It’s Not Only a Job

Career defines a man to a significant degree.

A recent op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “For millennial women, ‘the one’ must have a steady job” mentioned a recent report which found that both men and women want a spouse with similar ideas about raising children.

For women this primarily means a man with a good job.

Post writer Catherine Rampell notes that,

…in the population of never-married Americans, ages 25 to 34: In 1960, there were 139 employed men for every 100 women, primarily because women tend to marry younger than men do. By 2012, the ratio had dropped to 91 employed men for every 100 women.

The ratio is particularly stark for young, never-married blacks, among whom there are just 51 employed men for every 100 women.

She advocates helping Millennials advance economically. And certainly this is important.

But boys falling behind starting in elementary school through university must also be addressed. Further, we must go beyond the “who will our daughters marry?” line of thought and acknowledge that we must help boys primarily because their lives matter, even apart from women and girls.

Going beyond this, however, I would note that single 40-something women also complain about the difficulty of finding a man.

But employment isn’t the only issue. I’m in my early 40s and have been employed full-time post-college except for two brief periods when I worked as a temp while looking for a job, and the year I went to grad school (though never finished the master’s degree).

But I’ve steered clear of a second marriage, and at this point in my life I’ve closed off the option of having children. And I doubt I’m the only man with a solid work history who avoids marriage.

Am I irresponsible? Quite the opposite: After divorcing just as the housing bust hit I lost everything I had worked for the past decade. I created a five-year plan to eliminate all debt, increase retirement savings to 15% of gross salary, and put six months of net pay into a savings account. And I did it all on schedule by working two jobs for a few years.

I plan to retire at 70 because given family history and current health status I expect to live to be 95. I’m on track, even if Social Security benefits are 20% lower by the 2030s.

But marriage, with the risk of another divorce, could ruin my elder years. On the other hand, marriage could benefit my elder years. But the benefit/risk ratio is too great.

I didn’t date for two years after my divorce, but the first woman I dated began talking marriage after only a few months. I said no. We hadn’t been together longer enough, and at the time I was still paying a mortgage on a place where I didn’t live (the housing bust made it impossible to sell quickly). I knew that she thought marriage would mean an increase in her standard of living (though that’s dubious considering my desire to be debt free), and I knew she expected me to support her daughter. I told her I wouldn’t make promises I couldn’t keep. She thought I was being selfish and unreasonable.

About a year after we broke up over my “fear of commitment” I was at a restaurant with a group of people. I mentioned this situation. One woman looked at me with disgust. Another woman said she understood and that I was right not to make false promises.

I realized that my ex-girlfriend and the disgusted woman at the restaurant saw men as a means to an end. They weren’t willing to carry their own weight. And that was a problem in my marriage too – my codependency and her dependency.

Obviously this is my issue to deal with. But I don’t think it would be smart for me to marry someone who earns significantly less than I do, or who has much less in assets. The only person I can rely on to take care of me when I’m old is me, or a nurse paid by my insurance.


One thought on “It’s Not Only a Job

  1. Obviously this is my issue to deal with. But I don’t think it would be smart for me to marry someone who earns significantly less than I do, or who has much less in assets. The only person I can rely on to take care of me when I’m old is me, or a nurse paid by my insurance.

    It’s not just your issue. One of the reasons why I’m MGTOW is that one day, I did a review of all of my relationships. The two best relationships I had were when the woman asked me out. She took charge, and it surprised me. Both times I went along with it just to see what would happen. These relationships, while imperfect as is every relationship, were mutually respectful relationships. One woman was a dynamic, action-oriented woman, a real mover and shaker. The other was the kind that was always studying to become better at whatever her next job would be, both were quite disciplined and both were very womanly. To this day, I am good friends with both.

    The rest, however, I noticed never took charge. “Where are we going tonight?” “Will you pay my hydro bill for me?” “When are you going to marry me?*” Even before I was aware of political issues, I was quite aware of the distinction. One of my conclusions was that most women under 35 do not approach being full-fledged adults. There is not one of them that I would want to spend the length of a supper with.

    Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was, generally speaking, more at peace and content on my own. If I need feminine company, I make plans for it, enjoy it, then return to a life that is conducive to joy and peace. I have never had the kind of arguments with men that always seem to occur with women. Men do not try to tell me how I should live my life (usually, meaning: what I should do for them). I’ve learned that the person that will take care of me in my old-age is me. If I’m smart now, I can always ensure hiring out what I need, and when it’s time to die, I’ll just die. I don’t really care to live beyond a stroke, or heart-attack.

    * Funny story. When I was younger, I had a woman telling me of her idea marriage, church, clothes, horse and carriage, and how we would spend our honeymoon in Hawaii at a 5 star hotel, etc. In the midst of her starry-eyed fantasy, I asked her “How are you going to pay for that?” The look of shock and confusion that came over her was priceless. “But you are, my father died.” I replied “Uh, no. Best you’ll get out of me is common-law living arrangements.” This conversation went on for about two weeks, until she dumped me for “not being a real man.”

    I call that dodging the bullet.

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