Interesting piece I came across today on the “” website, called, “The Stigma Of The Never-Married Man,” by Kate Hahn. In a way, it’s kind of a related follow-up to the posts I’ve made about open marriage.

Hahn claims that while the “confirmed bachelor” once used to be envied by many men, he is now looked down upon as “weird,” which is weird since the number of never-married men in their forties has doubled since 1980, according to U.S. Census Bureau.

So, what gives?

Playboy, loser, commitment-phobic, too fussy... latently gay? These are often the suggestions bandied about by the married among us. But Carl Weisman, author of the book, “So Why Have You Never Been Married?” suggests that maybe some men know themselves too well to ever commit to a strollers and “banana-pancake lifestyle.” "And," Weisman says, “maybe they don't deserve to be subjected to judgmental looks, because the kind of honesty that prevents them from entering a relationship just for the sake of it is the unmarried fortysomething's saving grace.”

Weisman believes that instead of looking askance at the perennially unmarried man, society should applaud him—even the cad. "The only thing worse than a playboy who refuses to commit is a playboy who gets married," he says.

Of course, as is so often the case in these kinds of phenomena, the answer is some mixture of both and neither... or all of the above, but with a third factor.

Yes, for sure, some men are unable/unwilling to engage in a long-term monogamous relationship because they have unresolved issues around intimacy and negative transferences to women. But just as surely, many men who get married have serious dependency issues and idealized transferences to women - just as bad as the negative ones in their effects, by the way. Both are recipes for the disaster of an unfulfilled life, but as a therapist and sociologist, if I had to choose the lesser of two evils, I'd say that at least the unmarried guy isn't screwing up any children by demonstrating what an unfortunate compromise "love" and married life can be.

On the flip side, a man might never get married because he wants to live outside of the institutional box, and avoid all the concomitant expectations of friends and family and corporations in that box. This radical man, however, will more than likely have experienced being deeply in-love and most likely, even cohabitation, even monogamy. He just rejects the contract part of it. Likewise, a man can be married in the legal, normative way, but still have vibrant love-Eros-and-sex and open, honest communication with his partner, without becoming deadeningly co-dependent.

But then there's the question raised by the fact that the number of never-married men has doubled in the last few decades. That fact goes along with other statistics that show that fewer people are getting married in general, and at later ages, and having less children. I've written about this before, with a definite sense of optimism about its meaning. This is the "third factor."

As we human beings are evolving mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as we are moving from younger soul ages to older soul ages, we are becoming less and less dependent on rigid social constructs and controls to rule our day-to-day lives, and more and more able to follow our own individual inner guidance for direction. FULL PERMISSION LIVING! To quote myself: "Full Permission Living rests on the foundation of truth that all people are entitled to live pleasure-filled, spontaneous, lives without guilt, shame or oppressive inner rules and prohibitions. Indeed, we are meant to live with full inner permission to follow our natural inner guidance and our inborn pleasure instinct to seek out gratification in all of our actions and endeavors, and that such a way of living always benefits those around us and those that we love."

So, don't judge those single guys approaching middle age. Get to know them, you married folks, lest they hit you back with Eric Clapton's old lyrics: "Fore you 'cuse me, take a look at yourself."


Norman DeArmond said...

Unmarried Sexers , you bear the abortion guilt. Whether or not in your particular instance a baby is conceived and aborted is really irrelevant. If you have unmarried sex there is a high likelihood any resulting unborn baby will be painfully excruciatingly aborted. You even subconsciously or consciouly know this and it is part of the gruesome act. On top of leaving your partner emotionally high and dry you also bear the guilt of the damn spot of bloodguiltiness the driven insane by it lady Macbeth could not wash away. And for what? Saving the few $ a marriage license costs and enjoying the offspring as God's gift. Instead you get God's everlasting judgement on yourself, your partner and the murdereee. Tell God you had permission! A note! Ha!

Anonymous said...

When I was 33 or 34 years old, this Honduran man, a co-worker of mine, started prying into my personal business at lunchtime. At first, I thought it was just friendly conversation. However, then he asked me this extremely intrusive question as to why I never followed my older sister's footsteps in getting married and having a family. I eventually blew him off and stopped speaking to him altogether. I noticed that he and his wife never sat together at lunch. I probably should have questioned his marital happiness. About two or so years later, after I started working at a call center, this elderly male customer started flapping his jaws to me over the phone about how he heard that men who put off fatherhood stand the risk of bearing children with birth defects. I avoided this jerk at all costs afterwards and passed his call on to my co-workers. My research online showed me that what he told me was just another load of "Mike Huckabee" style pop science. Us men have the right to choose whether or not to take that long walk down the aisle. And if our parents pressure us to do so and give them grandchildren, we can always buy them a baby doll and tell them to make believe it is real. To all you other male spinsters out there, don't you agree that high school reunions are just fashion shows for these prima donnas who pride themselves on getting married and starting a family at an early age? I do. I haven't been to even one high school reunion of mine and I don't miss anyone from them.


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