Men, MGTOW and Marriage
I’ve recently finished reading Stand By Your Manhood by Peter Lloyd. A book I’d highly recommend to anyone interested in Men’s issues.
Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)
One of the chapters of the book covered the Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) movement and the philosophy behind it. In its purest form, the MGTOW movements is simply the decision that many men are making to opt out of the institution of Marriage. Some go further and opt out of relationships altogether, but most MGTOW men still want fulfilling relationships with the opposite sex, they just don’t want the ring and imbalanced obligations that go with it.
I think they have some very valid points. The issue with marriage is that should a marriage fail, as many do, many men are left in a very vulnerable position. They lose their friends, sometimes even friendships they formed independently of the relationship. They disproportionately risk losing their homes. They may be forced to pay alimony, and if they have children, they are likely to lose access to their children and yet will still be expected to pick up the child support tab.
Of course, when you fall in love with someone, all these things are furthest from your mind. You don’t normally go into a marriage defeatist, expecting it to fail, but if it does, and 70% of the time when it does, the separation is at the behest of the wife in heterosexual marriages, the prospects are not good.
Men are much more likely to commit suicide after a divorce than women and they’re also much more likely to find themselves homeless too.
It’s easy to understand why many men are saying “I don’t” rather than “I do” when the risks of marriage are high and the rewards almost non-existent.
The role of Marriage
Marriage used to be the ticket to gain access to sex and starting a family. If a woman was going to put her health at risk by getting pregnant, she needed the security of a legal obligation for the father of her children to provide for her and those children.
These days things are very different, a plethora of easy access contraception has meant that women can confidently enjoy carnal knowledge with lesser fear of pregnancy. Medical advances in maternity care in western countries has also meant that labour is less risky for both mother and child than ever before and the welfare state system has meant that a single mother is no longer directly financially dependant on a father for survival.
Alimony and Child Support
All these things have changed, but our laws have not yet caught up. We still have unfair alimony laws that mean men are expected to maintain an ex-wife’s standard of living, even when she has chosen to end the couple’s relationship and when, in this modern age where women make up half the workforce, she could provide for herself as he is expected to.
Men can be made to make child support payments for children, even if they are not the biological father and even if the children resulted from rape (except we’re not allowed to call it rape, rape only recognises the consent of women, not the consent of men) or from women lying about birth control in order to deliberately become pregnant against the expressed wishes of the prospective father.
Marriage and the nuclear family
However, as much as I recognise the reasons why men are no longer consenting to marriage, and I support an individuals right to design his or her own destiny, I do lament an institution that has been the cornerstone of the nuclear family.
I myself am a very happily married man. I was not pushed into marriage out of some sense of duty to please the woman I love but it was a mutual commitment of love, respect and trust.
Even though I now know far more of the realities of the risks men take at the alter, how we set ourselves up to be sacrificial lambs, I would do so again without a moment’s hesitation because I also understand my wife too was putting herself into a similarly vulnerable position.
From my experience of marriages that break up, which I admit is fortunately rather limited, I find that the vulnerability is not always a one way street. The one that has all the power when a marriage is dissolved always seems to be the initiator. More often than not, that is the wife, but sometimes it can be the husband and I have witnessed the unfairness of it all from the female prospective as well.
I do think that we need reform in our legislation to make marriage a fair balance of risk for both sexes, alimony should only be paid out in circumstances where one spouse is sacrificing their career for the benefit of both partners, and only by mutual prior agreement. When a marriage breaks down, you cannot expect to be accustomed to the same lifestyle as you enjoyed during the marriage.
When it comes to child custody, both parents should have equal right to access the children they created together, but should be allowed to make different arrangements only if it is convenient to both parties. Children need their fathers every bit as much as they need their mothers, and it should be treated as a form of psychological child abuse when one parent denies the other access unless the state has determined, by fair trial considering all the evidence, a reason why one parent is not fit to perform his or her parental duties. Right now it’s too easy to make a false claim in order to manipulate the family courts and there are seldom consequences for the purgerer.
Assumed shared parenting would also make the need for child support redundant in most cases but couples unable to fulfil a 50/50 split would be able to trade off financial support for child rearing support, with the help of mediation. This would save the state massive amounts of money in having to administer a burdensome child support system and, most importantly, the outcome for the child would be better.
If you, like me, still believe in the virtues and benefits of a stable nuclear family, I would ask you not to write off marriage altogether but instead make sure both partners going into a marriage are very clear on how disputes should be settled at the courting stage, and get this in the form of a prenuptial agreement, although they’re not legally enforceable yet in the United Kingdom.
Spend a lot of time talking to your partner. By the time I married my soulmate, we had been courting for nine years and living together for five years. There’s no guarantee that any marriage will last a lifetime, but then again, there are no guarantees of anything in life, sometimes we just have to take a risk and for me at least, I think it was a risk worth taking. Just don’t do it because someone else wants you to, do it because you want to or don’t do it at all!