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Men love their freedom. For many guys, the very thought of making a commitment to one woman for the rest of their lives is enough to send them sprinting for the hills. The dreaded "C-word" implies compromise, loss of independence, the sacrifice of sexual variety and the looming specter of financial devastation.
And the statistics bear this out -- the U.S. Census reports that, over the past four decades, the rate of marriage has definitely been on the decrease. According to the National Marriage Project, a study undertaken at Rutgers University, men today are overwhelmingly apprehensive about getting married. Cohabitation -- commitment with an escape hatch -- is on the rise. So what is the explanation for this phenomenon? Just why are men so afraid of commitment these days? Here are a few of the reasons:
10. No more freedom
We men are extremely independent by nature. We like to make our own decisions and run our lives by our own rules. We want to do what we want when we want. But when a woman enters the picture, all the choices a guy simply used to take for granted -- going out for a beer with his buddies, buying a big screen TV, playing golf on Saturday afternoon -- suddenly have to be cleared with her first. And her answer is almost always no. Almost overnight, we find ourselves trapped, doing what she wants to do, regardless of our own wants or desires.
9. Loss of space
We like guy things -- we need "guy space" for stuff like cars, tools and watching kick-ass action flicks. But women want to take over, to "female up" what used to be exclusive male territory with frilly drapes and paintings of flowers. Suddenly you find the bathroom buried in female products, your leather couch has been reupholstered in pastel paisley and the spot where you kept your tools has blossomed into an indoor herb garden.
8. One sex partner, forever
We naturally crave sexual variety. When we commit -- either in marriage or cohabitation -- we willingly volunteer to cut ourselves off from any other sexual pursuits. Sexual boredom can set in, followed by a total lack of desire. For a lot of us -- even guys who weren't getting a lot of action anyway -- this can be the scariest consequence of all.
7. We've been burned before
When we've been divorced and run through the wringer of the court system, many of us are reluctant (read: "terrified") to risk a second commitment. Nowadays, we aren't exactly chomping at the bit to sign a contract legally allowing a woman to clean us out financially. Successful achievers -- those of us who have built companies and high-powered careers from the ground up -- are especially afraid of being forced to hand over all the fruits of our hard labor and may make the decision never to get involved in a serious relationship again.
6. The emotional baggage
Many women look at marriage through Cinderella eyes -- for them, putting a ring on their fingers means that we will magically solve all their problems, from childhood issues with their fathers to huge shopping debts incurred on credit cards. Women often submerge their true personalities and agendas until the knot is tied -- but when the truth comes out and the we find ourselves legally bound to a woman who's not right for us, it's too late.
5. Lack of compromise
Commitment implies the ability to compromise -- ideally a marriage should be a 50/50 partnership in which each half contributes and shares equally. But to a woman, "compromise" often means "do it my way or you're cut off from sex."
4. Loss of free time
Serious relationships suck up an enormous amount of time and energy -- they can entirely take over our lives. The pressure is always on to do something, be it wine and dine her, interact with her family, remember her birthday or pick her up from work. For some of us, it's just too much work.
3. Not ready for it
These days, there are fewer societal pressures to marry and we can weigh our options instead of just jumping directly from school into marriage. We can afford to wait for that perfect woman while we concentrate on getting our careers off the ground, save to buy a house or actively play the field.
2. Can't trust a woman
We learned pretty fast that some women can't be trusted -- it seems like they're looking to upgrade, to latch onto a man with more money, more status and more stuff to sex-ploit. Commitment to a relationship means putting your heart on the line, and none of us want a sharp stiletto heel spiking us in the back as our ex-girlfriend scrambles over us to get to the next guy.
1. She applies pressure
For a lot of women, commitment is the finish line for their adult lives. They want to get married and they want to do so now . So they exert increasing pressure on us to settle down -- pressure that can cause us to pack up and leave.