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Dr. Helen

A reader is concerned that the Millennial generation will not have the resources to marry–or divorce:

Dear Dr. Smith:

Do you think the Millennial generation will have the lowest marriage rate in the history of the republic? I’m a millennial, 28, and I don’t believe we’re going to have the resources to marry and divorce several times as our Boomer parents have done. I actually don’t believe we’ll have as nice of a lifestyle either because of debt, career opportunity, and many other reasons i can’t list here.

Hopefully I’m wrong; however, I just don’t see the us being able to get ahead as our parents did and the first post-World War II generation.

Some researchers have pointed out that the Millennials do not want to marry as quickly due to the unhappiness and divorces they see in their parents’ generation. Others claim that they are a narcissistic bunch who think only of themselves. The recession and lack of career opportunities as the reader above points out may have something to do with waiting for marriage.

I think for men, part of the difficulty is that the old traditional expectations to provide for a family are still there, put on them by both society and women, and themselves. At the same time, men are expected to be the modern husband and father who not only provides the majority of support in order to have a good marriage but helps with the housework and takes care of the kids. Add this all together and marriage is not in the cards for many men today, or is so stressful, it is only for the more educated and affluent who can delegate some of these tasks to others. With fewer career prospects and higher expectations of marriage, the average guy this age may just opt out and decide that marriage is not an option.

And divorce is more expensive than ever and filled with more uncertainty for men. They need money to fight for the kids they are more heavily invested in, and may have to pay alimony and child support even if they have little income and get little in the way of support from society other than being told they are a deadbeat dad. It’s tough and not something that all young men will want to risk.

Also read: Bad Advice for Autistic Dating

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Top Rated Comments   
Modern women see weddings as their sacred ritual of royal princess attainment. That's why they're expensive.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And divorce is more expensive than ever and filled with more uncertainty for men.

Filled with more danger, but not more uncertainty. There's very little uncertainty about what happens to a man in a divorce. He becomes the flesh and blood equivalent of an ATM that has been hacked. The woman gets the children and the money.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Marriage is a roiling calamity for men and I celebrate they are finally getting it. My hope is that men next start to realize what a massive liability most women are to them, and either go their own way or start insisting on better behavior.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (43)
All Comments   (43)
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I recall how suddenly the Soviet hold on its Warsaw Pact satellites and the Soviet empire itself unraveled then imploded. Behind the Iron Curtain workers cynically said "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work."

Today in the West the PUAs might as well be saying "They (females) pretend to love us and we pretend to commit."
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
> I think for men, part of the difficulty is that the old traditional
> expectations to provide for a family are still there, put on them by
> both society and women, and themselves. At the same time, men
> are expected to be the modern husband and father who not only
> provides the majority of support in order to have a good marriage
> but helps with the housework and takes care of the kids.

Ya mean like the following self-centered, pink-unicorn-powered fantasy?...

Commitment Man

This man seeks out relationships that value monogamy, reciprocity, and a mutual support. This man admires, respects, and likes women as people, is comfortable with women in positions of authority, and views his partner as having an equal voice in the relationship. He also appreciates her as much for the essential role she plays in the family as he does for her, individually. In this dynamic, difficulties can arise when Commitment Man focuses on the family unit as a whole to the point at which he loses sight of both his primary partner within the family, and as an individual, which can erode the relationship by creating a “going through the motions” experience at the expense of romance. However, remembering and rediscovering his partner’s individuality and contributions can restore the reciprocal relationship and mutual support that cultivates romance and enhances the long-term investment.

This category also includes men who are comfortable being in a supporting role within the relationship, for example if his partner is the primary breadwinner, he is neither threatened nor frustrated by his supporting financial role. He feels comfortable with a fluidity of roles and will do his best to be supportive in his supportive role.

- a D.Psy. Chick

As much as I loathe her larger "Man Up!" message, Kay Hymowitz was correct when she observed: "Women can take a Chinese-menu approach to gender roles. Single young males of the postfeminist era are moving around in a Babel of miscues, cross-purposes, and half-conscious, contradictory female expectations that are alternately proudly egalitarian and coyly traditional."

What could possibly be making men fear entrapment?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd say you've sussed it out quite well, MB.

By the way, I wonder when women will be measured against Commitment Woman. This woman "admires, respects, and likes [men] as people, is comfortable with [men] in positions of authority, and views [her] partner as having an equal voice in the relationship". (The latter, of course, kind'a torpedoes unilateral divorce, sexual teasing, and entrapment by pregnancy - all privileges that females are loathe to give up, or even admit are social and legal privileges of females.) Anyway, I was just wondering...

Q. What could possibly be making men fear entrapment?
A. Females. Their past history doesn't guarantee future results but it does indicate the smart way to bet.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm 32, so just barely beyond the upper reaches of the millennial generation. I have a great, well-paying career that affords me quite a bit of freedom. I could certainly be a "provider" in the traditional sense. I grew up in a churched, conservative household and I always wanted a wife and children and was focused on that goal for many years. However, it has become quite clear to me (by virtue of still being single at this age) that I have dodged a bullet.

I'm angry with women. They and their liberal and feminist allies have ruined the family and with it, our culture, and with that, eventually, our society. For those of us raised in a conservative and/or Christian culture, the “new normal” won’t work for us emotionally, psychologically, or domestically. Some will try and force themselves into this new mould out of societal expectation or personal guilt but they will be ill suited for it and most will fail. Some, or many, will see the futility in pursuing marriage and family with modern women and choose to abandon such a path altogether, as it is the most rational choice. I am one of these people … and, as one, I would also say that this is a very dangerous course for our society.

The fact of the matter is if well educated, law-abiding, financially responsible, industrious, hard-working men such as myself start turning our backs on the system en masse … not marrying, not having (and raising) children, and not pursuing the economic means to support these things … then our system is doomed as it will be populated with the lazy, unwanted, multiple-fathered brood of legion unwed welfare mothers. What birth rate will be enough to crash the system? 3 single mother welfare births to 1 nuclear family birth? 6 to 1? Who knows … but the simple fact is if we want to save the economic viability of our society, intelligent responsible people need to start getting married and having babies. Sadly, this option has been torn away from us by the feminist hordes … because what rational man in today’s world would marry almost any of the young single women in our contemporary society?

I have never had any issues finding women to date. I have found, though, that as I have gotten into my early 30’s, finished grad school, and locked in a well-paying career that “pitchin woo” (as the Hag would say) has become like shooting fish in a barrel. I have lost almost all respect for women as a gender. I realize there are some good, self respecting ones out there but almost all of the women in my age bracket sling sex around as casually as bumming a stick of gum off a friend. It’s disgusting, really, and this from a guy that has benefited from it immensely. I have reached a point that I don’t care anymore. I just don’t care. I am willing to put zero effort into women at this point. I was always interested in building something with someone of worth … but, in this new world, there are none of worth … they have sacrificed their femininity and their possible families on the altar of sexual freedom and careerist ambition. I, for one, will have nothing to do with them.

Marriage, for me, is a dying, if not already dead, dream. My mother and grandmother just stare at me slackjawed and mystified at Sunday dinners when they ask if I’ve met any nice girls recently and I download bits and pieces of my philosophy to them. They always say something like, “Well, I’m praying for you a good wife.” Well, pray on, but the truth is, in today’s America even the “good ones” are so completely corrupted by feminism’s and consumerism’s ubiquitous influences that they don’t even realize how far gone they are. If you don’t believe me, just ask any young woman how they envision the day they are proposed to as looking like … when they start gabbing about the ring tell them that for the sake of argument he doesn’t have a ring because that just isn’t in the budget right now but his love is true and he wants to get their lives started … the expression on said young women’s faces will tell the entire story (Full Disclosure: neither my mother nor my grandmother received engagement rings) … I happen to work with a guy that proposed to his wife with a $3000 ring and she told him it wasn’t big enough and refused to accept until he bought her the one she wanted … after 7000 ADDITIONAL dollars, she accepted. I mock him without mercy on a regular basis.

35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The fact of the matter is if well educated, law-abiding, financially responsible, industrious, hard-working men such as myself start turning our backs on the system en masse..."

Are you aware of the microeconomics research that shows with as few as 2% of your fellow shoppers being comparison shoppers, your local supermarkets is driven toward keen price-competition in order to remain in business? Perhaps the analogy between the grocery market and the meet market isn't perfect, but the astute observer will notice that when barely 5% of men were dropping out of the marrying sweepstakes, females had already begun to bellyache "Where have all the good men gone?" This is definitely something to think about.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with discussion of these issues on the internet (like in this blog) is that many people subscribe to either the liberal-left or social conservative ideologies. The problem is this is, of course, that neither of these ideologies places the same premium on rational self-interest and proper risk management as I do. Hence, "advice" from these people is likely to be contaminated by the influences of either of these ideologies which, by definition, are anathema to mine and your long-term future.

Indeed, one commentor here derides such a premium on rational self-interest and risk management as "narcissism".

My point is proven.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is another factor to consider that most millennials are probably not aware of, but the more technically inclined ones more likely will be. This is the probability of effective bio-medical cure for aging by 2040. If you are in your 20's right now, you have a high chance (greater than 80%) of making it to biological immortality. Aubrey de Gray's SENS and rejuvenation with genetically engineered stem cells are likely to be realized by the time you are in your 50's.

There is no reason to sell out on your long term future on stuff like marriage and family unless these are things you truly desire and would enjoy.

As a transhumanist, I consider myself intellectually immune to non-transhumanist and especially illiberal (Lockean/Randian definition of liberal) worldviews. I know I stand a good chance of out-living all of these worldviews and the people who subscribe to them.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
it's good that people are finally recognizing that marriage is a bad idea, but still too many people seem to think the problem is with all millennials or that society isn't preparing people to get married. every guy I know who has suffered through divorce was perfectly prepared for marriage. the fault does not lie with the males of this or any generation.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
I certainly agree that men have little incentive to marry for life these days. However, I think the causes are many and extend back decades. I hate to be a throwback but I think my mom's favorite saying, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" still applies. In the 1960s, the introduction of easy access birth control, easy divorce and government subsidies of fatherless households has led directly led to today's very relaxed sexual attitudes and a huge increase in co-habitation, unwed births, abortions and STDs. Add in the feminism of the 70s that taught us that men are unnecessary along with taking away the mom-guilt for working women and marriage took another hit. Of course, Hollywood, popular music and our media have proudly championed these changes as progress without consequences. I say all this as a long-married, professional woman for whom birth control prevented being a statistic. I just think that we shouldn't be surprised at the natural consequences that arise from taking away responsibility from sexual activity, marriage and childbearing.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

--------------------------------------

I've heard that phrase a lot, but if men were marrying chiefly for sex, they were vastly overpaying.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's popular to bash Millennials--they're lazy, intellectually incurious, and shallow. However, after growing up in an America that has withered under 50 years of rock and roll, 40 years of no fault divorce, and 30 years of political correctness, how could Millennials be anything but lazy, intellectually incurious, and shallow? I'm from Generation X, and I'm not impressed with either my generational cohort or the baby boomers. To grasp how far the cultural rot has permeated American culture, one should watch an 80 minute movie called "Kill Your Idols", a film that documents New York's "No Wave" music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Among a cohort of social rejects, Lydia Lunch, Thurston Moore, and Glenn Branca especially stand out as incoherent buffoons. They're Babbitts with the unfortunate drawback that they're not nearly as economically productive as Sinclair Lewis's protagonist.

Given this reality, marriage is best understood as a fool's errand these days. Americans have infantilized themselves since 1964, and they are unprepared for the rigors of life-long commitment. The 28 year old Millennial should have recognized these facts already--he isn't a bright-eyed college freshman. He would be far better off making himself as economically mobile as possible. Freedom is more important than love, and it is something few will possess in the coming decades. Does he really want to be a wage slave when the America's entitlement states starts collapsing? Does he really want to be saddled with an unfulfilled wife and two children when America's nascent intergenerational conflict begins in earnest? Wouldn't he rather be drinking beer on an island beach, far away from all that drama?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
A lot of it is financial. Who wants to start a family in a stagnant economy when you are facing the prospect of multiple decades of living paycheck to paycheck (assuming you are even able to get stable employment) when its easier (and more fulfilling) to live a "minimalist" lifestyle, spending your weekends hiking and kite-surfing?

It all a matter of incentives, something the right is as willfully ignorant as the left.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
they are a narcissistic bunch who think only of themselves

That is 99% of the problem with their generation, though admittedly, as a first-year (1965) member of generation X, we haven't been much better.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not narcissistic to opt out of a system that offers no long term happiness or stability.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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