How Long Should You Stay With A Boyfriend Who Does Not Believe In Marriage?

How Long Should You Stay With A Boyfriend Who Does Not Believe In Marriage?
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Dear Evan,

First of all, I love your advice. In fact, it’s because of your advice that I’m in my first serious, long-term relationship. (We’ve been together a year and a half and live together.) Now, however, I’m confused about the state of my relationship.

See, ever since we started dating – even before we started dating and knew each other through friends – I knew this guy didn’t believe in marriage.

I know you’re going to say: “Why didn’t you pay attention to the negatives?” I can honestly say I didn’t realize at that point that it mattered to me. I’m fairly young (late 20s) and it is just beginning to dawn on me that I’d like to get married. Now I realize how much I do want to get married to the person I love. He still doesn’t believe in it. He believes in long-term commitment and family, but not marriage (his family history is pretty rocky). I said to him that I don’t want to wait, and if I weren’t engaged after a couple years together I would think of moving on.

This really hurts him – to him, BECAUSE I want to marry him and wouldn’t just want a relationship, it means I love him less. He’s offered the following compromise: in a few years, when we decide to have kids, then we can get married. I’m scared, though. Is it stupid to wait that long? And is it a bad idea to marry someone who is basically like “fine, fine, we can get married.” I know he loves me and is committed to me, but I wonder how healthy that is.

Now I feel that this big difference in values is constantly hanging over me, and is making me feel negatively about things.

For a point of reference: our relationship is pretty good. We rarely argue (I would say we’ve had about 3 large arguments in our relationship, and maybe a smaller disagreement every couple of weeks.) We both want kids. We both have our irritating habits but we accept them. —Katie

Dear Katie,

Thanks for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you found a serious, long-term relationship using my advice, and I’m candidly delighted that you even quoted the advice you ignored about “ignoring the positives and believing the negatives”.

It would be easy for me to tell you to run from him. But I’m not so positive that you would be closer to achieving your goal that way.

Except now the chickens are coming home to roost. Or something like that.

Listen, I can’t tell you anything about your relationship that you don’t already know.

I think it’s unfortunate that he has such a distorted view of marriage that he’s given up on it as an institution.

I think it’s great that you’re trying to understand where he’s coming from — how it hurts him that he feels that HE’S not enough without a ring on your finger.

I think it’s telling that he attempted to come up with a mutually agreeable compromise, especially since it’s one where, apparently, you get exactly what you’ve always wanted: a husband, a ring, and a baby

So you’re faced with the timeless dilemma that all women face — should I stay or should I go? This very question was the topic of an hour long FOCUS Coaching call so believe me, I’ve got a lot more to say about it than I can compress into a single blog post.

It would be easy for me to tell you to run from him. I’m sure some of the other readers will say just that. But I’m not so positive that you would be closer to achieving your goal that way. And what we’re always trying to figure out here is effective vs. ineffective — what’s the best way for Katie to achieve her dream of marriage and kids with a man she loves?

So here’s the reason I think you might want to stay and make things work:

As Dale Carnegie pointed out many years ago, people don’t want to be sold; people want to choose.

You meet a pushy car salesman who wants to give you a great deal and won’t let you off the lot until you buy…and you’re not gonna buy from him.

That same car salesman takes the time to ask you what you’re looking for in a car: speed, price, mileage, safety…and you WILL buy from him, because you’re getting to choose on your terms, without any pressure.

The way you have the greatest leverage over your man is if he can’t imagine his life without you.

This is what women routinely forget when they’re angling for marriage. The more you pressure him to know that he wants to spend every day of the rest of his life with you and give you half of his income if he’s wrong, the less he’s going to want to do it.

So your arbitrary timelines: six months, nine months, one year, a year and a half… they don’t mean anything to your boyfriend. They’re arbitrary ticking clocks that you’ve created to justify your insecurity about investing time in one man. If you push for marriage too soon, before he’s ready, you will not get married to him. The woman who does get married to him will be the one who is patient enough to let him choose her.

The way you have the greatest leverage over your man is if he can’t imagine his life without you. One and a half years into knowing my wife, I could easily imagine life without her. Three years in, and I would be a hopeless, lonely, drooling idiot without her.

Your age, Katie, is a considerable factor. If you invest two or three more happy years in your boyfriend and decide to have kids at age 32, then you will likely get everything you want.

If, for some reason, your live-in boyfriend of 4  ½ years — a man who is virtually a common law husband — a man who says he loves you and wants to be a father someday — if, for some reason, he balks at marriage before kids, THEN you dump him.

However, unless your boyfriend is a liar, such behavior would be entirely illogical and inexplicable. And since he’s your boyfriend, I’m not counting on him being a liar.

I think he’s a good man who loves you, wants to be a dad, but wants to make sure he’s not making a huge mistake like so many others he knows.

Enjoy your relationship, become indispensable to him, and he will voluntarily want to lock you in for life when you’re both ready to have kids.

Remember, men act in their own self-interests and it’s in his self-interest to keep the woman he loves the most.

If I’m wrong, you would still be 32 and have your prime dating years ahead of you.

This woman and this woman gave their relationships 2-3 years to fully cement and ended up getting the marriage they always desired. It just took a little more patience.

If you think he’s “the one,” then I think it’s worth the risk. Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 41
    Helen

    Katie: I was satisfied with Evan’s response until you chimed in again with the comment that you and your BF plan to move to a different country in a few months.
      
    Yes, that does change things dramatically; not just in the legal sense that Goldie mentioned. You will be losing your community, your network of support, and the comfortable, familiar ways of doing things. Even those who make a relatively mild expatriate move, such as from the US to Canada, struggle a great deal for several years.   You will be much more dependent on your boyfriend physically, emotionally, and financially. Even if he is a good man, he may resent this. Likewise, he will experience similar struggles, and it is likely to place a huge strain on the relationship.
      
    You didn’t go into details about why you’re making this move, but if it is for the sake of this guy, you should seriously reconsider. The last thing you want is to break up while living in a new, unfamiliar country. If there’s no serious commitment beforehand, I hate to say it, but I’d force the issue in this case (otherwise, it’s never recommended to force issues). He’ll be able to give you a definitive answer, and you may or may not experience some difficulties, but at least you will come to peace about it.
      
    Good luck.

  2. 42
    nathan

    “The fact that 50% get divorced and 25% are irresponsible enough to have kids out of wedlock doesn’t make the case that the OP should just give up on the idea of marriage, like they do in Scandinavia.” Wow, you sound like a right wing, social conservative with that statement Evan. In general, I’m noticing a deep lack of compassion towards this guy in this conversation, and towards anyone who questions marriage for any reason – even if they end up getting married eventually.
      
    In my opinion, it might actually be those who question getting married, and really think about why they are doing it, that will have the best marriages. I fully support the OP’s desire for marriage, but wonder how much she’s actually thought about what it means for her, beyond the conventional platitudes like demonstrating commitment, etc. I also think the OP is right to wonder about her boyfriend’s resistance to marriage because he might – I stress might – be stringing her along for a ride that ends in weak commitment. But instead of dumping him tomorrow, or jumping to conclusions, this seems like the time to really explore what’s going on. To ask questions of herself and learn more about her boyfriend’s viewpoint.
      
    Another thing I question is the idea that she’ll be able to find another man who is marriage minded. Maybe, maybe not. There aren’t any guarantees in life. And frankly, if she loves this guy as she says she does, it’s worth making more effort to really understand him on this issue before making a final decision. And if he loves her as he seems to, then he will be willing to really consider what’s truly behind his decision to marry her at some point.

    1. 42.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Nathan – this post just pushes your buttons because YOU aren’t sure you want to get married. Therefore, if I question the wisdom of having kids outside marriage, I’ve suddenly become Rick Santorum, instead of the fiercely liberal guy that I really am. Perhaps this is why conservatives snipe at us – because saying things like “marriage is good for the stability of the nuclear family” becomes a controversial statement, when, in fact, it’s merely common sense. Don’t let your bias at being contrarian or being against marriage affect your good sense, my friend.

      Because for all you doubt our 29-year-old OPs inability to find a marriage oriented man (yeah, that new world order is coming FAST!), the fact remains: the percentage of people who have ever been married by the age of 55 is still 95%. Marriage isn’t a good idea for everybody, but let’s not suggest for a half second that it’s obsolete.

      For people who want to raise kids in a stable, two-parent environment, it’s still the best bet. Ask the homosexuals who want to get married if it’s silly and antiquated.

      I’m not attacking people who don’t want to get married, but I won’t back down on the fact that marriage is good for families and that there are no shortage of marriage minded men for our original poster.

  3. 43
    EA

    I’m afraid I don’t know one single couple who claim to be content without marriage where both people actually are. In fact, those relationships usually end very badly, even after houses are bought, pets are adopted and years upon years are spent. In the cases I’ve seen, the woman is usually pretending it’s okay, yet even when she is given all the trappings, there is something about the validation of that commitment that reigns supreme and over shadows everything else.

    Look at it in terms of having a job. When looking for a job, most people realize they will dedicate a great deal to their employer. So they typically look for a company with a reputation for being loyal to employees, promoting from within, good benefits, so they aren’t left high and dry after giving it their all for years. Now think of a job where you are welcome to come and give it your all, in fact, it’s expected, but say you’re a contract employee. You work as hard, maybe harder and maybe do a better job than your coworkers, but you don’t get benefits and you’re never sure when the contract will end.  

    Time passes. You don’t get offered a permanent position and so you aren’t eligible for promotion. However, workers all around you are getting hired on. No one on earth would argue that you should keep plugging away at a job with no commitment to keep you around and no rewards or benefits. Yet people who “just don’t believe in marriage” ask that of their partners every day. Furthermore, they act as if they just can’t understand why it would bother anyone. Feelings are invalidated and one person’s wants/needs are more important than the other person’s.

    Another  interesting  little phenomenon is this. It’s usually NEVER the marrigae phobic person who walks away. They hang on just as long as they can, in their pseudo marriage, placing all the onus on the other person. To me, that says something significant.  

    I would advise anyone wouldn’t consider marrying the person they are seeing, to really evaluate whether or not you are using that person or biding time until someone you’re actually sure of stumbles across your path. I know I’ll get a bunch of disagreements, but I think that’s what’s going on most of the time in those situations.

  4. 44
    EA

    I also want to clarify that I am NOT referring to the early part of the relationship where hopefully, both people are be earnest and open minded.

    I wholly agree with what I’ve read on this blog about most men honestly trying to figure out what they want as opposed to just using people.

    I even think in the case of the OP, if her BF is sincere, she can maintain in that situation. I would be a little skeptical of his intentions though. He could just be trying to appease her.

    But that brings up another point. “I’m not getting married,” is not a boundary to me, it’s stating one person’s  preference  for the trajectory of the relationship. The problem is, it’s a definitive regarding a situation that BOTH parties are supposed to have a say in. That’s what I meant by controlling. When uttered at the beginning of a relationship, is an  inappropriate  as “what do you want to name our kids?” It is not the equivalent of “I will leave if you ever hit me.” That’s a boundary.  

    That said, I don’t have to stick around for that outcome. I was only remarking that it seems like a controlling attitude. It’s also kind of stupid in my book because you really don’t know if you’re talking to the woman who will steal your heart and inspire you to reconsider. Notice I said inspire – not convince.  

      

  5. 45
    Soul

    This post (and also EMK’s reaction) is living proof that things like marriage, religion, politics etc… are mostly personal opinion/values. As a consequence, I believe that there is no point in trying to convince others: just keep your opinion for yourself or, if you want to share what your own personal take on the issue is, just share it for the sake of sharing/ getting to know each other better.  

    So just to share, here’s my personal opinion:

    – I do want to get married;  
    – I fully understand people who do not want to get married;  
    – I know for a fact that marriage is NOT a proof os stability for children (tons of research worldwide show that the stability actually stems from the COMMITMENT, but marriage is not the only, nor necessarily the better, form of commitment)  
    – I could live with my man and have children without getting married;
    – I CANNOT live with sb who does not understand that getting married is just a personal value and NOT a value above others;
    – Similarly, I cannot live with anybody who thinks that their religion/culture is better than others’.

    In short, being openminded (i.e. my definition of it) is an absolute non-negotiable for me. Getting married is not.  That’s just who I am.   

  6. 46
    EA

    “In short, being  open minded  is an absolute non-negotiable for me. Getting married is not.  That’s just who I am.”
    Beautifully said.  

      

  7. 47
    Lara

    [email protected]: You read what I said wrong. Only 25% of all children in the US are living with both biologicial parents, acc to the US Census. That means that 75% are not. That also means that we are already there.

    1. 47.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      No, Lara. I heard you loud and clear. I said that just because we are already there 50% are divorced and 25% are having kids out of wedlock – doesn’t mean that this is a successful paradigm for raising children. In fact, if the state of the U.S. is any indication, the destruction of the nuclear family has been devastating. To say that because most families are failures that therefore it’s a good idea to forgo a traditional nuclear family is simply a fallacy. Go try your illogic on someone else.

  8. 48
    Lara

      [email protected]: You’re right about this: “marriage is NOT a proof os stability for children (tons of research worldwide show that the stability actually stems from the COMMITMENT, but marriage is not the only, nor necessarily the better, form of commitment).” Glad you  made that point. I’ve read about family systems extensively, and it’s a bit annoying that this 1950s idea of the nuclear family as being a superior family system is still getting air play. It’s not even the way most families have been structured throughout time. Read Stephanie Koontz on the history of marriage (and family). This  mom-pop-biological-kids-unit-under-one-roof  has  only been in play for the last generation or so. I really wish people would lose that myth.   

  9. 49
    Gem

    Allen #26,
    friends a“In many places when you “move in, set up house, mix finances, and do every other conceivable ‘married’ behavior sans the   marriage” you become married in the eyes of the law with all the rights, responsibilities and headache it takes to get out. All that is missing is the rite of passage ceremony. I believe there is value in that ceremony; the promise before and, if you are religious, God,   but many married people do not.”


    Katie believes there is value in that ceremony too, which is why she should find a man feels the same. If it’s not this guy, maybe another. I believe it would be easier for her to leave, if it’s not this guy, if she doesn’t become a common law sudo wife in the meantime.

    Nathan #47
    Evan said: “The fact that 50% get divorced and 25% are irresponsible enough to have kids out of wedlock doesn’t make the case that the OP should just give up on the idea of marriage, like they do in Scandinavia.”

    You said: “Wow, you sound like a right wing, social conservative with that statement Evan.”
    Evan sounds like a “right-wing social conservative” as if it’s a bad thing ;), because he doesn’t think Katie should give up on the idea of marriage.
    Look, the guy doesn’t believe in/want marriage and may never. It doesn’t make him psychologically flawed, but it doesn’t make his ideas about marriage more highly evolved either. Or something Katie should bend to just to be with him.
      
      
      


      

  10. 50
    Helen

    Lara, that is a very surprising statistic of only 25% of American kids with both parents present in the home: Will you please provide the source for that?   Based on my own experience, most of the kids who go to school with my kids have two-parent families, but it could be a midwestern phenomenon.

  11. 51
    Lara

    No, EMK, you still aren’t reading it right. I am NOT saying that 25% of people are having children out of wedlock–where are you even getting that from. I am saying that  75% of children DO NOT LIVE WITH BOTH BIOLOGICAL PARENTS. That means that 75% of  children in the US  live with one biological parent alone, with  neither biological parent, with one biological parent and a step parent, with foster parents, with extended family, or in an institutional setting. Only 25% of children come home to mom and pop. This is not a statistic that discusses whether or not the parents were married when the child was conceived.

    1. 51.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This is the end of this circular conversation, Lara, and because it’s my blog, I get the last word:

      We AGREE that only 25% of kids come home to mom and pop. (Although I don’t know where you got this from, I’ll take your word for it.). So what does that mean for the 75% who don’t? It means that the parents are either divorced, widowed, or never married. And doing some crude statistics, I said that if 50% were divorced, then 25% were never married.

      In fact, a quick Google search reveals that “nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers”.

      All in all, Lara, you can say that this new status quo is indicative of progress. I, for one, believe that two-parent households are better environments for kids. And it’s not that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for two unmarried people to stay together for 40 years and raise kids, it’s that there’s not a very strong track record of that.

      If you don’t want kids, don’t get married.
      If you do want kids, the institution and the commitment to the commitment of marriage takes on even greater importance.

      I say this not as a married guy – since I’ve only been married for 3 years. I say this as a guy who sees the amount of time and attention that a child needs from its parents.

      One final study says: “Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage.” Why this would be hard to accept is beyond me. Doesn’t mean that there aren’t possible alternative success stories, but that if you’re trying to build a successful family, you might want to start with a healthy marriage.

      Oh, and by the way, further digging indicates that your numbers aren’t quite right. One look at the CDC report from 2001-2007 shows that 48.4% of families are nuclear with tons of variations for the other 51.6% (3.1% cohabiting, 13.6% single mom, 19% extended families, 8.7% blended families, etc). The numbers for black families show only 20% nuclear families, which pulls the overall number downward. Feel free to look at this at the CDC website if you want to doubt the veracity of my claims.

      And go read a book like Predictably Irrational or How We Decide to see how even if I present you facts that contradict your beliefs, you’re still going to want to believe in your original premise even stronger. That’s human nature. But don’t sit here and tell me that the CDCs facts about nuclear families leading to healthier lives for children are misleading. They’re not promoting marriage. They’re simply reporting what they see.

      My loyalty, too, is to the truth. It just so happens that committed, stable families are good for kids and it just so happens that I am descended from a committed, stable family and am part of another one with my wife and baby. This doesn’t mean that I’m better. This doesn’t mean I look down on those who don’t have wives and kids. It does mean that my marriage is at the heart of how we’re raising our daughter, and that studies seem to agree with my take on things. Finally, just because individuals have not been married and raised healthy kids doesn’t mean that this is indicative of a “better” way of doing things – no more than George Burns smoking cigars for 80 years is a guide to optimal health. So please, no more arguments in this space about the virtues of marriage for the sake of the kids. Stability is good for kids. Case closed. (And NO, I don’t think that EVERY marriage is the bastion of stability, so please don’t go about making that claim against me either…)

      If you have a post on the original subject, feel free to continue. If you don’t, I’m shutting this one down. I have work to do.

  12. 52
    nathan

    Gem “Look, the guy doesn’t believe in/want marriage and may never. It doesn’t make him psychologically flawed, but it doesn’t make his ideas about marriage more highly evolved either. Or something Katie should bend to just to be with him.” Of course, I never said that his ideas were better. In fact, I specifically said she should wonder about his motives and have some serious conversations to get at what his whole story is. But hey – if it’s easier to flip my comments into black and white statements, have at it.
      
    Also, as Lara pointed out, the nuclear, mother and father led family is NOT a traditional form. It’s a product of the latter half of the industrial revolution. And I would argue that the families which do the best are families with lots of interaction with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and good friends. My own experience was that without my mother’s parents, as well as some good-hearted neighbors, m sister and I would have had a much worse time of it. Half of my childhood, my parents were together. The other half, they were divorced. It always made a difference that many others were helping out, taking care of us, putting significant chunks of time in.  
      
    Now, I say all that partly because it grates on me how flimsy the word traditional has become these days, but more to the point, because I still wonder about the OP’s sense of what marriage is about. Do her and her boyfriend have good enough connections with their parents and extended family to help raise children? How much of the worry is tied to fears of having to raise a child alone, or mostly alone? I think those are very legitimate fears by the way, but am trying to expand the idea that marriage is not solely about your partner. Unless you’ve cut off ties with your family, they’re part of the deal. Sometimes a large part of the deal, for better or worse.
      
    In the end, I’m not – as Evan and other might think – against marriage. I’m pro a diversity of options. There’s a difference. Furthermore, given the OP’s desire to get married, I’m trying to leave comments that perhaps could aid her in finding the information she needs to make a decision about being with her boyfriend. That’s all.
      
      
      
      
      
      

  13. 53
    Helen

    nathan, I understand your viewpoint, even as a married woman. Modern American society has made a monster of marriage in some ways. We put it on a pedestal – we expect SO MUCH from it that it is nearly impossible for any human being to fulfill  these expectations, and when they don’t, the fall is spectacular – custody fights, lawsuits, bankruptcy, the whole mess.  

    This being the current situation, I can understand why some people want to  avoid  marriage entirely, even if they didn’t have  tumultous upbringings,   I can also understand  why others like you are asking, “Can’t we come up with other options for  loving relationships  that have neither such high expectations nor such dreadful fallout?”

    As a society, I don’t think we’ve arrived at a solution yet. The concept of the prenuptial agreement is one way to deal with marital expectations.   But there needs to  be more: a real understanding in people’s hearts of how  human relationships really are, and recognizing that we’re all flawed and likely to hurt others even if we have good intentions.  

    Someone in another of  Evan’s threads mentioned  “managing expectations.” That  absolutely applies here. I think in past generations, people didn’t expect as much of their marital relationships, and hence, there were fewer divorces. Sure, it was also because divorce was more difficult, but lower expectations and more acceptance of difficult times almost certainly played a role as well.

  14. 54
    Soul

    # EMK : you said “And go read a book like Predictably Irrational or How We Decide to see how even if I present you facts that contradict your beliefs, you’re still going to want to believe in your original premise even stronger.”

    it’s true, and it does apply to yourself too.  

  15. 55
    Soul

    #EMK:

    I have not given a lot of time to research this. I just went on google scholar and there are lots of scientific studies. For those who cannot read French, google translation might be helpful just to understand at least the graphs.

    Just a quick example of a study showing that in France, the divorce rate is higher than the rate of dissolution of the PACS (another type of commitment between two people). It is even more true is you only consider the PACS between heterosexual people.  http://www.challenges.fr/file/436/376436.pdf

    Of course, we can find caveats in any study, but there are tons of other studies on this subject in Europe, and my point is just the following: you cannot affirm that marriage is the more stable form of commitment as a fact, because there is existing evidence that it might not be the case.  

    Evan, I don’t want to argue actually, because I understand your point in this post, and I do agree with what you said. I agree that a proof of commitment should not be a problem if somebody is committed.  

    1. 55.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Soul, you posted a study in French, using a term (PACs) that’s not familiar to me. As I’ve stated, I will always defer to facts over feelings, and if you have proof that children raised by “PACs” are better off than children raised by married couples, I will gladly concede the case.

  16. 56
    amy

    There’s a good book called “the seven principles of marriage” that says that when couples are in gridlock over an issue – religion, money, kids, etc. Each person should have an opportunity to talk about what they want means to them – without criticism or judgment or judging the other person. The book says that most issues have a deeper or “core” issue behind them, and once you can figure out what the core issue is (He wants to save money because it makes him feel secure, unlike his childhood vs. her need to feel like she’s living life to the fullest) it’s much easier to defang an issue and come to a compromise.
      

  17. 57
    Lara

    Unfortunately, the CDC data does not address the issue at hand, which is how many children live in what we call a traditional family arrangement. I will explain.
      
    First, we have to address Nathan’s question–what does “traditional family” mean? From this blog it seems that it means hetero man meets hetero woman, they fall in love, they get married, they have a kid that shares their DNA, and they raise it till death to they part. This is what most people mean when they use the phrase.
      
    Back to the CDC data. In talking about whom children live with, the data you cite uses the term “married parents.” This term would include step parents, even though step parents are not biological parents. The data do break out children who are living with biological parents, but it does not detail what that arrangement means. So the data may not say what they seem to be saying. Case in point: My sister is divorced and remarried, one child. Custody of my nephew is shared jointly, so he lives with both of his biological parents. When he is with my sister, he also lives with a stepfather. So he lives with two “married parents,” and he also lives with two “biological parents.” But his two biological parents are not married, nor are they living together. This is a very common living arrangement. But you cannot say that my nephew lives in a traditional family, even though he would show up in the CDC data as living with married, biological parents.
      
    The data you cite also treat adoptive children in the same way that they treat biological children. So if a married couple divorces and has joint custody of their adoptive child, the child would show up in the data as living with both biological parents, even though the parents are not married and the child is a biological offspring of neither of them. The data also would treat gay couples that are married the same as it would heterosexual couples. If the married gay couple had a biological child, that child would legally be considered the biological offspring of both (according to the parameters of the study), even though that cannot possibly be true. The same situation would be true of hetero couples who use donated eggs or sperm, even though at best a child so conceived is only the biological child of one person in the couple. So, in the CDC data you would have the adoptive or non-biological children of married gay couples counting as children living with married, biological parents, as you would children conceived with donated sperm, donated eggs, and a surrogate. Yet the children of these unions/conception methods are not living in traditional families.
      
    So I still say that the majority of children do not live in traditional families anymore.  The 25% figure would take into consideration the diversity of situations I laid out above, which the CDC figures do not. But I’m getting the source of the 25% figure for you so you can read it for yourself–it’s from a book I read recently. Probably Andrew Cherlin’s book called “The Marriage-Go-Round.”
      
    Also, a footnote: The divorce rate doesn’t factor into the equation at all unless there is a 1:1 correlation with the act of getting married and the act of having a child, which there isn’t. Not every marriage produces a child. So the divorce rate (50%) wouldn’t tell us anything about the prevalence of children living in nontraditional families.

  18. 58
    Sayanta

    Lara-

    please. Let it go.   

  19. 59
    Lara

    Sayanta: People asked for the explanation, and I responded. Sorry if that bothers you. Also, for those who are interested and want to look for themselves, I was looking at the most recent CDC report, from 2009.

  20. 60
    Lawyer Gal

    [email protected]: Here are the numbers you’re looking for, from a law journal at Boston College. The citations are a little old, though:

    “In the United States today, less than 25% of the population live in traditional families–that is, families consisting of legally married parents and their children.(2)The other 75% live in various types of “non-traditional” families.(3)Of these, the Bureau of the Census estimates that approximately 2.6 million households are composed of unmarried heterosexual couples living together, and that another 1.6 million are composed of same-sex couples living together.(4)
        
    Footnote 2: The Committee for Family Protection, Family Protection Act Summary, 1 (1991) (on file with author) (this summary of impact of municipal domestic partnership ordinances was prepared by proponents of domestic partnership ordinance proposed in Boston, Massachusetts in Spring 1991).
      
    Footnote 3: See Vada Berger, Domestic Partnership Initiatives, 40 DEPAUL L. REv. 417, 417 n.3 (1991).
      
      Footnote 4: Victor F. Zonana, Census Will Count” Unmarrred Partners” for First Time, L.A. TIMES, Feb. 15, 1990, at A38.
      

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      Evan Marc Katz

      This has strayed far from the original point, but just to put a cap on it, less than 25% of the population living in traditional families does NOT make Lara’s case. That’s 25% of the ENTIRE population. We were talking about the percent (and well-being) of kids who are brought up in traditional nuclear families. And since the non partisan CDC says that’s about 50% of children are brought up that way, that’s the figure we’re going to go with.

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