Marriage Ruins Relationships!… The Marriage Myth Exposed

broken-heart-wrapped-in-chainThe idea that marriage can ruin a relationship that was once loving and respectful is probably one of the most popular Hollywood created and promoted myths around. And despite the fact that it is completely untrue, it just won’t die.

I have no doubt that anyone old enough to be interested in a blog post on marriage has heard this myth recited in movies, on television programs, and in real life from people attempting to justify their unwillingness to commit to their current partner.

The popularity of this myth has been bolstered by long-term celebrity couples like Susan Sarandon / Tim Robbins and Goldie Hawn / Kurt Russell, who claim that keeping their options open also keeps their relationship “fresh and exciting”. Frankly, I don’t buy it. I suspect that Hollywood people are merely trying to keep their accumulated assets from ending up in the hands of their partners should the relationship end. California is a No-Fault Divorce state, which means a 50/50 asset split after 10 years of marriage, regardless of the circumstances leading to the divorce.

The power of the marriage myth lies in its ability to convince otherwise intelligent people (usually women, but sometimes men) that someone who has flat out refused to commit to them and a long-term future with them has done so, but in a way that “protects” the relationship. Its a brilliant idea, no doubt about it. But it’s also absolute bull crap!

Sometimes, the perpetrator will even buy their sucker … I mean partner a ring symbolizing their one-sided commitment. And I’m not talking about the Johnny Depp variety of engagement that will never lead to a wedding (that’s a whole other post). When you invoke the marriage myth there is no engagement. There will never be an engagement! After all, “Marriage is just a piece of paper that destroys love. We don’t need the government to tell us that are commitment is real!” :lol:

Let’s face it, the truth does hurt in matters of love and commitment when what you willingly give to someone else is not returned in kind. And it is easier and far less offensive for them to recite the marriage myth than to say, “when I get tired of you or find someone I believe is better than you, I want to make sure that you can never get your hands on any of my assets – even if you foolishly helped me gain many of them, despite my refusal to commit to you.”

While the myth sounds romantic and idealistic, the truth sounds ugly and selfish. THAT is why this myth is so popular.

This post was inspired by the real-life situation of my cousin-in-law. We’ll call her Sara. Sara was in a 5+ year relationship with a man who told her that he wanted to finish grad school before getting married. After he graduated, in year two of their relationship, he said he wanted to establish a career first. He got a great job right out of grad school, because he interned at the company during college and grad school. So now he has a high paying job/career at an engineering firm with multiple government contracts, and since he is one of the few Americans there (and he’s White) he will probably have a job there for as long as he wants it. But he still insisted to Sara that he was not ready to get married. His new excuses included not having enough saved for a lavish wedding and wanting to buy them a home first.

So this year, he bought a three bedroom house (his name alone is on the deed) and moved her in, and she was excited about it and expected a proposal to come soon after, but months passed and there was no proposal. To top it off, this year Sara had to sit through five family weddings (that he would not attend with her) and watch people who hadn’t known each other half as long as she’d been with him tie the knot, including me and her cousin.

Understandably, Sara got impatient as Thanksgiving approached, because he usually spent the holidays with his family and she with hers (which I always found odd), and asked him when they would be getting married. He told her that he thinks they should forgo marriage because things were “perfect” between them and he didn’t want to “ruin it”. And yes, he claimed that marriage was just piece of paper.

She said that when he said those words she was finally able to acknowledge what she had always suspected, but didn’t want to accept: that he did not, and had never, loved her the way that she loved him. She admitted to keeping the breakup a secret for so long because she had been embarrassed about letting him waste more than half a decade of her life. She told us all this on Christmas day, and they had broken up three days before Thanksgiving.

What I call the marriage myth she refers to as the “Woody Allen”. She said she wished that he had tried to pull the “Woody Allen” on her years ago, so that she could have dumped him sooner and found someone who genuinely wanted to start a life with her.

As angry and hurt as Sara is, she’s very lucky. Unlike most of the women who have allowed a man to waste years and even decades of their lives, Sara is only 28 years old. Sara recognized the marriage myth / “Woody Allen” for what it was the moment her ex tried using it on her, and ended the relationship right then and there. She escaped the trap young, which is why I wanted to recount her story.

I have come across dozens of BW who were/are in long-term “relationships” with no hope of ever getting a bona fide commitment from men that they refer to as “their man”. And from what I’ve heard, the marriage myth is usually used up front. No tall tales about needing to buy a home, save for a wedding, or finish graduate school, just “most marriages end in divorce, so why jeopardize a good thing” or “it’s just a piece of paper, we don’t need it to prove we love each other” and other equally insincere variations on the theme. Pretty soon the woman is reciting those same lies to her family and friends, and claiming that she’s not disappointed because “marriage isn’t everything”. Those who really believe this will probably end up old, alone and childless or old, alone and a baby mama – shouldering all the burden and blame for how poorly her fatherless child(ren) turn out.

I’ve noticed that divorce stats are especially popular with men looking to waste your child-bearing years. What I do not understand is why so many women fall for it. It really saddens me to know how gullible so many BW are. Or is this acceptance an act of desperation, as some contend? Whatever a woman’s reason for accepting the marriage myth, here’s the truth: If you allow a man to gain all the benefits of marriage without his having to marry you, he will NEVER marry you! Why should he?

Women can spare themselves a lot of heartache and wasted time by saving the wifely chores for after the wedding. And I’m not even talking about sex. Sex is the least of what many BW are offering to men that they want to love them. How many Black women do you know who are acting as cook, maid, laundress, sounding board, ATM, ego massager and defender to men who are unwilling to put a ring on it? I’m guessing at least one. And it’s not working. It will never work, because men are not like women in some very important biochemical ways.

FYI, even the nicest man in the world will take advantage of you, if you allow him to. He may eventually feel guilty and dump you, because he knows that he will never respect and love you, but for the time being he will take whatever you willingly give. Even your women friends and family members will take advantage of you, if you don’t require reciprocity. It’s Human nature. How much of an advantage each will take is a reflection of their individual character and conscience.

But more likely than not, if you are giving everything that you have to offer to people you do not require to reciprocate, you will only attract users. Extreme generosity tends to make decent people feel very uncomfortable, and obligated.

Part of the problem is that many BW date from a position of weakness, dating one guy at a time, giving their all to someone who has done nothing to earn such undivided attentiveness. Going the “hopelessly devoted” route, before marriage, is NEVER a good idea. Men, real men, love competing with other men for what they desire and coming up the winner. Men always value what they have fought for and won more than what is simply given to them. If you make a man work for the honor of being your man and eventually your husband, he will always treat you like the treasure that you are, because he knows that you have other options. Trust me on this.

Keep in mind, that if you are the one reciting the marriage myth because you want a man in your life but not a husband, that is your choice and I respect it. But if you are marriage-minded and want an actual commitment and some guy is just stringing you along until someone “better” comes along, it’s time to cut that string and move on.

No matter what you may have read or been told by the media, your family, friends, social “scientists”, or your man, you can always find a better man!

About blackfemaleculture

I am an African American woman looking to connect with other African American women who are interested in reinventing a wholesome, empowering culture that feeds the minds and souls of African American women and their children.
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16 Responses to Marriage Ruins Relationships!… The Marriage Myth Exposed

  1. Modernmystic says:

    Your Woody Allen reference is so spot on. As the world knows, he is now MARRIED to the adopted sister of his biological son with Mia Farrow.

    • Yes he is, and they’ve been married for 20 years now. This is the same guy who wasted 15 years of his wife’s mother’s life with his “marriage is just a piece of paper” bull crap! A valuable lesson for all women.

  2. Kendra Blake says:

    “FYI, even the nicest man in the world will take advantage of you, if you allow him to. He may eventually feel guilty and dump you, because he knows that he will never respect and love you, but for the time being he will take whatever you willingly give. Even your women friends and family members will take advantage of you, if you don’t require reciprocity.”

    This is spot on! It took me a long time to understand this. I was raised to be a good woman and do whatever I could for everyone else, even when they could easily do things for themselves. I had to learn the hard way that it’s never a good idea to give and give and give without reciprocity. Those type of relationships, even if they start off great, always become toxic. That’s been my experience.

    “Part of the problem is that many BW date from a position of weakness, dating one guy at a time, giving their all to someone who has done nothing to earn such undivided attentiveness. Going the “hopelessly devoted” route, before marriage, is NEVER a good idea. Men, real men, love competing with other men for what they desire and coming up the winner.”

    Even if you’re not dating multiple guys it’s a good idea to let the man your dating believe you are. That’s what I did in my current relationship and it has become very serious. We’ve even discussed marriage and he brought it up, not me. I believe its also because I didn’t make him my entire world. I’ve done that in the past with men. My entire existence would revolve around what they were doing and how much time they’d have for me. Now I have a man chasing me and it feels great!

    • “I was raised to be a good woman and do whatever I could for everyone else, even when they could easily do things for themselves…. Those type of relationships, even if they start off great, always become toxic. That’s been my experience.”

      This is something that Black parents need to stop teaching their daughters pronto! There is nothing “good” about depriving others of a sense of accomplishment. When you do for others what they could and should do for themselves they resent it, if only subconsciously. This is doubly true for men when the do-gooder is a woman. That’s why the relationships become toxic. I’m always happy to hear that there is one less BW making this mistake. :)

      “Even if you’re not dating multiple guys it’s a good idea to let the man your dating believe you are. That’s what I did in my current relationship and it has become very serious. We’ve even discussed marriage and he brought it up, not me.”

      It’s better to actually date multiple guys (without sex), so that you can compare and judge each of the men impartially. It’s hard to get attached to just one when you are dating several. You’ll find it’s much easier to chose better men when you haven’t allowed yourself to become attached, before really getting to know them. You’ll also feel more confident about your feminine allure.

      BUT if you haven’t met many date-worthy men, pretending that you are dating other guys is better than letting the one you are dating believe that he’s the only man you could get. So, you definitely did the right thing. I’m happy to hear that things are going well for you. :D

  3. Maria says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve written something similar to this on my blog http://femmegirl2379.blogspot.com/ but you have done a much better job. I too have heard at least half of the excuses men make just to get out of marrying you. But it has come to a point where I don’t even feel like getting married anymore. I hope that one day I can feel the same way about the prospect of marriage like I use to.

    • Thank you for the link Maria. I’m excited to read your take on this topic.

      “…it has come to a point where I don’t even feel like getting married anymore. I hope that one day I can feel the same way about the prospect of marriage like I use to.”

      I hope so too. Just remember that finding a great husband is a numbers game more than anything else. I have dated a LOT of men (without sex – want to make that clear), but I have only had 4 serious relationships. The last one became my husband. But by the time I met him I had already decided that I was going to get married. And I think having that mindset helped me.

      Some of my friends and family members told me “Just let it happen”. You know, be all zen about it. In my experience nothing good ever just happens, you have to be proactive. I was also told “Never tell a man that you want a husband and children, you’ll scare him off!” Which is true of the men who just want sex and to waste your time, but men who actually want a wife and children are usually thrilled to meet a woman who’s not ashamed to admit she wants a traditional family.

  4. Uvebeenwarned says:

    Thank you for writing this,
    Women need to hearn this. Especially the part about “nice people taking advantage of others as much as regular users”.
    What can one do ? Take heart & read this:
    - http://www.platinumgirlcelebrityblog.com/2010/03/how-giseles-rather-rules-y-behavior.html
    - http://www.platinumgirlcelebrityblog.com/2012/04/why-adam-levines-girlfriend-anne.html
    - http://www.therulesrevisited.com/2012/01/dont-let-guy-waste-your-most-eligible.html
    - http://wwnh.wordpress.com/ (check ” Boyfriend as King? Never?. Also look at the serie “Fidelity without his Devotion? Unlikely!))

  5. mYstiQue says:

    Women and girls have to STOP USING the term SINGLE for not having a steady boyfriend. They are changing the language They are doing this of ALL COLORS! I tell these silly girls: YOU ARE SINGLE UNTIL YOURE MARRIED… same goes for being Engaged. Its getting dso sad out there that GIRLS are proposing to GUYS and telling family & friends they are ENGAGED….?

    • Yes! And it’s not just regular folks pretending that dating someone means you are no longer single; the media has been doing this for as long as I can remember. Its part and parcel of the scam. The cold truth is, until someone is married they are up for grabs. Period.

      Look at how often Johnny Depp has been engaged. He never married a single one of these fiancees. Not even the last one, who bore his two kids, and now he’s moved on again. Women have to smarten up and face the reality that it’s all in the air until the wedding day.

      When a woman chases a man it creates a relationship dynamic that leads to dissatisfaction and divorce. Women should NEVER propose to men, under any circumstance. And what kind of man would accept? SMH. It’s so desperate and shameful.

      • I agree with Mystique: a woman is single until she gets married. Women have a lot of negotiating power when it comes to relationships (not sleeping with a man until a commitment is made, ending a relationship that has no direction towards marriage are just a few examples). Although, they have been taught to go against tried-and-true traditions of courtship in favor of the new pop culture-rooted wave of “anything goes” hook-ups.

        I live next to a college campus, and I see many of my friends in grad school sadly compromising when immature boys who will never commit to them. They chase boys and use sex to keep them around. They accept hooking up as a normal condition of affection. They accept paying for their own dinners, movie tickets, admission when on “dates” with these boys, etc. They allow these boys to move in with them and play house by doing motherly chores for them. They even accept these boys cheating on them as long as they never find out.

        Women must get real and set clear standards and boundaries with men. I recently told a guy I was dating that I was no longer interested because I couldn’t see him as the type of man I would marry. Did it hurt? Of course, but spending years of playing wifey to a beta male would too if I would have stayed.

        • “Women have a lot of negotiating power when it comes to relationships (not sleeping with a man until a commitment is made, ending a relationship that has no direction towards marriage are just a few examples). Although, they have been taught to go against tried-and-true traditions of courtship in favor of the new pop culture-rooted wave of “anything goes” hook-ups.”

          Yes, we do have a lot of power. Unfortunately, many women today have been hoodwinked into believing that they have to go along to get along because, supposedly, ALL young men are only interested in having a good-time. Not true. And even if were, that doesn’t mean you must lower yourself for the sake of anyone else’s priorities. Women need to start demanding that men either rise to their level or go away.

          “They chase boys and use sex to keep them around. They accept hooking up as a normal condition of affection. They accept paying for their own dinners, movie tickets, admission when on “dates” with these boys, etc. They allow these boys to move in with them and play house by doing motherly chores for them. They even accept these boys cheating on them as long as they never find out.”

          SMH. This is why fathers are so important to their daughters. I was taught that if a woman pays for her meal, or anything else on a date, it is NOT a date. It’s just two people hanging out, like buddies. When a man courts a woman, his job is to show her what he can do for her, and why she should choose him above any other man. If he is incapable of doing that he should never be anything more than a buddy. The “anything goes” folks have placed the cart before the horse. Women are now trying to prove to men why they should be chosen instead, hence the motherly chores. It’s so weird to realize that so many women have fallen into the pattern of courting men. It pretty much screams, I’M DESPERATE!

          “Women must get real and set clear standards and boundaries with men. I recently told a guy I was dating that I was no longer interested because I couldn’t see him as the type of man I would marry. Did it hurt? Of course, but spending years of playing wifey to a beta male would too if I would have stayed.”

          Good for you! :)

  6. I love this post! I think its great that you tackled this because a LOT of black women get stuck in dead end relationships and spend their youth on someone who isn’t worth it. I must say I always roll my eyes at the people who say they want to move in first to ” get to know the other person” somehow in a lot of instances it always ends with women who have strong desires to get married held in suspension for however long the guy decides. And chances are the guy is probably still looking for better options and that’s why he doesn’t want to commit fully.

    • That’s absolutely right. AND the man gets to enjoy all the benefits of having a wife while remaining single. This is why women should NEVER agree to be any man’s roommate when she could be a better man’s wife.

  7. LIS says:

    Most young women are so innocent and get played early in life. I try to school any young women who will listen . It like deers in front of wolves.

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