Soulmates, Fidelity, and Deterring Men with Rings

Just when I think I'm done with this topic (and all its relatives), new shit happens to prove my point all over again.

So I'm at work, right?  And I meet this delightful woman who moved across the country because of a "very messy divorce" (her exact words).  We get to talking and she notices all the bling on my fingers.  She asked what my husband does and I explained I am single.  She lifted my left hand, looking at my ring and saying, "This is a man-deterrent."

First of all, that's bullshit.  21st Century men will ask if you have a man, whether you're alone and ringless, or alone with a ring, or have a ring and a man attached to your hip.  No matter how many times you tell them you're all set, they ask you shit like, "Well, are you faithful to him?  How can you be sure he's faithful to you?"  Rings may deter women, but they sure as hell don't deter men, unless they're much older and thus still civilized.

I explained that I see things in terms of options.  Men, for me, are optional.  While I currently do not identify as gay or consistently bisexual, I accept that the universe is full of infinite wonders and I may very well end up with a woman (*shrugs*  I don't know.  It could happen).  Or I could comfortably end up alone.  Or with a significant other, but not legally married, or even living together.  I believe in keeping things open - plain and simple.

The woman I was talking to, however, felt she "had to believe" that there was "that one person out there" for her (again, her exact words).

As soon as she said that, all I could think was, "Um...didn't you just get out of a 'messy divorce'?  One so messy you had to move across the country to get away from your ex?  Twenty bucks says it's that exact soulmate-thinking which got you into this divorce-y mess in the first place."

We kept talking, and somehow we got on the subject of who lives with me.  I explained my sister's friend was staying with me because she just got out of a very messy break-up with her boyfriend.  And that's when it hit me.  America's high-ass divorce rate is real.  I know more divorcees than I can count.  I've known people to be married for less than six months!  And I can't count how many disastrous relationships I've personally witnessed, whether amongst relatives, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or clients.  I hear about or see a messy breakup damn near weekly.

This shit is real.

So I'm going to end this little chat with a couple of fashion tips.  First, let's talk fidelity.  I won't speak much on this because statistically speaking, women are increasingly less faithful.  We're just waaaaaay better at hiding it.  A woman can spout some bullshit like, "I'm just not feeling sexual" to her man and he won't even think to bat an eyelash.  He'll just roll with it, feeling perfectly secure that she's not sleeping with anybody else.

But here's what amuses the hell out of me.  Let's say a guy's unfaithful, gets caught or admits to it, and but doesn't want to get dumped.  What does he do?  You guessed it - he's starts Memory Laning his significant other, reminding them of all they've been through together and how much they love each other, and they just have too much history to break up.

Mm-hm.  How come all that history wasn't a deterring factor when he was sticking his dick in someone else?

Never let someone use "history" as a self-entitled justification for forgiveness.  History - and all the emotional, psychological, and financial investment that goes with it - should be a deterrent from bad behavior, not a defense.

Secondly, let's talk cohabitation.  Ladies, cohabitation is not your friend.  In grad school, I had to give a lecture to a sociology class about the cons of cohabitation, and for women in particular, it's one hell of a con.  Couples who cohabit are actually less likely to get married, and the ones who do marry are most likely to get divorced.  Women who cohabit with men are more likely to become morbidly obese, to the point it threatens their health.  And once a couple starts to cohabit, the quality of their relationship immediately begins to deteriorate.

Remember, ladies: modern dating increasingly relies on economics.  So if you're a romantic, make sure you have your own job, your own place, and your own car.  Maintain strict financial and residential independence at all times until you are certain the commitment is real.  That means he doesn't need a place to stay, or a ride to a dead-end job, and he isn't constantly asking for $5.  It means paying bills on his own doesn't faze him.  He doesn't need to be "put through school" and he can maintain a fairly clean household all on his own.

Some women use pregnancy to trap men.  Most men use finances and transportation access to trap women.  Know your exits, ladies, and don't be afraid to take them.


  1. On behalf of civilized men everwhere, CO-SIGNED!!!!!!

    Now this is the shit that needs to be in a book.

  2. The other problem with cohabitation is that they almost always result in pregnancy. And if he isn't responsible enough to pay bills on time then he probably won't be a responsible father.

  3. Shit, even IF I find "The One," I'ma STILL need my own damn place - at least a room!

  4. The other problem with cohabitation is that they almost always result in pregnancy. And if he isn't responsible enough to pay bills on time then he probably won't be a responsible father.

    Indeed. And with a baby and a man who both need supporting, a woman will find that she's actually trapped herself.

  5. Leoprincess12/6/11, 3:28 PM

    I swear, this needs to be taught in schools, starting at the elementary school level. Too many people out there have this fairy-story idea about relationships, even in spite of witnessing regular examples to the contrary.

  6. I can't co-sign enough on this. I know someone who cohabitated for 18 months before jumping the broom...and now he's decided that he should have never married her and he doesn't want to be married anymore. 13 years and two kids later he's saying this shit. But the error, I must say, is mainly on her for allowing the cohabitation to occur. She didn't want to lose him (he was going back home to another state), and so she lowered her standard and he moved in. She should let him go on back home to get his shit together, and if he really and truly loved her, he would have and then returned to her a better man and worthy of her heart.

    She has acknowledged this on many occasions.

    Me? I'm selfish with my space and my time. The very idea of having someone live with me is repulsive. Even if I were boo'ed up, he ain't staying with me, ain't driving my car, and ain't asking me for money. I will not put up with that, and those silly beetches who always say shit like, "You say that now, but wait until he puts that dick on you," are the main ones who have low standards and are trapped in unhappy relationships. See how good the dick is when you're doing all the work and paying all the bills, and he's sticking it into someone else.

  7. See how good the dick is when you're doing all the work and paying all the bills, and he's sticking it into someone else.

    Thank you!

  8. Leoprincess12/6/11, 4:38 PM

    @ Ankh - Not to mention that you can buy those, and they doing some wondrous things in that industry. ;)

  9. @ Amaya: "Even if I were boo'ed up, he ain't staying with me, ain't driving my car, and ain't asking me for money."

    Same here. I'm also very selfish with my things and a bit of a germophobe. I can hardly stand living with housemates so I don't think I can handle a man in the house. Very little privacy, feelings of entitlement, hair everywhere, toilet seat up, lid up (aerosol effect), etc. Just too much.

    But my friend has been in such a situation for over two years. I don't understand why people move in without knowing each other for at least a year or so. The guy had access to her car. She even bought him a car in her name which led to an impounding issue which she had to pay for. For him it was optional and he seemed loath to help her, as expected. She's about my age, 22, and this guy is 28 with no car, might still be living with mom and hasn't really established a career though he's into music (like a lot of people). He's exhibited signs of abuse in my presence; this bastard tired to start a fight with one of my friends while he was drunk. My friend makes excuses for him b/c she too exhibits abusive behavior when around him. I feel like they'll be so much better apart. And even though she won't say it she is afraid of being without him. She's afraid of losing the relationship. Despite what cohabitation, abuse, the abortion and a host of other things have done to her psyche she is desperately clinging on. If anyone is going to break things off she wants him to do it instead of really considering how much better it would be to break up and take responsibility for herself.

    Hopefully she will see the light soon. And it's funny you mentioned the cohabitation and weight gain, Ank. My friend has gained a lot of weight since being with her bf. Him too, actually. But the social effects are different. Her bf still attracts women, has actually cheated on her from what I heard. My friend on the other hand has trouble, kind of like me but how I'm received varies at times.

    Also I remember back in my Human Sexuality course the professor said that marriages were more likely to fail if people cohabitated for more than three years. And of course division of labor for couples tends to favor men over women. It's difficult for things to be equal. I think it's a good idea that people either live apart or have separate rooms and respect common areas. I know I don't want to be responsible for cleaning up after other lazy and nasty ass people.

  10. Like button!!!! I'm only 22 and I have friends I went to high school with that have been married and divorced already. Smh. Nice post!

  11. Relationships appear more complicated than rocket science.

    Also, I love this quote you made: History - and all the emotional, psychological, and financial investment that goes with it - should be a deterrent from bad behavior, not a defense.

  12. I know that you made an absolute A+ on your paper because what you say is so true.That lady you was talking to must be really naive to think that about the ring. Like you said, some guys could care less about a ring being on your ring, as much as they think they can get you.

    I've often said that what ever finances I have will be mine. My biggest fear that I might get a man who will not know how to manage and mess me up in the long run. As the song goes, I can do bad by myself.

    If there is one thing I was taught is to never cohabitate with him. If he cannot outright marry you , then go on about your business. Even if my folks would have never taught me that, I would have learned that on my own. Some women will settle for that,but having a so-called " trial marriages" would make me feel that I wouldn't be good enough to marry. My sister has a friend who fits this. She's been living with her boyfriend for 12 years and has four kids. Now that she's seen people around her marrying..or even divorcing, she wants to marry,but as of now her boyfriend haven't responded to her pleas for it. That example just goes to show how he he's getting off on her. I wouldn't be surprised if he's not marrying around because he's fooling around with another woman.

  13. @M:

    Of course he's fooling around. Why shouldn't he? He's got everything he wants; why ruin it? Clearly, she ain't leaving him, so as far as he's concerned, he can do anything he wants. Why be faithful? Hell, if I was him, I wouldn't be either.

    From what I'm seeing in the comments, these women are happy with just having a MAN around; not any man of significant worth. I guess for these losers (yeah, I said it), it's far more important to be miserable, unhappy, and unhealthy than single. When will women get it? A good man doesn't want a leech, fur stole, or a doormat disguised as a girlfriend; he wants a woman who's his equal. It's all about knowing your worth.

    I've said this repeatedly. Shameless plug here:

  14. I have a question. Why is it that couples who cohabit before marriage end in divorce? Why does the relationship deteriorate? I hope these are dumb questions, but I don't have much experience.

  15. Sociologists and psychologist theorize that people develop bad habits and attitudes during cohabitation which they then take into the marriage (IF they get married).

    One example is the attitude toward the relationship itself. If you're cohabiting primarily for economic reasons rather than romantic reasons, then already you don't take your relationship very seriously. Your main objective is to save money (or, if you're the deadbeat, get the other person to foot the bill). You're not really in love and you don't really see the relationship going anywhere.

    Now, if after a extended period financial circumstances don't change, and the "relationship" continues, then the couple might feel pressured by friends & family to go ahead and just get married, especially if any unplanned children have been produced during cohabitation.

    So you end up with two people staying together and getting married for all the wrong reasons.

    There's also the tension to consider; if one person is more vested in staying together than the other, resentment might fester on both sides. The romanticist might feel resentful because they feel they should have the love and respect of their S.O, while the economist might feel annoyed that they have to financially rely on someone who isn't their first choice and who won't quiet accept their role as a cost-cutter. This often leads to infidelity and/or abuse (externalized resentment) and/or obesity (internalized resentment).

  16. Also

    There is 20 percent possibility that a first marriage would end in a divorce or separation within 5 years. There is 49 percent possibility that a premarital cohabitation would break up within 5 years

    After 10 years have passed by, there is 33 percent possibility that a first marriage would break up while a 62 percent possibility that a cohabitation would terminate

    Out of the total first marriages of women, 53 percent are after cohabitation

    Out of the total different sex cohabitors –
    55 percent marry each other within 5 years of beginning the cohabitation

    40 percent break up within 5 years of starting the cohabitation

    10 percent opt for an unmarried relationship lasting 5 years or more

    1.2 million individuals in the United States cohabit with the same sex partner and 9.7 million cohabit with a different sex partner
    Same sex couples are 11 percent of the unmarried partners

    From 1990 to 2000, the number of unmarried couples cohabiting shot up by 72 percent

    From 1960 to 2000, the number of unmarried couples cohabiting has been enlarged 10 times

    In the age group 20 to 29, 43 percent are of the opinion that couples who cohabit should be given benefits identical to married couples

  17. However, there are some other stats:

    In France and Germany cohabiting couples have a slightly lower risk of divorce.

    If cohabitation is limited to a person's future spouse, there is no elevated risk of divorce.

    In the U.S., cohabiting couples taking premarital education courses or counseling are not at a higher risk for divorce.

    Now, here's the problem....

    1) America has one of the highest divorce in the world, if not THE highest. The French & German societies are very different from ours, so of course cohabitation may have a different effect on couples there.

    2) Cohabitation is NOT usually limited to a person's future spouse. In fact, that's sort of the problem here.

    3) Cohabitating couples usually cohabit for economic reasons. The woman often expects/hopes marriage will result, but let's be real. And during economic times such as ours, how many of these young, broke couples are going to go to counseling?

    When I worked at the counseling center at my old university, I noticed how all these young women would schedule appts for couples' counseling...and then show up for it alone about 90% of the time. The men had no interest whatsoever in trying to make the relationship work, because they weren't in relationships to be in relationships. They were in them to have sex and cut living expenses so they could have money for shit like beer and video games.

  18. @Sushi, this is just anecdotal, but some people also think that said bad habits disappear as soon as the ring is slipped on the finger. So not only do some of those couples divorce, but they do it with a quickness.

    A boyfriend, whether he lives with you or not, doesn't act like a husband. He shouldn't be expected to. Sure, he doesn't date other people(hopefully), but he's not going to act like your husband. But when he lives with you and gets used to acting a certain way, marrying you isn't going to change those behaviors.

    I've heard from some of those cohabiting ladies who are just surprised that the live-in boyfriend doesn't turn into a Cliff Huxtable clone as soon as they say I do. Mind you, they don't ever discuss what they expect or what they want to see change. But for example, a boyfriend might go out with his friends and not tell you where he is going. He might stay out late. He might spend all day Sunday watching football. That is all expected. But he marries his live-in girlfriend and she expects him to ask permission or call if he is late, or to spend Sunday going to have dinner with her parents, even though he's never been expected to or asked to do these things in the past. If he liked strip clubs before you got married, guess what, he's still going to want to see some pole dancing afterwards.

    But she thinks that he's going to change all of this just b/c she stands up in a church wearing a $2000 dress and gets $1500 cake stuffed in her face.

    I'm not a guy, but my guess is that he thinks, this is great, I live with my best friend and this is so easy. He doesn't know that he's supposed to change into something else.
    The flipside could be true as well. Maybe poptarts and hotpockets are great when served to you by your girlfriend, but you expect a wife to make some casseroles or something. I know guys who are surprised that the girlfriend who can't turn on the stove wasn't surprising them with a Martha Stewart Living meal every night as soon as they got married. One of my friends cracked me up b/c she WAS up front about that, and said, you didn't marry Betty Crocker so don't expect her to appear now.

    If I get to wear flip flops and shorts to work everyday and it feels great and no one complains, you can see how I'll be surprised if one day I show up one day and without warning, get told that I need to wear a suit and high heels right?

  19. @Ankshesen, from what I've read, cohabitation is more common in those parts of Western Europe (excluding the UK, where people more or less act like we do), and as a result, I think that the manner in which cohabiting couples interact is more similar to how married couples interact.

    Here, we usually approach cohabitation as a prelude to marriage, or as a convenience as you said (money, dick, and punanny are the main reasons I think), and don't really bother with the other parts. The problem is, there is no transition program to make people stop acting like BF/GF (just using a straight couple for simplicity) and start acting like husband and wife, but people get mad when it doesn't just happen.

    In Quebec, the church's meddling turned a lot of people off marriage, so they to treat civil unions much like marriage. They even have a name for it, a "cojoint" instead of "femme" and "mari." But yeah, that is different from your "blond" or "petit ami/e" and people show it.

    But from being in some of those homes, I can tell you that I didn't realize that those couples were not legally married until they told me too. But those men started out those relationships acting that way I suspect. They didn't move in to have access to free food and round the clock booty. So the step to move in and start having kids was the proxy for the $50K party, and people behaved that way from jump. Those couples were long-term and quite stable I'll add. The men did not use the fact that they hadn't said it in front of a minister as an excuse to act a fool.

    But here, you have men who use the fact that they aren't your "husband" as an excuse to do as they please, even if you are silly enough to have his babies for him. So people should be saying "I'm not your wife" when folks want to stop using condoms, but they don't. So many women will have 3-4 babies for a man and don't get why he doesn't act right, and foolishly think that roping him down and getting him into a church for a wedding will fix all of that. Um, nope.

    The other interesting stat is that Italian and Spanish women are saying "no thanks" to marriage and kids at an astonishing rate (negative birth rate in those countries) b/c of all of the work and sacrifice that dealing with those men entails(extreme machismo combined with spoiled mamma's boys).

  20. @Sushi:

    People take relationships too seriously and marriage not seriously enough. I know people who have been together for years, cohabitating with kids and all, decide to jump the broom...and then divorce before a year is out.

    Men marry women hoping that they won't change, and women marry men thinking they will change. My mother always said, "You have to start out like you're going to hold out." This is true in every respect. If, as his girlfriend, you picked up his socks without saying a word, then you must continue to maintain your silence while doing the same thing as his wife. If she didn't keep a clean house before becoming the Mrs., don't expect for her to do it afterwards. People need to be real about this shit. It's like they want to believe the myth even though the truth constantly beats them over the head.

  21. Thanks for all the information guys. I never thought about the transition from bf/gf to husband/wife. I was of the thinking that bf/gf together a long time, they know how each other act and they can get along and work well together, and then marriage would be similar. I do see now, how intentions come into play. A know an older lady (mom of a friend) who is now married to the man she is because he provides financial support; and he is pretty much married to her because he gets home cooked meal everyday and a clean house. The woman says she doesn't trust the guy and my friend tells me he doesn't treat her really well. Her health is really crappy too because she is stressed so much (you mentioned obesity and this woman isn't obese she is well overweight and has developed diabetes) from cooking, cleaning, dealing with her husband, and on top of that she works long hours. So I'm guessing for cohabitation to be successful (ending in successful marriage), the people going in should think about it as being as serious as marriage instead of thinking of it as a less serious 'playing house' type of thing? Also people should be clear on the relationship. Like two people on the same page will work out better than two people on different pages?

  22. @Sushi,
    I'd say you are spot on. B/c if the BF is thinking of living together and living together indefinitely and you are expecting a ring in 6 months, there will be problems. But I think the answers given ring true even for a long-term, non-cohabiting couple.

    Women will ignore what men show them and assume that they can will him and themselves into what they want. A guy who wants to marry you will start to talk about marriage. A guy who does not isn't going to bring that stuff up, and sleeping under the same roof with him isn't going to make it happen.

    There are still things people need to hammer out before/if they get married that they don't. But you shouldn't expect some magical transformation just b/c you get married, and even if there is no cohabitation involved, people need to talk about goals, expectations, values, etc. BEFORE they say I do.

    But a lot of people think that the "work" ends once you've landed the guy or girl. I've read things that talk about couples who don't talk about finances, whether they want children, whether or not someone should stay at home with kids, who will cook/clean/fix things, etc. even ONE time before they get married.

    Is it any wonder how that will cause enough friction to end a marriage? Guys marry women who can't cook but think that as a wife she'll start. Women who think that they'll pop out a baby and quit working while the husband makes all of the money. People assume that stuff all of the damn time.


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