In last week’s post, I posited married men as a critical influence on single women’s view of marriage. Her casual discussions with married male friends lead to transparency of which she’s often not prepared or even fully accepting. Similarly, single women have daily interactions with married men that while they are not friends, are just as impacting on her desire to wed. Here are 5 specific ways married men are ruining the idea of marriage for all of us that have yet to say I Do.
- Ignoring Boundaries: The moment you allow another woman access to your body or your heart, you’ve disrespected your wife. No woman wants another woman’s hands (or other body parts) on her husband. Plain and simple. Married men must respect physical and emotional boundaries and even when tempted choose not to cross them. While I don’t subscribe to the falsehood that every man is running around sleeping with any skirt that flows in the wind, there are exceptions to every rule. If you don’t want your single female friends believing most married men cheat – not cheating would probably be a great start.
- Starting Something They Can’t (Shouldn’t) Finish: Maybe with the advent of customized vows, this line has been glazed over and forgotten but ‘forsaking all others’ is pretty important. Getting married means committing to the idea of intimacy with your partner, and only your partner. Sigh. I’m not sure why this needs to be a reminder but it does. It pairs nicely with understanding boundaries. Don’t ask for or accept my number if you’re married. Don’t remove your wedding ring if you’re married. Don’t create a sense that some semblance of a future could exist between us (insert “Being Mary Jane” scenario here) especially if you’re married. Don’t chase women that aren’t your wife. If things aren’t good at home, then leave. I know it sounds simple, maybe that’s because it is. Or at a minimum, if you’re man enough to plan to step out (because not all affairs are by happenstance), be man enough to tell her first. Women appreciate options and by being upfront and honest, at least she can make an informed decision to stay or leave.
- Having Not-So-Innocent Conversations: In Part One of this post, I mentioned receiving an inappropriate IM from a [former] Facebook acquaintance. I understand the desire to kick back and have some fun every now and again. That might include the occasional joke or light-hearted moment. However, if you wouldn’t make the comment in front of your wife, you probably shouldn’t say it to the single lady on the barstool beside you. Talking to me about sizes, skills, preferences, and anything else that’d make a priest raise an eyebrow, is off limits.
- Lacking the Desire to Change: This is probably one of the most influential yet it’s rarely discussed. As a single woman, I find it defeating to speak with the Dereks* of the world about marriage. It isn’t merely because they’re constantly telling me about the struggles, issues, and complications. It’s because I hear little commitment on their part to better their situations/relationships by changing. If a man cheats but justifies the act by saying it’s because he wasn’t receiving enough attention from his wife, that’s a problem. Marriages are partnerships and unless both parties are invested in building something better together, it won’t happen. Derek will never be Mason* unless he truly commits to different behaviors/thinking in his marriage.
- Relaying sob stories about the Mrs/family obligations: They tug at our heartstrings and get us to commit acts foreign to our values and principles. You tell us how hard it is, how you don’t love her, how you’re staying for the kids, how little intimacy you share, and every other sympathetic story you can muster. Hearing married men speak with such disdain and contempt for their wives and children is disheartening. It’s one thing for a guy friend to confirm he’s not losing his mind by relaying his point-of-view from a marital disagreement to his single female friend. However, some men use this as a tactic to get women to feel sorry for them in hopes of having her cave to his carnal desires. In #2 I mentioned the simple act of leaving. If every story is a sob story, maybe it’s time to close the book.
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Plus, if you enjoyed this post, check out an exciting (short) story on friendship, infidelity, and loyalty in “The Beaten Path“
Image credit: Emily Poster