A few readers took issue with yesterday’s post suggesting that single, 30-something women were lucky in that they still had access to a pool of decent men — divorced fathers. A couple readers thought I was suggesting that divorced men should take on single mothers, so perhaps I should make myself clear:
Single childless women past 30 may be appropriate for divorced fathers, but single mothers are a big liability these days.
Why is this? Well, let’s start with the obvious. Single mothers are overwhelmingly so by choice. Aside from the small number of widows and women whose husbands ran off on their families, single women with children made the conscious choice to put themselves in that situation. This is a choice that has been celebrated at least since Murphy Brown decided to become a single mother on TV back in the early 90s.
Single fathers, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly victims of circumstances. Men have no control over female reproduction, so they cannot abort their children. Men who run off from their families are subject to confiscatory measures on behalf of the mother, and most of them know this and avoid doing so. Women overwhelmingly file for divorce, especially when children and custody issues are involved.
These circumstances exert strong pressure on men, forcing them to stick by their families through thick and thin. Men will put up with a great deal before divorcing their wives.
Since the late 80s, women, on the other hand, have choices every step of the way. They can terminate their pregnancies, they can leave their husbands with some guarantee of custody and support, and they are very often recipients of welfare (e.g. WIC — Women with Infants and Children).
Therefore, single mothers are overwhelmingly women who have:
a. Left their children’s father
b. Subjected their children’s father to state confiscation
c. Deprived their children of a father figure
d. Relied on others to involuntarily support their choice
Why on earth would a man want a woman like that? Only a fool would think such a woman was a safe bet. Even leaving aside the problems inherent in mixed families, what guarantee is there that she won’t simply repeat what she’s already proven herself capable of at some point in the future?
Single and divorced fathers, on the other hand, are men who have proven loyalty to their children, have “done their duty” despite the fact that the orders and judgments were unfair, and are not generally responsible for the demise of their marriages (most divorces are filed for “irreconcilable differences” – not abuse or infidelity – by the wife).
Given these circumstances, it doesn’t matter much whether men or women are different — the realities of contemporary law have created an imbalance that clearly puts men at a disadvantage in divorce and custody. When such an imbalance exists, those who take advantage of it, i.e. single mothers, have demonstrated their own low character, whereas those victimized by it have no reason to feel ashamed.
Today, there is no equivalency between single mothers and single fathers, and men would be well-advised to avoid single mothers in all but exceptional circumstances.