Men happier in relationships, except in elevators

For the time being I have exhausted, beaten to death more likely, the topics that fall under evangelical feminism. Sharing more and more examples I come across has lost luster. Its like tolerance has built and I need my chin to fall to through the floor all the way to China to motivate a post about another.

In my last several posts, irrespective what the specifics where, I started to congeal back on the idea that empathy is a female dysfunction. Early days of this still newish blog I wrote a lot about that. I routinely run across articles on main media sites that I could potentially mine as support text for my theories on empathy, but rarely has there been hook enough in it to prompt me to write. And readers here know I do not toil over my writing based on the mistakes I leave uncorrected.

Yesterday the Headline “Happy Wife Happy Life?” on Fox News website got my attention. Where they skeptical? Were they amplifying that old saw? So I read it. Nah, barely enough there to parse and write about in and of itself.

This morning, because Id been so busy I had not been consuming media much, i decided to go voyeur and watch Ray Rice knock out his girlfriend. For some reason its video-clip-makes-big-news season again, from beheadings to allegations of racism unchecked in both directions and all the predictable hypocrisy. And there is an NFL player knocking out his girlfriend in an elevator.

I’m unsympathetic enough to men striking women that the video bothered me. Some. Its not a dull knife sawing a head off disturbing (which I have not watched) but it is incongruous. In terms of juxtaposition, it is useful for that because its of kilter, out of the ordinary, it stands out verses images of daily walking around.

As I watched it I was reminded, Happy Wife, Happy Life, the article and the cliche. I went back and read the article again.

The gist is that the wife’s opinion regarding the quality of the marriage is the tone setter,

wives’ assessments of the marriage are more important in some respects than their husbands’

The article begins by stating that older couples lives are more satisfactory when their marriage is better. That doesn’t seem like study result worthy information, but OK. Not relevant to this post, but I always wonder if the couples were asked questions in a format and forum that enabled the man to answer honestly and not be concerned that Medusa will be slithering on the pillow later.

The overarching conclusion of the study, that happily married people are happy people when they are older needs to be filed with the one where 100% of people getting out of the shower reported being wet. Nevertheless, this stuff makes news for a reason.

Buried within the happiness survey was a six point section about marriage. The article explains that a main metric was how often and to what magnitude does one spouse make the other spouse “feel tense”. Talk about begging more questions, studies even. We know, however, that “tense” is most likely skewed to “anxious” which is skewed to afraid which leads to “I just don’t feel safe with you” which dilutes the definition of “safe” to parts per gazilion. Had the metric been “nervous” the results would have been squirrely. A man alone, safely able to be honest, may ask “Can time be expressed in increments greater than 100%?” A women, sitting right next to her husband, would still respond as if it meant “safe”. I’m on a tangent.

A couple of things were most disconcerting. the study said that the wife’s assessment of the marriage is more important than the husbands in the aggregate of determining life satisfaction. Well blow me over, they mean happy wife happy life …don’t they. And they explain that by saying

wives’ assessments of the marriage are more important in some respects than their husbands’

Money.

Or, “no fecal matter Mr. Deer Slayer wearing Baker Street flat occupant”.

Then the pontificating study analyzers go all mentally wobbly.

“Women typically provide more emotional and practical support to husbands than vice-versa,” Carr said. “So even an unhappily married man may receive benefits from the marriage that enhance his overall well-being.”

Bullshit on a kebob. Women typically provide emotional and practical support to husbands that are flabbergasted and exhausted, physically and emotionally, or men who have handed their manhood over to be stored in the bottom drawer of the disheveled dust trap of a jewelry box. This is a corollary to the other myth that women care more about marriage as evidenced by their endless consumption of all things romantic and relationship oriented, and its real meaning that they procure the instruments they employ in the relationship Gitmo where they receive their snail mail. Up is down and the next big dietary fad is coprophagous. (Its very sustainable and saves money too!)

There is a sad statement of a knowing nature buried in the article that really brought me down then up.

Additionally, husbands rated their marriages slightly more positively than wives.

Makes me proud to be a man really. Nose to the mill, all that.

Now, Ray Rice. The man did wrong and went big doing it. Not long on impulse control is he? Evangelical feminists and other feminists will be unable to read this because all comprehension of English is gone when the subject is abuse. that’s why the word ought to require a user license .  100% of respondents report zero percent doubt that he abused his girlfriend. See that? The fems see that sentence as if through a kaleidoscope with a lens fogged by nose breathing anger. I don’t care. I’ve explained that I am somewhat immune to instant outrage at the mention of the word abuse because of my personal experience with it that make Ray Rice’s actions look like he is giving a pedicure by comparison. I do not claim my insensitivity as virtue. I do claim to have better moral clarity because of it, ironically because my moral clarity should be all the more muddled. 

If you watch the elevator lobby video before they get in, and you have the :advantage” of the gut honest perspective that I have, you realize that his outburst was likely set in stone as “gonna happen” long before they reached that lobby where she continued to provoke him, likely during overt and passive aggressive provocations for hours prior all done where it could be unknown to all but ray that she was even being anything but demure. Interesting is the fact that, whether he knocked her out or simply stayed silent and stewed a couple of days, in terms of relationship dynamics, she did nuthin’. Worse, conversationally and according the therapy conventional wisdom, silence and emotional withdrawal would be him abusing her as well. In other words she was, is, and ever shall be unrestrained by any social, religious, self sense of morality, or whatever sort of convention that has the effect of rendering judgement of actions and allowing that cause and effect exist regardless that the outcome is not justified by what precipitates it. We simply cannot have this talk. Ever. 

So, consider the compressed view of a relationship seen in those two segments of video. Now, look at the sixty something men responding to the questions that made up the survey in Happy Wife Happy Life. In the juxtaposition, what can we observe.

1. Yes NAWALT

2. Impulse control

3. A trend towards capitulation and men preferring lives in hair shirts and calling it cozy.

4. The primacy of the conventional wisdom bias.

To end with some levity…last evening my wife was showing me some nursing school work. She is a senior, 4th year so in the clinical setting and doing patient write ups and the like. This thing was huge. Knowing that the right thing is to attentively read it I set about to do just that. Not every sentence nor every page as there were over 30. Think patient chart wildly expanded.

As I put my readers on and started I noticed her to my 4:30. And she was rocking foot to foot. Folks I wanted to flatly ask she walk away, but the moment deserved better. So, I lowered the paper and said, I said, “if you’d move away and stop quivering like a Minion I’d better be able to read this” (a Despicable Me reference for non-animated movie watchers)  Maybe its a spouse thing but we laughed with tears.

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26 thoughts on “Men happier in relationships, except in elevators

  1. Post title made me laugh as well.

    And this:

    I always wonder if the couples were asked questions in a format and forum that enabled the man to answer honestly and not be concerned that Medusa will be slithering on the pillow later.

    I laughed.

  2. “Evangelical feminists and other feminists will be unable to read this because all comprehension of English is gone when the subject is abuse. that’s why the word ought to require a user license .”

    (rolled out my chair laughing)

  3. Empath:
    I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment: seriously, if women would stop chasing semi-literate ghetto thugs with no impulse control, they would be getting physically abused a lot less.

  4. Eric, no devils advocate to it. That’s a totally different topic. Sure I agree with that, somewhat. Its also true that if the temperature would stop dropping below 32 degrees we’d be able to count on there never being ice. Its a little bit like my weariness about repeating the evangelical feminism stuff but even worse. There are even more people , feminists, manosphere folks, red pill blue pill, whatever who would agree with you on women not dating thugs. There is no ground to break with that information anymore. Seems like everyone but the thugs, the thug wannabes, the women dating them, and those who want to date them all already agree that if women would not date thugs they would be abused less. Its a fact that eventually lacks any utility in its sharing.

    I used the thug driven example, but my comments about that abuse have to do with everything from a guy going quiet to yelling to breaking a dish to punching a wall to all the way up to knocking her out in the elevator.

  5. Again; nothing is ever a woman’s fault, women’s fault. There is no cause and effect for women. No accountability. No responsibility.

  6. I once teased a mentally retarded boy in 5th grade. I was merciless and am ashamed to this day of how I treated him.

    He did the best thing possible: hauled off and gave me a vicious blow to the jaw, fueled by all the rage I had provoked. I deserved every last shred of fury he unleashed. I am even more ashamed that rather than take the well-deserved punch with dignity like someone getting what they deserved, I ran crying to the teacher, “he hit me!” But I knew, deep down, it was my provocation, and not his impulse control that was to blame.

    I am not going to comment on the specifics of Rice’s situation and will not suggest that she earned it. I have not seen the video and did not even know who the guy was (not a big NFL fan) prior to this incident. I know nothing more than what has been broadcast on the 2-min radio news at the top of the hour.

    I will simply say this: To the observers on the playground that day, I looked guiltless. But both he and I knew better.

    With Rice’s situation, we will never know. To even express curiosity in the events leading up to the punch is synonymous with “condoning violence.”

  7. I remember reading about that study a while ago. I figured you’d make the following point, but your thoughts didn’t go in that direction.

    The conclusion that “the wife’s happiness is the more important component” and because of that it must be the case that she’s the load-bearing element of the relationship is pretty much the same sort of thing as the assumption that because men tend to earn more and such when they have a wife that the wife has somehow made him more successful via her mere presence. In reality, while the fact they’re starting from is accurate, the direction of the conclusion is completely backwards.

    In the latter case it is the man’s sense of responsibility which compels him to provide more when he has more people depending on him. He provides, rather than receives, a benefit, and this benefit that he provides is credited to everyone but him. Similarly in the case of this article, the wife’s happiness level is the more important to the overall relationship because when a man is unhappy, it is very rare that he will act out and do deliberately hurtful things to his wife. He will generally continue to do all the proper things a loving husband should do, even when he doesn’t feel like it. It is typical, on the other hand, for wives to act in this way when they feel unhappy. Even good wives will sometimes intentionally reject their duties and responsibilities toward their husbands when upset, until they feel happier. Thus the relationship suffers far less from an unhappy man, who suffers in silence, than from an unhappy woman, who inflicts her unhappiness on others. This is then taken as more evidence that all men could make their relationships perfect if they would only act to make their wives happy, rather than as evidence that women’s uncontrolled emotions and withholding of love and duty stand a good chance of ruining their marriages.

    The inversion of truth is truly perverse in these cases. It harms not only the men who are further burdened, but the women who could actually improve their relationships by recognizing their cruel actions toward their husbands and stopping them.

  8. Eidolan

    Excellent points. And I am glad someone finally commented on that part of the post rather than the elevator. I would not have written about either one by itself. But together, the dominant these was about the women happy article, not the punching in the elevator

  9. Eidolan
    Thus the relationship suffers far less from an unhappy man, who suffers in silence, than from an unhappy woman, who inflicts her unhappiness on others.

    This is an excellent and accurate summary. I will add that any unhappy man who might dare to offer up an objection will immediately be accused of “whining”.

  10. Empath:
    I’m not sure it has no utility: I saw today that David Fat-Troll over at Manboobz launched into a furious tirade over the ‘Spearhead’ article that Elspeth linked. So, it does have an effect on male feminists (who invariably see themselves as the new breed of ‘real men’ but harbor deep, secret fears of being dumped for a thug) in that it gives them a badly-needed reality check.

    On the subject of male feminists, I would also add that they buy into the ‘happy wife happy life’ meme more than anyone: although a huge majority of them are in ‘open relationships’. At least the ones I’ve read never stop bragging about how their ‘relationships’ are successful because of they way they accommodate and please their ‘partners’. But if you press them enough, you really get the impression that they don’t feel all that secure.

    Anyway, I thought it was interesting because I think you see the dynamics you were talking about more clearly with male feminists than with churchians, because they don’t have the veneer of traditional marriage to hide behind.

  11. Anyway, I thought it was interesting because I think you see the dynamics you were talking about more clearly with male feminists than with churchians,

    The two categories are not mutually exclusive. In fact there’s likely more overlap than you would think. There are plenty of churchgoing women feminists, I’ve know some: Methodist, Episcopalian, ELCA Lutheran, PCUSA Presbyterian, Assembly of God, nondenominational, and so forth. Bound to be male femnists as well, maybe married to the female feminists. I’ll leave it to others to discuss the degree of churchianity involved, but will point out that in every church I’ve visited where there was a woman preacher, I’ve found at least one woman feminist.

  12. Eric

    That is kinda my point. I’ll preface the explanation with the admission that, in case no one noticed, I am prone to peeves and fleeting bursts of enthusiastic negativity about certain things. If I wrote about some of the things for which I hold similar obsessive opinions to those expressed regarding food in the previous post and comments, and that which I am tangent-ing about here, I’d be recommended for study medication pertaining to myriad psychological maladies. The peeve du jour, born of myself and aimed at my repetitious worrying of the same topics, is similar to the peeve about repetitious worrying of women’s hypergamous bad man choices and how it lacks utility.

    I came to this very differently, but Ive read Cane making similar claims about various mens sphere uber themes. And Id usually blow back with how sure, its not a fix, but is not vacuous whining because it serves the purpose of catharsis. I’m staying with that particular claim, that it is cathartic and not always or even mostly about simple whining. But, I agree it accomplishes nothing. But I realize that thats OK too because I have to accept that the world and the sum of its daily transactions form, in the case of goods, services and money, an economy. In the sum of its actions, reactions, and interactions, it forms human society(ies). all those transactions are so much bigger and more complicated than I can touch with a whiff of understanding, yet God sees it with the simplicity of a board game like Chutes and Ladders. So, despite my too big for britches pontifications here, Im suggesting that Futrelle getting worked up about an article represents utility or progress like a home owner reacting to the raging house fire by walking the neighborhood while his house burns demanding he be let into homes where he can lecture them on the specific aspect of fire prevention that he had failed to practice, and when a home owner angrily turns him away and tells him its silly to be so tight-@ssed about safety, he goes and tells people that that is evidence he is making progress so he must knock more doors.

  13. Regarding the elevator incident, I am amazed that there are women galore saying that this incident os private and that “she put her hands on him first”. Sadly, they dont mean it. Its their own thug urge causing this

  14. Empath:
    I was thinking about this today. It occurred to me that probably a big part of the issue is that most of the readers of this blog (I think) are married. I could understand why, to married MRAs, why the thug-chasing meme would have no utility (at least HOPEFULLY not)!

    The catharsis is probably an accurate assessment, at least in the case of those of us who are single. It’s a matter of perspective. For single men, a lot’s been said in the Manosphere about male self-sufficiency, but let’s be candid: the OT states early on that ‘it’s not good for man to be alone’ and that God created a ‘helpmeet’ with ‘the two to become one flesh’ to correct that very situation, And I can testify from long experience that there’s really only so much of that a man can do for himself.

    The problem comes because single men today are trapped between two poles: as one blogger eloquently put it: ‘between the living death of involuntary celibacy and the unmitigated Hell of a modern relationship’. It’s not a really pleasant place to be, to be caught between those two points.

    And for a single man, it doesn’t help matters when:

    1. You see the very kinds of men you most despise rewarded with more sex than they can handle, with the choicest women and blessed with huge numbers of children: all of which they treat with contempt;

    2. You have the gay-rights crowd constantly preaching to you that them and their lifestyles are better than you and yours;

    3. Both #1 and #2 bombarding you with Shaming Language and looking down you like you’re an inferior. AND making you feel like a chump and a sucker because your taxes are paying for their lifestyles.

    I agree that in the end, complaining about thug-chasing accomplishes nothing. But neither does anything else a single guy does, so maybe expending a lot of effort for no purpose is something we just become accustomed to eventually. But I think it does help a lot of single men just to realize that they aren’t alone in their situation.

  15. in case no one noticed, I am prone to peeves and fleeting bursts of enthusiastic negativity about certain things.

    Really?

  16. I hadn’t actually read the Fox article. This jumped out at me:

    “Women typically provide more emotional and practical support to husbands than vice-versa.”

    This is so contrary to my experience that I have a hard time processing it.

    My assessment of my own marriage, with my own excellent wife, is that while she is of course very helpful in both emotional and practical ways, she has no concept of how many things I do for her on a daily basis. She doesn’t recognize how intensely frustrating she can be, how many times I let irritating things slide, how many things I do without her noticing, and of course there are the various overt ways on top of that (mowing, fixing, weeding, trimming, carrying, IT, etc.). This is not to say that I am exceptionally good to her, just that I’m pretty average in that way, I think. I feel like the average husband probably does a thousand things for his wife that she doesn’t even count. That’s certainly been my experience — the things I put a lot of effort into, she tends to not even store in her memory. I imagine every husband gets the “you never do things for me” speech occasionally and internally rolls his eyes.

    So it seems absurd to say that the average wife gives more practical support to her husband than vice versa. And emotionally, I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that husbands spend a lot more time comforting their wives and giving them the opportunity to vent than the other way around. Indeed, I’ve noticed that women who expect large amounts of time devoted to hearing them discuss their emotions are often rather stingy when it comes to their own willingness to listen to a man’s concerns or feelings.

    It’s hard to believe anyone with any sense could actually say the above statement sincerely. And that’s from the most conservative news network. We’re truly far from having any sanity or common sense, as a society.

  17. I feel like the average husband probably does a thousand things for his wife that she doesn’t even count. That’s certainly been my experience — the things I put a lot of effort into, she tends to not even store in her memory. I imagine every husband gets the “you never do things for me” speech occasionally and internally rolls his eyes.

    I agree with you. It’s intensely frustrating to have women tell me that the things I do for my husband that he doesn’t reciprocate identically means that he is not leading like Christ lead (“Jesus washed feet”, Great leaders serve!”) And I want to scream, “What the heck do you think he is out there doing 60 hours a week if not serving my needs?” I actually DO say it, I just don’t scream it or drip with the derision that I sometimes feel.

    So it seems absurd to say that the average wife gives more practical support to her husband than vice versa.

    It doesn’t just seem absurd. It is. And I’m not perfect. I try to be pretty up front about that, but I’m not stupid. I know that my man takes excellent care of me.

  18. Regarding the elevator incident, I am amazed that there are women galore saying that this incident os private and that “she put her hands on him first”.

    Empath, why are you amazed by this? Women are what they are; hypergamous, territorial in their own way, herd oriented.

    Sadly, they dont mean it. Its their own thug urge causing this

    No, they do mean it … at the instant that they say it. In a different context those women all but certainly will say the exact opposite. Sure, NAWALT, but not as much as we are told.

  19. Eldolon,

    Very well-said. I think this feeling is pretty universal among the men I know. There is this undercurrent of expectation and entitlement that fuels many a female soul. When men dare to bring it up, it is as though they have filed a protest against having to breath. I am reminded of Boxer in Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    We ditched our cable TV about a month ago — mostly a protest against the prices — but I must say one of the things I miss the least is the portrayal of the average husband/father as blend of man child, tree sloth, and doofus.

  20. Elspeth, yes really. Who knew?

    Eric, you are establishing that there are men affected, and that while elusive in specificity, there COULD be something, anything done/tried. In that sense there is “potential utility”….a need. I think you agreed though that what is accomplished by endless examination is a bit like the way Christians rush from one cause to the next, boycotting and writing editorials and such.

    EidolonIf, correct. I may not have ever considered the things I do had it not been for the drumbeat of complaints from women and it being conventional wisdom men do so little. With 4 kids, some pets, a home and yard, some cars, all that, I am always on point. Just walking through my home Im always arranging, wiping, putting away, straightening, organizing, sorting, in small increments, much of it so that I don’t get caught in the drama of my wife’s tendency to not prepare well, which results in random commands flying off her at me and kids to reign back some chaos that could have been averted by the little 10 second bursts I take all day every day. Thankfully my boys have taken that trait as they reached 21 and 18. I see them ironing cloths the night before work or school, making bag lunches, doing their laundry as a load accumulates, etc. I also see them repairing things rather than tossing. It was nice for me to see my son repairing an ear bud wire with electrical tape, the buds were not high end but he said why toss what can be fixed? Unscientific but men get this more than women about preparation. Across my sample of life its drama of disorder caused by women that reigns. Not universally. My 23 year old daughter had the same inputs as my boys yet she has learned how to break into and effect a thermodynamic law by actually accelerating entropy.

    AR, I disagree. Yes women are what they are, and they are at once prone prone to enthusiastic desire to experience, vicariously, seeing a man go down and be derided by charges of abuse in any form…..just the word abuse is something women as a group recruit victims all so they can feel some feeling of vicarious revenge or that some man doesn’t get away with something. Also, they may want to be able to say they themselves are abused someday so they build a chattering validation chorus for their own potential claim.

    That is far more the norm than hypergamy creating thug abuse denial or dismissal. Im not surprised that there exists women who are taking the defensive posture, but that its so media available. I was maybe unclear what the shock really is. But this is as much a minority, not a tiny minority but still, nonetheless. While most women may have hypergamous thug urges, its less that will pass up the low fruit of piling on an easy target for derision.

    The “when they say it” observation is spot on for most things they say.

  21. My experience is that women are about 80% of the emotional tenor of a relationship. If a relationship isn’t happy, both participants in the relationship usually have something to do with it but the woman seems to have way more impact in this area than the man.
    As for it being harder to be a single man now than it used to be, I would disagree, men ain’t no lustier than they ever was and women ain’t no more difficult to live with than they ever was, except for the fact that we are now bombarded by images of sexy, attractive women in various levels of undress almost constantly. Men from any pre-modern era would probably go insane in today’s female body displaying environment.
    Being single and celibate isn’t so bad when you get used to it, as a matter of fact, now that I’m in my mid 40’s, I can’t imagine voluntarily subjecting myself to the emotional upheaval and stress that necessarily accompanies a physical relationship, It’s not the being celibate part that’s so difficult, it’s the getting used to it that strikes so deep but, like flying, it’s a lot easier to maintain cruising altitude than it is to get there. But once there, the view is worth it.

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