Why young men don’t marry

Posted on September 26, 2011 by

Although the Manosphere is primarily focused upon no-fault divorce or female promiscuity, for most young men (ages 18-25) those are not the primary reasons they do not marry. Such evidence is most interesting to older men, who have lower libidos or a sexual market value that makes it easier for them to benefit from that promiscuity.

A healthy marriage is still the best route to sex and paternity, which is something most men desire. Unfortunately, many young men cannot marry even if they would like to, and the majority would like to.

The problem of serial monogamy

Gaming My Wife has an interesting post up about demographic trends, that I linked to earlier. One part really leapt out at me:

Demographic trend #4: for completely different reasons (liberal divorce laws), the US has a similar (if much smaller) problem. Here’s how it happens in the US: an older couple gets divorced. The woman goes out into the dating world and finds that she has little value in the dating marketplace – especially if she has kids. Her Sexual Market Value (SMV) is so low that she’s essentially off the market. Meanwhile, her husband goes out to find that his age and accumulated wealth and status has actually increased his SMV. Instead of marrying (or having a long term relationship, but for now let’s simplify and say marrying) another older woman like his ex, he marries a younger woman – sometimes much younger. It’s not at all uncommon for men to marry women 10 years or more their junior in their second marriages. The problem is, now those women are unavailable to the men ten years his junior. And the older women have little to no value to those same younger men. Multiply this a few times as the more alpha men marry and remarry (my father-in-law is on his third marriage now, to a woman ten years his junior), and you can see how the problem grows.

The census data reveals that the number of men who never marry at all is growing rapidly, while the number of women who never marry is growing at a much slower pace. That is because — as the author of the original post noted — some men marry multiple partners. The increasing numbers of never-married are especially astonishing once you consider the aging of the population.

The term serial monogamy makes it sound like men and women are simply entering into relationships and breaking up at an equal rate, over and over. But we all know that is not the case. It is in fact a subset of men who are engaging in this behavior at a young age (natural alphas), and a larger group who join in later (latent alphas). It is simply a slower-paced version of the general dating market, with the end-effect being largely the same. Women who engage in such behavior have a lower partner-count, but they are still off the market for the limited time they are in their relationship.

Such a man is essentially “stealing” potential mates from other men during the years when those women are the most fertile. They are then tossed to the other men like leftovers, when they are divorced or discarded, often with children in tow. There are also many cases where women leave their mates for a married man, which is another facet of this. The essential problem of serial monogamy exacerbates the general soft-polygamy of the dating pool, by bringing it right into the marriage market. Either way, such behavior leaves many men without sexual access to fertile women, while leaving many women alone or in de facto harems.

Waiting for the girl

Further on in the original post, he writes the following:

Also, it’s not totally hopeless for the younger men. If they wait it out, things will get better when they’re old enough to become the alpha male to a younger woman (this is, essentially, what happened to me before I was aware of Game). But by percentage, it’s a bigger problem than China or India have. Up to 20% of men in their early 20s are now basically shut out of long term relationships (or even casual flings) until they get another decade under their belt. More than feminism, more than a lack of game, this is the single biggest reason that young men are “dropping out” of society and choosing to play video games instead. In the “real world,” they’ve already lost and they know it. It’s also why many of them rejoin society in their late 20s or early 30s. All of a sudden they have a chance again.

Young men have a choice between bedding a “naughty girl” now (if they can), just for sexual relief, and/or marrying a “good girl” later. There is little opportunity for marrying a “good girl” now, as such women generally prefer older men because of their wealth. Besides, most young men wouldn’t be able to afford her upkeep, even if she were available.

It is not that there are “no good girls left”, but that “good girls” are snatched up quite early by older men. Often the same men who were monopolizing the dating market in their younger years. That means that the majority of marriage-minded men are stuck waiting until their late 20s before they truly enter the marriage market and can compete for the best women, which reduces their productivity-incentive during their most productive years. This is identical to the marriage market in a polygamous society, which is essentially what we have. The difference is that in our society a man has his wives in succession, rather than all at once.

Even those lucky few who manage to snag a choice mate at a young age, are then left to dwindle in dating or cohabitation until he can afford to financially support her childbearing. This is why it is common in Europe for men to spend years with a woman, and then marry her and impregnate her the same year (if she is still able). It is as if he has reserved the best seat in the restaurant, but most wait until the dinner is cold to sit down and eat.

Just plain broke

Many young men are plagued by the LIFO (last in, first out) employment issue. When a company begins layoffs, they typically get rid of the oldest through early retirement, while the youngest are booted out because they are the newest hires. Although this seems like a good thing at first, as middle-aged men with children are thereby spared, it ultimately results in a youthful underclass who struggles to gain solid footing in the business world. This is being further-exacerbated by the cost of living increasing, while wages decline. Wage declines impact new-hires the most.

Even those with decent wages are often saddled with enormous amounts of debt (student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.), which lowers their net-income to the poverty level. Those men who marry college-educated women are also often stuck paying off her debt, as well as his own, while attempting to afford a mortgage and finance the raising of the children.

Apparently, this is even a factor in the UK, and the economic situation weighs harder on men than on women:

It’s official. Student debt, unaffordable house prices and rising unemployment is helping create a generation of mummy’s boys. Unable to buy their own home, saddled with student debt and struggling to find work, grown-up sons are now twice as likely as their sisters to still be living at home with their parents, official statistics revealed today. Nearly a quarter of young men aged 25-29 still live with their parents, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That compares with one in eight women of the same age who have not yet left home.

So their economic value damages their marriage-market value, which damages their economic value. I strongly suspect that this is a strong factor influencing the trend toward cohabitation and away from marriage. By their 30s, a lot of men have dropped out completely in frustration or apathy. Although the cohabitation rate is rising, this is merely a cannibalization of the marriage rate. Simultaneously, the “living alone” rate is also rising, which is leading to the splintering of society. It’s a vicious cycle.

As earned-income increases, marriage rates also increase. A man is simply not a viable potential spouse until he can earn enough to support a family, regardless of the wife’s income. Most women want to “marry up” financially, and those of us who promote marriage must take this into account. The employment and income of men is much more important for a healthy society than that of women.

Why should we care?

If we look at the census data for “median age at first marriage”, we’ll see that in our father’s generation, young marriage was the norm. This made chastity easier because men didn’t expect to have to wait that long for a sexual relationship. In our own time, the majority of men would have to remain celibate into their late 20s or early 30s, in order to achieve the same. That means the trend of late-marriage is an anti-chastity trend. Even St. Paul realized that those who burn should marry; they shouldn’t be waiting around for over a decade after puberty. It is simply unrealistic to expect that, and rather cruel to dismiss their complaints.

In the early 1900s men also married late, but you can see from the data that they married very young women. This tells us that men were just as bad-off then, as they are now, but that chastity was enforced, which prevented rampant female promiscuity. In that era, men were also struggling with sinking market worth and many men didn’t marry at all. Their problems were similar to those currently visible in Islamic countries, and this demographic pressure found an escape valve in WWI. Millions of sexually-frustrated young men eagerly joined the armies of Europe for “a bit of fun”, similar to the effect that resulted in the Crusades, or that pushed youth to “Go west, young man!”.

In those situations, we can see what happens when you postpone marriage while promoting chastity: young male rage and frustration. In America, we postpone marriage without promoting chastity, with a similar result: young male apathy and frustration. The common denominator of both failed policies is the habit of postponing marriage which leads to widespread involuntary male celibacy and alienation from society, regardless of whether a society promotes chastity or not.

Those who are indifferent to — or even grateful for — the decline of marriage in the West, would be wise to note what history tells us: such a decline always ends in a bloodbath. If young men aren’t fully-engaged in building up a civilization through marriage, then they will busy themselves with tearing it down. Bread and circuses will only mollify them for so long.

A society that wishes to prosper in peace must ensure that the overwhelming majority of young men can marry and keep their wives. As we are not doing that, and there appears to be little appetite for enacting the policies which would encourage that, we should prepare ourselves for our inevitable decline and the destruction that will follow it.

(This is a repeat I’m posting in response to this article at In Mala Fide.)

Posted in: Relationships