Women Choosing to Be Single Instead of Married in Old Age

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I really didn’t plan on beating this marriage thing to death, but there have been a spate of articles about marriage recently.

This one validates something I already suspected from writing this blog for 5 years: that single women, in particular, are opting out of marriage and remarriage.

It makes sense from many perspectives. Women are self-sufficient in a way they weren’t 30 years ago. The stigma against divorce is largely gone. There are other single women with whom you can have a strong community. And there’s been an increase in people looking for happiness and being unwilling to suffer through unhappy marriages. These are all good things.

I agree wholeheartedly that it’s better to be single than to be in a bad relationship.

Because if it’s not abundantly clear from the previous Saturday posts on marriage, I’m not a dogmatist, I’m a pragmatist. I believe that marriage can and should be a positive force, but only if both parties are on the same page and willing to make the necessary sacrifices for that marriage. I agree wholeheartedly that it’s better to be single than to be in a bad relationship.

Just don’t forget who’s choosing the bad relationship – you.

Which means that you can choose a good relationship and a good marriage when you’re good and ready.

You don’t have to opt out of it for life as so many of these women in the NYT article do. Click here to read the article if you have a NYT subscription.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (165 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 21
    hespeler

    From my personal experience, I do see the point that Amy is making regarding women faring better after divorce.
    My ex-wife is re-married with a kid while I still struggle to find someone and remain optimistic.   And yes, there have been some dark moments because of a lack of support from friends and family.
    I’ve also seen it in my dating experience with divorced women.   Most (not all) speak of their former marriages more like a break-up than a divorce.  
    As a matter of fact, I recently spoke to my ex-wife and I told her how much I’ve struggled the last couple of years and she pretty much told me how pathetic I am.   Unreal.   She went from the women who adored me to regarding me as pathetic and self-defeating.   And no, I did nothing to scorn her like cheat or anything like that.

    1. 21.1
      ComfortablyResigned

      There is yet another aspect to the why a woman is middle aged and not married story. Well, I married once. A youthful marriage from age 19 to age 28.   Husband decided grass was greener on the other side.   I decided to pick myself up, dust myself off, go back to college and then find mr Right because everyone knows “success is the best revenge.”   It’s funny..Everyone I knew was so sure he’d be the one who was sorry and alone and I’d be happily remarried with a 2d chance at love. That’s not what happened.    I’m still single. Haven’t had a date in 4 years. Men seem to look right through me as if I don’t exist, and the few who do talk to me want to be just friends (without benefits lol).   I’ve yet to find anyone to love and marry. He on the other hand, married for the 2d time six years after the divorce, he’s still happily re-married nearly 20 years.   There are times that if I’m not careful, I start to compare and feel like a complete failure because of all this.   My point: one never know what life may hand them. It’s not all in our control.   I didn’t “choose” to divorced. He left. I didn’t choose to be middle aged and single and alone all these years. It just happened.   Realistically, my chances for re-marriage at my age (52) is pretty slim.   Why would any man want to marry me when there are plenty of younger, thinner and prettier and less “complicated” women out there? I’d have to make so many physical and psychological changes that I wouldn’t even be myself anymore.   So rather than mourn about what’s not going to happen, the one thing I have chosen is to prepare myself for life alone and to not believe in fairy tales.   Happily ever after is great for some, apparently it’s not meant for me.   I’m sure some will criticize me and say I’m negative, but I’m merely talking reality…and let’s face reality isn’t like the rom-coms where everyone gets to have a ‘happy ending.’

  2. 22
    amy

    I’ll point out that both P and Evan are saying (repeatedly) that my problem is I’ve surrounded myself with the wrong people. In other words, it’s my fault, and if I’d only done something right I’d agree with them that men are basically awesomesauce. I believe they call that one blaming the victim. I notice too that they’re a bit deaf to the women here and elsewhere who echo what I’m saying.
      
    We’re not saying there are no good men, guys. We’re saying there appear to be few. If it takes this many women this much hunting, wonderful men are not thick on the ground. And I’d wager that if you stacked up men and women, you’d find fewer good men than you’d find good women. That imbalance matters. Starkly put: No, there won’t be a good man for every good woman. Not only that, but for some women the hunt will be so expensive it’s sensible to question the effort, or even to leave it alone.
      
    P, if what you said was true re numbers, you wouldn’t take so much as an aspirin, because we wouldn’t have clinical trials. If you do some stats reading, you’ll find out why small samples are acceptable. I’m not, incidentally, saying my samples are anything but accidental.
      
    As for bright/hot/talented — actually, I do find a puzzling difference between men and women in that regard. I’m in arts in nationally-prestigious circles (and most arts in this country have very small, fickle audiences, so public adulation doesn’t really come into it much unless you’re big on cardigan-wearing retired women who’ll comprehensively misunderstand your work but find it “inspiring”). I don’t want to try to explain the correlation, but you don’t see a lot of “bright and talented” without “hot”, by which I mean not just sexual attractiveness but conventional good looks. And the men, baby, are in general a hot mess. Why? I don’t know. Are there nutso women, sure…but so many more of them are not only mothers but good mothers; they’re far more disciplined, they do their work, they have property and manage it. The straight men have women-groupie-wives who mother them, raise their kids, and take care of everything so they can go do their genius thing; the women…yeah, there are a few with banker-daddy husbands. What I see i more often is that the women manage all their own stuff and are either childless or raise their children. There are alcoholic women in these circles, but most of the alcoholics are men; the men are just more reckless, more apt to say “screw it” and throw things away.
      
    The women fret, and they can be bitchy and neurotic and irrational, and at high levels they’re dangerous turf-fighters. But destructive..on the whole, no, not so much. They just aren’t big babies, put it that way. Why this difference when the men and women hold the same day jobs? I’ve no idea. But, again, I accept it as a reality while remaining hopeful that outliers exist for me to meet. In the meantime my sense is that the men just aren’t made as well as the women. I find that — on the whole — women are psychologically much more stable, know themselves better, handle setbacks and illness *way* better. I mean they’re very tough, tougher than the men. And maybe in a marginal, tough racket like arts that’s what makes the difference.
      
    P, you want me to hear what men have to say about me. Well, I beat you to it. Men usually find me scary and tell me so, and explain when I ask them why. The digest version’s that they like to have some bullshit room, and it freaks them out to be seen through consistently. At our age, they’re not too excited about my being in better shape than they are physically, and they — you know, I’m hard to keep up with, I’ve done a lot of different things, had a lot of adventures, I work really effing hard and know what I want, and the head doesn’t often turn off. I get “force of nature” a lot. (Keep in mind here that I spend the vast majority of my time at home, either doing my work or taking care of my child. We’re not off the excitement charts, here.) I’m also impatient if a guy makes like he can play and then it turns out he can’t — that happens all the time, a guy comes courting and is fronting like crazy. So the men are admiring but say yeah, never in a million years, you’d eat me for breakfast. Which is fine. They do respect and like me, though, and if he hasn’t been a louse to me we get along.
      
    I have had a few complain that I don’t need them. I respect that this is a real thing for them, but it’s totally not my job or place to make them feel necessary. That’s up to them. Because yes, it’s true, I’ve lived decades without them, and I could likely go the rest of the way without them, too. If I’m with a guy it’s because I want him, not because I need him.
      
    There’s also a contingent of men who get ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS at whatever I’m saying or doing. Some will come back years later, admit I was right, remind me what I was right about (it’s long gone from my head), and essentially tell me I shouldn’t have put it that way and pissed them off so hard. I also get married men who apologize to me for men.   They say, “Yeah, it’s gonna suck for you, and it shouldn’t be that way, because you’re amazing. It’s just that men suck. I’m sorry men have hurt you.”   And I say, “It’s not so bad.” Then they tell me about how nothing they’d be without their wives, whom they give hard times and shouldn’t. I think it must be a real problem for men.
      
    Here’s what the men who wind up in my bed say: “You should have someone better than me.” They’re right. And if I knew such an available fella, I would. It’s nice of them to say so, though. There are also men who’ve been through the fire in their 50s, 60s, who wince at my emphatic nature and find it childish. Chide me for it. Totally guilty there. There are great virtues in calm, quiet, openness, subtlety, humility. I tell them I expect I’ll calm down & broaden with age, but for now, this feels like where it’s at for me, and I don’t fault them for not sticking around for it.
      
    In the end, I totally don’t blame a guy for wanting ease and comfort and admiration. I think most people want these things. But that’s not what I’m for, unless he’s a peculiar kind of guy who finds what I’ve got comfortable.

    1. 22.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Without knowing you, Amy, all any reader can see here is that a) you’re full of yourself, b) your “no-bullshit” policy is probably somewhat tactless and insensitive to others, c) you don’t care much about what men need, d) women are simply superior – kinder, more together, more creative, “anything men can do, women can do better”, and finally, e) you take no responsibility for any of this, except for one nod at the very end about humility.

      You’re clearly an impressive and articulate woman and I have little doubt we’d find much to talk about in real life. But your sweeping and negative generalizations about men, your desire to fight these kinds of battles, and your failure to realize that anyone who dates you will never get the ease, comfort and admiration that HE desires pretty much explains why you’re single – moreso than the fact that 99% of men suck and aren’t worthy of you.

      I sincerely thank you for your contributions, wish you all the best and hope that you find a man that makes you happy. But, as you said, if men are pathetic and they routinely find you scary, it may be somewhat challenging.

  3. 23
    amy

    hespeler — friends. Friends are crucial. Men have trouble sometimes being friends together, but if you find local mixed-sex groups to do with activities or social services, you’ll find people, women especially, who’ll help draw you in. They may not be the people you’d want to hang around with forever, but they can help you get to feeling stable and part of society after work’s done. Is there anything around you? I know that here, anyway, the local social-services needs are so great with the rotten economy that volunteers are welcome. It also feels good to feel like you’re doing for others.
      
    Biking and running groups are also big around here, and they’re pretty long-lived.

  4. 24
    Lynn

    @Michael
    You are misinterpreting what I meant by “happily single.”   I clearly explained that I would like to be happily married. What I meant is that while I am single, I am happy. Believe me there ARE “unhappily single.”   If I can’t find someone to be happily married to, then I would choose single rather than trapped in an unhappy marriage. It’s a matter of being happy as a person in whatever status you are in. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t prefer to be married. It doesn’t mean we aren’t actively looking. And just knowing the benefits of being married, doesn’t make it happen. It still takes time to find that person, or they may never find him or her.

  5. 25
    Lynn

    Something that I don’t think anyone has mentioned about the number of women remaining single is this:   A matter of numbers! In the U.S., there is a disproportionate number of single men vs single women! More women are available than are men, and the older the age group, the worse the number difference grows! I’m not meaning to discourage anyone (including myself) from finding a good man, but I am pointing out that it’s not a matter of “very few available good men.” There are less available men in general for the number of us women! Simple math.   At least that’s one factor behind the growing number of single women.
      
    In regard to the views that there are practically no good men left… I just have to say, as a woman, on behalf of men, that it’s very unfair to judge them all as a group! When women are stereotyped, it makes me so angry, because often, I DO NOT fit the generalization! How often do we hear things like, “Why do ALL women do……?” As women, we don’t appreciate that kind of statement, and it’s just as wrong to judge ALL men or NEARLY ALL men the same way!!   My opinions are not such because I’ve not had bad experiences with men! On the contrary! A large part of my life I spent with bad attitudes toward the “males species” in general because of bad experiences with my father, brother and more…. I likely   kept some good men away, because I gave off such a negative and attitude unintentionally. Finally in my mid-40’s, and came to a point of changing my thinking about men, forgiving the ones that had hurt me, and really trying to understand men and how they think… what makes them “tick.” Now I actually LIKE the males species in general. I think the good, decent ones are in the majority. Unfortunatatly, it seems that the   number of available ones have dwindled as I’ve reached 50.
      
    There is NO PERFECT MAN out there! Neither is there a PERFECT WOMAN! What I DO believe is that there can be a “perfect match” for us – a perfect match of the good and the bad in each of us…. So that we help each other grow into better people just by being the person that we are. Setting out to “change” a man isn’t the thing to do. I wouldn’t want a man to marry me, not knowing he’s thinking of how to change me when we’re married. That won’t work on a man either, and I don’t blame them for not liking that!
      
    Whew!! This is a hot topic…. Thank you Evan for your blog!
      
      

  6. 26
    P

    Amy, I’m not sure why you’re tossing me in with “fellas”…but, I presume your biases lead you to make assumptions.   This is clearly pointless–you’ve made grand, sweeping decisions about men, confirmed your bias with your limited surroundings, and I see no point in continuing this with someone so close-minded.   As Evan said, good luck.

  7. 27
    Dawn

    It’s unfortunate that this dialog with Amy seems to be shutting everyone else out…
      
      

  8. 28
    P

    Oh, and Amy, I’ll bet you my Ph.D. that I understand statistics much better than you do. Your retort about clinical trials was clever, but not relevant. Clinical trials are accomplished using controls which reduce variables, and random sample sets. Your “clinical trials” of men are contaminated by your bias and by non-random sample selection. Please review your methods accordingly.

  9. 29
    amy

    “You’re clearly an impressive and articulate woman and I have little doubt we’d find much to talk about in real life.”
      
    🙂 Thanks. And I agree, I think we’d get along like a house on fire. (Though that last post of mine…er, a little inarticulate, there, careful editing’s a plus.)
      
    I never said that 99% of men suck. I said that a good man’s hard to find, a sentiment not exactly novel. And I said I bet there are more good women than there are good men, which, if true, sets up a very real problem. Maybe expressed best, and with irritating anomie, by the hot, talented, bright, and waaaay too young guy who stayed over last weekend: “I don’t think people get married anymore.” (Sorry, whoever said above that she only dates younger men. I feel super-uncomfortable in the teacher/lover role, and there’s only so many times I can bite my tongue before “you’ll understand when you’re older” pops out.)
      
    Do I care much about what men need…um, yeah. I do. Because they’re half the species, so it’s important. Do I feel obliged to provide it? No. I don’t see why I should. I take care of myself, and a whole lot more; why can’t a man take care of just himself? I don’t get this “men need something, therefore women should provide it” pov — where does that sense of entitlement come from? And this supposed punishment: “Well, then you won’t have a man” — um…okay? So wait, I’m missing out on having a needy guy live in my house? I already have a person here who needs things from me.   Only when I do what she needs, I’m also teaching her to, someday, be an independent person who can do for herself, and someday she’ll go off and largely do that. She’s itching to already, which is awesome.
      
    I mean look, when I’m in a great relationship, what we give each other besides hots is just about the deepest friendship I know. It’s love. It’s not about…I don’t know, the basic business of getting by. Catering to psychological needs best attended to by us ourselves. If being with me makes him feel great, then that’s terrific. But “be a particular way, do a particular thing, because I need it”? That kind of creeps me out. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do that for me.
      
    As for “women are simply superior — kinder, more together, more creative, ‘anything men can do, women can do better'” — look, man, you just can’t argue with experience. Not just mine, but the experience of the dozens — hundreds? — of other women I’ve talked to over the years. I mean ship some kind, together, helpful men out this way, and I’ll happily reassess. Until then — it’s women who call and email and ask me how I’m doing, if I need something, if my daughter can use something. Who remember an emotional tone in a bit of conversation and come back to it two weeks later, asking if something’s going all right. Who remember to include my daughter. Who are there to watch her if I need to go out of town. Who take care of not just themselves, but their husbands, psychologically, in a crisis, and who catch their marriages before they fall over a cliff. Shoot, I don’t even support gay men’s initiatives anymore. They come calling around, and I say okay, when’s the last time you did something for the women’s center? You want my help, but I don’t see any coming back the other way. And they mumble something about focusing on one thing. Well, go get your petition signed elsewhere, then.
      
    It’s not like I set out with some a priori “women are the awesomest” idea. My closest friends before marriage were almost always men. But I find that now that i’m into the part of life that involves responsibility for other people, it’s totally women who come through. And that, unfortunately, the “helpful man” is generally the “macking man”. And, again, that my experience is widely echoed. In fact it’s very much changed my assessment of my man radar. I used to go around thinking that gosh, I must just be a terrible judge of character, I keep getting screwed over by men, I’m going only for lousy ones, maybe I’m damaged somehow and there’s something wrong with me. I wish women would stop blaming themselves this way. Yes, there are obvious mistakes out there. Stay away from the alcoholic, the guy with the restraining order, the one who blames everybody in his life for his troubles. But if most men are just not so terrific — and a healthy proportion flat-out appalling — then the problem ain’t you. The problem is you expect Chanel and you mostly got a ride to Filene’s Basement.
      
    At the beginning of this thread, Sarah pointed out the injustice of women being treated horribly by men, then left to raise children and be poor. She’s right, and it’s because we don’t value, with money — that stuff you need to get through life —   the serious work women do as mothers and caregivers. Women do it anyway, day in, day out, and the nights inbetween. While trying to fit their own lives in around the corners. If that’s not reliable, kind, together, etc., then I don’t know what is. The irony is that the only way to get paid in your own name for this work is to get divorced. And that, to me, is pretty screwed up.  
      
    Here’s what I think is your killer question, Evan: “And what is there to learn from a ‘men suck’ perspective?”
      
    I think that’s a totally awesome question. Just for the moment, assume it’s a valid perspective, though I’ll modify it to “most men suck”. Well, so what are you going to do? You can…
    …focus on tracking, defining, and aiming yourself at some imaginary set of non-sucky men, trusting that it’s real, in which case perhaps you ought not be open-ended about it;
    …ask yourself if you really, really, really can’t be gay and make things easier on yo’ ass;
    …question whether this whole enterprise of finding happiness with a theoretical man might not be off in some way;
    …ask if there are things in life that also make you happy and are not men;
    …ask yourself a serious set of questions about what sex from men and the usual “manly things men do” are really worth to you, how important they are and why, how replaceable or irreplaceable they are and why.
      
    I think it opens things up kind of amazingly on the distaff side. On the men’s, there’s a serious question: If most men suck…well, why? Is it necessary? Can we get babies and tall buildings and space expeditions and overpriced restaurants without all these problems? Also, what is with this king-of-the-mountain business — is it sociobiological, nothing they can do anything about even though it makes everyone, including themselves, miserable and anxious, or is this a case of men just hazing the hell out of each other for no good reason? Can the sucky men learn something from the non-sucky men, or is it a biological thing, built in?
      
    I think it’s a terrific, terrific question.
      
    P, re samples, I think I already dealt with that.

    1. 29.1
      Mia

      Amy, you are my hero. I love your writing and perspective. I think being realistic and honest is the best way to go. The naysayers are just not smart or empathetic enough to thoroughly “get it”

  10. 30
    Laine

    Amy,

    Whatever. Now back to War and Peace 🙂    

  11. 31
    Gina

    @ Dawn #32 – I totally agree. I would like more readers to address the fact that many women and men 50+ years of age have created a certain degree of financial stability for themselves, and may not want to jeopardize that stability by getting married. These women (such as myself) enjoy the companionship that comes with being in a happy and committed relationship, but do not want to be tied to our partners financially, nor do we want our income (which could be used towards building our own retirement) to be used to help support our partner’s children (I don’t have any children) from their previous marriage(s).

  12. 32
    Lynn

    I feel like I have wasted my time and effort posting my thoughts and insights on this thread. I imagine other people feel the same. One person’s posts and replies to them, have completely hijacked this worthwhile discussion!   The rest of us would like to be listened to, too!

    1. 32.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sorry, Lynn, but people respond to whatever they want to respond to. And since Amy’s comments were so verbose and provocative, it did, in fact, end up taking over the thread. Writing with exclamation points isn’t going to make people listen to your insights.

  13. 33
    Ellen

    I knew someone would KICK AS* on Amy for her views, which btw, are pretty widespread imo.

    Amy wrote: What really shocked me most, when I got back into dating after marriage on the far side of 40, was the furious anger among middle-aged men.

    I have experienced this too, Amy, but not for the reasons you describe (THAT behavior- the man hating being beaten by a woman seems more prevalent among younger men in my experience). No, in the last three years of online dating I’ve met lots of men over 40, particularly over 50, who were still very angry with their exes and scared as hell about aging, running out of time.

    In my experience these older women described in the NY Times article have weighed their options and decided a man wasn’t worth it. My late Mom used to say “Why marry again? I won’t be a nurse with a purse”. And she was right. She lived to be 92 btw.

    I stay in the game ’cause I take bioidentical hormones, and well, still want a sex life, companionship! And I’m still a bit of a romantic, deep down. Have all this love and few to share it with- intimately anyway.  For reasons I won’t go into, I doubt I can rely on my children in my old age (wouldn’t want to anyway) so the idea of having a live-in lover still appeals to me). It doesn’t bother me much he would probably pre-decease me!

    I am NOT afraid to be alone however, and have made my peace with it. My grandmother lived 30 years after her husband died, my Mom about 12. We are all Steel Magnolias down here. lol

    So I soldier on and “soldier” it is often. It’s difficult, frustrating, annoying dealing with middle-aged men often. It’s why I dated younger for two years before that, too, became annoying  in other  ways. Just glad I recently met a keeper (I think, hope and pray). This keeper btw also takes hormones!

    Finally, I refuse to do this (online dating) another year frankly….

    No, study after study is now showing men take longer to recover from breakups for the reasons Amy describes- not enough men have strong social networks like women.

  14. 34
    Zaq

    @amy

    Women are superior to men ? – give it a rest.
    You, Amy, are a prime example of what men find so  frustrating  in women.
    Women are NEVER satisfied. You know the saying “women marry men, and hope that they change, men marry women and hope that they NEVER change”.

    How on earth is it possible for one gender to be “superior” to another ?
    Our DNA doesn’t know about our value  systems. It just produces men and women with a behaviour system most likely to result in the DNA being passed on to other generations.
    Unfortunately for men, women are  hard-wired  to be attracted to the finest examples of the male gender. They only have so many eggs, so they are picky on who fertilises them.

    If a woman is attracted to hot,tall,intelligent,  successful, witty, empathic and communicative  men, then it stands to reason they are going to be very thin on the ground. One in a hundred thousand.
    “good men are hard to find” you say. Indeed such men are.

    Men want a  woman  who is  vaguely  pretty. Plenty of them about.

    Women do not find the average man to be in the slightest bit attractive, and so most of them have to settle. They also allow their ‘feelings’ to be the ultimate arbiter.
    I loved the OKCupid study that showed that women found most men to be significantly below average in looks. It didn’t seem to occur to them that it was impossible for most men to be 3 out of 10.

    This probably leaves most women constantly dissatisfied with the opposite sex.
    Small wonder then that most divorces are instigated by women.  

    So are men inferior to women ? No, but many women PERCEIVE them to be.
      

  15. 35
    Ellen

    sorry for the double post, but Amy also wrote: As for “women are simply superior — kinder, more together, more creative, ‘anything men can do, women can do better’” – look, man, you just can’t argue with experience. Not just mine, but the experience of the dozens – hundreds? – of other women I’ve talked to over the years.”

    I wouldn’t go that far ’cause I still try to see people as individuals first. And women HAVE had a little to do with that- recently young mothers are finally being told “let the man parent even if you perceive it as imperfect. He needs the experience and he will bond with the child faster”.

    Meher Baba, whom I follow said something fascinating once. Said women in the West were more spiritual than the men – in general, but in India, in the east, it was the opposite- the women were more materialistic. ! 🙂 lol

    And re friends I agree with Amy. I have lots of male friends, cherish them, it’s just that God help you if you have to date them. Then a whole another side of them comes out I’d just rather not deal with frankly.   If you are not perceived as “the one” they just pretty much treat you like total crap in my experience, or subtly, which is worse.

    Finally, let us women vent some, ok? Even goodmanreport.com is getting across the message to men (FINALLY!) that they need to validate the woman’s point of view, not label it as “emotional” or “illogical” all the friggin time. The term is “gaslighting” , as in the Ingrid Bergman film (her husband, in an attempt to have her committed or killed (can’t remember) accuses her of being paranoid and mentally ill).

  16. 36
    P

    Evan,

    I actually highly doubt you’d get along with “Amy” based on the fact that you seem to be someone who takes reason and logic seriously. However,  that would be for you to decide  of course and you do seem to have a knack for tolerance. I’m just not sure Amy’s line of reasoning deserves much tolerance given that its roots are based in bigotry.    

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and her latest  commentary really  hit the nail on the head for me.

    We’ve  all seen this  argument and line of reasoning before, in great detail.  

    Throughout history, people have created psychological environments  which support an argument and are used to  dominate or suppress another group by proclaiming their group is superior or “better” in some way. We’ve seen this  along racial lines,  nations, and  among the genders.    Its bigotry, plain and simple.  What’s REALLY interesting to me though from a psychological and sociological standpoint is:

    Amy’s arguments are an almost a caricature of identical arguments that have been used for thousands of years  in support of  the supremacy of men.  
        
    There’s a lot of study going on about this right now, with various sociologists noting that an environment is being created in some social circles which supports this reversal and thus creates the environment which supports the argument. (e.g.  a group is continually told they are weak and lesser–from a psychological standpoint, that group will tend to begin to act in the way which supports this assertion).

    Look back through history and  the numerous and various writings which have been done by men pertaining to the weakness of women and the “superior nature” of men.    What you will see is a set of reasonings that are almost  identical to Amy’s  commentary.  Reasonings that include  logical fallacies being used to describe the emotional weakness and destructiveness of women. Women’s lack of drive and attention to detail. Women’s inability to use logic and determine proper reasonable courses in life. Women are emotional creatures and ill suited to  run  world affairs properly. Women’s relationships with other women are fraught with competition and distateful strife.   Women are prone to actions based on feeling alone and incapable of dealing with life’s responsibilities. Womena are fragile and easily decompensate under emotional duress. The list goes on an on in these writings.

    Take Amy’s commentary, and replace the pronouns for men with those for women, and you have historical (and unfortunately, sometimes present-day) commentary made about women  almost verbatim.  

    Amy’s  commentary is now truely fascinating to see from this perspective. Right up to and including the almost obligatory reference to last week’s “conquest”  making some  sort of  passing comment in support of the dominant reference:

    Maybe expressed best, and with irritating anomie, by the hot, talented, bright, and waaaay too young guy who stayed over last weekend: ‘I don’t think people get married anymore.'”

    I can almost see male writers of past making note: “Just last week as my nubile mistress and I settled into our tryst she noted how grateful she was for my stability and purposefulness of nature.” Note this statement and the fact that it includes an element of sexual dominance in it by the reference that Amy acquired  for herself a young sexual object for the weekend. The statement didn’t need to include any reference to this and could have been said  that she knows a young man who doesn’t think people get married anymore. Instead, referenced in the way that it was, it gives off a clear  message of sexual superiority, dominance, and conquest.   These types of references have been used by men for centuries as proof  that women themselves were believers of male superiority.

    These arguments laid forth by men for  many, many generations were wrong, horrifying, and infuriating to women.   Just as this line of reasoning laid forth by Amy and various factions of radical feminism is also wrong, horrifying, and infuriating to men.  No argument of this sort  has ever done anything towards the advancement of humanity in general, creating nothing but painful and damaging power systems that divide us and prevent us from seeing the complementary  nature people can supply for one another.  Both applications of the superiority argument use numerous logical fallacies, and as such are flawed from the beginning and nothing but progenitors of resentment, anger, and outright destructive conflict.

    And, directly to Amy: No…you haven’t dealt with the samples issues. You ignored it.  Please see the logical fallacy known as “biased sampling.”

        

                  
                    

  17. 37
    Evan Marc Katz

    @amy #34 – For what it’s worth, I know you’re getting pilloried for some of your statements, but I do appreciate you making your case with your own facts and logic. I may not agree with your conclusion, but do believe that you’re a bright and worthy adversary who knows how to have a disagreeable conversation without personal attacks. And, on this forum, that says quite a lot. Thank you for the dialogue.

  18. 38
    Ruby

    The fact that so many women are staying single isn’t surprising to me. As my married friends tell me, keeping a marriage together over the course of many years isn’t easy, even with marriages that start out strong. Since women suffer more financially after divorce, it sounds like a lot of women are risking that for the emotional benefits of leaving a marriage that is stagnating or unhealthy.  

    Many divorced men don’t seem to me that anxious to remarry; maybe many divorced women feel that way, too. Again, not surprising given that the rates of divorce for second and third marriages are even higher than for first marriages, which for baby boomers has risen to 40%.   

    Traditionally, men have a much wider age spectrum available to them in dating,  and some older men focus on younger women.  Also, older women outnumber their male counterparts.  So I don’t think that women are choosing to be single. Even if they leave an unhappy marriage, most divorced and still-single women would like to find a partner, whether they remarry or not.  

    According to the article, younger people have far lower rates of marriage than their elders as well, so we’ll be seeing even more aging singles in the years to come. I just hope we have the safety nets in place on both financial and social levels to accommodate them.

  19. 39
    P

    @Ellen

    No, study after study is now showing men take longer to recover from breakups for the reasons Amy describes- not enough men have strong social networks like women.

    There is some validity to this.  However, it needs to be looked at contextually. Making sweeping statements that this is one piece of “evidence” that women are superior (kinder, gentler, etc) than women is simply logical fallacy.   In fact,  a case  could be made (which would also be a logical fallacy used for demonstration) that the opposite is true: Men have more issues after a breakup because they are more  emotionally invested in the relationship and therefore women are colder, “meaner” and better able to simply “shut down” their feelings towards another person.   Is that argument valid? It uses the same  type of logic…flawed logic, but its the same.

    Let’s look at why men have fewer supportive  social connections, and let’s use history, sociology, and psychology to understand it, rather than claims of innate superiority of a particular gender.  Historically, men did have complex social  support networks–in many ways more than women did. Today, we live in a transitional time emotionally for men.   Men are expected to invest more emotionally and display more in an emotional context. However, some of the same previous  “roles” for men are still in play.   There’s still a demand for men to be “independent”…there’s  a social and  psychological stigma that goes towards a man who displays  “weakness” or emotional vulnerability.   Women push this as well–its not simply internally generated on the male side alone.   Think of the arguments that have taken place on this blog about the “alpha male” and his desirability. Men are taught, very early on, that they should handle their own problems,  but at the same time are being taught that for successful relationships they need to be emotionally vulnerable–to women.   Men are, for the most part, taught NOT to be emotionally vulnerable to other men.   This is a product of our sociological psychology, and both men and women equally are  responsible for this.   It does NOT imply an innate superiority or inferiority to either gender as is being  inferred.  

    And re friends I agree with Amy. I have lots of male friends, cherish them, it’s just that God help you if you have to date them. Then a whole another side of them comes out I’d just rather not deal with frankly. If you are not perceived as “the one” they just pretty much treat you like total crap in my experience, or subtly, which is worse.  

    Ah…this artifact has more to do with how differently people treat “romantic” relationships vs. friendships.   The comparisons are not entirely valid in the  context used, or in how they are being  applied towards men.   How many times have we seen references to the fact that people will do things towards a romantic partner that they would never contemplate doing towards a friend?   That, in essence, is part of the problem  I see with our methodology towards pair bonding today.   We project all our ideations, aspirations, expectations, and dreams onto another person, then respond with resentment and anger when that person turns out to be just like us: A flawed human being.   We expect a partner bigger than life subconsciously…someone that will make us happy by providing everything we want.   The results are as expected.

    This issue isn’t a male/female or male/female superiority one–though its  often used in that context.   Similar  issues happen in homosexual pair bondings.    An example of this is  the high rates of domestic physical and emotional violence between lesbian couples, to use an one  involving women. When confronted with this, most friends of said  partners involved in such things have no idea that their friend could  act as such.   Similar things are often said of individuals involved in heterosexual relationships where such activity occurs.  

    The point I’m making here is that you cannot compare  friendships with romantic relationships–although you should be able to if people took healthy approaches towards said  relationships in general.   Currently, we place them on different planes and therefore create  different sets of expectations which therefore  result in different sets of problems.   The problem isn’t male vs. female…but each of us as individuals.

    Finally, let us women vent some, ok? Even goodmanreport.com is getting across the message to men (FINALLY!) that they need to validate the woman’s point of view, not label it as “emotional” or “illogical” all the friggin time. The term is “gaslighting” , as in the Ingrid Bergman film (her husband, in an attempt to have her committed or killed (can’t remember) accuses her of being paranoid and mentally ill).

    Let’s take a step back here.   I don’t think anyone is proclaiming that Amy is emotionally or mentally ill, by current diagnostic methods.   I certainly am not..but I am deeply concerned by anyone who makes sweeping generalizations  proclaiming an innate superiority of any group over another without a real understanding of what is going on, why its going on, and the external factors involved that they themselves are a part of.

    Venting can be a good thing…if  done constructively.   Most people don’t do this, however.   In many situations, venting can quickly turn into a witch hunt, as group-think takes over…creating, in essence, a mob mentality.   Continual venting, without constructive methods of addressing such complaints, leads to generalized assessments such as the “superiority” issue being touted here.    What is needed is more effort towards understanding, and less effort towards developing a new, and equally flawed power paradigm.

    @Evan to Amy
    I may not agree with your conclusion, but do believe that you’re a bright and worthy adversary who knows how to have a disagreeable conversation without personal attacks.
        
    I’m going to disagree here and say that Amy  IS  engaging in a form of personal attack–its just on a broad scale.  She’s attacking an entire subset of the human species (males) and proclaiming her (and her gender’s) superiority over them.  Its going to be personal in that respect to any male.  Ask any WOMAN who has lived with the arguments for male superiority if she feels it isn’t personal when said arguments are being told to her by a man who believes them, and therefore believes her (personally) to be an inferior being.
      

  20. 40
    Carrie

    Wow….what a discussion.     Pretty crazy stuff.   I personally believe it’s up to the individual and what they ultimately want and feel comfortable doing for them.   We all have a story behind our decisions.   I love what Margaret said…that since going through menopause she has no sexual desire.   I am right there with ya sister. Would be nice…but not like when I was younger and there was a longing for intimacy in that way.   Ellen…love the reminder…that we older gals are…Steel Magnolias.   I know alot of older women who are absolutely content without a man or being married to one.     I would have loved to stay married but it didn’t work out that way.   Second marriage done and over.   That was very sad.   I am open to meeting someone but I am not going to worry about it or try to go online or join a club or be in the “right” places to meet someone.   I am going to just live.   I don’t have a huge circle of friends but enough.   I have a job that I am not in love with but keeps paying for my mortgage, thank God.   My son is healthy going to school and my family are wonderful.   I am pretty content.   Right now I want more of a career, that is what I am concerned about now.     Back to the subject, sorry….men are wonderful people.   Like in everything there are good and bad.   Being concerned about who you are and how you are contributing to making the world a better place should be of concern at any age really.  As  I aged my  needs and wants changed.   I grew wiser and much stronger.   These are good things.   Ideas and feelings I wish I would
    have had in my 20’s.   We get so distracted by the fun shiny things of life and when they aren’t there think life is horrible.   There is  so much more to be and have in life…it’s where your priorities are.        It is so sad to hear the deep hurt and scars that are left by other people.   Really very sad. Time to rise up out of those ashes and make your life, whether partnered or not….count! Love to all.

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