thieves?

  3. 124

    Actually Joe I am interested in both hence the fact I haven’t already robbed the bank but thanks for your helpful suggestion. I am sure all women in their late 30s will really appreciate it.

  4. 125

    I have just read the link to Evan’s article on sperm thieves. I would never do anything like that to anyone.

  5. 126

    Helen and Nathan, I do kind of agree with you. Which is why, after moving to a new city 6 months ago, my focus has been on friendships. I “ask out” women and gay men all the time to expand my social circle and two straight  guys I met in real life as a result of that socializing have become close friends that I hang out with constantly. I never approach dating like a job, but simply aim to go out with 3 new men a month. My life is filled with meeting young single people all the time and it’s actually been quite fun.

    Much of the bitterness I voice in comments here is the residue of my years of bad experiences prior to the move, when I did not emphasize friendships as heavily, and it also stems from being burned by someone I met in my new city through a girl friend who, like every guy I’ve known, thought I was attractive and interesting and affectionate, but was not in a place for a relationship. The bitterness is thinking I’m a good catch but never seeing that borne out in the results I’m getting, so simultaneously doubting that.  I finally decided I needed to cut people loose a lot sooner for behavior that doesn’t meet expectations, but even that has caused confusion.

    I went out on a wonderful match date the other week with a man who messaged me over the site to say he had a fun time and ask how my day was going. We exchanged match messages throughout the week but he never mentioned other plans, so I figured he was playing me – he is attractive, confident, and sensitive, and I assumed the worst even though he treated me with nothing but respect on our date. So I messaged him saying I was moving on since he hadn’t asked me out again, and he replied with great disappointment, saying he had had a great time with me but wanted to take it slow bc he had gotten out of a ltr a few months ago. 

  6. 127

    I think we’re getting too hung up on the numbers here, like one year, two years, etc.  The main point is just to take time in getting to know someone.  It takes time to figure out who someone really is and I don’t think there’s any way around it.  That Chris Rock joke is true, that when you first date someone, “you’re not meeting them, you’re meeting their representative”!  Everyone always starts off (usually) with politeness on a first date.  It takes time and seeing someone in a variety of situations before you really know who they are.  For instance, seeing someone not only when they’re happy and things are good, but also seeing how they handle adversity and bad days.  I think that’s what the point of this was.   

  7. 128
    David T

    @Mia 140
    The story in your third paragraph got me thinking about the dating paces different people naturally gravitate.  When two people with very different paces begin to date, a faster person might conclude the other is completely uninterested before the other person has even had a chance to warm up to the faster person.  The two people could be completely compatible, and never have the chance to find out solely because their natural paces at the very beginning of relationships are too different.
    Maybe some faster paced daters can’t slow down and once they become friends they can’t move into a romantic relationship.  If they can’t or won’t change, early dating pacing, which is a tiny tiny fraction of an LTR/marriage, etc. becomes a deal breaker!
    Clearly the need for a particular speed for someone to decide whether they are interested becomes yet another limit on the size of the available dating pool. 
    (In Mia’s case, this man is just out of an LTR so maybe he is not in a good place for a relationship anyway.)

  8. 129

    Mia I agree with Nathan there there are times when it makes sense to pull out of the dating scene e.g. if you have a broken heart (as you can’t give to anyone else until it heals) or another major trauma in your life. However, if you pull out because you are just tired of dating maybe a week or two on a beach will suffice? The dating scene won’t be any easier if you pull out for months or years and you may regret it if you are still single when you get older.

  9. 130

    Just a bit of advice…it sounds like you shot yourself in the foot with your need to reject that guy when you thought he had rejected you.  Now maybe he was blowing smoke when he said he was disappointed, and I do think that a guy who is interested should take charge and ask you out again (and I think men who are interested in YOU will do that and won’t leave you hanging b/c a person who is unsure but leaning towards yes will try to get on your calendar again).  But perhaps in the future, just let their actions speak and don’t undermine yourself b/c you want to somehow be in control.

    Second, a lot of your comments refer to your “worth” and the fact that you see ugly and fat “friends” (although I would not seriously say things about that about anyone that was my friend, nor would i want friends who talked like that) are married or always have boyfriends.

    I think it’s been mentioned before…nothing about dating and marriage is a meritocracy, and unless you are a model or actress, while some of those things might get you more winks on Match, they don’t ultimately guarantee that you’ll walk down the aisle sooner or have a good marriage.

    At the end of the day, your ugly “friends” got chosen by people who decided that they did not want to continue their lives without them, and they don’t think that they are “too ugly” to marry and have kids with.  

    When we are in high school or college, perhaps these things give us high status, but as your are learning, in the grand scheme of things, they don’t determine who finds true love, happiness, and long term relationships and marriage.  

    You can be a lot “better” than people in a lot of ways (looks, intelligence, personality) and still not be more successful then they are in life, at work, or in general.  Just be happy about what you are and stop thinking of it as proof that you are entitled to certain things before other people get them.

    I think you’ll be a lot happier if you don’t look at other people and say, “I’m better than her, why am I not married” b/c that’s not how it works.  You might think you are better, but you were not better to the other half of that couple, and you only need to be better/best for the person who ultimately picks you.   And one day you will be…

  10. 131

    Nicole, I have always been the cool girl to a fault – never cutting anyone off, being very accepting even if Someone took a long time to call me, maintaining an independent life. It’s never, ever worked in 10 years of dating  and because I never “rejected” anyone first it led me to feel like a reject, because normally I would kept exchanging messages with the match guy until he disappeared. By setting boundaries and cutting him and a similar guy off early on, it was the first time I had ever done so and made me feel far less like a victim. 

  11. 132

    @Mia #145: Congratulations! You just accomplished a big step by stopping dating uncompatible men early on. This is what having boundaries and enforcing them is all about. It’s really hard to change these patterns, and you did it!
    Can you already imagine how much energy you are going to save yourself, energy that will be available to explore more promising options?
    Note: if they want to “take it slow”, it means that they are not interested and/or not available. Just out of a LTR is not being available, period. You are not practice ground for someone still licking their wounds. Not saying they should rush and fill up your voicemail and email inbox in the first week, but when date #1 was fantastic and they are really available, they do not feel the need “to take it slow”. They want to make plans to see you again ASAP.

  12. 133
    David T

    @Fusee 146 Just out of a LTR is not being available, period.
    I agree with that.
    Note: if they want to “take it slow”, it means that they are not interested and/or not available.
    Fusee, who sets the standard of what “slow” means?  Some people think sex on date 3 is slow.  Some people think sex on date 6 is fast. Different people have different paces.  Considering early dating is a tiny part of the whole arc of an LTR, it behooves people to try and match paces so they determine compatibility instead of weeding out for a reason that is really a non-issue six months later.  Now, ‘slow’ might be a mask or front for unavailability. Slow can also mean this person has healthy personal boundaries, is refusing to be swept away by chemistry and have their gonads make their decisions for them. You can’t know that after one date. Maybe three.  

  13. 134

    @David T #147:
    Totally agree with your comment that “slow” could mean different things to different people and how crucial it is for both parties to find a comfortable pace for their budding relationship. It’s not even just about sex, but also about time availability and emotional investment.
    What made me react in Mia’s comment #140 is the statement – after ONE date – that they want “to take it slow” while NOT even making another plan to meet up soon. Keeping options open by chit-chatting through IM or texting is not “taking it slow”, it is being uninterested and/or unavailable. Look, I’m “slow” at the beginning of a new relationship, especially on the physical front. However I’m not shying away from scheduling the NEXT date in the following 5-7 days. If you do not even want to MEET, you are not being “slow”, you are being uninterested or unavailable. Keeping in touch with such people is inviting them to not take you seriously.
    Let’s be clear, I’m not blaming people to plunge back into the dating pool before being ready for another serious relationship. It’s a way of testing themselves, and it can even be a way to grieve and heal for some. What I’m saying at #146 is that if Mia is looking to build a marriage-bound relationship, it’s more effective for her to avoid people who are testing the waters. No need for a woman who knows what she wants to become practice ground for someone not quite ready for the real deal. That’s why I applaud her accomplishement at letting these men go early instead of sticking to the pattern of being the “cool” girl that wastes her energy on IM and texting with unavailable people.

  14. 135

    This story rings true for me …
    I am getting married in a few days (June 1st) at 37 years of age, for the first time. I lived in a big city for most of my life, so I didn’t feel marriage pressure until I was in my early 30s.
    From experience, I would give this advice to the ladies: If you have to live with a man before marriage, don’t move in with him unless he has specifically told you that wants to marry you. You have to feel it in your gut that he is being honest about it because you are putting years and your future on the line for a hope that another person will fulfill your dream.
    It used to almost be considered a crime for men to lead women on for years and not marry them, but now it is commonplace. Feminism has allowed casual sex and casual relationships to flourish. It has lowered the moral and ethical standards of both men and women so that people don’t even know what kind of behavior to expect from a potential partner in the mating dance.
    I also find it disturbing that while a lot of American society accepts teenaged and young single motherhood, it discourages early marriage because people supposedly “aren’t ready” for marriage at those ages. That is totally messed up. There is no substitute for two solid married parents. Children need strong fathers at home. I don’t think a lot of the younger generations of men really realize how important their role is to the future of American society. Again, I blame feminism for downplaying their role.

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