I recently came across a saying that made me pause. “Smart men don’t get married,” it goes. But what is so smart about not wanting to get married? On the flip side, is marriage really the answer, as society often wants us to believe?
There are some benefits of marriage, of course. It helps keep legal matters sorted while ensuring your finances and parental rights are in order. But these same benefits may become problems if the question of separation arises.
Why Men Don’t Want To Get Married Anymore
A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Centre showed that in 2019, about 4 in 10 adults between the ages of 25 and 54 were not married or living with a romantic partner. The numbers are up by 29% since 1990. This begs the question of why people — especially men — are choosing not to get married these days.
The fact that men don’t want to get married anymore is throwing a lot of marriage-minded women and society in general for a loop. So, why exactly are men avoiding marriage?
1. Why Get The Government Involved
Reddit user caseylsh says it best. “I do not need paperwork to affirm I'm in a relationship. I also don't need more paperwork should I choose not to want to be with that person anymore. A perfectly reasonable and human thing to do. There are billions of people on this earth, and it's stupid to pretend someone might like me forever.”
A bunch of paperwork stamped and sealed by the government cannot prove your love for or commitment to your partner. This is especially true when this paperwork may become a liability if you choose to go your separate ways.
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Considering that everyone’s taking the idea of “one true love” with a grain of salt these days, it just makes sense not to get married to many people.
2. Rise of Gender Equity
A big reason men don’t want to get married anymore seems to be the rise of gender equity. Marriage was initially designed with patriarchal standards in mind. So, the man of the house would be the bread earner and provider. On the other hand, the woman would do all the housework — the cooking, the cleaning, the child-rearing, etc.
Women’s roles were designed to be ones of service, and their position was decidedly lower in the power structure this created. The man would be the sole decision-maker in such a situation. Of course, times are a-changin’.
Today, we view marriage as a 50-50 partnership. So, every duty, from bread-winning to household chores, must be equitably distributed. This has led to a lot of men avoiding marriage. They don’t see the arrangement as equitable but unfair to them.
3. Social Expectations of Becoming a Provider
Despite the rise of gender equity, many men still feel the societal pressure of becoming the provider in the relationship. With the economy all over the world in shambles, many are struggling to provide for themselves alone. So, the thought of having to provide for a wife and prospective children can be a bit of a nightmare.
Many cannot afford houses and prefer to share flats with roommates. Having a family would almost necessarily mean trying to have a house of one’s own, which could add a mortgage and neverending piles of bills to these people’s lives.
4. Less Time for a Career
Society doesn’t just want you to get married, it has also added a ticking clock to the entire prospect. So, men feel the pressure of having their careers and lives in general sorted before they turn 35 so they can get married “in time.” Of course, this doesn’t often bode well for their careers.
Married men have to split time between their family and work. So, no more pulling all-nighters and doing overtime to make some extra cash while also gunning for a promotion. Time is already a limited currency.
Being forced to be married with kids by the time you turn 40 can further limit the time some want to dedicate to their dreams of climbing the corporate ladder or just traveling the world while working from anywhere.
5. Social Life Killer
Again, time is limited. When you already have a job and a family to attend to, you can have very little time left over for yourself.
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This means that those Friday nights you spend knocking back beers and watching football with the boys? Yeah, those are gonna be rare, especially after kids get involved. I mean, you could put the entire responsibility of running the family on your partner, but honestly, what kind of partner would that make you?
6. No More Religious Motivations
Caseylsh again has some words of wisdom to offer on this. “The concept of marriage was created by religion. A unification under god. Before the tax benefits. That's why the Christians were so (angry) about the gays getting married.
I am not religious. And I frankly don't see the legal benefits of marriage as worth it. Humans existed and started families for literally hundreds of thousands of years before someone came along roughly 5000 years ago and made it “Official.”
So, while having a wife, two kids, and a house with a white picket fence may be the original Christian dream, it just doesn’t motivate people anymore.
7. Loneliness Isn’t a Problem
Dating apps have made sure of that. One right swipe on Tinder is enough to drive the Saturday night loneliness away. And that too without any commitment involved. The concept of friends-with-benefits is also getting more and more common.
You can fulfill all your emotional and bodily needs from these relationships without signing a single piece of paperwork. So, come Monday, you can still be refreshed and ready to get back to pursuing a fulfilling career with nothing to hold you back.
8. It’s an Expensive Party
Reddit user Mikedoodah says “It's either a huge hassle and expense just to have a party, or if you strip that out it's just two people signing a piece of paper. I personally don't value either of those things. My relationship has lasted 20 years without it so far, and I don't see what it would have added to it.”
I mean, do you really want to incur a ton of debt just to throw an expensive party that will have you stress-planning for months? And for what? The government’s approval? As u/Mikedoodah rightly points out, you can love your partner and stay with them for a lifetime without spending a single penny on a meaningless extravaganza.
9. They’re Waiting for The “Right Person”
I blame the entire rom-com genre for this one. They have drilled the idea of “the right one” and the slippery “one true love” into the heads of an entire generation or two. So, many don’t get married because they want to wait for the person who is meant for them. Except the entire idea is a bit nonsensical.
Relationships, romantic or otherwise, take a lot of work. I agree with the saying that goes that soulmates don’t just exist. They are created. It takes commitment. It takes you choosing to stay every day.
Either way, some still look at the world with ruby-tinted glasses and think they will one day meet the person who will set their soul on fire just by walking into a room. Hence, these men don’t want to get married till they’ve found this mythical beast of a soulmate.
10. It’s a Normative Concept
I think I have covered this a few times already. The entire idea of marriage is normative. Religious motivations originally drove it. It also was designed around a patriarchal structure where there was an inequitable division of labor between the man and the woman.
For the longest time, it was seen as the answer to loneliness. You will feel better if you just settle down. But, if you are depressed and lonely, you should go to therapy instead of getting married and making your partner miserable.
Also, the current economy is not great for marriage anyway. It helps split the costs of living and child-rearing, but with many people choosing not to have babies anyway, marriage has started to make less and less sense to many people.
11. Rising Divorce Rates and Expenses
An anonymous user on Reddit pretty much sums it up with their answer. “Almost half of marriages end up in divorce, which makes me question the purpose behind marriage in the first place. Plus, divorce is a long-drawn-out legal battle that saps your resources and continues to do so even after the proceedings.
Sometimes, even with a prenup involved, the divorce doesn't really go down smoothly. Marriage just feels like you're setting yourself up for financial and mental pain in the future, so why do it?”
12. Originating From Dysfunctional Families
Many people don’t want to marry today because they grew up watching marriages fail before their eyes. For centuries, people got married as if that would solve everything. Except it didn’t. People with repressed issues ending up under the same roof does not create a good home environment.
So, young millennials and GenZers watched their parents’ marriages fall apart daily. Some watched one parent get emotionally and physically abused by the other for years. Yet generations before them refused to divorce as if that was never an option. So, instead, they stayed in unhappy, toxic marriages all their lives.
This created a primal fear in these generations. They imagine marriages as doomed from the start but one you cannot escape from. This, of course, is not true. But growing up in dysfunctional families can turn your vision and logic more than a little askew.
Of course, there can be plenty of other reasons men don’t want to get married anymore. The climate change crisis has made the future look very unstable. Some people do not feel any romantic or physical inclinations at all, so marriage doesn’t make sense at all for them.
And we must also consider queer politics here. Several countries worldwide still don’t recognize queer marriage, so many choose to stay single and not get married at all.
What about you, though? Why do you think people don’t want to get married anymore? And are you one of them?
What Are The Chances of a Man Getting Married After 35?
I would say that age doesn’t and shouldn’t factor in here. Some people are more comfortable getting married when they are older because their finances and careers are more sorted by then. So, a 35-year-old guy (or someone older) may want to settle down after feeling they’ve already achieved all they set out to achieve.
What Makes a Man Want To Get Married?
People may want to marry when they think they’ve found their soulmate. Others could get married because it makes legal and financial sense. Others may still abide by religious rules and want to get married so they can “finally settle down” and start a family.
What Are The Signs You Will Never Get Married?
You feel comfortable alone and don’t want to ruin that. Or you don’t think spending so much money on a party makes sense. You may have found the one you want to spend your life with already, and you don’t feel the need to file paperwork to prove that you love them.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Ananyaa Bhowmik is a neurodivergent and queer pop-culture journalist with the Wealth of Geeks. She has previously worked with brands like Sterling Holidays, Myntra, Bajaj, and the Loud Interactive. She is an independent scholar, cat parent, and performance poet. Her areas of research and interest focus on and around digital marketing, Canadian indigenous history, queerness in media, and pop-culture and fandom studies.