This article reviews a forthcoming book by Carl Weisman entitled “So Why Have You Never Been Married?” Weisman, age 49, surveyed over 1500 heterosexual men in order to determine why many had chosen to remain single. Contrary to popular opinion, it appears the main reason provided was not fear of marriage, but fear of bad marriage. Other insights are also offered in what appears to be a possibly interesting book.
Of course, this information is based on surveys, which requires a certain level of insight by the respondent in order to obtain accurate information. It is certainly possible at least some of the men surveyed are in either active or unconscious denial regarding their bachelorhood. Conversely, there is likely some merit to the idea that a generation of men who have grown up in families rife with divorce may be a bit gun shy about taking the plunge themselves. I’m not saying avoidance is the optimal method of dealing with negative childhood marital experiences, as modeled by parents (and parents of friends). However, if this group trends towards more rigid interpersonal experiences in general, when you combine having grown up with divorce, it likely explains at least a subgroup of this population. Also, while I really can’t offer an optimal age for marrying, being patient until one have found someone they are truly compatible with is certainly not a negative trait. Many horrific relationships occur when people feel a “need” to be with someone, anyone, rather than being alone. These individuals typically either get walked all over, or engage in jealous, controlling behaviors, because of issues revolving around what being single “says” about them.
As with most everything else, there is a happy medium. Rushing into relationship after relationship isn’t healthy. However, if someone is in their fifties, says they want to marry, and has dated numerous people, one has to explore the possibility of avoidance/perfectionism/other. One key element, of course, is the idea of “wanting to marry.” All this only applies to people who say they do want to marry at some point. If an individual has no desire for a marriage, kids, etc., then all this stuff really doesn’t apply.