For the Married Guys (And the Guys Who Have Been Married)

By BayArea   follow   Fri, 28 Dec 2012, 2:55am PST   ↑ Like (2)   ↓ Dislike   69,612 views   668 comments   Watch (4)   Share   Quote  

Hi guys,

As the old adage states, "Can't live with them, can't live without them."

For the guys that are married now or have been married, I'm wondering what your experience has been and if you could give a newly engaged man (hypothetical to me since I am not engaged) any piece of advise or wisdom, what would it be?

I love my GF, but for a few minutes I'm going to zoom out and look at things from a more technical, statistical, and less emotional point of view.

To be honest, I am a bit discouraged at just how many people I know who don't seem to be too happy in their marriages. It always seems to be the same story. Things started off great. There was excitement, adventure, strong physical and emotional chemistry. Then 2-3yrs into it, those feels started to fade. Some couples moved on to the next phase of their lives and had some glue, er I mean kids which kept things fresh and exciting.

I saw a plot in the newspaper several years back that showed divorce statistics as a function of time. There is a spike early on in the marriage (first couple of years), then one at 7 years (7-year itch), and one at about year 18-20 (when the glue is all grown up). If you make it past that, you are fairly safe (not necessarily happy, but likelihood of divorce is low). Some of that is influenced by the fact that you don't have the same options at 45 or 50 as you do at 25 or 30. Sucks, but that's the truth.

I recall reading a book by psycologist Scott Peck that studied the term "Love." He argues that 100% of relationships fall out of love, usually pretty early on in the first few years. The feeling of love is not true love then. The conscious decision to love someone once you lose the "in love" feeling is what real love is all about.

Regarding statistics, 50% of couples who get married in this country wind up in divorce (To be fair, some of those aren't 1st marriages so that 50% number isn't quite as bad as it seems - The reason is that 2nd marriages have a higher divorce rate than 1st marriages and 3rd marriages have a higher divorce rate than 2nd marriages). Moving on, if 50% of couples get divorced, then 50% of couples don't get divorced. Surely those 50% that remain together aren't all happy marriages? So then let's say that half of the marriages that stay together are happy. That means that 25% of couples getting married in the first place remain happy, lol. I really don't like the odds here!

But anytime you get into this debate, you have to get into the alternative, being alone into older age. As much as I see my folks fight and bicker, I tend to think it's better than the alternative (at least for the level they fight and bicker).

A while back Patrick argued that the average person remains in their purchased home for no more than 6-7 years. He said, you might think you are different, but statistically you are not. Same thing goes for divorce. Nobody goes into marriage thinking they will get a divorce. But statistically, 1 in 2 people do in the USA.

What do you guys think?

As a side note, I am really curious about the following. What is the divorce rate assuming the following:

Both Members are devout Catholic ?
Both Members are devout Christian ?
Both Members are devout Muslim ?
Both Members are Atheist ?
Members don't share religious beliefs ?

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Vicente   befriend (7)   ignore (0)   Mon, 21 Oct 2013, 4:43am PDT   Like   Dislike (1)     Share   Quote   Comment 589

everything says

Married people like yourself, who view singles as losers are pathetic, and I can tell .. your snide comment is directed .. mostly at men. You a feminist fer sure now.

I have a bevy of friends who FEAR commitment of any sort however, endlessly trying out new mates and finding each of them wanting and discarding them. At a certain point it's the Princess and the Pea story. I recently demoted some of my pre-marriage friends this last year. The aging Lothario trying to chat up the 20-year old waitress is eventually just unpleasant to watch.

I have nothing against single people at all. If you are happy that way fine. However some of them aren't actually happy, they are constantly searching for something after all, if they are dating. At some point you should dive in.

iwog   befriend (49)   ignore (9)   Mon, 21 Oct 2013, 5:01am PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 590

I think an American man who marries an American woman is making a huge mistake.

Men who live in this country really are trapped in the matrix. They cannot comprehend what they are sacrificing in the name of keeping up appearances. I have seen far too many men in my office practically cry when they describe the massive weight that was removed from their chest when they finally sought love overseas.

Are there some good women in this country? I'm sure there are however the odds are horrible. Divorce is a soul sucking, destructive, and life-ruining event for men. Your chances when you climb that altar are 50%. 1 in 2. Even those who remain married often have to deal with infidelity, money irresponsibility, months without sex, and emotional blackmail.

Do not do it! I'm married to an American woman who was raised by a World War II veteran and she has depression era morals and sensibilities. My success isn't typical. My son is going to turn 18 next year and I will be sending him overseas the moment he graduates. His odds in the USA, YOUR odds in the USA are going to be dismal.

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 11:03am PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 591

It's been a while since I've come back here but I have to thank all of you for sharing your insight and experiences. That was a very educational and entertaining read folks.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 11:37am PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 592

I know this wasn't addressed to us girls, but as I think you all know, that is an open invitation for a women to read it. :-)

The key to a healthy relationship is work. Yes, you have to remember what you appreciated about the person the first year you knew them. It's true, it's not as easy to keep passion alive when you go to the bathroom and get sick in the space. When the chase is over and realize that the other person is also just a person with faults -boom-, it gets harder. But it also gets easier, because you realize new things you love about them too. Love does grow and blossom, if you make sure to nurture it.

I'm still in love with my husband after 25 years. We still argue, but we know that we are not going anywhere, so it's safe to disagree. We have learned to take care not to make each other's family the enemy, which is often too easy to do. We also don't make finances the center of our world. We both know that dirt poor or rich would not make a difference to our bond, just our ease of life. Too many people (especially women) make too big a deal about money in a relationship; if a man can help buy her a car, house, a ring, etc. And too many people are too hung up on youth and appearances (especially men) which is another issue because everyone gets old, and no one should feel like they will be ignored when they get there. Avoid people who can't get over these two trappings; they are not ready for a committed relationship.

Also, keep in mind that your spouse is not your enemy. Too many husbands and wives go into competition with each other to see who is the "better" or more loving partner. Don't go there.

That all said, the most important thing to remember is no one is perfect, so you love them with all your heart, imperfections and all. Make an effort to appreciate each other and say it too. Be grateful. Say a prayer, or affirmation of gratitude in your heart for them. Stop, hug and grab each other's hand. These are difficult times, we are all tired and we all need love and appreciation. All of us; liberals, conservatives, bears and bulls, all of us.

I love being married to my husband and I adore our glue. :-) I could never get through this world without his love.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 11:43am PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 593

iwog says

I'm married to an American woman who was raised by a World War II veteran and she has depression era morals and sensibilities. My success isn't typical. My son is going to turn 18 next year and I will be sending him overseas the moment he graduates. His odds in the USA, YOUR odds in the USA are going to be dismal.

That's sweet iwog. :-)
Don't give up on American women yet. I know some very sweet and sensible young women I admire at my studio. I admit they are oddly all homeschooled (this is not a pro-homeschool thing, just an observation) and all are advanced ballet dancers, so they understand the value of hard work.

Most are around eighteen. Maybe have him take a ballet class before you ship him off. ;-)

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 11:50am PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 594

hrhjuliet, refreshing to sometimes get a real woman's perspective who understands it's not about money and appearances. Thank you as well.

You also made an interesting point about men being more caught up on appearances and women more on money (if you have to choose a sex).

My 33yrs of experience has been a little different living in the Bay Area. You are spot on about women caring about a man's wallet more than a man caring about a woman's, in general.

But when it comes to appearances, it's a coin toss as to which sex is generally shallower in that regard... I've encountered just as many shallow women as men when it comes to the appearances dept. Imagine what it would be if women didn't have a biological clock...

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 11:58am PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 595

BayArea says

hrhjuliet, refreshing to sometimes get a real woman's perspective who understands it's not about money and appearances. Thank you as well.

You also made an interesting point about men being more caught up on appearances and women more on money (if you have to choose a sex).

My 33yrs of experience has been a little different living in the Bay Area. You are spot on about women caring about a man's wallet more than a man caring about a woman's, in general.

But when it comes to appearances, it's a coin toss as to which sex is generally shallower in that regard... I've encountered just as many shallow women as men when it comes to the appearances dept.

True, especially about height and eye color, which is terribly shallow and stupid. When I met my husband we were the same height (I am 5.6) but he ended up 6.2. I remember telling one of my height obsessed girlfriends that I couldn't remember him miraculously becoming a better man at 6.2 - seemed to be the same exact guy.

I've met a lot of guys in the Bay who won't date a girl who can't help him put a down payment on a house, so you are right, it goes both ways.

Still, both should be signs the other person isn't ready for a committed relationship.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:02pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 596

Also, I used to joke in my early twenties that the bigger the diamond she required the shorter the duration of the marriage. Sad thing is: it's been true.

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:15pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 597

hrhjuliet says

True, especially about height and eye color, which is terribly shallow and stupid. When I met my husband we were the same height (I am 5.6) but he ended up 6.2. I remember telling one of height obsessed girlfriends that I couldn't remember him miraculously becoming a better man at 6.2 - seemed to be the same exact guy.

I've met a lot of guys in the Bay who won't date a girl who can't help him put a down payment on a house, so you are right, it goes both ways.

Still, both should be signs the other person isn't ready for a committed relationship.

Exactly my point.

I don't know any guys that have a height cut-off for a girl. The MAJORITY of girls I know do have a height cut-off for guys.

It seems like 5'8" is that threshold that I keep hearing from girls. It can be made up for by personality and/or money, but not always easily as it can be tough to get that chance to show what you else can offer. Kinda sad, but that's how our world works.

And I agree with you on the diamond comment... Size of required diamond is inversely proportional to the length of the marriage. Has anyone here ever actually got married to a girl that specified a diamond size requirement? Good gawd, lol.

Haven't heard of eye color, but how's green sounding ;-)

Quigley   befriend (6)   ignore (4)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:24pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 598

I'd heard of the diamond size thing too, so I bought a nice ring with a very modest diamond for my sweetie. She was still thrilled to be marrying me, which proved to me that she was definitely the one.
For our five year anniversary I surprised her by "upgrading" it to a really nice rock she can be proud of in front of her more materialistic friends. Turns out the larger stone was a good investment too. I think it's value has gone up 50% since.

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:26pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 599

I've heard that the tradition of placing an aged piece of cut carbon on girl's finger to prove your genuine intentions to marry her is something that was invented about 90yrs ago.

Brilliant!

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:32pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 600

a href="http://patrick.net/?p=1220286&c=1077793#comment-1077793">BayArea says

It seems like 5'8" is that threshold that I keep hearing from girls. It can be made up for in personality and/or money, but not always easily. Kinda sad, but that's how our world works.

And I agree with you on the diamond comment... Size of required diamond is inversely proportional to the length of the marriage. Has anyone here ever actually got married to a girl that specified a diamond size requirement? Good gawd, lol.

Shouldn't be how our world works, and in healthy relationships it doesn't work that way. :-)

Oh goodness, if I had a dime for every time a heard one of my girlfriends attribute how much a guy loved them by the ring they got. Sickening. Have you heard of upgrading? Very popular in the Valley, a guy does well and he is expected to get her a new and fancier ring. I have a simple metal band, and it was put on my finger on my wedding day by my husband's hands and for no reason under the sun is it coming off for a fancier ring possibly mined by children - no thank you. Beware of the big wedding girl too. Weddings have turned into pageants for the bride, and the man is just an accessory. We had a beautiful wedding, but we kept it super simple. It was a lovely day because the pressure was low and we made it about our loved ones sharing our lives, not a photo fest.

Basically, be careful who you choose to marry. Marriage is a long business and superficial, selfish and prideful people usually don't last long in the business.

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:35pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 601

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:38pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 602

Juliet, as someone that has been married for 25yrs, do you believe that we have an obligation to stay in shape and do our part to keep up appearances as best we can for ourselves and the other person (within reason of course)?

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:39pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 603

BayArea says

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

Sounds like you will do very well. :-)
You've got your head on straight and it sounds like you found a nice girl.

BayArea   befriend (3)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:43pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 604

hrhjuliet says

BayArea says

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

Sounds like you will do very well. :-)

You've got your head on straight and it sounds like you found a nice girl.

Thank you and I certainly hope so.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:44pm PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 605

BayArea says

Juliet, as someone that has been married for 25yrs, do you believe that we have an obligation to stay in shape and do our part to keep up appearances as best we can for ourselves and the other person (within reason of course)?

You are asking an ex-professional ballerina. ;-) And we have been together for 25 years and married for eleven. We both wanted to finish college first to qualify for certain scholarships, so waited to get married.

My answer should be yes, but it's more complicated than that. In theory no, not a requirement, but something nice you do for your spouse on many levels. Everyone likes to see a healthy person at any age, and we are deprived of aesthetics enough in this era. The second reason is I want my husband to live a long and healthy life, so it makes me less anxious to see him take care of himself. It makes a difference, it truly does. I want lots of healthy years with my husband and boys, that's why I make the choice to feed my family healthy foods and take the boys to dance class and hikes with us. We all eat very healthy, and hike, bike and dance. We also don't drink alcohol which is unusual. We only drink water and coffee.

Ceffer   befriend (0)   ignore (1)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:52pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 606

I thought the secret to successful long term marriage was chandelier swinging and naked trapeze riding wife swapping parties at monthly intervals.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:57pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 607

Ceffer says

I thought the secret to successful long term marriage was chandelier swinging and naked trapeze riding wife swapping parties at monthly intervals.

I can do the first half successfully, expertly even, but no swapping. No one touches me or my man.

Rin   befriend (0)   ignore (2)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:12pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 608

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:15pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 609

Rin says

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

Not all people. The nicest couple I know met and married, both for the first time, in their forties. The kindest and most genuine couple I have ever known.

Rin   befriend (0)   ignore (2)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:37pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 610

hrhjuliet says

Rin says

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

Not all people. The nicest couple I know met and married, both for the first time, in their forties. The kindest and most genuine couple I have ever known.

I'm not saying that it's not possible but probabilities go down dramatically, after the age of innocence.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:43pm PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 611

Rin says

I'm not saying that it's not possible but probabilities go down dramatically, after the age of innocence.

You might be right that it gets harder. When I met my husband he was short, skinny, freckled, and his teeth hadn't grown into his face, and I was chubby cheeked, freakishly skinny, and badly in need of braces. Our sexy ride was our old rusty bikes, and money simply meant ice cream after a movie. And we couldn't have been more in love.

The world jades people pretty bad, but there are lots of people who manage to not let the world ruin them. They are out there at every age.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:49pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 612

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

And we couldn't have been more in love.

I'm truly proud for you. I feel the same way about my wife. Her only flaw is her lousy taste in men.

:-)

Strategist   befriend (2)   ignore (3)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:57pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Share   Quote   Comment 613

hrhjuliet says

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

And we couldn't have been more in love.

I'm truly proud for you. I feel the same way about my wife. Her only flaw is her lousy taste in men.

:-)

See....isn't life good guys?
Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:10pm PDT   Like (1)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 614

sbh says

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

Bah ha ha!

clambo   befriend (5)   ignore (6)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:25pm PDT   Like   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 615

Marriage is OK but the marriages that I see usually have one partner carrying the load.
My friend here asked me about my girlfriend who was upset and mean on skype. I told him she loses her temper and I'm often pissed off, "It's like marriage". Oh oh.
The biology of the sexual attraction is that it wears off by about 5 years, sometimes sooner. The "seven year itch" is the time you are ready to leave no matter how expensive it is.
California is a deadly state to be married in unless you have a premarital agreement. I know of many nightmares, wife and husband being unreasonable in random cases.
My friend married a guy and they worked and had 3 houses, one practically paid for, one cash flow positive, the one they lived in had lots of equity. The husband wanted to leave and be with a girlfriend but was so angry that the wife sued for divorce, he allowed all 3 houses to be foreclosed so that she would be "out in the street".
If you ever do get married or "buy the cow" as some say, make sure you have not had serious doubts about her anger or background.
The notion of being lonely is valid, but if kids are not in the picture, then marriage is not a necessity in California. You can co-habitate for as long as it works.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:27pm PDT   Like (3)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 616

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

sbh says

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

Bah ha ha!

Our private joke at home is oleander salad and wild mushrooms: "Here, darlin' your lunch is ready."

I actually drank oleander tea as kid, at what my mother called our macabre tea party, no joke. I had my stomach pumped and almost died. I had put oleander in my tea to make it pretty. My sister let the doctor shove the tube down her throat, but I fought him, so I spent my toddler years sounding like the exorcist. It was actually very sad. My dad came home and ripped out every bush when he got home. You still can't say the word oleander around my father.

Also, I am afraid in the Boardwalk photo I look like someone who might poison someone's tea. Technically I have poisoned my twin sister's tea, but she lived and with her voice intact. It was me who put the flowers in our tea, so it was my doing. So look out Strategist.

hrhjuliet   befriend (0)   ignore (0)   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:36pm PDT   Like (2)   Dislike     Share   Quote   Comment 617

clambo says

The notion of being lonely is valid, but if kids are not in the picture, then marriage is not a necessity in California. You can co-habitate for as long as it works.

I thought marriage wouldn't change anything, just a piece of paper and all that, but I was pleasantly surprised that it did change things. The day of the wedding was undescribable. All I can say in words is that having all your loved ones and your spouse's loved ones looking so happy and beautiful, and all there to witness your family be joined, well, it's magical. Also, it took me years before any one calling me Mrs. plus my husband's name didn't make me smile. It still makes me happy.