Why Won’t Men Commit? Oh…Yeah, Because Women Are Ballbusting Shrews That Steal Your Dreams.

Over at the blog What Men Are Saying About Women, the proprietor posted one of a series of fascinating videos, this one called Sex Differences: Why Won’t Men Commit?.  It points out the shockingly obvious in retrospect point that for a woman Marriage is normally the fulfillment of her lifelong dreams, whereas for a man it normally spells not only the end of sexual freedom but the literal DEATH of his lifelong dreams.  The man’s lifelong dreams almost never entail marriage and kids, but great feats of individual courage and skill in front of admiring crowds.  For men, coming to terms with the fact that he is NOT going to be a race car driver, astronaut or the star quarterback is called “growing up”, for women growing up is defined by her ACHIEVING her lifelong fantasy of marriage and kids.

Obviously, this in itself makes “commitment” much less desirable to men than women, but there is another aspect as well.  A great deal is made of women’s much vaunted ability to commit to another person, but little is said about the nature of this commitment.  The ability to commit to something isn’t laudable in itself–it is the ability to FOLLOW THROUGH on one’s commitments that defines the quality of the person, not the ease with which one make a promise. Women fall into “commitment” easily but also SHALLOWLY and OFTEN.  They are quick to “fall in love” and just as quick to break up when things don’t suit them or when the going gets rough:

At around the 2:16 mark a young wife confronted with a bad situation in her marriage seeks immediately to bail and has to be put in her place by her unhappily divorced mother. In the storyline of this couple in the movie, the wife is trying to force her young husband to give up his dream of being a drag racer to become a house painter because “that’s his future”. Res ipsa loquitur.

So women commit shallowly and often, what about men?  The little discussed truth is that men, while they ARE loathe to commit at the outset, commit more truly and fully to their marriages once they finally do and are apt to be completely devastated when their wives inexplicably rip their homes, children and themselves and everything that NOW DEFINES THEM AS A MAN away from them.  Because that’s the key.  The way men give themselves permission to choose marriage over liberty is to create it as a new definition of “being a man” they can hang their hats on as they give up their adolescent dreams.  Once they commit to that course it becomes WHO THEY ARE, not just an episode in their lives.  More often than not he then devotes himself* to his new “dream” of being a classic Husband with the same single-minded focus with which he pursued his career and his hobbies.  So when the wife suddenly announces she is bored and leaves, she is leaving him now not only in the shattered wreckage of his early dreams but now ALSO in the molecularly vaporized particles of his ENTIRE self-image.

*I can already hear the objection that “how can you say men “commit” more when they so often cheat?”–that is a topic for another post but I think most people recognize that for men a type of cheating that doesn’t involve actual relationships with other women but mere sexual variety rarely undermines HIS commitment to his marriage from HIS perspective.
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32 Responses to Why Won’t Men Commit? Oh…Yeah, Because Women Are Ballbusting Shrews That Steal Your Dreams.

  1. CS says:

    Good post. I hadn’t considered the commitment difference angle in the terms you did but it makes sense.

  2. Brit says:

    This was good, thank you!

  3. Jeff says:

    A lot of truth in this. Marriage does not HAVE to be the end of a man’s dreams for adventure and success–there are, after all, married fighter pilots, astronauts, and race-car drivers; too often, women act in ways that make it more constraining than it needs to be. If a man wants to leave a “safe” job to do something entrepreneurial that will require a temporary reduction in income & living expenses, it is VERY likely that his wife will object to the point that he will either give up this dream or the marriage will b destroyed.

    In my darker hours, I wonder how many women even regard men as creatures with feelings, as opposed to thinking of them purely as RESOURCES, the way a man would think about a piece of wood or steel or at best a useful animal of some sort.

    • dana says:

      i dont think its that women think men don’t have feelings–its that women don’t understand how men express those feelings and how different their priorities are. because they see men not having explicit female feelings and expressing them with speech, they tend not to be able to discern them

      • Gorbachev says:

        Women see men as useful and not necessarily as fully human.

        When women give and support, it’s usually in a Mothership role (in some way).

        When men give and support, it’s often in a general way.

        It’s no coincidence that men, and usually men alone, emphasize general citizenship and decency. They’re almost male values, those.

      • B Lode says:

        I think you see the best in people. If I knew you better I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that that is one of the foundational strengths of your character.

        To strike a dissonant chord, I think many women do think men don’t have feelings worth considering. (Of course, the last two words mean me sentiment is compatible with yours!) If we have gender-reversed words for everything else, what is the gender-reversed word for chivalry? I mean, “that instinctive respect that women show for politically and physically weak males?”

        I crack me up.

        They don’t treat men as machines so much as oxen. You don’t goad a machine, after all. You goad an ox to make it work and feast on its carcass after it is dead, all the while being bemusedly frightened of its horns.

        On the other hand, many women, including my wife, all women worth dating, and apparently your good self, do consider men to be actual humans and strive with varied success to comprehend their feelings. They are hampered in this by the habit of referring to male feelings as “male egos” … as if a feeling and an ego were even remotely fungible! But, come on, women have been making huge contributions to psychology (Karen Horney is incomparable) for many decades; most can understand weird male emotions if they put their mind to it.

        I found a woman who respects my feelings and my hopes and my values. I married her. I would die for her.

  4. Justin says:

    Women dream of getting married, not being married.

  5. Laura says:

    This is what I have noticed in my marriage. I was the one who was way more anxious to actually get married and yet have thought many times, “Is this really what it’s all about?” My husband never seems to have those feelings, or at least he doesn’t express them. He just doesn’t seem to second guess his decisions as much. Also, I think with young women being so empowered they often erroneously think of their future husbands as just an accessory to their fabulous lives. When he turns out to be a human being with faults or doesn’t want to comply with their grand plans and things aren’t that exciting anymore they can’t handle it. At least women need to recognize this tendency in themselves and try to fight against it.

  6. Laura says:

    I think most men do eventually want to get married, but they don’t really dream of getting married the way women do.

  7. dream puppy says:

    Very good post! There is also evidence that will back up your claim. Men tend to fall in love deeper and are more devastated at the loss of a spouse.

  8. LS says:

    Seeing how women initiate the majority of divorces, it is they who have commitment issues.

  9. slwerner says:

    “Once they commit to that course it becomes WHO THEY ARE, not just an episode in their lives. “

    Wow! That is so profound. I don’t think I could try to add anything to it without diminishing the power of that statement.

    Beautifully stated!

  10. 10stds says:

    Traditionally men wanted to commit so that they had a foundation for achieving their goals, what you daintily refer to as “dreams”.

    A man didn’t want to have to think about maintaining the day to day details of living: cooking, household account keeping, cleaning, etc. He also wanted someone to share his “dreams” with.

    Even men who still wanted to play the field and continue with an active, multiple-partnered sex life, still wanted a “home base” and “foundation”. A warm place to come home to and emotional stability.

    I think the “men are afraid of commitment” meme is a myth.

    In other news, Mystery and his crew had a movie made and released on Valentine’s Day:

    http://www.letthegamebegin.com/

    Click on the “advisory”. LOL! That’s something they didn’t have to worry about because, sheeeeey-it, we never even KNEW the film was released, much less blowing the cover on “game”.

    I guess they were all trying to salvage their dying careers.

    Fail.

  11. Doug1 says:

    Dana–

    In the storyline of this couple in the movie, the wife is trying to force her young husband to give up his dream of being a drag racer to become a house painter because “that’s his future”. Res ipsa loquitur.

    I know about no one else who would string these two sentences together. I found it amusing though, and charming.

  12. Doug1 says:

    Dana–

    So women commit shallowly and often, what about men?

    I think this is true of sluts but not of good girls. Of course there’s a continuum in between and also individual girls differences to a substantial degree.

    However I think this post is a bit off. First though I agree with you that once men decide to commit and esp. have children then tend to really do so strongly, at least if they’re middle class on up.

    I think the phenomenon you are detecting in women is highly culturally dependent. It’s a feminist one, and partly an Anglosphere chivalrous one. Women in our culture who no longer after a few years, beginning maybe as soon as six months after first copulating, feel compellingly deeply in love as they first did, tend to feel there’s something wrong with their husband. They very rarely blame themselves in our feminist or “post feminist” culture except maybe with a throwaway about it’s also both partners for show. They really feel that if they aren’t in the madest love it’s their husband’s fault. In our culture and in the Anglosphere pretty much alone. Maybe some cross influence in Western Europe but much attenuated. They do watch our entertainment media all the time.

    Men don’t feel this way. They know at least if they aren’t kids that marriage is giving up sexual freedom for deep companionship and usually kids and that they are going to feel tempted. Sometimes deeply so. I think almost all men of any decent level of sexual attractiveness fell this way.

  13. A man didn’t want to have to think about maintaining the day to day details of living: cooking, household account keeping, cleaning, etc. He also wanted someone to share his “dreams” with.

    Is it that hard to do those things for yourself? It seems rather silly to have a wife to do those things. It probably makes more sense to simply outsource those tasks to professionals who will do a far better job.

    And what’s the point of sharing does “dreams” with a freeloader who really didn’t do anything to deserve the reward? If she wants a meal ticket, maybe she should go and work for it by herself.

    • dana says:

      doug, isn’t it a truism among the man-o-sphere that our post feminist culture merely freed women to act on their natures? id venture to say it has ALWAYS been thus among middle class and up (Mme. Bovary?), however it existed in the west and then the only thing that kept poor women visibly “committed” was a lifetime of hardwork and 10 kids. the availability of easy divorce and female economic self sufficiency merely allowed women to openly express their ability to fall in and out of “commitment”. and i have really never known what this planet of “good girls” you all at roissy always on about is, in my 40 years i’ve known women of every social and educational class–granted all in the northeast corridor, and they were all sluts by your guys definitions–high partner count (at least in high school/college)and serial monogamy. now granted, anecdote isn’t the plural of datum, but when i hear surveys that women are saying 1-3 lifetime partners i KNOW its a pack of lies.

  14. David Foster says:

    DA…”simply outsource those tasks”…this was really not a good option if you were a small farmer in 1910, and not an option at all if you were a British weaver in 1800 (the division of labor was normally that the wife would spin the yarn and the husband would do the weaving.) People tend to lose sight of the degree to which the family, until fairly recently in the scheme of things, was an *economic* unit focused on production not just consumption.

    • That’s the dirty problem with the ancien regime of marriage. In some cases, it was necessary to keep around some useless bitch because in a rural environment, it’s not easy to magically secure and pay for those types of services. Even in an urban context, how many single factory workers would have been able to use their wages to pay some woman to come and perform the same tasks?

      Mind you, in a modern context with technology, I don’t see any need to have men marry when there’s no real fundamental need for it. I see no advantage to marriage 1.0 or 2.0 for any man when one can buy pre-packaged food at the supermarket that heats up in a microwave.

  15. 10stds says:

    DA, housewives and homemakers are not and never were “freeloaders”.

    And yes, men could have and SHOULD NOW do all those things themselves.

    The point is that back in the day, simply keeping house and cooking in itself was a lot of hard larbor and very time consuming and a man who worked all day outside was too tired to again start working when he came home. Nor could most average men afford to “outsource” that to professionals.

    Now it’s different. We have washing and drying machines, dishwashing machines, vacuums, electric stoves etc.

    We also have the internet. A place where a lonely introvert can have an active social life and dare I say, even somewhat emotionally fulfilling life chatting with strangers across the globe and e-bonding with them.

    The internet is such a place that even bored housewives can stay fulling engaged and challenged all day long via blogs.

    Of course, most wives don’t have that pleasure and they have to go out and work, but still, you get a few…..

    • housewives and homemakers are not and never were “freeloaders”.

      I went to the “real world” and dealt with real people while she stayed at home cleaning up. She’s the freeloader given that she’s living off my income which should only go directly to me after being taxed.

      Now it’s different. We have washing and drying machines, dishwashing machines, vacuums, electric stoves etc.

      Admittedly, that’s my point. We live in a modern society where there really isn’t a need to have some woman hanging around doing stuff to maintain my home. In effect, she shifts from being a third rate asset into an effective liability given that there are machines that reduce the effort and manpower needed to perform those tasks.

      We also have the internet.

      As a loner, I’m still hesitant to say that the internet provides the same level of comfort that being face to face does. If you’re an attention whore, the internet isn’t a reliable way to feed that desire unless you’re capable of getting lots of people to check in and care about you. Otherwise, you’ll always remain at some degree of the periphery in terms of importance, and forging deep bonds can be difficult.

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  17. Bricona says:

    “. . .Husband with the same single-minded focus with which he pursued his career and his hobbies. So when the wife suddenly announces she is bored and leaves. . .”

    By far, my favorite line.

    Your post reminded me of a movie called “Someone like you.”

    It’s a movie featuring Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman. Ashley Judd is a successful woman who builds all these theories as to why men never commit to one relationship, and how only 5% of all male animals end up monogamous. She uses theories based on cows and the perception she’s created after her break up. One of her more honest lines in the feature was, “Because if I’m wrong men don’t leave all women, they leave me.”

    Link to the trailer:

    It’s a sappy 90′s (early millennium) romance comedy. I had high hopes for it because of the cast line up, the overall idea, and Ashley Judd dancing in her underwear. But the movie altogether was pretty blah. Bad acting, not exactly plot driven.

    I just wanted to say hey dana! I’m Jon, I found your site through sdaedalus. I enjoyed your post.

  18. Becca says:

    This blog post has accurately pointed out a problem that now more than ever before, women are leaving marriages in droves. Out of the nearly 50% divorce rate, 75% of those divorces are initiated by women. (Source: For better or for worse: divorce reconsidered, E. Mavis Hetherington, John Kelly http://books.google.com/books?id=Wf74iBu3ixEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=for+better+or+worse&ei=F5_ZTMvNJImuygSOv4m3DA&cd=2#v=onepage&q&f=false)

    But this is a problem for both men and women, not just for the men whose lives and identities have been shattered as a result. A re-definition of cultural norms is desperately needed. The reasons for people to get married have drastically changed. Women generally no longer need marriage in order to be cared for financially. Women get married now because they want companionship and true partnership. Once they get married, however, the woman ends up doing more for their families than her mother’s generation ever had to. They are working full time and caring for home and kids. When men don’t step up to the plate to equally share the load, a woman feels like she may as well just be a single mom because she is doing everything already anyway. In her mother’s generation, it was well accepted that men would have a career and then be content to sit on the couch the rest of the time. Women had their place in the home and the kitchen. Modern women have less patience and tolerance for men that sit on their arses. Just as much as women have demanded equal rights with men, women now demand that men be our equals and our true partners. Men, are you ready to accept that challenge?

  19. dana says:

    rebecca

    who asked MEN if they wanted ANY of this redefined? no one–you are just repeatig the female entitlement thats DESTROYING marriage. MEN DONT WANT TO BE YOUR COEQUAL PARTNER. women made that up

  20. Becca says:

    Unfortunately we can’t pretend that feminism hasn’t already changed things beyond return. Whether you consider it opportunity or oppression is up to you.

  21. dana says:

    no you can’t, but men dont have to participate in marriage or long term committed relationships at ALL and are increasingly not opting to. what exactly is it you think women have to offer?

  22. Anonymous Reader says:

  23. The Duke from Italy says:

    why men won’t commit?

    1) laws against men
    2) women are not marriage material too, they can’t cook, keep home cozy, and so on, they are selfish, carrier minded empty souls who wander in wonderland jumping the alpha cocks carousel until they became old enought to listen the maternity bell, but they realize that they become too old to be actractive for any good men.
    3) marriage is women business.period.who needs a ring and a piece of paper to prove commitment anyway?
    4) exclusive sex and emotional commitment aren’t in the women dictionary anymore
    5) they pursue their goals rather than build a future together
    6) many women are more expensive than a cheap hooker.
    7) the “entitled princess” behaviours way of live keeps good men to a safe distance.
    8) the State welfare is the new daddy-care, no more need of a man to be independent and secure.
    9) men have absolutely no reproductive rights
    10) divorced fathers are treated as little more than sperm doner and cheque book by the family court
    11) The last stats I read said that 70% of marriages fail within 5 years. Why set yourself up for the most costly mistake of your life?

    Tipical situation:

    You meet a woman, her biological clock is ticking. She wants to settle down and have kids almost immediately. The chances of divorce are high because you’ve rushed into it and havent taken a long time to get to know each other. But thats OK – if you break up she’ll take 60% of your assets and you can pay her a regular child support allowance for the next 15 years. And if you want to see your kids on a regular basis then she’ll choose what city you’ll be living in for the rest of your active life.

    What man could resist an offer like that?

    As for commitment-phobia, I’d say that people have more opportunity to NOT settle down, which applies equally to women and men, so people take that opportunity. Generalisations like the original post and the ensuing comments are all just symptoms of this society-wide shift.

  24. Luke says:

    Becca couldn’t be more wrong about men not doing their fair share. Those “women do all the housework” surveys invariably compare apples and oranges. For one, they typically leave out that men spend on average considerably more time at paid employment than do women. Second, those surveys neglect the things that men primarily do in marriage, such as yard work, house minor repairs, vehicle maintenance, etc. When those are factored in, men in the U.S. now average spending more time contributing to the marriage than their wives do.

    http://www.glennsacks.com has several news items about this.

  25. embracing reality says:

    Becca asks ;

    “Just as much as women have demanded equal rights with men, women now demand that men be our equals and our true partners. Men, are you ready to accept that challenge?”

    For the first time in history most women of marriageable age in the US are single. Moving forward one reason will be marriage is rapidly falling out of favor among the youngest generations of men. American women have a reputation as wives, selfish, manipulative, controlling, sexless, overweight. Considering young men are more likely to get the what they want from women either in the hook-up culture or cohabiting I think you’re going to find more and more men completely disinterested in “challenges” from women but rather just move on to the next. The only way women will counter this is to keep their knees together. I think we all know thats not going to happen.

  26. embracing reality says:

    Becca says;

    “Unfortunately we can’t pretend that feminism hasn’t already changed things beyond return. Whether you consider it opportunity or oppression is up to you.”

    Yes, feminism brought about the change called women’s sexual liberation giving men the opportunity for sex with a variety of women or a casual arrangement between casually committed sex partners. Why would men bother with marriage? Seriously, what for?

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