Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are men really afraid of commitment?

In a recent blog entry, Sam de Brito addressed/answered “Why your boyfriend doesn’t want to get married.” He addressed commitment-phobia and other possible reasons. But much like Sam’s blog often does, he got me to thinking… Are men really afraid of commitment? Or is it more a matter of them taking the commitment of marriage more seriously than women?

Before scoffing at such a bold concept, climb aboard my train of logic. Men generally are very results/success driven. That is to say, by and large, we like to be successful in ALL aspects of our lives-- Sports, career, life, love, marriage, family, etc. etc. With the divorce rate being as high as it is, is it really that much of a stretch to believe that men don’t want to contribute to that negative statistic? We want successful marriages and as such we’re a bit choosier, more methodical in our search for the perfect mate. If and when we commit we want to be assured of a high likelihood of success.

To extrapolate on that is the high divorce rate due to:

Couples not taking marriage seriously enough?

Couples having unrealistic expectations of what marriage should be and giving up when those marriages fail to meet their unrealistic expectations?

Divorce being far too common?

A combination of any/all of the above?

I don’t honestly believe that many guys are really that afraid of commitment, I believe it’s more a fear of failure of that commitment working out. Men do tend to be more driven by logic than emotion—it’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just the way many of us are wired.

Marriage is an “investment” for us, not so much a financial one (although that still does play into it in some regards), but also a tremendous time and a rather overwhelming emotional investment. And despite divorce being so common, it’s not exactly easy to do legally or emotionally. Before making that “investment” men like to make sure—at least within reason, that their investment will be a sound one and that they’ll see a positive return on it (lifelong companionship and eventually a family). We want success we don’t want to file for “bankruptcy” (divorce) if we can at all avoid it. And I believe that is what makes men so tentative when making such an important and life-changing commitment.

Another factor in the perceived male fear of commitment is that men are generally more resistant to change than women. If things are going well, why rock the boat? Right? So if a man is happy in a relationship, things are going well—marriage is a change in that. For many yes that may be a positive change, but it’s still a change. When you pair a woman eager to enact positive change with a man who is generally resistant to change, there will be friction. I think what makes successful relationships is the realization that changes happen. You can’t force it any more than you can resist it. Once both people in a relationship realize and accept that they stop expending so much energy in trying to force change (her) or resisting change (him) and more time growing and changing together.

Thoughts, ideas, opinions? The floor is yours, discuss amongst yourselves.


St. Dickeybird said...

I've always been a very logical person, and marriage just doesn't seem logical. That, combined with the hetero-only aspect kept me from looking to marry.
I have a hard time explaining exactly WHY I eventually wanted it - partially it was wanting to share my life/ family officially in a world-recognized way?

ps. Great post!

The Phoenix said...

OK, the answer depends on what kind of man you are. Are you:

1)Alpha male
2)Average Joe

Alpha men are the guys that literally have the pick of the ladies. They're the ones with 50 or more sex partners in a lifetime. I've had alpha male friends, and woman are just attracted to them.
These guys aren't as likely to commit for a few reasons, like they like their free-swinging lifestyle. They also don't tend to be faithful.

Average Joes are the trustworthy nice guys. They are usually the ones women will settle down with. Women might be attracted to the alpha males, but they know in the long haul, Average Joes are most likely to be faithful partners long-term. Many Average Joes between 30-35 are already taken.

Sub-par are guys that have a difficult time even getting a chance. Many of them are nice, some are very very shy, and others are just a little weird. I feel bad for these guys, as they are normally very nice, but women just don't give them the time of day.

Fugly...well, I don't need to go into that group.

Keshi said...

mebbe not...but mebbe they r until they meet the right woman.

how u been dude? :)


Snooze said...

I think many of us are looking for more than what traditional marriage offers. A lot of 'traditional' marriages worked because women had no economic power and no way of leaving. You still see marriage as more common in countries where women cannot survive on their own. And yet, we naturally crave closeness and companionship. Despite what this sounds like, I'm not against marriage, I just agree with you that people not marrying goes way beyond a simplistic 'guys can't commit'

I also wholeheartedly agree that guys are scared of going bankrupt. I see too many women playing the victim card who are out to destroy a guy if there marriage doesn't work out, and who marriage as an excuse not to earn their own money. It was different in my mother's day when women didn't have much chance to earn their own living - then I was all for alimony, but not today. i think it should be banned.

Greg the Surly said...

I agree with your assesment of adults with an adult mentality, but I think we need to factor in the the 30yr old teenager. Its too late in the day to elaborate, but I hope it makes sense.

Nadine said...

Hi Perplexio,
Thanx for ur very non-perplexing perspective on male 'commitment issues'...really cleared something up for me...I think u are a very wise man!