Our Men vs. Women blog series continues with a biggee: How we choose our partners. I sincerely believe this is yet another instance where our differences show up big-time and reflect our inherently diverse sensibilities. I will also declare up front my bottom-line conclusion that women are smarter–for the most part–in this area.
There is often a debate about what the prevailing divorce rates are. Conventional thinking has divorce in first marriages at about 50 percent. What I find so ironic are the stats for second and third marriages. You’d think “we’d” learn from our failures, but evidently second marriages end in divorces two-thirds of the time, while third marriages end in divorce three-fourths of the time! So much for learning from our mistakes!
Again, I recognize that generalities and stereotypes all have exceptions but they’re often true for the majority. So, let’s have at it with my list, once again in no particular order:
- Men use the real estate mantra, but instead of location location location, it’s looks looks looks
Men are slugs when it comes to women. We tend to make our initial choices based totally on looks, sex appeal and surface impressions. For some men, that is the beginning and end of their “look” at a woman. For some of us, we actually pay attention to a little more than the superficial considering such factors as intelligence, sense of humor, character, interests, political point of view, religion, etc.
- Women tend to choose based on several factors including income, sense of humor and income (that’s NOT a typo)
Women, on the other hand, do tend to “look” a bit further than a guy’s looks though some are hung up on height. They respond a LOT to a good sense of humor and probably the biggest factor women care about is a man’s ability to “provide,” his job, income and potential to support a family.
- Men make snap judgments
While men and women both rely on first impressions, I will assert that men may not get past a poor first impression if they’re not satisfied with the looks of a potential partner.
- Women are more thoughtful
As suggested by the previous male predisposition, women will “take a second look” after perhaps a neutral to negative first impression. If the man makes her laugh, if he’s a “gentleman,” if he picks up the tab (a big deal for a first date), and if he follows through on things he says (like calling again), a poor first impression may get turned around.
- Men might need encouragement to make that commitment
If a man doesn’t have to marry, especially if he’s not particularly religious, he won’t. Women make the rules in this regard by asserting a “take it or leave it” choice at some point.
- Women will likely provide the needed encouragement
After my divorce, I was NOT getting married again. I met Debbie. She was terrific. She made it clear that without marriage there was no Debbie. I reconsidered because she was worth it. My cousin took another path when her boyfriend was reluctant. She moved out-of-state. Within a few short months, she had a proposal.
- Divorced men are usually more reluctant to re-marry than divorced women–note the word “usually” in this declaration
I am sure this will equalize in short order since women are now coming closer to parity with men on income. However, now and in the past, most men got reamed by divorce. There was a horrible sexism in most so-called Family Courts,* favoring women on all counts.
- Women have more of an inherent need and desire for a monogamous relationship
Women are born to nurture. With that instinct comes the desire for a safe, monogamous family. Its nature and nurture at its best, pure and simple. I am grateful for this biological tendency. I believe the family is the single best structure for raising good children.
If men could get away with bigamy they would. If married men could easily have a mistress or serial affairs, they would. What women don’t understand is that this doesn’t mean they love their wives less. Men are just built to procreate. It’s civilization, religion, and women that keep men in line!
- Men would prefer to have their cake and eat it too!
Men actually do better married. Most men, unlike Hugh Hefner, do recognize the value of marriage, want children, and ultimately at a certain age, get tired of “the chase.” However, if women allowed men to fool around, most men would. Thankfully, most women won’t tolerate it, most religions preach against it, and our culture tends to discourage it, though I do believe there’s a double standard that lets some men get away with stuff that a similar woman would get horribly chastised for. Best example: Bill Clinton.
- Women humanize men, so ultimately it all works out in the end
Men live longer when married. Smart men realize this. Men like what a woman brings to them. When it comes to home and family, women bring much to the party though I suspect this is rapidly changing with the rapidly changing workplace. Nonetheless, men are better off married and they live longer, too!
Okay, that’s it for the third column in my Men vs. Women series. I await your comments…
*I prefer to call Family Courts, Anti-Family Courts much as I believe Family Lawyers are really Anti-Family Lawyers. This is simply based on the reality of how the system works. Also, I have a California bias since California has historically treated men horribly in divorce.
**This is an opinion piece and the views expressed within don't necessarily reflect the views of Patch or its editors.
About this column: Bruce Sallan is an Agoura Hills stay-at-home dad who is raising two teenage boys. Bruce’s first book, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation is available at Amazon and the store at BruceSallan.com: http://brucesallan.com/index.php/store. Bruce Sallan’s column, “A Dad’s Point-of-View,” is carried in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide. Please listen to “The Bruce Sallan Show - A Dad’s Point-of-View,” his one-hour radio show, which is available anytime, via live stream, or to download for free on BruceSallan.com.