The Un-Marrying Kind

Friday, September 30, 2011

Senior writer at the Pew Research Center, D'Vera Cohn, talks about the census numbers that show New York City as having a high percentage of unmarried women, and what it says about changing gender and marriage roles.


D'Vera Cohn

Comments [36]

carolita from NYC

MichaelB from Morningside Heights:
it's not about me? who said it was about me, anyway?

Next: I don't want children. How about that? My partner has children of his own, and I don't feel called upon to provide any more, or I'd have refrained from being part of this couple. And -- even if I did have or want children, -- there are many ways of ensuring that they would be protected and fed without me needing to be married. This is a decent, civil society, with many protections for children. And if there weren't enough, I'd be one of the people who would make sure they were put in place, through legislative action.

Also, yes, I'm unmarried and I AM part of the community, a living, breathing, tax-paying contributing member of society. Marriage won't make me more so.

I am appalled by a mentality that values married women over single women. Or married couples over cohabiting couples. It's like you're saying that your oldfashioned conventions are immutable forever. Well, they're not.

Who do you think you're talking down to? A twenty year old girl? I'm a very experienced older woman. Or do you think only young women are marriageable? All of your prejudices are showing.

Oct. 01 2011 04:43 PM

bklynchica - perhaps the urban male is a little more restless, but perhaps it might also be the aloof nature of the urban female as well...? Why do urban females all seem to be so High and Mighty ? Especially when you're trolling the same places, in the same manner as the men, and which has not changed much in decades.

Step off the designer heels and get back on the ground. Might find a few good men who dont buy into the feminine urban mystique.

Oct. 01 2011 12:19 PM
Potter Wortman

Neither guest nor host mentioned that a likely substantially significant cause of the "decline" of monogamous marriage is that the institution remains, to the greatest degree in history, in unresolved conflict with what Bertrand Russell argued were the "generally polygamous instincts" of "uninhibited civilized people." Sooner or later, Russell maintained, "sexual familiarity dulls the edge of passion, and then [people] begin to look elsewhere for a revival of the old thrill." More importantly, however, than simple sexual freedom, Russell went on, "There can be no doubt that to close one's mind on marriage against all the approaches of love from elsewhere is to diminish receptivity and sympathy and the opportunities of valuable human contacts. It is to do violence to something which . . . is in itself desirable and tends to promote . . . a policeman's outlook on the whole of human life." Russell's solution to this problem was to propose that "where a marriage is fruitful and both parties to it are reasonable and decent, the expectation ought to be that it will be lifelong, but not that it will exclude other sex relations." As for the problem of jealousy, "though it is an instinctive emotion, is one which can be controlled if it is recognized as bad, and not supposed to be the expression of a just moral indignation." Would that I could discuss this conflict with my wife, but I do not for fear of wrecking our relationship and our family - which I do not want to do. Marriage, and monogamy generally, lose credibility to the extent that they fail to satisfactorily deal with these issues. Otherwise it is only natural that people would have serious reservations about this form of relationship.

Sep. 30 2011 11:51 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

A lot of dumb men AND dumb women think they are going to import some immigrant spouse from abroad, and think they will gain a appreciative and controllable partner! Ha! Once he/she gets his or her Green Card, your dreams of having a submissive, appreciative mate will crumble very quickly. Like most fantasies.

Sep. 30 2011 11:07 AM
John A.

Can't agree more. Four people in one house has to be cheaper than single parents in two.
- - -
My humorous aside:
Go to the magazine seller 'Women's interest' mag section: It's all pictures of Women on the cover. Go to the Mens: It's all pictures of women...

Sep. 30 2011 11:06 AM
bklynchica from Brooklyn

NYC has too many options. The menu is too big. Why settle down when you are constantly tantalized by the possibility of someone better right around the corner? I'm a 27 yr old woman who wants children and marriage one day, but it feels impossible to maintain a relationship with restless NYC men.

Sep. 30 2011 11:06 AM
Rebecca from Brooklyn

You left out a very important factor in the show today! NY is a very queer-friendly city. A lot of us move here for that community and there is of course a higher percentage of LGBTQ people in NYC than in rural areas. Until very recently, we were not permitted to get married in NYS. So, I'll be curious to find out how the new NYS marriage equality influences these statistics in years to come.

A lesbian who is allowed to marry her partner in NYS but unfortunately unable to sponsor her foreign-born partner for immigration. The right to marry in NYS is just one step... repeal DOMA!

Sep. 30 2011 11:05 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

@The Truth from Becky

Ha, ha Amen, do they ever!

Sep. 30 2011 11:04 AM
elisabeth from madison, nj

as a widow, i find it very difficult to make and keep female friends in suburban NJ. it's not easy for single women in this kind of suburban, family-oriented environment, (perhaps as opposed to a very urban environment), as you are perceived to be some kind of threat to the other women. also, i believe one reason the divorce rate has not gone up is because for the last several years, people simply cannot afford to get divorced. i have seen this trend occur in my own family and in the families of my friends.

Sep. 30 2011 11:04 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The truth TO Becky

A man who does not keep some secrets, about money in particular, is a nice guy who is going to get cleaned out and finish last!

Sep. 30 2011 11:03 AM
The Truth from Becky

If you are your taxes married filing "separately"! Men never have their *S* together and they keep way too many secrets!!

Sep. 30 2011 11:00 AM
Nick from UWS

What is with this woman? "We haven't examined this....we haven't examined that...."

Well go and examine these very pertinent issues and come back when you're ready to talk about marriage in an authoritative way.

Sep. 30 2011 11:00 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Decades ago some femlib quipped, "A woman needs a man like fish needs a bicycle." I say, a man needs a woman like a horse needs a rider! :)

Sep. 30 2011 11:00 AM
Earnest Libraire from NYC

I've been with my partner for 40 years, we married young due to conservative parental and societal pressure, but found the institution, with all its inherent patriarchal assumptions, did not fit. This was in 1977 - after 4 years of marriage we divorced, but stayed together ("living in sin"!). Raised 2 kids with one other adult, have been polyamorous for 35 years, just got remarried in order to be able to collect social security when one of us dies. Learned to use or ignore the institution as appropriate: marriage, as popularly understood, does not define our long-term, committed, primary relationship.

Sep. 30 2011 11:00 AM

I called in but my choice not to marry was dismissed as an economic choice--my boyfriend and I are both college educated. I have two masters, and we have solid stable high-paying jobs. It's not lack of funds or education--it's our choice to not enter into a contract that is basically political.

Sep. 30 2011 11:00 AM
The Truth from Becky

Women can fend for themselves now, most earn as much or more than need to marry....let this archaic notion continue die!

Sep. 30 2011 10:59 AM
Mike from Inwood

The problem for a women who can't find a 'suitable' man for her friends is often that her friends are not suitable, either.

Sep. 30 2011 10:59 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Not enough "good men"??? Read Lori Gottlieb's "Marry Him" to put THAT myth to rest. Women are still chasing Prince Charming and "eliminate" men for the most foolish, narrowly-thought reasons.

Sep. 30 2011 10:58 AM
DK in BK from Brooklyn, NY

You start the interview saying ‘what’s wrong with women who are not married’ and then interviewee says ‘what’s wrong with men'. Well, I say, neither. As a 39 year old man who has never been married I say maybe you should start the conversation with ‘what is wrong with the institution of marriage. Good job disparaging a large portion of your audience right from the start

Sep. 30 2011 10:58 AM

Reasons to get married are all economic. Health insurance, social security.

Sep. 30 2011 10:56 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

@ Michael B
That's funny, I heard that research showed the diametric opposite (on WNYC, I believe)

That is also my experience as well

Sep. 30 2011 10:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Monogamous, patriarchal family system was institutionalized to bring about a certain "fair" distribution of males and females, and matchmaking was the norm everywhere until the last century. So there was a greater chance of matching like with like. The breakdown of match making in favor of the "free for all" was the beginning of the downfall. No fault divorce accelerated it considerably. And of course, the change in the economy that made it possible for a women to replace and compete with men for most jobs, more or less has put the final nails into the coffin of the "traditional" family. And of course gay marriage. So, some other means of manufacturing and raising children will have to come about or social catastrophe looms large.

Sep. 30 2011 10:55 AM
Madge from Brooklyn, NY

Many of my unmarried friends my age (late 30s) are still looking and want to be in a long-term relationship, but I find there are fewer exceptional men than there are women, and I have a very hard time setting up my girlfriends on dates with equally exceptional men.

Sep. 30 2011 10:52 AM
Erika from Brooklyn

Most couples I know in New York that live together are not ready for marriage however most of us can’t afford to live by ourselves.

Sep. 30 2011 10:51 AM
Mike from Inwood

I'm 53 years old. I moved here when I was 30 and met many women who were nice people and pleasant company, but no one I'd like to marry. Of course, I haven't been looking all this time; I gave up years ago.

Sep. 30 2011 10:50 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

I thought this topic was exhausted the first time around.

I would rather hear a discussion on how families coping in the current financial downturn in NY. How many families are doubling or tripling up to make ends meet (does the census track that)? How about the lack of affordable housing--can't talk about that enough...just a thought.

Sep. 30 2011 10:50 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

... and research shows that couples who co-habitate BEFORE marriage are more likely to divorce later. Don't know if that includes couples who don't marry and then split up.

Sep. 30 2011 10:50 AM
John A.

Is there a good church to go to to meet singles or are the two (singleness,religion) 'antithetical' to each other nowadays?

Sep. 30 2011 10:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Marriage was invented by men in order to know who their children really are. Today we have DNA paternity tests, so that reason is no longer relevant. All the purposes that marriage once fulfilled no longer apply, hence it is seen increasingly irrelevant. A relic of the past. Women don't need men to make a living. They will not put up with the subordinate status that the patriarchal "family system" required. Women can get sperm from a bank.They only need man to support them through pregnancy and few years thereafter. Feminists led the way to the destruction of traditional marriage, so what is their complaint now?

Sep. 30 2011 10:50 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Carolita, it's not always "about you." Your rationale has been repeated ad nauseum. Marriage is about connection to the community and society. It is the institution of marriage that is the cement of building connections within and throughout communities.

And ultimately, it is about the next generation and legal protections for the care and feeding of children. Without the legal sanction of marriage, both responsibilities and protection of rights (such as access and decision-making) having to do with children are less secure.

Don't mean to pick on you though....

Sep. 30 2011 10:48 AM

Old old joke: definition of bachelor is man who never made the same mistake once. Nice to know women are smartening up too.

Having made the same mistake twice, I testify that singlehood is vastly superior.

Sep. 30 2011 10:47 AM
Janetta from Upper West Side

I have lived in Manhattan, well, for too long. My advice to women starting out here after college is this: Forget playing around in your 20s until it’s time to settle down. Be on the lookout now for a quality man and go all in without [much] delay. Men have no need to change their “perceptions” in order to adapt more successfully in today’s sexual market place. You will be judged. Proceed wisely.

Sep. 30 2011 10:43 AM
Jaclyn from SoHo

The NY Post recently featured an article about this. Here is some commentary:

Sep. 30 2011 10:28 AM
Gary from East Side

Manhattan makes my college days feel like a convent! Just get out when you're ready for women meant for marriage. You know what I mean.

Sep. 30 2011 10:25 AM
Brent from Phuket

As a bachelor who resided in Manhattan for 8 years, I now feel that I lived two very different lives. Because now I live in Thailand with a wonderful Thai wife and five children. I knew back then that committing to any NY woman was unwise but I thank them graciously for the multitudes of memories. And I mean multitudes. Play locally, marry globally!

Sep. 30 2011 10:11 AM
carolita from NYC

I'm monogamous, faithful, and living with the man I love, but I don't need the state to validate my relationship.

Sep. 30 2011 10:03 AM

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