A recent Marie Claire story
describes the widespread phenomenon of 30-something men in seemingly great relationships, who are finding it next to impossible to pull the trigger and get married. The story calls 30 "the new male midlife crisis," which, to someone who hopes to live beyond 60, seems like a bit of a stretch. But other parts of the story really hit home. Take this excerpt, for instance (oh, and PS, it’s a guy talking): “I’ve never met anyone as together as Emma. She’s super-smart, has a kick-ass job, and she doesn’t have any baggage. She’s strong for the two of us, and if I don’t do this, I’ll lose her. But if I do, I might wind up in this constant state of semi-unhappiness, quietly miserable for the rest of my life.”
The writer zeroed in on a certain type of couple; the Type-A woman who is driven in her career and who would like to see her personal life keep up with her work achievements -- and her mellower, Type-B boyfriend, who'd rather work on improving his Xbox 360 score than on trying to conceive. As douche-y as that sounds, a little piece of me can relate to Mr. B. After all, I definitely want kids, but I also want to do what I want to do. And I get that the luxury of aimless patches of time are a purely pre-kid phenomenon. But I digress.
I'm going to choose not to focus on the fact that the story connected the problem to high-achieving women. I don't really know any other types -- probably because New York City chews them up and spits them out faster than I can meet them. To survive here, you pretty much need to fit the Type-A description. I'm more interested in the male part of the puzzle, because I really do think it's widespread.
I don't think Jack was this guy -- but I do think he was a guy surrounded by a culture of this type of thinking. In the past few years, it seems as if male independence has become as precious and treasured as a young girl's virginity was in the ’50s. I've seen this up close in some of Jack's friends who've been unable or unready to commit to great girls -- and have wound up alone. Even though some of them are depressed and lonely as a result, they still talk about it with pride as if they did the cooler, manlier thing by saving their singleness.
Of course, I got lucky, Jack did pull the trigger, and I know that he really takes marriage seriously. But so many of my female friends are still on the other side of this. And, unfortunately, a lot of it is because they’re dating “this guy.�� We all know that the worst thing to do is to push someone to get married before they’re ready. But is there anything that can be done aside from pulling the plug and walking away?What do you think
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