General Dating Questions/Is marriage obsolete?

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QUESTION: Hi Dennis,

Relationships sure have changed a lot in the last few generations. Even in the last 5 years things have changed a lot, in all countries around the world.

Do you feel that in the future, in the United States, marriage will become obsolete? If so, what year do you think that would happen by?

That's a bit drastic because there are so many tax benefits and to raise children it's better if mommy and daddy are committed to each other...but I'm talking perhaps in 2020? 2030? 2040? 2050?

Do you feel people will just live together in the future?

Just have kids out of wedlock?

Live with one person for the rest of their life?

Live with several different partners every few years, like George Clooney?

Or people will still get married, but have several divorces and remarriages?

People will get married but have open marriages with different sexual partners? Swingers?

What do you feel are the current trends? Future trends?

Also highly educated people generally don't marry until 35-40 anyway because they are just getting their careers started and paying off student loan debts. This might even be later on in the future.

Another issue is college tuition is really high nowadays, it's like $60,000/year at many decent schools. Without a scholarship, that's crazy! Lots of people are just not going to college or grad school at all, which is a real shame.

Do you feel people are just going to drown in educational student loan debt? Spend the rest of their lives paying back that $180,000 they borrowed for school, not get married or have kids or even date much because they have to pay back so much per month? If you have to pay $800/month student loan on top of $800/month rent, it will really kill your dating life, it definitely has mine.

What do you feel about all this, Dr. Neder?

Oddly enough...it seems the gays are the only ones who are dying to marry for commitment and tax benefits.

And oh yeah!! What about gay divorces and gay child support alimony lawsuits...that's already started.

I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this topic because I know you'll have great things to say :)

Stephanie

ANSWER: Hello Stephanie!

I wouldn't venture a guess as to when marriage would become obsolete. I don't think it will be "obsolete" at all. On the other hand it's changing very dramatically; and like many social institutions has always "evolved"; albeit, very, very slowly.

For instance, modern marriage (at least as we know it today) was a very different animal just 200 years ago. People didn't get married for love at all. They far more often got married for economic or political reasons. Families had a ton of say in who married whom because a single marriage would affect entire communities of people.

Today, there are actually more single people around than married people - at least in the US. That changed happened only about 3 years ago. Before then, there were more married people than single ones.

This is how societies (and cultures) work: they tend to be flexible and malleable, but make changes very, very slowly. Much of that slowness is due to how people fight change. We build entire "progress-stopping" institutions for example.

As well, there are more people having children outside of marriage too - and any stigma of doing so is just fading away. Consider that even 50 years ago, having a child while not married was considered an abomination. Many people would move away from home to have their children - and give them up for adoption - simply so that friends and family back home didn't know about it.

As you stated, people are waiting to get married and have families later on in life. Part of that is economic. While the economy continues to be stalled, people will avoid making changes in their lives that have huge economic impacts like marriage and having kids.

This is something I've talked about quite a bit on my shows. While I believe the current marriage "systems" are completely outdated, I don't see people rushing to prevent them from happening. What I do see however is that large parts of specific communities (such as men) are "opting out" of the traditions. There has been a battled waged between men and women over the last 30 years or so - and you girls have won.

The problem is, you didn't get anything for it. In fact, you lost ground while winning the battle. Many men feel this and have simply said, "Ok, fine. You go have what you fought for - I'm simply not getting involved". It's unfortunate, but the reality is; there's never been a worse time for men to be married - and men are absolutely aware of this fact.

I believe (or at least hope) that we'll begin to define a new type of "marriage". In this new system people will get married for finite periods of time - say 5 years for example. At the 5-year anniversary, they will then be able to renew their "license" or cancel it altogether. If the couple has children, that will change to an automatic 15-year license in order for the children to be raise and provided for.

That won't eliminate traditional marriage however. In fact, I'd bet it will create an entire "romance culture" built around keeping marriage a permanent bond. Religious zealots will scream about the "rotting of society" or some other nonsense and we'll have lots of news stories and shows built around it. What zany fun!

What I don't see happening any time soon is for things to improve in the marriage business. Women will continue to strive to be married and men will strive to prevent it. Many people will still get married and the divorce rate will continue along the current lines (about 50% and in some communities like L.A., New York, D.C., Chicago, etc.) it will be much higher - around 64%.

There is little motivation to fix the current legal "marriage entanglement" out there that causes men to want to avoid it and instead you see a lot of people, organizations, institutions and even governments trying to "guilt" or "trick" men into getting married - and then punishing them for being so stupid.

That will lead to the continuing growth in divorce and reduction in 2nd and 3rd marriages.

Now, is that really what you wanted to hear?

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
323.638.4145
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks. Do you feel that people will be less inclined to remarry in the future after a divorce? How many divorced people do you feel will get married again?

What about outside the United States, in Eastern cultures. Arranged marriages are still practiced to this day. Do you feel arranged marriages will become obsolete one day? 10 years? 20 years?

ANSWER: Hello again Stephanie!

Yes, I think that many people are less included to remarry. One thing we know is that remarriage doesn't reduce the divorce rate - it increases it. 64% of 2nd marriages end in divorce and 77% of 3rd marriages do the same.

These are staggering numbers yet you hear very little about it. The "marriage industry" doesn't really want you to know those facts simply because marriage is viewed as a society-strengthening institution. In fact, it is far more likely to keep you as a slave to that society because your assets go toward survival rather than leisure and self-building pursuits.

Regarding Eastern cultures; in fact, arranged marriages are actually dropping off dramatically. It's interesting that many people actually come to the US in order to keep that (and other) practice alive! Many Eastern societies are losing the "tradition" as they begin to become more Westernized and in order to keep it going, these practitioners have to go where they won't be pressured to conform.

In fact, I don't think they'll become obsolete, but they will become very rare; taking at least 20-30 years to happen. Any benefits offered by an arranged marriage are being exposes as less beneficial for the individual as they were originally touted. Arranged marriage is entirely done at the benefit of the family - not the two being married, but that was a construct when the family or community were held in far greater importance than the individual. In 3rd world countries, individuals may die off at around 30-years old but communities continued.

On the other hand, we're actually seeing some other odd hybrids in marriage happening in some cultures. For example, in parts of India (where entire cities are made up of "family tribes") a new "tradition" (made so by necessity, not construct) is cropping up.

This is call the "family-wife" where someone from one family ("tribe" or "cast") meets someone from another. They (presumably) fall in love and agree to get married. This helps to tie the two communities together. The wife then goes to live with her new husband. What she didn't know however is that she becomes the "wife" to all the men in the community and is shared among them.

She can't leave the new community because her own family won't take her back. Any children born are considered community-members and are raised by everyone and she is expected to work alongside the rest of the women in the community not only as a breeder but as a community member.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
323.638.4145
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Arranged marriage in India is basically parents looking at match.com and finding nice people for their kids to date. End goal definitely being marriage and not just dating or living together. But you are still at least allowed to date for a few months. A far cry from arranged marriage 20 years ago where you never even saw your spouse until your wedding night.

So even arranged marriage has completely evolved too.

Well I don't think India is too different, even if India has the lowest divorce rate in the world at only 5%, however there are plenty of cities in India where the divorce rate is 50%. That's even worse than US odds! Young people are living together. The end goal is still marriage however and those divorced people all get remarried in arranged marriages. But there are still a high number of people on their 2nd marriages there too (not including widows).

Yes you are right. The immigrants in the United States are the most backwards as they try to preserve their heritage from 30 years ago, not realizing that world doesn't exist anymore. People from the foreign countries are more modern.

But in the United States, do you feel more and more people will simply just continue to live together (and possibly raise children) without marriage?

Answer
Yo! Stephanie!

No, not really. Arranged marriage is almost always between families that actually know each other. Keep in mind that arranged marriage isn't about love - it's about economy. Sure, parents want their kids to love their partners, but that is absolutely secondary to the primary goal. I actually have friends right here in the US who practice arranged marriage - and even were participants themselves.

There is definitely a growth in the trend to live together rather than marry. It's not a huge growth but significant. A few years ago studies showed that couple who lived together before marriage had a very slight increase in the probability of divorce, but recent studies have turned that trend around. That fact however doesn't seem to be changing the non-marriage cohabitation numbers.

There have been many reports of an increase in cohabitators moving to marriage, but that's due primarily to the increase in cohabitation itself - not in seeing any specific benefit in marriage.

All that said, marriage numbers are definitely declining, cohabitation numbers are increasing and the system isn't moving very fast to accommodate the changes.

Best regards...

Dr. Dennis W. Neder
CEO/Executive Producer
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.
BAM! Productions
Remington Publications
323.638.4145
http://beingaman.com
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”

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Dr. Dennis W. Neder

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I'm able to answer any sort of question related to the approach, meeting people, dating, sex, relationships, break-ups, non-legal marriage and divorce questions, and anything in between. I've helped over 30,000 people with their individual issues. IMPORTANT: Please, PLEASE don't ask me, "what was he thinking..." or "why did he say..." types of questions! I DO NOT READ MINDS! There are 1,001 reasons why someone does what they do, says what they say or thinks what they think. If you *REALLY* want to know what they were thinking, saying or why they were acting that way - go ask them! Be sure to check out my FAQ's on my website at: http://beingaman.com. You can email me directly at: dwneder@beingaman.com.

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I am the author of the books "Being a Man in a Woman`s World I & II" and "1001 Places and Techniques to Meet Great Women" and 11 others. I`ve spent the last 20 years studying the art and science of every aspect of relationships, and have answered over 30,000 letters from readers all over the world. My main focus is men`s relationships with women, but I also have many female readers and answer questions for them regularly as well.

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Doctor of Philosophy

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