Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? Or, Reasons Why I’m Still Single

 

shutterstock_86562538The other day, my sister-in-law commented on an article her friend posted on Facebook titled “Why Men Won’t Marry You.” Naturally, my ears perked up. Yes, I would like to know why I’m still single at my age. Please, Fox News article, tell me!

The arguments laid out are similar to those a member posted on the Ricochet Facebook page that caused quite the, um… stir. The author of the Fox News article makes a more compelling, less rude case for the decline in marriage rates, and breaks it down into two main reasons:

  1. Because, why not? With premarital sex not only having become commonplace but even expected, why buy the cow when you can get a gallon of 2% for free by the second or third date? Most of my friends think it’s not only weird, it’s folly to wait until engagement or marriage to have sex.
  2. What’s in it for men? Citing punitive, husband-hating divorce settlements so easily come by — especially in “no fault” states — men have an increasing fear of losing everything they’ve worked for. According to the article, marriage rates are way down in England and America — the lowest since 1895. The protesting party in this anti-marriage sit-in are usually the men, and I can certainly attest to that with my own dating experience.

Since moving back to Nashville from New York, in an attempt to steer clear of the charming sleazeballs I had dated in my early- to mid-20s, I vowed to only date men with a kind heart and a strong Christian faith. And I’ve done just that — over and over and over. In the past five years, I have been shocked by how many wonderful, smart, kind, morally centered men there are out there; men who would make wonderful husbands and fathers.

But here’s the kicker — they don’t want to get married! After a few months of stimulating conversation, fun outings, and me getting emotionally attached, it always ends the same way: “I really like being single, I just don’t think marriage and kids is for me.” There’s a smattering of other reasons thrown in as well, like “It makes me really insecure that you make more money than I do,” or “I don’t feel established enough in my career to support a family.” I might write off the whole I-don’t-want-to-get-married thing as a ruse, something they say to soften the blow; however, these men do not go on to marry other women. I can only figure that either I’ve ruined them for good, or they actually don’t want to get married.

Where did this anti-marriage sentiment come from? With every Southern Christian stereotype in mind, one might normally dismiss the unmarried male trend as something that must be contained to the secular, lefty East and West coasts, but this trend is happening right here on the front porch of the Bible belt. Men raised in unbroken, socially conservative Christian homes are choosing the bachelor life instead.

Of course, everyone has the right to stay single if they so choose, but the resulting effect it has on society is not good (Cloward and Piven, anyone?). We can all list the contributing factors behind the marriage strike — premarital sex becoming de rigueur, a weak job market, militant feminism, and a court system punishingly skewed in favor of women. But how do we change it?

Without swinging the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, how can we begin to move the culture back to a time when men picked you up at your door for a real date and didn’t stop calling if you didn’t put out right away? I hope things change, because with each passing year I get closer and closer to that double-wide in the country and adopting all the cats.

I would love to hear from the Ricochetti bachelors. Why do you stay single? What would it take for you to change your mind and settle down?

There are 415 comments.

  1. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    We’ve also turned marriage upside down in another way. People are (men and women) building a life individually as a prerequisite to marriage. This has two problems: 1) that whole legal liability thing you mentioned; 2) building so much separately cuts down on how much can be built together. There was some discussion about this long ago here, but I didn’t pay enough attention to it. That one concept of struggling through early adulthood and building a life together rather than separately stuck in my head though.

    • #1
    • May 4, 2015, at 5:58 AM PST
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  2. Metalheaddoc Member

    Maybe you ought to become bi-sexual and double your options before the Supreme Court legalizes SSM nationwide.

    • #2
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:06 AM PST
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  3. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Metalheaddoc:Maybe you ought to become bi-sexual and double your options before the Supreme Court legalizes SSM nationwide.

    As a man I vote against this option and claim those eyes for dudedom.

    • #3
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:14 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Yeah, I’m going to pass on the whole bi thing…

    • #4
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Mike H Coolidge

    I think for many women (and men) the desire to establish themselves before “settling down” is a big problem. My path involved starting to date my wife when she was 19 and I was 21. We didn’t get married until we were 26/25, but we grew our life with one another instead of around one another. We had our first kid when we were both in grad school for goodness sake (which if you’re not taking classes anymore offers a tremendous amount of flexibility.)

    This might take a specific type of person, but both of her siblings are taking similar paths. (My sister, on the other hand, is a 29 year old serial heartbreaker.) YMMV.

    It seems to me people would be better off locking down a likely mate in their early 20’s (at least in the form of committed monogamous relationship obviously trending towards marriage), than not even considering it until being “established” in their late 20’s early 30’s. By that time, pretty much by definition, the most conducive to strong healthy marriage have been picked off, and many of the rest have developed unrealistic expectations of finding their “ideal” mate.

    I guess this is still an inherently risky strategy, because the guy/girl you used years 20-25 on might up and leave, but I can’t see a better strategy in the climate we have.

    • #5
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:29 AM PST
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  6. Done Contributor

    I think the author’s reason number one is overstated. It makes logical sense that men wouldn’t buy the cow when getting the milk for free, but the reality is that the median man doesn’t have all that many sexual partners or all that much sex. It is a relatively small number of men at the top (in terms of attractiveness and success) who have tons of sex and numerous partners.

    • #6
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:31 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    I’ve been out of the Christian singles scene for 15 years, but it’s hard to conceive of it changing so much already. Back when I worked in the singles ministry it was a marriage factory. In the two years or so that I was there I saw probably 2 dozen or more marriages (including mine) come out of the group. My friend Lynn joked that since every time he was up to teach another engagement was announced there wouldn’t be a singles group much longer at the church. Turns out he was kind of prophetic on that one. But I’m curious about this change you report. Are these men choosing celibacy or worldliness? Stats I’ve seen would suggest the latter.

    • #7
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:33 AM PST
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  8. MarciN Member

    The King Prawn: 2) building so much separately cuts down on how much can be built together.

    Fascinating observation.

    • #8
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:35 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Frank Soto:I think the author’s reason number one is overstated. It makes logical sense that men wouldn’t buy the cow when getting the milk for free, but the reality is that the median man doesn’t have all that many sexual partners or all that much sex. It is a relatively small number of men at the top (in terms of attractiveness and success) who have tons of sex and numerous partners.

    But the chances are still greater than the zero (of the non-purchased variety) that existed in the past. Philandering is much easier now than it used to be. Plus, there’s this wrong headed idea in the culture that marriage is the end of sex, not the beginning of it.

    • #9
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Mike H Coolidge

    Frank Soto:I think the author’s reason number one is overstated. It makes logical sense that men wouldn’t buy the cow when getting the milk for free, but the reality is that the median man doesn’t have all that many sexual partners or all that much sex. It is a relatively small number of men at the top (in terms of attractiveness and success) who have tons of sex and numerous partners.

    Monogamy is model!

    Number of Lifetime Partners:

    Men:

    men

    Women:

    women

    • #10
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:41 AM PST
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  11. Mike H Coolidge

    The King Prawn:

    Plus, there’s this wrong headed idea in the culture that marriage is the end of sex, not the beginning of it.

    Well, in my experience, as a marriage goes on, there is a considerable drop in frequency, but a large and continuous increase in quality.

    • #11
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:48 AM PST
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  12. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Nearly all my friends (born between 1974 and 1976) married in their mid-20s. Those still single (like myself) are outliers.

    Most of my friends were regular church-goers.

    I assume this is not a coincidence.

    • #12
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:48 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. MarciN Member

    Marriage and family are frankly huge undertakings for young people today. They are huge gambles.

    Anything can go wrong.

    Why take the chance?

    I think it is sad, married is better than not married, but I understand the reluctance kids feel toward making that commitment.

    • #13
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:48 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Are cowboys well-known for monogamy/matrimony?

    • #14
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:49 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    MarciN:Marriage and family are frankly huge undertakings for young people today. They are huge gambles.

    Anything can go wrong.

    Why take the chance?

    I think it is sad, married is better than not married, but I understand the reluctance kids feel toward making that commitment.

    The bolded part is a big deal. The gamble once was an unhappy marriage, but now the gamble is, as Jerry Reed put it, “while she’s living like a queen on alimony I’m working two shifts and eating bologna…”

    When the options are that or porn addiction the choice becomes pretty obvious.

    • #15
    • May 4, 2015, at 6:56 AM PST
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  16. Basil Fawlty Member

    Misthiocracy:Are cowboys well-known for monogamy/matrimony?

    No, but cowboy poets are. They have a romantic streak.

    • #16
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    #14: Cowboys are known for having a certain code of ethics. It’s also a reference to the Paula Cole song from ’96, which was popular when I was in middle school.

    • #17
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:03 AM PST
    • 1 like
  18. SkipSul Moderator

    Just speaking for the punishments of divorce, alimony, and child support: I see my employees’ paychecks, and the state-mandated auto-deductions for child support are punitive. One employee, who works and is compensated at a supervisory level, after the deductions, takes home no more than an entry level position, despite making a gross wage of 53% more.

    • #18
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:04 AM PST
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  19. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Ok, Mis, what are your reasons for staying single? You don’t have to share if it’s too personal, but I’d certainly like to hear your thoughts.

    • #19
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:05 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Hugh Member

    One of the big issues is the modern attitude that people will come together and even commit to each other only until something better comes along at which point the partner with the better opportunity will initiate the break.

    Its all about personal happiness and fulfillment, right?

    If everyone (or even one) has a toe in the exit door keeping it open just a crack why would anyone commit?

    Oh yes, ethics are secondary to personal gratification. welcome to the New Age!!

    (weeps silently)

    • #20
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:06 AM PST
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  21. SkipSul Moderator

    Sorry if this hits too close to home, but I’ve been told this rings true for many (does that constitute an adequate trigger warning?):

    • #21
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:06 AM PST
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  22. MarciN Member

    My son-in-law is divorced from his first wife. Wow, is it hard for him.

    Geesh.

    He’s a great guy who has done everything right. And the punishment never stops.

    • #22
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:07 AM PST
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  23. Done Contributor

    As to my personal take on this, I’ve been through a divorce, so I’m quite done with marriage.

    • #23
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:07 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Done Contributor

    Mike H:

    Frank Soto:I think the author’s reason number one is overstated. It makes logical sense that men wouldn’t buy the cow when getting the milk for free, but the reality is that the median man doesn’t have all that many sexual partners or all that much sex. It is a relatively small number of men at the top (in terms of attractiveness and success) who have tons of sex and numerous partners.

    Monogamy is model!

    Number of Lifetime Partners:

    Men:

    men

    Women:

    women

    Thanks, Mike. That was my memory of the stats (that when excluding the outliers at the top, women have a greater variety of partners then men) , but I couldn’t find the data.

    • #24
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:10 AM PST
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  25. Barfly Member

    Long time passing …

    • #25
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:10 AM PST
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  26. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Skippy, that’s awful! My sister-in-law’s brother is my age- good looking, fun, anesthesiologist- and he’s unmarried, and not in a rush to do so either. Like the guys I’ve mentioned above, he grew up in a strong Christian, two parent household. He told my SIL the other day that the idea of how easily he could get hung out to dry financialky by a bad divorce leaves him hesitant to jump into the pool. That and the fact that he’ll only date blonde virgins under 5’3″ that weigh less than 120 lbs and go to the same church.

    • #26
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:12 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Mike H Coolidge

    Vicryl Contessa:That and the fact that he’ll only date blonde virgins under 5’3″ that weigh less than 120 lbs and go to the same church.

    HA! Hasn’t he already gone through all of those by now? I’m sure he’s just as much a virgin than all these churchgoing blonds he’s dating. How old is he?

    • #27
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:17 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Sabrdance Member

    I suspect the broader social trends are in the background driving my personal experience, though I have no proof of it.

    My answer is simple -though I’ve been contemplating a post on it which may yet happen (64 papers…).

    In 15 years I have approached 13 girls or women (this does date back to High School). I have been told no directly 9 times, been told yes 3 times, but been unable to actually follow up (I consider these as “no, but too polite to just say so”), and one relationship that lasted 5 and a half years and then exploded in such a fireball I still blot out June 17 on my calendars. It was four years before I even considered approaching another woman (result: “no, but too polite to say so”). I had friends widowed after long diseases who remarried before I even considered trying again.

    At this point, a decade and a half after the events, the earliest of those encounters are now fading such that I can’t remember the details, and the only reason I remember 13, 9 , 3 and 1 -well, I think the reason I remember the 1 is obvious -13, 9, and 3, is because it was a cute story to tell when it was 12, 9, and 2, and it was so wonderfully romantic from January 16, 2006 until June 17, 2011.

    Of course, I just have to add 1.

    These things leave marks.

    • #28
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:21 AM PST
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  29. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa Post author

    Mike, he’s my age- 31. He is a good boy, I think…

    • #29
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:23 AM PST
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  30. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    Hugh:One of the big issues is the modern attitude that people will come together and even commit to each other only until something better comes along at which point the partner with the better opportunity will initiate the break.

    Its all about personal happiness and fulfillment, right?

    If everyone (or even one) has a toe in the exit door keeping it open just a crack why would anyone commit?

    Oh yes, ethics are secondary to personal gratification. welcome to the New Age!!

    (weeps silently)

    Focus on the Family spoke to this on today’s radio program. People look for their soul mate rather than simply being a good spouse. If there’s one right person out there (the modern conception of love) then when things go to crap we’ve obviously married the wrong person, the non-soul-mate, so we divorce and start over until that person proves to be the wrong one. We need to relearn that marriage (and love!) is a decision, a day to day commitment to behave and act a certain way, not have certain feelings.

    • #30
    • May 4, 2015, at 7:25 AM PST
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