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Is he the marrying kind?
A book came out a while back that should be of interest to all women who want to meet compatible men who share their goal of marriage/family--but who seem to only meet men who are not into commitment. It's titled "The reason why some men marry some women and not others." Provocative and eye-catching, no? This certainly looks like a book that will catch a woman's attention as it promises to answer that question women are always asking. How do I find and know that this is the right guy?
The author, John T. Malloy is not a dating or relationship expert, he is an expert in the field of market research--and he applies science to this age old question that has never really been answered satisfactorily. However he found out right at the start that some women viewed him as a chauvinist because his findings concluded that the primary reason a man asks one woman to marry and not another is that each woman treats him differently. These findings are seen as sexist by women who believe this study is blaming them for doing something wrong and thereby not finding a man who wants to make the commitment.
Of the more than 300 women who worked on the "marriage research project," none had this reaction to its findings which is interesting. Yes, there were male participants who were not interested in commitment and then there were guys who were--however the overall findings pointed to how women treat their men. The first findings were thrown out because the researchers doubted what men were saying due to the macho answers they gave that challenged their credibility. Then the researchers started over and that second run led to politically correct responses--which are also not reliable or useful and were therefore also thrown out.
Then they tried a third time, using males in their sixties to do the interviews. What they found is that the male respondents were much more candid about what they said to these older men they did not feel the need to impress, and the responses they got were straightforward and deemed reliable.
In addition to the participant's feelings about how women treat them, the study uncovered some interesting and useful facts when they asked the male participants the following questions:
Is he old enough to marry?
They found out there is an "age of commitment." This age varies according to how much education and life experience the man has. If he has a high school education, he marries in his early 20's, but if he has an advanced degree, that number can easily be between 28 and 33. If a man reaches his early 40's, the chances he will ever marry go down significantly.
The men reported that this time spent being single is about having their freedom, making money, and experiencing new things--without being bogged down by commitment. Once they have done all of this, they often feel ready to take the next step to commitment. So ladies, date guys who have reached this age of commitment and your odds for success will increase.
Has he grown tired of the singles scene?
At some point, the singles scene gets old for men. They have been dating around, having fun, going out--and are now wanting something else, something more. Many participants hadn't stopped dating, they were just sick of the hook-up, singles scene. (Think George Clooney). Many guys reported that they had stopped going to singles places and picking up women for two years before finding a woman they wanted to marry.
They were still dating, but wanted more. Several participants actually used those phrases during their interviews. The whole singles scene had lost its appeal and they felt they had outgrown it. Many singles they encountered were younger and in different places and they felt uncomfortable and out of place now that they were older. It felt time to move on.
Men with advanced/professional degrees expressed the same feelings as those with high school degrees about being too old and wanting to move on. Interestingly, men who were balding or overweight and looked older felt they were too old sooner than other men.
The bottom line, a man's readiness for the next step depended on his education, profession, and maturity. Some men in the study suggested that women should ask men they are dating how much they like the singles scene--that this could offer a lot of information about his readiness for commitment. If they are in their 40's and have never been married they are less likely to ever make that commitment. If they are divorced or widowed, they are a better bet.
The study also looked at other reasons that may contribute to a man's readiness for marriage and these are some of the factors that men brought up.
Their biological clock was ticking
A number of men brought up their biological clock as a reason for taking the plunge. Though a man's timetable may be different than that of a woman, he still has one. He doesn't want to be a Dad when other men his age are grandfathers. He wants to be young enough to be an involved and active dad, with the vitality and energy to be fully present and engaged. He also doesn't want to be an old man when his child is coming of age and miss all the great experiences that come with having adult children.
He have a history of rejection
Some of the men spoke about rejection and how they are not assertive with women they are interested in for fear of more rejection. However if a woman expresses her interest and puts him at ease, chances are he will feel more comfortable asking for more. Ladies, if you think this is the issue, push a little. He might surprise you.
The quality/stability of his Parent's marriage
If a male participant came from an intact home with two loving parents, his desire to marry was higher. He still wanted to have his single experiences, finish his education, and get his finances in order--but marriage was usually the goal once he had achieved these milestones and had reached the age of commitment.
Socioeconomic compatibility is important
Participants also seemed more open to marriage when the woman was from a similar socioeconomic background. If the differences are too large, men will hesitate and worry about how the relationship will mesh with their family, friends, career, and lifestyle. Heads up on this one ladies--pick guys who are in your own league and they will be more likely to commit.
His friends are the marrying kind
It may seem very unromantic, but guys who have married friends and friends who will marry soon are more likely to marry soon themselves. It's a follow the pack kind of mentality and women are guilty of this as well. So if all his friends are unattached and if he wants to spend a lot of his time out partying and hanging out with them, he may not be ready for marriage for quite some time. Therefore if you are, you may want to start looking around for someone who shares your marriage goal.
You and he have the same religious and political views
If a guy is committed to his faith belief it is unlikely he will marry someone who does not share it. If he is a staunch democrat, republican, or strongly identifies with another group, he may get close to the altar but find he is just unable to make a commitment to a woman who supports or believes in something he cannot relate to. If you are willing to convert to another religion or adopt someone's political views due to love, this is an option some people take. The only potential problem can come later if and when you realize you can't agree on key things that impact your life together, your children, your relationship with friends and family and even your lifestyle wants and needs.
So ladies, if you are serious about dating men who share your marriage goals, you want to take these above factors to heart and choose not just with your heart, but with your head. Otherwise you could find yourself with a man who has gone from one long-term relationship to the next, never marrying. These guys will string you along, telling you that they do want to marry someday, but after months, years, and even decades later--you may suddenly come to the realization he has been stringing you along and wasting your youth.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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