Long-time lurker here. I know this is a long post, but I really feel this is need-to-know level stuff. Find a comfy spot and read.
I decided to write because I had a recent experience in my LTR that sent me on a somewhat obsessive hunt for RedPill thoughts on marriage. Many posts echo “don’t marry” as a central tenet of RedPill life strategy, but I haven’t been able to find a really good core post on the subject.
If you’re interested in my situation, it’s at the bottom. But for itchy eyes I’m going to jump right in:
#1 – the greatest power is the power to walk away
The power to walk away underpins many RedPill concepts:
Preselection = you have been with other attractive girls. Your history with attractive girls means you are attractive to other girls. Being attractive to other girls means you have options. Having options means you have the power to walk away.
Social proof = a lot of people (including girls) like you. Being popular implies you have high value. Being high value means you have options. Having options means you have the power to walk away.
Dread game = even on the inside of a marriage or LTR, you can effectively turn the tables by convincing your SO that you have the power to walk away.
Abundance mentality = realizing ‘I have the power to walk away’.
All of game, from A to Z, is about generating an impression in a woman that you are worth keeping around and have the power to walk away. She does that one line of math in her head and realizes that she has to do the work to keep you around. And not just women…
Your employer needs you and you have another job offer. You have the power to walk away. You can literally put a price on the power to walk away.
Anything that takes away your power to walk away, takes away your power. You can see where this is going.
#2 – marriage redistributes the power to walk away
First point, the obvious: whatever you stand to lose through divorce is the cost to you of walking away.
Second point, not so obvious: Western marriage has an implicit “shotgun clause”. At any point, for any reason or for no reason at all, either party can ask for a divorce and have everything wrapped up 365 days later. This is called “no-fault divorce” and is the norm in the Western World. It is sometimes referred to as “Marriage 2.0” for those who have seen that term. It is one of the central “achievements” of feminism and the main reason why marriage is so dangerous for the higher earner – more often than not, the man.
For those who are wondering, the predecessor to “no-fault divorce” was “for-fault divorce” (Marriage 1.0). The law used to require, many years ago, that to get a divorce you had to demonstrate to the courts that your spouse was abusive, committed adultery, or otherwise egregiously broke their wedding vows. A spouse couldn’t just run off with half the estate.
But back to marriage 2.0: at any point in time, for any reason or no reason at all, a spouse can literally run off with half the estate. He/she just has to decide there are “irreconcilable differences”.
In divorce, any increase in property that occurs after the date of marriage is split 50/50. This includes all income … any dollar saved, any asset purchased with dollars earned after the date of marriage, all investment income and capital gains, even on assets that were brought into the marriage. All increase of any kind belongs to both spouses equally.
Simplifying a bit, this is what happens to property in a divorce: you calculate your joint net worth, each of you keeps anything you brought into the marriage – valued based on what it was worth when you got married, the lawyers take theirs, and the rest is split 50/50.
The matrimonial home is treated differently. In spite of whoever owns it, brought it into the marriage, or made the payments – any equity in it is split 50/50.
If the lower-earning spouse doesn’t earn enough to support the lifestyle they have gotten used to, the higher-earner will most likely have to cover this cost for a set number of years to come. For example, if the woman is a homemaker and cannot possibly be employed, the payments end … never. Alimony is often based on earning potential rather than actual income and can become an immovable high watermark.
Custody laws tend to favor women, etc…
My purpose isn’t to explain family law. You should do your own research.
Anyway, let’s just assume we’re all men reading this, and that we intend to be the higher earners. Our cost of walking away is onerous. But our prerogatives aside, we also have to be vigilant because she can walk away at any time, for no reason at all, and be the beneficiary of a large and ongoing wealth transfer.
Marriage redistributes the power to walk away, from the higher earner to the lower earner – from you to her.
So now you’re married. Things are great. But marriage is hard. You have to suffer each other, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Post-war people are fickle, entitled, and ravenous for gratification. The younger they are, the more this is true. The Me Generation. Someone in your wife’s circle of friends is going to break a nail and do this research. She’ll find out she can be paid to leave the man she is having “irreconcilable differences” with (he got a bit lazy and chubby, and there’s this other guy at work).
Your wife will start to see divorces happening all around her – divorce rates are that high – she’ll be hearing about how “empowered” her divorced friends are, and how much they “got”. She will calculate her divorce benefits as soon as she realizes that divorce pays out like a benefit plan. It’s in her nature. Even if she thinks she is above divorcing for cash, she will do that math … ‘just to see’.
From this point on, the divorce numbers will be priced into all of your interactions. It’ll come out the next time you’re at a relationship low or in a bad enough fight. She will price your cost of walking away into the strength of her resolve, even if only subconsciously. And you? You vowed away your power to walk away. Your only option is the divorce itself – a costly outcome that will be priced into your position as weakness.
We know how hypergamy works. We know how attraction works. We know how this situation ends. She’ll get to the point where she doesn’t even care about the shape your life will take when she walks away. She’ll just walk. RedPill has a term for this: “divorce rape”.
You may think, ‘Not me; not mine.’ However…
#3 – divorce is statistically quite likely
Divorce is a common bird in the Western World.
The divorce rate in your jurisdiction may or may not be above 50%, but it is probably edging toward it. For example, in Canada where I live, around 40% of marriages are projected to end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversaries.
Do the research for your jurisdiction. The numbers have meaning. Like stock prices, they reflect underlying mass truth: levels of entitlement in people, economic realities, the effects of family law, mass media, the moral quality of the culture, etc:
Since most people use the United States as a reference, I will as well. Depending on who you cite, around 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. It seems like an accepted number so I’ll forego the fact-checking here.
Another important statistic: at least two thirds of divorces are initiated by women. I have had difficulty finding a single solid source for this, but the ones that I have found all sing the same tune: two thirds (or more) of divorces are initiated by women. Sources at the bottom of the post.
Less and less people are choosing to marry. In Canada, where I live, the marriage rate has fallen by almost half since the post-war boom (from ~8 annual marriages to ~4 per 1000 people).
One final nuance: divorce rates in religious communities are much lower than in non-religious communities. I have a feeling that RedPill is a majority-secular crowd. So be aware that among your peers divorce could really be as likely as heads or tails, maybe worse. Go flip a coin a few times to see how shaky a prospect it is when you really need the flip to go your way. In marriage you really really do, especially if you are the higher earner.
We’re not speaking in certainties but in probabilities. Obviously, the specifics of a circumstance shape its outcome; but we are dealing with potent, meaningful numbers here. Remember, mass truth. These numbers reflect truths about our men, our women, our laws, and our societies.
Some couples hamster their way through unhappy marriages: “for the kids”, “for financial reasons”, “for fear of social consequences”, etc. What percentage of marriages are happy? A likely minority. Worse than a coin toss.
#4 – marriage is a business decision
Marriage is a risk/reward decision with hard-to-figure, long-term outcomes.
To the degree that the realities and statistics above are true, a RedPill man ought to treat the decision to marry with a serious degree of prudence and apprehension. If you make the decision to marry without framing it like a business decision, you’re not looking after your life properly.
Risk and reward. Assuming you are a man earning more than your would-be wife, these are your principal risks:
Marriage takes away your ability to walk away, which is the nearly-singular source of real power in social and sexual dynamics. Her game is wanting you to not leave despite being able to. As soon as you can’t leave, the game is won. She will become restless and bored, like a cat that chases a toy to no end until it catches it. Hint: cats don’t play for very long with toys they’ve caught.
Marriage has a shotgun clause: at any time your wife can walk away with half of any wealth you build while in the marriage. She doesn’t need a reason. If you out-earn her by a large margin, it really will feel like your wealth, as in singularly yours, but it’s not. In the eyes of the law it’s not your empire – it belongs to both of you. The shotgun clause is used roughly half of the time, mostly by women.
You take the risk of driving on the highway because you need to get to work. You take the risk of getting on a plane because you want to hang out in Rome. You take the risk of skydiving because you want to feel the rush. You take the risk of getting married because __________________.
The RedPill stance is “don’t marry” but I find that a bit terse. I’ll give my opinion, take it or leave it:
You take the risk of getting married because: you and your SO are going to start something larger than yourselves, either a business or a family, and you fully trust them as a partner in this venture.
- You understand the risks of marriage: you have read this post and have a good grasp of your financial reality in relation to hers. Closely related:
- You have taken the Red Pill: you understand how attraction works, you have accepted responsibility for your life, you work hard to improve yourself, you love yourself first.
- You have a sturdy identity: you know what you’re good at, you know how to get paid for it, you have confidence in yourself, you are an adult.
- You have a strong financial footing: if you don’t, start now. Go to /r/PersonalFinance, lurk, branch out, start saving money. Having money saved up will force you to research what to do with it.
- You trust your SO as a business partner/father/mother: they have sound decision-making skills, can be trusted with real responsibility, and will make a complimentary contribution to the partnership.
- You have amazingly few personal problems with each other. Obviously this is hard to quantify; but the better your relationship is at the outset, the more room you will have to absorb unforeseen differences and conflicts.
- Your purpose for marrying is to accomplish something larger than yourselves, such as starting a business or raising a family.
- You have enough mental and emotional space to make this decision for yourself: you are not being pressured by outside forces such as your SO, your family, etc. If you are, you have to work to cancel out those voices.
To those who subscribe to the Dual-Income-No-Kids philosophy, you may be tempted to marry. My opinion:
There are financial incentives to marry – but if having kids does not hold marriages together over the long run, that extra 10-20% on your taxes or benefits certainly won’t.
Most things with a SO can be enjoyed without elevating a relationship to marriage. You can frolic in love, enjoy each other’s company, be close with each other’s families, live together, go on vacations together. As an aside, if you’re that serious in your relationship, research common-law marriage in your jurisdiction. You could find yourself on the hook for alimony and other afterglow.
#5 – you will change and she will change
Life expectancy is unprecedentedly high and our society is changing more rapidly than most people can handle. We are bombarded by foreign cultures and philosophies – small seeds are planted in our minds every day. Whole industries are uprooted and replaced every year. It has become impossible to hold a fixed point of view for very long – our reference points shift too rapidly.
As individuals we cannot predict where life will take us. You cannot predict where life will take your SO. You have to assume she will have changed after a year, five years, ten years, etc – and you will have changed as well.
Almost as if to spite us, the longer you are married, the greater the financial consequences of divorce: each year more and more dollars are earned and disposed of communally. More and more of your wealth will be joint wealth. Your lives will be more and more entangled. The stakes of marriage increase over time.
Given the statistics above and the speed of our age, it is a reasonable expectation that “irreconcilable differences” will eventually emerge in any given marriage. It may be mutual, it may be one-sided: the longer it takes the higher the stakes.
Marriage is the ultimate “long game” whereas our societies breed short-term players.
#6 – prenupts do not necessarily mediate the risks
I am not a lawyer.
From the reading I have done however, it is quite clear that prenupts are regularly thrown out in court. This can happen for a simple, practical reason: “her lifestyle has changed since it was written”, or even a wishy-washy, unprovable one: “she signed under duress”.
That is not to say they are useless. It seems you can potentially offset some of the risk of marrying if you have a very good lawyer and draft a proper prenupt under proper circumstances, etc. But you do run the risk of alienating your SO.
I am not a lawyer. If you have prenupt money, you can afford a lawyer.
#7 – weddings, fantasies, and external forces
Look away for a moment and conjure up one of your strongest fantasies: scoring a tournament-winning point, reaching the top of an organization, starting a successful business, whatever it may be.
For the typical girl, weddings are that level of fantasy – not marriages, weddings. She may have other ambitions, but no single other fantasy will hit the spot quite like obsessing about being the centerpiece of a wedding.
On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find the true career woman whose fantasies are related to forging her own path. You’ll likely find that her attitude toward the prospect of marriage is ambivalence, if not wariness. It’s not her high and she probably won’t marry you.
In between these two poles you’ll find the typical urban woman, working a job because that’s what a modern woman does. She has underlying insecurities about the fact that her friends are getting married, and instead of clear fantasies about marriage or career she feels a general uneasiness. She feels the pressure to marry but her convictions are weak and superficial.
I am not trying to define every type of woman. I am simply describing some of the women that I know. The point is:
Women can become obsessed with the idea of becoming married without any sense or care for the long haul.
If this happens with your SO, keep your own decision-making process focused on the long haul and try to bring her into it. Do not marry someone who makes long-term decisions with short-sighted thinking. If she cannot see the horizon, don’t expect her to set out toward it.
#8 – control the pace at which a relationship “climbs the stairs” to marriage
In any LTR of serious length, a couple will play with fantasies about what life might be like at greater levels of responsibility and investment. Some examples:
- You live separately but joke about how when you live together, x will happen … or x will be unacceptable.
- One of you says something like “I should learn to x” where x has something to do with the division of labor in a family unit.
- You add your salaries together and muse about the life you could afford together.
- You don’t have a pet but you joke about what kind of animal you should get and abuse with love.
- You talk about baby names.
- You do a forward-looking look-back, such as “look how far we’ve come … can you imagine x”.
The other major type of “stair-climbing” is the intertwining of lives. Examples:
- Meeting each other’s families.
- Deciding to live together.
- Discovering you share important common ground (values, number of kids, etc).
- Getting a pet.
- Taking on each other’s important tasks (helping with a payment for example)
All of these actions and fantasies will push her closer to wanting and expecting marriage. Be mindful of the “stair climbing potential” of your actions. You have every ability to control the pace of your LTR.
I (26M) found RedPill around the time I met my current girlfriend (25F) almost a year ago. I feel very in control of the controllable parts of being in a relationship. I earn 3x what she does and my field has much more earning potential than hers. Also I have financial assets whereas she does not.
Our relationship has gotten progressively more serious as time has passed. This past weekend she said the following to me:
“I was thinking maybe we would get married two years from now, maybe get engaged next year.”
She had a website she wanted to show me: a location that she thought would be great for a wedding. I was not expecting it.
I said, “Yeah looks nice,” to everything she showed me. And then I said, “Honestly, I haven’t thought about it at all.”
To which she said carefully, “Well, you should.”
I didn’t indulge her and she promptly changed the subject.
I did go on to think about it on my own. This post is a summary of my how I will approach the decision to marry.
I have to assume that out of 90k subscribers, a certain sizable number will eventually get married. It may be as few as 1000, but that means one thousand real lives, one thousand futures. All I hope to do with this post is help frame the decision so that these 1000 or less or more are able to make it wisely when she wants marriage.
Sources for who initiates divorce:
68.9% of divorces initiated by women, Psychology Today, citing several studies
If you read through the Monthly Vital Statistics Reports compiled by the Center for Disease Control, you can find hints of similar statistics (however these are almost two decades):
A particular report from 1990 about the year 1987: 60% of divorces initiated by women, CDC
United Kingdom: 72% of divorces initiated by women, Telegraph
So, fair estimate: two thirds of divorces are initiated by women.
Thanks for the gold!