With men and women, what brings them together as partners can keep them there for life. What issues matter the most in marriage between a man and a woman?
Table of contents
- “Real Life” Romance Isn’t Always Romantic
- What Do Men & Women Want in Partners?
- Monogamous Cultures
- Polygamous Cultures
- How Reality Relates to Romance
- Final Thoughts on Committed Relationships
“Real Life” Romance Isn’t Always Romantic
Besides talking about romance in fiction, at Sweet Savage Flame, we love to discuss issues about romance in real life. In this latest entry to our “Real Life Romance” discussion, we’re questioning what men and women search for in life partners.
As individuals of different sexes, do we instinctively search for partners with different motivations? How much impact do society and the government have on relationships? Is love truly unattainable in reality, or is it simply a give-and-take game?
(Note: This article speaks in generalities. It does not present a complete picture of the complicated relationship between men and women.)
What Do Men & Women Want in Partners?
Exploring the manosphere can lead to hearing discussions about hypergamy, often used as a negative term for women. Hypergamy refers to the concept that females select partners from a more established background, whether social, financial, or educational, to enhance their position in society and guarantee their offspring’s provision.
Those in “red-pilled” circles claim that human males are innately polygamous and only societal pressures keep them faithful. They also claim hypergamy doesn’t apply to men. Reality is far more complex.
Some men (and women) choose not to settle down, preferring a rotating field of multiple sexual partners. Often, there are no expectations for a committed relationship.
Other men (and women) seek companionship because they enjoy the company of an intimate partner. They can be serial monogamists or even choose to mate for life.
Men also exhibit hypergamous tendencies, but their preferences differ from those of women. While women seek partners who possess greater wealth, power, fame, and stability, men often pursue females who are more physically attractive and, to some extent, younger than themselves.
However, these are not hard and fast rules because the environment plays a significant role, along with an inconvenient emotion we humans are afflicted with–love.
In a civilization with a large middle class and comfortable-living standards that almost all adults can achieve, other factors come into play when choosing a life partner. Will the male stick around to help care for the children?
Does he equitably distribute the fruits of his labor with his family? Is he even-tempered, faithful, and affectionate?
Are the two partners sexually attracted to one another? And have they formed a pair bond, i.e., love?
The Facts About Divorce
Of course, this is not a perfect scenario, as infidelity and divorce exist. Yet American divorce rates are not the highly inflated 50%, many claim. First marriages have a 65% chance of lasting until death, so around one-third end in divorce. Second marriages–where a partner was previously divorced–go the other way, with 65% terminating in the courtroom.
Upper & middle-class Americans have a divorce rate of about 30%. On the other side, divorce rates skyrocket for the working and lower classes, at 41% & 46%, respectively. Fewer upper & middle-class pairings result in children born outside of marriage (only 13% compared to 36% working class, 64% poor).
One Man with Multiple Partners Means Financial Risk for Women
In a society where many men lack the financial resources, or willingness to be involved, fathers, the government, or those in power need to support women and children in need.
Poor women have about double the fertility rates of upper and middle-class women. One can argue about access to sex education and birth control, but other issues are at play besides those. When poor families are denied welfare benefits because they consist of a two-parent household, it’s not surprising to see marriage rates decline.
Searching For the Best “High Quality” Mate Doesn’t Always Lead to Happiness
Of course, romantic entanglements will still occur, human nature being what it is. In numerous cases, women choose men not necessarily for income status or stability but for perceived social status.
Good looks, an “Alpha” demeanor” (i.e., confidence, strength, independence), and how many other women he attracts all hold great allure. Men in the lower echelons face few dating options within their community.
In a civilization where only a few men have access to wealth and status, women must compete harder for a “high-quality mate.” This leads to polygamy, sanctified by law, religion, or socially acceptable casual pairing-up.
Women have a lower social status in polygamous societies than in monogamous ones. They must share a husband and father with other females and their progeny.
Increased divorce percentages, concubinage, lower marital rates, and a high number of single-parent homes are symptoms of an environment that does not value monogamy, whether serial or life-long.
How Reality Relates to Romance
Men and Women Don’t Have to Be Enemies
Promoters of Game Theory treat dating as an antagonistic interaction where one person tries to get the better of another. This need not be so.
Dating is not about exchanging sex for money or youth for stability. It’s about two people enjoying each other’s company and developing a genuine connection that leads to a desire to spend their lives together.
The Future Looks Bright So Long As There Is Love
While humans are animals and evolutionary mating habits still hold residual sway, technological, medical, and social advancements have changed the playing field.
In a culture with a thriving middle class where basic requirements are easily met, a woman need not have a partner who out-earns her.
Declining birth rates are not always a sign of a society in peril but may signify value for long-term relationships and childcare investments.
Selecting the best partner for yourself is more than choosing big muscles, a fat wallet, or a tiny waist and late birth year.
Carnal pursuits will always drive some people, yet others may have little interest in them, preferring a solitary existence. In between these groups are those folks searching for a special someone.
Final Thoughts on Committed Relationships
Few enter into commitments with a pessimistic outlook. There’s hope that perhaps this person is the “one.” Whether readers of romance novels expect pure fantasy or some grit in their books, we all seek love stories that end optimistically.
That spark of hope brings comfort, no matter what our realities are.