Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries. From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology.
Benefits and Pitfalls: Serial Monogamy vs. Forever After Before I begin, let’s look at what these mean. By Serial monogamy I mean being in a committed relationship with obvious sexual exclusiveness. Serial monogamy lacks the “rootedness” of marriage. It is more characteristic of adults who may have already been married, but not necessarily, already had children if they had wanted to, already did the home in the suburbs thing.
You get the picture. This is not the same as serial dating.
There is a level of depth and commitment but without marriage. Instead of “til death do us part,” it is, “We are both going to stay in this relationship so long as we are both happy and fulfilled.” By forever after, what I mean is the sexual exclusiveness, with probably at least some of the following: a house together, children together, maybe joint bank accounts, portfolios It is a relationship with more “stuff” that also has the potential of getting more complicated. So, what are the benefits and pitfalls of each of these?
Your answer most surely depends on exactly what you are seeking in a relationship. In the first case, some would answer that there is much more freedom. If it doesn’t work out, you pretty much pack your bag and go. OK, realistically, it isn’t quite that easy, but it is much easier than having to sell the house and go through the court ordeal. Others would say that Forever After gives you a much greater sense of security.
I ask, is that really true? It seems marriage does nothing in terms of security for people who are getting a divorce. Still, when I consider these two options, perhaps what stands out the most is the degree to which couples who choose either of them are willing to work on the relationship if it starts to go South. Do couples who are serial monogamists have the same level of commitment and dedication as those who are married? Do they want it? Do they need it? Do couples who are married actually try to work out their issues either or are we becoming more and more of a throw-away society?
I guess I never considered myself to be in the recycling business, but I am! I’m not sure there is a perfect answer here.
Mostly there is a perfect answer for each couple, I hope. I think you are correct about the answers being different for each couple, Jonathon. I don’t think the level of commitment is greater because of marriage, I think the perception of commitment level may be greater, and the legal commitment is of course greater (after all a marriage is a legal contract).
So sometimes the reasons that married couples may try to work things out when they stop working go beyond the personal commitment and into the realm of avoiding legal hassles, avoiding looking like a failure to their family & friends & society, etc. Sadly, divorce still carries a social stigma. Marriage, much easier to get into than to get out of, and many relationships start out not having what it takes from the beginning and get progressively harder to “fix”.
Married or not, you stay as long as you find a personal interest in staying. Beware of the appearances (I stay for the children, etc are just excuses not to face the reality you’re simply not ready to go. As for me, I value marriage a lot and, yes, since it is more of a legal pain to break, you would think twice before leaving. It doesn’t mean you will work more and better on the relationship though. Too many stay in an unhappy marriage for the wrong reasons. Because, married or not, you can actually pack and go overnight.
Committed relationships without marriage are legally easier to break, although you can have children together nonetheless, have bought a house, etc together, quite as married people can do. So Here in France we have something in between called the “PACS”. It is a legal union, which takes 15 minutes to seal, no more time to break. Beller Und Beller Entwicklungstabelle Pdf Merge. It gives you the same level of “security” and “rights” as married couples, without the heavy stuff, and is as easy to break as any committed relationship (provided breaking a relationship is easy).
It was initially for gay couples, yet it has become very, very successful among straight couples and there are now here more “pacsed” couples than married couples. It seems to combine all the advantages of the two minus the inconveniences. I don’t think any of that exists in the USA though 🙁 And social stigma on the topic doesn’t exist here. Nobody cares about how you lead your private life. It is your own business. It is really a matter of person.
I know, as for me, married or not, I wouldn’t stay in an unhappy relationship as soon as I feel I’ve done all in my power to make it work and last. I would work on any all the same and leave all the same should I obviously have failed. According to me, the best way to make a relationship last is to wonder every morning “shall I stay or shall I go? Do I still feel like working on that relationship or not and why?”, knowing my partner can (actually I think “should”) wonder the same. Too often people stay in a relationship for the wrong reasons and in the meanwhile, forget to work on it, because, after a while, married or not, they take it for granted. When it is not and, IMO, should never be taken as such.
It is, IMO, more a matter of what YOU seek. Something lasting you know you can lose any time, thus would cherish and work on everyday until it becomes obvious nothing can fix it any more, or a just a comfortable stuff, only hoping for the best and no pain at all. It is also a matter of what you need to feel committed. You can get married and not really commit, and you can be in a relationship and commit to it to death. Bottom line: beside the legal aspect and the religious aspect if you are a believer, what makes a difference is not the nature of the relationship, but the level of commitment, thus how determined you are to work on it and make it last, according to me. “You can get married and not really commit, and you can be in a relationship and commit to it to death.” Agreed!
Commitment is in the third part of our brain, the higher brain. Marriage is not a function of the brain, it’s a sign to society of our commitment, but not the commitment in our brain/heart that Dot points out. We have the ability to choose to be married or not married–choice is the key. In my mind, marriage is one of society’s way of keeping order, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Women’s instincts are for safety and protection, and marriage provides that. Marriage is an outward symbol of a man’s societal ‘commitment’ to a woman (keeping in mind that doesn’t mean in his brain he’s committed).
Marriage is also for the benefit of raising children. I also believe it ‘tames’ men since their natural desire is to be with many different women, it helps their higher brains regulate their reptilian brians (instinctual). All in all, have been in long term relationships and having been married for 15 years, it’s MUCh harder to enter and to leave a marriage–another benefit marriage I believe, makes people work harder to save something ‘tangible’, the ‘marriage’ as an entitity. Moved from an area of the country where marriage was the norm, to one where this serial monogamy thing – usually lasting 1 or 2 years, or until the fun wears off, is the norm. “Men here don’t marry,” they tell me. And “Nobody has time for a relationship.” I think the latter statement matters the most.
Johnny Cash Discography Rapidshare. If you’re moving in together just as long as its fun, then that’s what you get. Whatever it is you, personally, are after, it’s best to know. And it’s common decency to let the other person know, upfront. I don’t know anyone who has gone into a marriage hoping it will end in divorce.
I don’t know any couple just living together that hopes it will one day be a marriage. Know thyself, and have the guts to tell the other person.