Some informal statistics: 3 out 4 guys between the ages of 20 and 30 never, or probably never, want to have kids. 2 out of 4 guys in the same age group never want to get married. However, 4 out of 4 guys want to be in a monogamous relationship if they were in a relationship (note: this is more due to fear of STDs than desire to commit). No, I didn't completely make these stats up, but I did take them from a VERY small sample of people in my age group. Things have sure changed over the years. Even 30 years ago, 3 out of 4 guys probably wanted kids; wanted to get married, someday, at least, if not right that second; and I don't know about the monogamy thing, but the concern for STDs was not nearly as high then as it is now. Plus, now we have to worry about AIDS.
Girls, however, seem as traditional as ever. Girls in this age bracket still plan on getting married, many, it seems, because they watch too much reality TV and want the big, expensive, overblown wedding that's going to put papa in the poorhouse. Girls still want children, though not in as high of numbers as they did previously. Girls, for the most part, want monogamy, partly for fear of STDs, but more for desire for commitment.
I won't tell how I fall into these statistics, because I have a feeling I'm the exception rather than the rule here, but it amazes me how girls remain so traditional when the men in our age group seem to rush toward a modernity that clashes seriously with those traditional values.
It doesn't surprise me at all that the divorce rate is so high, because men and women seem to be on two different wavelengths when it comes to relationships and how to be in one. We are a spoiled group (though I have no doubt that the youngsters who are in the age group immediately after ours are even more spoiled), and we seem to forget that relationships are, in the end and inevitably so, about compromise. Guys seem to want to rebel against the Oprah-indoctrinated women who want to change them, and therefore, refuse to change at all. Women, on the other hand, seem to want to do everything they can to create the fairy tale romance, the perfect man, the ideal soulmate (never mind that they picked him up at a Burger King) that they've so often seen and swooned after in movies and television programs.
I may be very accommodating in a relationship--too forgiving, perhaps, in some cases--but there are some things I just won't do, no matter how cool and easy-going I wish to appear. I will not participate in "an open relationship" (for anyone not up to speed with that term: a relationship in which both partners are permitted to see other people but remain connected--though not necessarily committed--to each other in a romantic way). Open relationships seem to defeat the purpose. If you're going to date or screw other people, do it, but don't pretend you still want the person you're in an open relationship with after you do it. You're kidding yourself and each other. Take separate bedrooms. Have your own boys' nights and girls' nights, but don't sit there and pretend like dating other people makes your relationship stronger.
I hope I haven't offended anyone, but if so, feel free to tell me off in the comments. I will moderate generously.
Meatloaf anyone? (Hint: I'm thinking of a song lyric,
and no, I don't expect your thought path to be the same as mine.)