The (Lack of) Realism of Reducing the Odds of Divorce
A short while ago one of this blog’s readers put in a call to Stefan Molyneux’s internet radio show. The topic of the call was avoiding marriage. The call ended up being over two hours long and you’re welcome listen to it here or here.
A quick aside before I get into this article. I think Stefan Molyneux is the smartest man on the internet, and outside of his positions on sex and relationships I agree with 99% of the things he says on just about every topic he speaks on. I have donated hundreds of dollars to his radio show, listen to it often, and think you should too. I have nothing but respect for Stefan and his work. Fantastic stuff.
The caller correctly pointed out that today’s divorce rates are terrible. Which, of course, they are. He also correctly pointed out that men pay a massive and terrible price for divorce, even when it’s not their fault, and that the vast majority of the time it’s the women divorcing the men. All these items are statistically and factually true, and are things I’ve been pointing out for years.
Stefan’s response is one of the common responses from monogamy / marriage defenders that I’ve already rebutted in item number 37 right here. It’s the argument that if you simply do certain things you can reduce your odds of divorce.
Alrightee then. Let’s examine these things and see how realistic they are in the real world rather than in an online PDF full of statistics. I will provide links for sources after every data point described below. Before I do that though, I need to repeat something I’ve said a thousand times, so that no one uses this common argument-derail when the topic of marriage or long-term monogamy is discussed.
I fully support long-term pair bonding. YES, fall in love with one special woman. YES, move in with a woman if that’s what you want. YES, have children with that woman as long as you can afford them. YES, stay with that one woman forever in the same home with her forever, if you can. Yes, yes, yes. All of that is wonderful, I’m all for it, and I think those arrangements are best for society (not that I care).
And, while you’re doing all that pair bonding with that one special lady, you should be allowed to have meaningless, condomed sex on the side if you so desire, which you will, because you’re a man, and that’s how we’re biologically wired. Human beings are not long-term monogamous creatures and never have been. Any biologist worth his salt will tell you this (albeit very quietly, Societal Programming being what it is).
So hear me on this: I am 100% for long-term pair bonding. I am against sexual monogamy and legal, state-enforced marriage.
Pair bonding and sexual monogamy are two different things. God, that’s hard for so many societally brainwashed men to understand. Pair bonding does not require absolute sexual monogamy at all times, nor does it require legal marriage, which is an insane three-way contract between you, her, and the state. You can pair bond in a serious open “marriage” with sexual ground rules you both follow (OLTR marriage). This is not “polyamory” so please don’t call it that. Polyamory is MLTR, not OLTR. Two different things.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the feasibility of reducing your odds of divorce if you stupidly decide to get legally married or long-term monogamous in today’s modern society. Below are the items shown to statistically reduce the odds of divorce, often touted by Alpha Male 1.0, marriage 1.0 monogamy / marriage defenders. To be fair, I’m going to exclude the items you have no control over. For example, if you’re Asian, your odds for divorce are lower than if you’re white, black, or Hispanic, as is the case if your parents are still married. Yet you can’t “Be Asian” if you’re white, nor can you make sure your own parents never divorce. We’ll just cover things you have control over.
1. Wait until you’re at least 25 before you get married.
The odds of you getting divorced go down if you wait until you’re at least 25 to get married.[*] Is this feasible? Yes. I think waiting until 25 is feasible for most men.
(Hey…wait a minute…I think I know someone who purposely waited until he was 25 before he got married for that exact reason…to prevent divorce. Who was that guy? Oh yeah! It was me! I waited until I was 25 to get married and have kids, on purpose. But I still got divorced. Hmmmm. Oh well. I must have screwed up somewhere else then. Yeah. That must be it. Let’s continue.)
2. Keep the number of women you have sex with very, very low.
Oh, you’ll love this one. An oft-quoted stat by the pro-monogamy Alpha Male 1.0s in the manosphere is that the odds of divorce for women go down based on number of sexual partners.[*] Again, this is for women only. There are no studies on men’s divorce risk if they have sex with a lot of women (that I know of), because society doesn’t give a shit about men’s happiness. However, many have extrapolated that this dynamic of more partners = higher divorce risk applies to men as well.
Okay, great. So you want to get married someday? Better stay a virgin. How does that sound? Sound fun? Sound like something that would make you happy as a man?
Okay, okay, so let’s say you can have sex with three women. How does that sound? You don’t want to get married until you’re 25, because that will decrease odds of divorce. So you date a woman when you’re 18 and have sex. It doesn’t work out, so you have sex with another when you’re 20, then another when you’re 21. That’s three girls in four years…not very many. Then what? Sorry, no more sex for you for the next FOUR YEARS until you find the Woman of Your Dreams™ who’s Not Like the Rest™.
Don’t like that? Tough shit, pal. If you get horny, just be a beta male and jerk off to porn instead of having real-life sex. If you actually date, just dry hump those women. Or cuddle. Oh, they’ll love that. They’ll just love a guy who never has sex with them. I’m sure they’ll stick around with you.
For fuck’s sake, gentlemen. How feasible is this in the real world? Seriously. Are you going to go years and years with no sexual intercourse because you want to raise your odds of some possible future marriage working out? Really?
Of course you won’t. You’re a man. That would make you miserable (unless you were an exception to the rule with a really low sex drive).
(By the way…I think I know someone who had sex with a very small number of women before he got married, yet he got divorced anyway. Who was that? Hm. Oh yeah! It was me! Why did I still get divorced then? Darn. I must have screwed something else up. Oh well, let’s continue.)
3. Only marry a woman whose parents are still married.
When both partners have still-married parents, the odds of divorce go down.[*] You can’t control your own parents of course, but you could certainly start screening out every woman you meet whose parents still aren’t married. I’ve already talked about what I think of the technique of screening. I also know that if you do this, you’re going to screen out a huge number of perfectly intelligent, wonderful, kind, attractive women, many of whom had decent childhoods, whom you’d really like. But okay, I guess you could still do this. Doesn’t sound very enjoyable to me though.
(Hmmm…I think I know a guy whose parents are still married, and who married a woman whose parents were still married, yet he got divorced anyway. Who was that guy? Oh yeah! It was me! Damn! Foiled again! I must have completely fucked up something else in my marriage because I’m such a moron.)
4. Get a college degree and marry a woman with a college degree.
Lots of monogamy-lovers love to point out that divorce is less likely if one or both partners have a college degree.[*] That’s great, but there’s one slight problem with that I’ve pointed out numerous times before. That is, according to real facts and stats, getting a college degree in the modern era is literally one of the stupidest and most destructive things a man can do these days unless he’s a very unusual exception to the rule. I’ve talked about this various times including here, here, here, and here.
So you’re going to go $100,000 into debt (that you can’t bankruptcy away) for a useless history degree just so you can be a bouncer in a bar, all to possibly reduce the odds of divorce a few percentage points? Yeah. That sounds like a great idea.
Moreover, even if marrying a smarter, more highly educated woman may decrease your odds of divorce, what about your happiness during the marriage? It’s interesting the discussion of the man’s happiness never comes up in these “I’m never getting divorced!” discussions. I’ve already discussed how usually smarter, more educated women tend to be a little bitchier, more demanding, and higher maintenance. I know many mono-married men married to women like this. Yeah, they’re not divorced (yet), but they’re not happy either.
(Ah-HA! I didn’t have a college degree and I married a woman who also didn’t have a college degree! We both had genius-level IQs though, but I guess that doesn’t matter. Yeah, intelligence doesn’t mean shit if you don’t have a college degree. Everyone knows that. Well, I guess I figured it out! That’s why I got divorced! The mystery is finally uncovered!!! We didn’t have college degrees! Damn! If only we had gotten those, then I’d still be married right now in monogamy Disney Narnia bliss! Oh well. Live and learn.)
5. Only marry Asians.
That’s right. Asians have the lowest divorce rates of all races.[*] So if you’re not already Asian, I guess you’re fucked. But you can choose which race to marry! So if you marry a white girl, you’re a dumbass! Only marry an Asian for maximum marriage success odds!
What did you say? You’re not attracted to Asian women? You only like white (or black or Latina) women? Well tough shit, buddy. To maximize your odds of your future mono-marriage working, you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and marry an Asian chick. Hey, not getting divorced is the entire point of the marriage, right? After all, your happiness doesn’t matter, just the marriage.
(Ah HA! Another mystery uncovered! I married a white woman! That’s why I got divorced! Little did I know I was increasing the odds of divorce by marrying within my race. How STUPID of me!)
6. Make a lot of money, BUT, make sure she doesn’t make a lot of money compared to you.
The higher income you have, the lower your odds of divorce are, particularly over the $50,000 a year mark.[*] However! The higher income she makes in relation to you, the higher the odds of divorce become[*].
Obviously I think all men should make at least $75,000 a year or the equivalent, so finally we come across something I agree with. But if you fall in love with a woman who makes close to the same amount of money than you or more, are you seriously going to dump her because of it? You know the answer to that. Screening out women who make too much money is insane, and you’re not going to do this. Nor would I (if I was dumb enough to get legally, monogamously married of course).
But wait a minute…didn’t we just say that you want to marry a woman who has a college degree? But wait, we’re also supposed to marry a woman with a low income??? Uh…what?
That’s fine for statistics on a web site representing large numbers of people, how does that correlate in the real world to you individually? I thought the whole point of going to college was making more money…right? So you have to find a woman WITH a college degree but whose income stays LOW throughout her lifetime.
Are you seeing the problem here yet? Are you seeing how unrealistically stupid this all is? Do you see how applying broad-based statistics to your personal, individual behavior to this degree becomes cumbersome and unworkable?
(Hmmm. When I was married she was a stay-at-home mom, so her income was zero, and my income was six figures. So I made A LOT more money than she did. Yet we still got divorced. Hm. But oh yeah! She didn’t go to college and was white! Yeah, that’s why I got divorced. I forgot.)
7. Never move in with a woman unless you marry her first.
Co-habitation before legal marriage slightly increases the odds of divorce[*] unless you move in with the intention of getting married. So, yeah, you want to live with a woman? Well then you have to marry first so you can subject yourself to the high odds of divorce, alimony, child support, and giving her half of your retirement, or going to prison.
Feasible? Maybe. Smart? In a society with divorce rates this high? Even if you do the other items on this list? You tell me.
(Wait a minute! When I got married, she didn’t move in with me until we got engaged. So I did that right. Yet I STILL got divorced! Man, her not having that college degree and being white really screwed me up. If only I had known…)
So there you have it, my starry-eyed, Disney-invested, societally brainwashed friend. That’s how you can reduce your odds of divorce. Now let me ask you a question:
Are you going to abstain from sex for years and years while going to college, then get your degree, then marry a low-income Asian virgin who’s gone to college while making sure she never makes too much money for the rest of your life?
I’m not being funny here. You tell me, honestly, are you actually doing to do this?
Of course you’re not. You’re unlikely to do any of those things except for maybe go to college. Why? Because you’re a flesh and blood man who lives in the real world.
Even if you actually did all of these things, the reduction in your divorce odds are not cumulative, since many of these qualities and studies already overlap. As I’ve said before, if you do EVERYTHING we’ve just discussed (and we both know you won’t), you’ll possibly reduce your odds from 64%+ to around 25-30%.
Are you going to still get married when you know your odds of divorce are 30%, maybe 25%?
Are you going to let me cut off 25% of your arm because it’s so much better than cutting off 64%?
Would you bet me $10,000 of your own money if you knew for a fact your odds of losing were 25%?
Would you jump out of an airplane if you know for a fact there was a 25% chance of your chute (and emergency chute) not opening?
I hope not.
Look, if this was 1953 and the odds of divorce were only 7%, then this would be a very different conversation. But it’s not 1953 any more, and 7% is very different than 25%, to say nothing of 30% or 64%, which, as I’ve just demonstrated, are far more likely for you because of your natural human choices.
I hope you wouldn’t risk your future happiness, children’s happiness, and all current and future finances all on a 25-30% failure rate with your marriage to your low-income, college-educated, virgin Asian wife who is only the second or third woman you’ve ever had sex with.
By the way, I haven’t even covered the second huge issue here. Let’s say you really do beat the odds and stay married forever, while giving me the finger about how wrong I was. What are you as a man supposed to do when, at some point after the three-year mark in your marriage at the very latest, you’re going to strongly want to have sex with other women? Unless you’re a very low sex drive exception to the rule, this is 100% guaranteed to happen at some point. Then what do you do? Make your wife wear a wig and dress in funny outfits? Sounds fun for about six months or so, but will that really work for 40 years? Really?
Another question to ponder in your unlikely “successful” forever marriage. What do you do when she starts getting bored with you and doesn’t want to have sex with you anymore, which she is biologically designed to do? Then what do you do? You can’t get divorced, so now what do you do, Superman? Jerk off to porn for the rest of your life whenever she says no? (Which will be most of the time you try to have sex with her once the marriage gets many years old.) Oh, that sounds like a really happy life for you. I’m so jealous.
If you don’t want to jerk it to porn and don’t want to get divorced, we both know what you’re going to do. You’re going to eventually cheat. Oh, that sounds like a happy marriage to me. What a great life, sneaking around like a frightened hobbit, hoping you’ll never get caught. Or getting caught, and then getting drama from hell from her, and then possibly divorced. But wait…I thought you were going to prevent all that?
So next time someone screams “Oh, the divorce rate isn’t so bad! There are things you can do to reduce your odds of divorce!”, just show them this article.
OLTR Marriage is your least-bad option if you want a pair-bonded lifestyle. Pair bond, live with her, have kids if you want, don’t get legally married, and have an open marriage/relationship where you’re allowed to discreetly get a little on the side within whatever ground rules you both agree to. (Or good luck with monogamy and your college-educated, low-income, virgin Asian wife who complains she has a headache every time you want to have sex after you’ve been married for a few years. I’ll be over here being happy.)