Marriage Trends

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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jennypenny
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Marriage Trends

Post by jennypenny » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:58 am

The Decline of Marriage Is Hitting Vegas Hard: Working-class troubles mean fewer weddings in the marriage capital

It's not surprising that marriages are down. Just reading the threads about marriage on this forum would convince anyone that it's a hellish institution best avoided. ;)

What they said about high earners marrying other high earners also echoed what Cowen said in The Complacent Class about the 'matching culture'. What I do find surprising is that marriage is more likely with higher education and income levels. That seems backwards to me. I'm not questioning their findings, but when did that change occur? When I was younger, the more educated a person was, the less likely they were to tie the knot, especially the women. Also, isn't it also a stereotype that the more religious a person is, the more likely they are to marry? That demo is generally in the low to mid-range middle class, so that would go against what they said.

Anyway, I'm not saying they're wrong. It's just very different from my own preconceptions. (misconceptions, I guess)

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BRUTE
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by BRUTE » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:28 pm

marriage seems like a reaction to circumstances that don't exist any more. human females can have educations and jobs now. sex with strangers is accepted by society. just about the only value marriage can offer is the tax reduction. which might explain why rich humans do it.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:41 pm

Well, as a gen xer, from a broken home, I was very firmly set against marriage.

Now, I have seen that relationships require skills, skills entirely missing in my upbringing. Skills I learned by mimicing successful marriages.

I expect the demographic shift you are talking about coming from others with similar views of marriage to my younger self. If you come from a family of divorce, you will be cautious.

On the other hand, stable families are more likely to generate more educated children, and I expect this is the reason for more college educated marriages.

The boomers messed up everything, but if Howe is right, we have plenty of time to adjust before the millenials' kids try to find new ways to mess up what's left...

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Chad
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Chad » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Riggerjack makes some good points. Even coming from a stable home divorce always concerned me, as I saw it in a lot of my classmates families growing up. Divorce was talked about A LOT in the news and in general conversation. Probably because it became much more common.

The other factor is education/income levels. Why would I want an anchor making my life more difficult?

7Wannabe5
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:18 pm

I think I know what is going on here. A good example would be one of my female cousins. She was around 40 and divorced with 2 kids and an AWOL Ex and a modest income as a nurse when she met her current husband who was a much wealthier, older physician. They didn't marry until her kids were done with college and he had retired because it was beneficial for her as an independent financial entity to have her kids qualify for scholarships/loans, and it was beneficial for him as an independent financial entity to not take on the risk of second divorce until he was older/retired and her income/outgo ratio had increased.

There are a bajillion different variations on this theme adding up to the trend in the article. The situation is also becoming increasingly like other eras of more extreme class/income division with men marrying or remaining married for financial reasons, but also taking mistresses on the side. Also smaller, growing trend of females engaging in similar behavior.

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Viktor K
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:07 pm

I don't know. For me, it still seems like an acceptable norm. I plan to marry, and expect I would be disappointed later in life if I didn't.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:24 pm

The other factor is education/income levels. Why would I want an anchor making my life more difficult?
Well, clearly, you wouldn't. But as came up in "my partner makes more money, and wants me to pay half", there are other options, if you can pull it off.

I've been married eleven years, and other than my dating life, all aspects of my life are better for it. I have no desire to return to my single life, and no real interest in other women. But that is not common.

So, I'll pass along some advice I received.

Date often, and marry the girl you miss when you are with another.

Women form 51% of the population, but you only want one, make sure she's the right one. Find the right fit, rather than trying to make what you have work, simply because it is what you have.

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Viktor K
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Viktor K » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:35 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:24 pm
I've been married eleven years, and other than my dating life, all aspects of my life are better for it. I have no desire to return to my single life, and no real interest in other women. But that is not common.
Aside from the fact I'm not yet married, I agree with the rest of this.

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chenda
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by chenda » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:58 pm

I wonder if these figures take into account long term cohabitation, which is functionally the same and may be partially offsetting the decline in legally defined marriage.

And gay marriage might start to arrest the decline ?

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Chad
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Chad » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:14 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:24 pm
The other factor is education/income levels. Why would I want an anchor making my life more difficult?
Well, clearly, you wouldn't. But as came up in "my partner makes more money, and wants me to pay half", there are other options, if you can pull it off.

I've been married eleven years, and other than my dating life, all aspects of my life are better for it. I have no desire to return to my single life, and no real interest in other women. But that is not common.

So, I'll pass along some advice I received.

Date often, and marry the girl you miss when you are with another.

Women form 51% of the population, but you only want one, make sure she's the right one. Find the right fit, rather than trying to make what you have work, simply because it is what you have.
Your advice is sound. Though, I don't think I was clear enough. I wasn't arguing against marriage or commitment (I'm fine with commitment. Less so with the baggage legal marriage brings. Especially, since I don't want kids.). I was suggesting I wouldn't bother trying to find this with women who have lower education/income levels. Not because they are terrible people, but it seems to lower the odds of finding someone I'm interested in. Also, because I don't want to end up with someone who makes significantly less and is difficult to find common ground with, which is where the "anchor" comment comes from.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:56 pm

@Chad:

Disparity in income can be a problem, but you may find that other factors such as disparity in health/fitness can eventually loom even larger. So, all other things being equal, you might be better off picking on that basis. I would note for the record that middle-aged men generally think they are the same age/fitness as women who are 7 years younger :roll:

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BRUTE
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by BRUTE » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:28 pm

with regards to muscle mass and bone density, that might well be true. it seems typically female old humans that fall and break their bones, or can't lift a paper plate over their head. male humans, on the other hand, seem to often have tissue and organs in worse shape - livers, lungs, hearts, the works.

IlliniDave
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by IlliniDave » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:16 pm

I tried marriage. It didn't work out. I'm ambiguous about future prospects. Being married wasn't so bad I've become an incorrigible bachelor, but it wasn't so great that finding Mrs iDave Ver 2.0 finds its way onto my daily to-do list. What's most important now is living the fullest expression of myself I can. It will lead where it leads. Anecdotally, marriage seems to be a great thing for some people and a train wreck for others so I view it neutrally on balance.

I think nowadays it's much harder for young folks with less education/income to function without help from parents/grandparents. Maybe they are at least wise enough to know that getting married before they can even take care of themselves is a bad idea. And I think increasing female presence in the professional workforce tends to push marriage out to later ages in the aggregate, and having more time to consider that there are alternatives to marriage might dissuade a few.

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Chad
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Chad » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:50 pm

@7w5
I understand what you are saying and agree to a certain extent, but I'm not seriously dating someone that makes significantly less than I do at this point in my life. Worked too hard and sacrificed too much to give it to someone else.

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Dragline
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Dragline » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:55 pm

Marriage has become less of a cultural imperative or goal, and more merely a personal desire to spend a whole lot of time with someone who you love and/or complements you. The "status" of being married no longer carries a notion of superiority or accomplishment in comparison to the unmarried bachelors and spinsters, who were once considered socially handicapped.

One of my friends brought the following sign to a gay pride gathering last month (with his husband and son):

"Gay Agenda:
School
Career
Marriage
Raise a Family"

Most human beings living in developed countries want kind of the same things.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:02 pm

@BRUTE: Yup, that seems right. I can barely open a pickle jar, and some guys my age can still lift me up on to a counter-top (no mean feat!)

In my experience, being in a bad marriage is much worse than being single, but I still might try again when I am 57. That will give me a few more years to sow my wild oats and complete some solo projects, and then place me in an ideal window of opportunity to start working the youngish widower market.

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Dragline
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Dragline » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:09 pm

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 57" just doesn't have quite the ring to it. ;-)

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Dragline
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Dragline » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:37 pm

That's the point I was trying to make above. In past generations, getting an education was considered unnecessary or wasteful (for women), while marriage was held up as an imperative. Now education and career has filled that void. Marriage is more considered as an option AFTER having made it with the other things.

This also may explain why people who do not go on in education and careers do not feel compelled to get married even if they have children. But that gets into more complicated issues. The last Freakonomics podcast explored some of them: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/frackin ... -marriage/

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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:18 am

Chad said: I understand what you are saying and agree to a certain extent, but I'm not seriously dating someone that makes significantly less than I do at this point in my life. Worked too hard and sacrificed too much to give it to someone else.
Yeah, I get where you are coming from, but I am trying to predict, not just one, but two or three possible life-cycles away for you guys. Trust me, I have interacted with many leery, bitter middle-aged recently divorced men, but I have also interacted with never married men who are now in their 50s, and even older men for whom that first (or last) bad divorce is now more than a few years down the road.

Affluent middle-aged men do take a hit both financially and emotionally when they divorce, especially if custody battles come into play, but 5 or 10 years later they are usually not just back to equilibrium financially, but actually better off than when they were married. Their ex-wives, OTOH, regardless of details of divorce settlement, are usually worse off financially, unless they have remarried.

Take the example of my current BF. Didn't marry until he was almost 40. Decides he wants a family and makes conservative pick of reasonably attractive woman with professional career. Few years later falls in love with his version of beautiful dream-woman while his previously chubby, now fat, wife is pregnant with his child. Does, I am certain, terrible job of hiding this. Chubby wife bonds with baby, turns her back to him. Scene cut for 10 years of mutual misery for good of child. Brief escape to overseas assignment, affair with young 3rd world citizen concubine. Still in love with dream-girl. Finally files for divorce. Dream girl picks other man. Heart-broken, divorced, still sleeping on sofa at best male friend's house, ex won't let him see kid. Somehow ends up as third stallion on string of very odd poly-amorous female who is willing to tolerate his sad-sack perspective in exchange for symphony tickets, because she already has one man helping her with her "purpose" and another providing her with romantic validation. Even though his ex is nicking him for the maximum child-support hit and even got 3 years of alimony, money is the least of his problems. THAT COULD BE YOU!!!

@Dragline: Interesting podcast. I have noted that I am possibly the only single/divorced mother member of this forum (except for Western Europe-style virtually-married cohabiting females, who were also exempted from study) , and even that was marginal since I think my youngest child was in her last year of college when I joined this group.

Also, I considered delaying until 64 (two 7 year skin-cycles away), but might require capital investment in boob-job.

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Chad
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Chad » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:11 am

@7w5
I don't care if I would be back even or a little better 5-10 years later, that still sounds horrible. I would still be behind where I will be with my current decision making process. Definitely not worth it.

Lol...that won't be me. I will never pick the lesser option. I'm extremely picky. I haven't settled in 44 years. It's one of the issues or failings all my friends and their wives identify in me, and it's true. Of course, I don't consider it a failing. I enjoy being single too much to give it up on a lesser option. It's not like my only criteria are education and a solid financial position. Just part of my criteria, but I know what I want.

As Dragline note, there is very minimal pressure to get married in current society, so it's not like I suffer culturally.

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fiby41
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by fiby41 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:39 am


7Wannabe5
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:47 am

@Chad:

Gotcha. For some reason (avatar?), I was thinking you were more like 32 than 44. So, now I will have to share some scared-straight advice based on my experience dating highly selective never-married men in their 50s (as opposed to men who are over 50 and no female ever wanted to marry them.)

Now, it is true that if you survey the female population in total, the result will be that the most attractive age for a man is mid-40s. However, this is in large part due to the fact that most females have a fairly strong preference for men who are their age or just a bit older, but a woman who is 77 and taking this survey is not about to bold-faced lie to the extent that she will indicate that 79 is more attractive than 49. Also, it is definitely not the case that 45 is the mean of a normal curve. Seriously steep cliff on the decline.

Due to some happenstance, I have dated (for a period of at least 9 months) 3 different never-married men who were 52 years old, when I was 42, 45 and 51 years old myself. Therefore, I have a somewhat informed perspective/opinion that right around 52 is the age that a guy will feel the urge to decide for once and for all whether he will ever get married, analogous to how women often feel compelled to make final call on kids around the age of 39. However, just like is often the case with the woman considering maternity at 39, they have waited too long.

As I mentioned above, middle-aged men think it is appropriate to date women who are approximately 7 years younger, but when you get to something right around a 12 year difference in age, it does become significant. So, 52 is on the edge of seeming a bit long in the tooth to a woman who is 39. Therefore, all the women who don't think a 52 year old guy might be too old are now also in the group that has either already had kids or made final decision to not have kids. So, desire for a family is no longer in their decision matrix. So, choice to marry or not amounts to choice about whether to share living accommodations with some grouchy old man (A)vs. just having fun being entertained through dating (B)and/or cozy solo Grandma cottage reality (C.) Given that more than half of the single female population over the age of 39 has likely previously had the experience of sharing living accommodations with some grouchy young man, many or most tend to veer towards choice (B) or (C.) And, those who for some likely irrational reason are considering the possibility of (A) are far less likely to choose grouchy old man who has never been married over divorced/widower for the same reason they wouldn't choose a dog that wasn't even previously house-broken from the pound.

So, unless you are cool with having one of your younger sisters make your funeral arrangements, better get cracking!!!

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Chad
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Chad » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:28 pm

@7w5
:) I appreciate the advice and it's roughly the general guideline I have in my head. Of course, there are always exceptions.

I would like to have a significant other, but I also like being able to make decisions without worrying about someone else. If single is how I die, so be it. There are way worse ways.

There will be no traditional funeral arrangements. I hate traditional funerals and really despise graveyards. Why do dead people need land? And, half the time it's really good land. My preferred method of body disposal would be to be drug out into the middle of the woods and left for the animals, bugs, and bacteria. Of course, that's probably illegal most places, so the cheapest method is likely cremation along with a few kegs for a party. They can then have whatever assets I have left.

The avatar is Hunter S. Thompson.

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” - Hunter S. Thompson

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Dragline
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by Dragline » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:22 pm

Out of the 8 or so closest friends of mine from childhood, 3 are never married/no kids in their fifties, although there has been cohabitation off and on. I think its become relatively common.

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BRUTE
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Re: Marriage Trends

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:05 am

Hunter S. Thompson wrote:We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
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