David Briceno: Why marriage looks fraught to me | TheUnion.com

David Briceno: Why marriage looks fraught to me

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms —to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor Frankl

The tradition of marriage is a sacred institution for many, but for some, as Mae West once put it, “Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” And neither are most guys. Marriage can be suicidal.

It’s because marriage causes guys to inevitably suffer either sooner or later or either one way or another by uttering an “I do.” Why? Because women win with marriage while men can’t. They don’t. Men lose. Really?

Fewer and fewer couples are tying the knot. Need proof? In 2018 marriage rates fell to their lowest ever in recorded history. And in 2019, the lowest in 50 years. There are reasons why marriage is in decline today. It’s complicated. Relationships usually can be. So why?

First of all, the most obvious reason is the pandemic. Quarantine restrictions have prevented many singles from interacting. Meeting places like such public venues as concerts, dance clubs and social outlets becoming restricted has adversely affected singles, but not that much since it hasn’t stopped singles from still hooking up. But while STDs are reason for caution for singles, the threat of COVID-19 is more disconcerting.

Divorce filings skyrocketed for married couples. Constant togetherness during quarantines has been a marital recipe for disaster. So while singles are getting too little togetherness, married people are getting too much. Divorce rates have recently dropped only because marriages have dropped dramatically.

Marriage has mainly suffered because of marital financial problems, among other things during the pandemic. COVID-19 has adversely affected relationships both new and old. Thus, as a result of lockdowns, marriages have plummeted in number.

The second reason for the drops in the marriage numbers gets a little bit complicated mainly because it involves the effects of online dating.

To make it brief yet simple, guys have left dating through social media and continue to. They’re mostly opting out due to constant personal insults, being overlooked, and rejections. Unless a hot guy is super attractive, especially money-wise, the average guy becomes invisible and often remains undateable or with little chance. Ghosting is real. Dating apps begin being viewed as a waste of time, energy, even money after awhile.

Guys are leaving in droves from the dating market. They stop actively pursuing women, but will casually date for possible bedroom recreation, shun long-term relationships, and marriage is unquestionably out. A minority of guys turn monk, which means they also stop chasing women and will date for the bedroom, but won’t cohabitate or cultivate close relationships. Roughly 10% of single guys today qualify as monks.

So, with the large growing number of non-committing single men comes fewer marriage proposals. It means marriage rates further fall.

Then there’s the emotionally charged issue of women’s rights. It gets even a little bit more complicated. And somewhat touchy for quite a lot of silenced men. Why? Gender bias.

Without getting into the politics, over half of marriages fail. Around 80% of all divorces are initiated by women. Wives win at marriage. Husbands don’t.

Through divorce, men lose not only their possessions and money through sometimes forced alimony, but also lose their money in child support for years after also losing their kid(s), and sometimes, even their mind. It’s because courts overwhelmingly favor women over men. Women win child custody 85% of the time.

Gender bias has men disadvantaged. Why even bother with something that’ll make you suffer in the end, smarter singles are asking themselves. Why even get married to just end up getting burned if things don’t work out? She can bolt anytime. And it’s cash and prizes for the lucky divorcing woman.

For blindsided men, it’s hell. It translates into marriage being risky, costly and sometimes even dangerous for guys. And, of course, marriage avoidance affects marriage statistics.

Fourth is political. The marginalization of men by the women’s movement has silenced many men from expressing themselves critically about women. Men simply have just shut up. Again, marriage suffers.

Criticizing or badmouthing the other gender can have serious consequences nowadays. Women are now too risky. They’re avoided and widely considered too publicly unapproachable and potentially dangerous legally to date. Women’s rights make them a liability for many.

Some say men either love women or understand women; men can’t do both. Relationships are usually complicated, but until societal attitudes toward men evolve, relationships won’t, and marriage cannot.

David Briceno lives in Grass Valley.

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