A fascinating article at the New York Times covers the trend that being single is gaining on being married. The article called “Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife” that spans four pages discusses the factors that have changed the demographics in the US; it used to be that men in their mid 40s were nearly all married.
The article tries to point to education as a key factor that leads men to be loosing their ‘must have’ allure for women. Women no longer need to rely upon men like they did in previous generations. This extract clarifies that idea however :
â€œIt is a mistake to think of this as just happening to the underclass at the bottom,â€ said Christopher Jencks, a professor of sociology at Harvard. â€œIt is also happening to people with high school diplomas or even some college. That is the group that has been most affected by the decline in real wages in the last 30 years.â€
The new freedom that past generations of women have fought for, is often destabilising for both women and men. Education and upbringing is not always in sync with this equality and can lead to the rejection of the other. Women are far less inclined to sit, smile and be docile like was expected of them in previous generations. Men however faced with this new feminine touch sometimes prefer a single life, without the hassle of fighting for a place in the couple. Coping and adapting to their new freedom can be hard for both men and women. As the New York Times article explains women are often interested in a man that can offer better financial prospects :
â€œMen donâ€™t marry because women like myself donâ€™t need to rely on them,â€ said Shenia Rudolph, 42, a divorced mother from the Bronx.
This isn’t about disgruntled divorcees from previous generations that have given up on the idea of finding someone else, it’s a whole new ball game with each player trying to find a place for themselves. Finding a place for yourself in society is also a factor that leads to both men and women putting their careers first and the search for the significant other comes after.
In the comedy “The Devil wears Prada” Glen Close is portrayed as the Thatcher type woman that is as hard as nails, while sneak peaks at her family life try to strip the iron lady image to show a more fragile reality (a bit too simplistic though). On the other hand her assistant rises gloriously to ‘her’ challenge only to find that she has lost her soul in the process (again the film is ‘nice’ but the script here was also far too easy).
“Imagine Me and You” ia an English film with Piper Perabo that I really enjoyed. It compares to a Richard Curtis film (4 Weddings…) but I felt it was more ‘real’ and sensitive while trying to touch on the difficulties couples face today…
Back in real life though, where everything isn’t always perfect, it’s nice to be around normal people. I’m talking about normal people here, as opposed to men or women that can’t communicate properly and blow their tops as soon as life isn’t going exactly the way they want. Where everyone around them gets the wrong end of the stick when they’re feeling down, or they’ve had a bad day, or they just woke up, or you don’t agree with them, or… hey, you get the picture; every other day basically ! My advice when faced with this type, cut them loose and enjoy your life !
Men that don’t change and adapt to this ‘new deal’ are likely to drive women away, just like women that take the equality game too far will drive the men away. It’s completely hypocritical to, on the one hand, sing the benefits of gallantry, expect a man to do all the DIY chores, while also expecting him to do the washing up and cooking in the name of the equality of sexes. It works both ways, women should start looking at doing more DIY in the house if they are really honest about the equality between men and women. In a recent relationship I was told that it was normal for me to do cooking, washing-up and cleaning but that putting a picture up on the wall was a manâ€™s job, it was DIY !
â€œChanging womenâ€™s expectations about what married life should be like has put more tension into these relationships,â€ Mr. Jencks said. â€œMen who have graduated from college have been more responsive and ready to accommodate those changes than those who havenâ€™t.â€
A good friend of mineâ€™s wife recently explained to me that she couldn’t understand why couples put so much pressure on each another. The “high expectations they put on each other just weighs the couple down and makes them resentful of one another when they are unfulfilled. The couple and the relationship need to breathe and too much pressure is suffocating.”