A Dad’s Point-of-View
This ongoing series continues with a biggie: How we choose our partners. I sincerely believe this is yet another instance where the differences between men and women are huge and reflect our inherently diverse sensibilities. I will also declare up front my bottom-line conclusion that women are smarter – for the most part – in this area.
There’s often a debate about the accuracy of divorce rates. Generally, there’s a common understanding that divorce in first marriages occurs at about 50% of the time. What I find so ironic are the stats for second and third marriages. Rather than learn from our failures, 66% of second marriages end in divorce and 75% of third marriages end in divorce. So much for learning from our mistakes!
Again, I recognize that generalities and stereotypes all have exceptions but they’re often true for the majority. So, let’s have at it with my list, once again in no particular order:
Men use the real estate mantra, but instead of “location, location, location” it’s “looks, looks, looks.”
Men are slugs when it comes to women. We tend to make our initial choices based totally on looks, sex appeal, and surface impressions. For some men, that’s the beginning and end of their “look” at a woman. Other men actually pay attention to a little more than the superficial factors – intelligence, sense of humor, character, interests, political point of view, religion, etc.
Women tend to choose partners based on several factors including income, sense of humor, and income (that’s not a typo).
Women, on the other hand, do tend to look a bit further than a guy’s appearance, though some are hung up on height. They respond a lot to a good sense of humor and probably the biggest factor women care about is a man’s ability to provide, his job, income, and potential to support a family.
Men make snap judgments.
While men and women both rely on first impressions, I assert that men may not get past a poor first impression if they’re not satisfied with the looks of a potential partner.
Women are more thoughtful.
As suggested by the previous male predisposition, women might take a second look after a neutral to negative first impression. If a man makes her laugh, behaves as a gentleman, picks up the tab (a big deal for a first date), and follows through on things he says he’ll do (like calling again), a poor first impression may get turned around.
Men might need encouragement to make that commitment.
If a man doesn’t have to marry, especially if he’s not particularly religious, he won’t. Women make the rules in this regard by asserting a take it or leave it choice at some point.
Women will likely provide the needed encouragement for marriage.
After my divorce, I was not getting married again. I met Debbie. She was terrific. She made it clear that without marriage there was no Debbie. I reconsidered because she was worth it.
My cousin took another path when her boyfriend was reluctant. She moved out-of-state. Within a few short months, she had a proposal.
Divorced men are usually more reluctant to remarry than divorced women (note the word “usually” in this declaration).
I’m sure this will equalize in short order since women are now coming closer to parity with men on income. However, now and in the past, most men got reamed by divorce. There was a horrible sexism in most so-called family courts* favoring women on all counts.
Women have more of an inherent need and desire for a monogamous relationship.
Women are born to nurture. With that instinct is the desire for a safe, monogamous relationship at the root of a family structure. This is nature and nurture at its best, pure and simple. I’m grateful for this biological tendency. I believe the family is the single best structure for raising good children.
If men could get away with bigamy they would. If married men could easily have a mistress or serial affairs, they would. What women don’t understand is that this doesn’t mean they love their wives less. Men are just built to procreate. It’s civilization, religion, and women that keep men in line!
Men would prefer to have their cake and eat it too!
Men actually do better when married. Most men, unlike Hugh Hefner, recognize the value of marriage, want children, and ultimately at a certain age, get tired of the chase. However, if women allowed men to fool around, most men would. Thankfully, most women won’t tolerate it, most religions preach against it, and our culture tends to discourage it. I do believe there’s a double standard that lets some men get away with activities that a similar woman would get horribly chastised for. A good example of this: Bill Clinton.
Women humanize men, so ultimately, it all works out in the end.
Men live longer when married. Smart men realize this. Men like what a woman brings to the relationship. When it comes to home and family, women bring much to the party though I suspect this is rapidly changing with the rapidly changing workplace. Nonetheless, men are better off married and they live longer too!
*I prefer to call family courts anti-family courts much as I believe family lawyers are really anti-family lawyers. This is simply based on the reality of how the system works. Also, I have a California bias since California has historically treated men horribly in divorce.
Tell us: What did you think about this article in the men vs. women series? Did I push your buttons?