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Is A Relationship Worth It?


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I don't really see how any remotely masculine man could tolerate a full-on relationship with a woman, let alone marriage. The independence and self-determination that one has to forego in such circumstances is quite considerable.

In any relationship, men struggle in variously subtle and not-so-subtle ways to maintain some semblance of that independent life which they know to be their true nature. But, love blinds us to this reality, which is testimony to the power of the evolutionary forces in us.

It's different for each individual, of course, but when you weigh up what you've gained against what you've lost, I don't see how any man could, to the extent that he is a man, judge in favour of the former.

-- Dan Rowden, member of the Atheist Society of Australia

 

Fellow ex-christians, what are your thoughts on this?

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Change "man" to "woman" and "he" to "she" and I say right on!

 

-from a happily never-been-married

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Dammit, I was getting ready to start a topic on this very subject. Y'stole m' thunder, boi, and you will pay!! :fdevil:

 

But anyway, without going into depth in my personal philosophy, 'cause I don't feel like it now, I have to say that the idea that the ultimate goal we should look for is to secure ourselves life mates is merely a value of our society. One more pervasive than even religious ideas, but still just a value born from tradition. Ours is not only not the sole way to do things, but also probably not the best way, considering just how problematic the system is. Ordinarily, when a system is as fucked up as this one, people like to analyze it, and make drastic changes, or drop it altogether. But not this one, no no. They just issue patches like freakin' Windows 98', except they've been doing it for millennia, and we just accept that those problems aren't really, well, PROBLEMS. The success rate doesn't speak much to its worth.

 

Bottom line, we have it drilled into our heads that it is a must for our completeness, that we are better people for having significant others, and that our happiness is absolutely dependent upon finding it. So, we're taught that we have to suppress our real selves, and stick through the years-long lulls in passion, because it's right, its the only right thing.

 

Don't get me wrong, plenty of people work quite well in the system, and I don't knock the genuineness of their feelings; for some a lifelong mating is as natural as breathing. But as an institution, I think it is seriously flawed; we need to at least search out other options, and not be afraid to do so.

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First of all, I don't think it's particularly cool to judge folks on the path they choose for marriage/intimacy, etc. I think some may wish to bow out of marriage or relationships, sex may be more or less important to some than to others, some may be gay, some straight, some more or less social and open, some may spread their social and/or sexual and/or emotional intimacy more thickly or thinly between different people than others. None will receive harsh words from me.

 

That being said, I think that although it's entirely the business of the individual to adopt Rowden's path, and it's fine if he does, that it's a bunch of malarkey to claim that this alone is THE TRUE nature of man. I for one, am happily married, and I enjoy a love and intimacy and commitment both to and from someone else that would never be possible if I was out dipping my wick in every well I could find in the name of independence. Moreover, my children are at an evolutionary advantage having a committed father on the scene.

 

If he wants to suggest that this sort of man is not even remotely masculine, he's entitled to his opinion, but he'll get no assent whatsoever on it from me.

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Guest Bellatrix

Eh, I'm fiercely independent, I love living alone, and I don't like little kids. I'm a woman. Whether you are compatible for marriage or not is determined by your personality, not your gender.

 

If this guy defines masculinity as the complete rejection of everything feminine, then of course he's going to see relationships with women as something negative.

 

Men who define their masculinity in positive terms based on what they want to accomplish in life and how they want to affect others tend to view relationships differently. There are many men who like marriage.

 

I would have to agree with his last statement. I weighed the benefits and costs of marriage a long time ago and found that I want nothing to do with it, ever. I like being free. Honestly speaking, I would change the last sentence to "It's different for each individual, of course, but when you weigh up what you've gained against what you've lost, I don't see how any woman could, to the extent that she is a woman, judge in favour of the former." For all their griping, men have traditionally had it a lot easier in marriage than their wives.

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Shackled, I don't care if all others are happily married with kids just so long as I don't have to. I assumed that is Dan Bowden's point--he's got a right to the independent life if that is what he's wired for.

 

On one hand we have the cries about over-population and on the other hand we have protests against the independent childless life. Which is it? Over-population, or independence? Aren't we celebrating diversity these days?

 

Oh I see what your problem is. He says:

 

I don't really see how any remotely masculine man could tolerate a full-on relationship with a woman, let alone marriage.

 

So I guess it seems like he's attacking the masculinity of the married family man. I personally don't read it that way. I see that he begins his tirade with "I don't really see..." To me that indicates a man who is not wired for marriage and family. It's his personal view. He personally can't see it. Force that kind of man or woman into marriage and you're bound to get tragic stories of broken homes, absentee or irresponsible parent, abuse, etc.

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Shackled, I don't care if all others are happily married with kids just so long as I don't have to. I assumed that is Dan Bowden's point--he's got a right to the independent life if that is what he's wired for.

If that's the case, then you expressed it a lot better than him, because I agree wholeheartedly with the way you put it.

On one hand we have the cries about over-population and on the other hand we have protests against the independent childless life. Which is it? Over-population, or independence? Aren't we celebrating diversity these days?

 

Oh I see what your problem is. He says:

 

I don't really see how any remotely masculine man could tolerate a full-on relationship with a woman, let alone marriage.

Yes, and yes.

 

-------------------------

 

Just to reverify: I am of the opinion that it's absolutely 100% fine not to be cut out for marriage, etc., there is no onus on that whatsoever, and it would not be a good thing to force those who are not into that mold for the reasons you give, among others. Certainly many of the people I most admire have never been married.

 

However, it was statements like "I don't really see how any remotely masculine man could tolerate a full-on relationship with a woman, let alone marriage" and "I don't see how any man could, to the extent that he is a man, judge in favour of the former" that indicated to me that he was trying to impose his own personal criteria to define "the way things should be" for all men.

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It sounds like he's attacking the masculinity of married men and making weird assumptions about the desire for marriage being somehow hot-wired into gender.

 

It's hot-wired into culture. Not gender. I'm yet another woman who's not interested in marriage or kidlets...and I often wonder about people's tolerance for being married at all given the high divorce rate.

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