Do I, or don’t I?! (melchett mike’s Marriage Poll)

“We are just waiting for you, Michael” came the excited chorus from my mother’s friends, over lunch in Netanya last week.

Thankfully, the septua- and octogenarians were not expressing some carnal desire of widowhood, but rather their hope that I might finally give my mother some naches (as if being a solicitor isn’t enough) and settle down.

Strange expression that, “settle down”. I am a lawyer, have been in the same position – tragically, at a desk – for over three years, own my own apartment, two dogs, etc . . . and yet, in the eyes of many (especially in traditional Jewish circles), am no better than an unfinished jelly or cake. It is as if, to those people, everything you are and have achieved count for nothing if you’ve only ever said “I don’t.” Which is sad, I think . . . for them. (You also, often, get treated differently; though I will leave that for a separate post).

For many years, people were asking me when I was going to “tie the knot”. It was as if I had been putting off the inevitable, and shouldn’t have. These days, however, the enquiry, when made, is couched more in terms of “taking the plunge”, the rather less optimistic imagery reflecting the perceptible change in the attitude of friends – most in their forties and married for over a decade – towards their spouses and marriages. And, for the first time, I am even being advised not to “take” it.

I do have a handful of friends who seem genuinely content with their domestic lots. Another handful seem genuinely discontent, whilst the majority appear resigned, often reaffirming (to themselves) how much they love their kids. And one, only semi jokingly, refers to his wife as “the Obersturmgruppenführer”. Nice.

Now, none of this is a great advertisement for marriage, especially for someone who didn’t need too much dissuading in the first place, and who – in spite of the occasional frustrations of the single life – has a pretty agreeable, free and independent existence. My avoidance of the institution, up to now, has nothing whatsoever to do with what Woody Allen says about Jewish women – that they “don’t believe in sex after marriage” – but owes rather a lot to my single most vivid fear: that I wake up in the middle of the night, look at my wife sleeping next to me, and think “What the f*ck have I done?!”

There are other alternatives, these days,  to the traditional “nuclear family” – it is far more acceptable to merely live with one’s partner, and I have been approached by several single women in Tel Aviv to father their, or rather our, child.

And, even though the length of time that I will have to pay the price for a poor decision will probably be far less than for my long-married friends, that decision has somehow taken on even more weight . . . seeing as I have already waited this long. I mean, it would be a shame to f*ck things up now!

As well as completing the above poll, it would be interesting to hear the rather more considered thoughts of readers of melchett mike on married – and, indeed, the single – life, in a forum allowing anonymity. As a broad guideline:

  • If you are happily married, what do you consider the most important ingredient(s)? Love, attraction, compatibility, similar backgrounds, etc?
  • Conversely, if you are unhappily married, what are the main reasons? And what would you do differently, if you are fortunate enough(!), next time?
  • And if, like me, you are single, what are your experiences, thoughts and concerns?

At the end of your comment, and in order to render it more meaningful, please provide as much relevant information as you feel comfortable providing: your age, gender, marital status, and (if relevant) how long you have been married. (Most married contributors will probably wish to remain anonymous, and whilst I promise to respect that – anyway, the IP address I receive only enables me to find out what city you live in – try and come up with a name other than “Anon”, to distinguish yourself from other contributors!)

If readers are prepared to be forthright, it could make for an interesting read and dialogue . . .

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32 responses to “Do I, or don’t I?! (melchett mike’s Marriage Poll)

  1. First, your advice options – none of the above! Second, my status isn’t married, but that’s no guideline. What I can see is that those who do manage to form a partnership with someone they genuinely care about and are highly compatible with are usually happier than those who do not. Those who get married for options “any woman will do” and/or “half decent bint” and/or “it’s all for the kids” and who are of what I assume to be your age have a high chance of failure. Nothing’s worse than an unhappy marriage – being single’s much better.

    I think looking at shidduchim based on genuine compatibility has a lot to commend it.

    The men I know of who stayed single till death were almost all not happy men.

    Very strong advice (on the basis of quite a bit of knowledge) – avoid taking up offers to father children for women who want your services for this purpose.

    Interesting that you’re uncertain enough to be asking for guidance from strangers. How about letting your positive inclinations have a chance by trying some shidduch encounters and seeing how you respond?

    Avoid just responding to mishpocha pressure.

    And don’t take chances on the basis, it’ll probably be alright on the night. If you don’t feel happy committing, then don’t.

    What Jewish woman doesn’t like the opportunity to give eitzos?

    Best of luck…and good Shabbos

    PS I was at university with your Mad Dog – in the same English degree class. Very funny reading about his career at Hasmo.

  2. Do as I say, not as I do, eh, Judy?!

    I tend to agree with what I understand to be your bottom line: don’t compromise. That is probably why I still am where I am. And the main reason that I still hope to be somewhere else is because of your (and my dear mother’s!) advice – that being an old bachelor is not that fun.

    “Asking for guidance from strangers” – the poll bit of the post – is not its main purpose . . . which is to generate comments like yours, and to give an anonymous platform for insights that readers would otherwise feel uncomfortable sharing.

    Good shabbes,

    Mike

    PS Re “Mad Dog”, please do share your Uni recollections of him after the relevant post!

  3. I’m a relatively new reader, but I find this post interesting, and will be curious to read other comments.

    I’m 37, female, and am on my second (and happy) marriage. Unlike a lot of women, I never really had a big desire to get married, though, so I might be an outlier.

    My basic strategy (and advice) is to think about what you want from a marriage, and how you think about some of the big issues in life. (In my case, if I was to get married, it would be to someone who’s my best friend first (because looks and bodies eventually fail), and, like in your poll, don’t want to be without!)

    I do have some non-negotiables: he must be Jewish, not interested in having children, must not have antiquated ideas about women’s roles, and must not be interested in a job that pays well over one that does something good for the world.

    After those are determined, then it’s a case of “do we get along on the little things?” For a while, I dated a wonderful man, but we just got on each other’s nerves constantly. We matched on the big issues, but not the little ones. Although we cared (and still do) about each other deeply, we know we can’t be in a relationship.

    My first husband met the “best friend” criteria exactly, but the marriage ultimately dissolved because he essentially stayed a teenager into adulthood: impulsive and immature. He is still a great friend, but he wasn’t a very good husband. (If I’d had it to do over, I would have taken some of the signs of immaturity I took to be fun-loving as warnings of overall immaturity.)

    My current husband also met the “best friend” criteria, but had the maturity I had been seeking. Our marriage is happy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight sometimes, or don’t have ups an downs, but we’re extremely committed to each other.

    I knew this one was different, though, when I realized that just being around him made me a better person. He is kind and sweet and funny, and something in him made me a kinder and more thoughtful person.

    So, I would boil it down to love and compatibility, and attraction, but keep in mind that attraction may wane as we get older.

    As for the similar background, I’m not sure that’s entirely necessary. (About the only thing my background has in common with either of the men I married is that we’re Jewish: both men were raised Conservative, and I’ve always been secular. We’re all from different parts of the country and from different socio-economic groups.)

  4. Married With Kids and Loving It

    Hi,

    For context, I am very happily married with 4 kids and I apologize if the following comes across as ‘smug married talk’.

    I have never viewed marriage as being something to compromise on or to do to have kids. Its about finding a partner in life with common goals with whom you want to build a future together. The institution of marriage is a great way to cement this and provide each other with the comfort which allows you to move forward together building that future (see Jennifer Aniston in “He’s not that into you” for a good articulation of this).

    Why do it? If it works it’s great – so great it is worth the gamble if you think you have actually found the right partner and are not sure. Why gamble? Because most candidates to be that partner won’t want to hang around until you are ‘sure’ and if they are as wonderful as you think they are then you probably aren’t the only person on the planet who would think so.

    Why be concerned? Because even if she is perfect, we (the man in a relationship) are not. This means that there is a learning curve which is all about learning to live together, being considerate, compromising on how you want to do things. But the prize is great! Imagine knowing that no matter what the world throws at you (shit really does happen!), you can handle it together – everyone else in the world has their own priorities but your spouse (and in the future your kids) will be focused on you and you on them.

    When it comes to kids, it is just about what your common goals are – if you want kids then your wife will no doubt want them too (or else it won’t work!) and then it is just about learning how to be a good father. The rewards here too are astounding – bringing up kids is hard work but also extremely satisfying. Imagine a hobby you put all of your spare energy into but which can love you back, learn to do amazing things you never imagined and which can make you smile every time you see it.

    I hope this is helpful.

    BTW yours is the only non-business blog I have ever subscribed to and I love it – don’t stop blogging!

  5. Divorced Male/Self-Proclaimed Expert

    OK.

    You ask an interesting question, if you need to ask as the saying goes it seems that you don’t appreciate what marriage is for. It is not an exercise in making babies efficiently, it is however the best way of building a relationship where love can grow and the partners can nurture each other with the feeling of security that a meaningful relationship gives. You may deep down feel Alone, and if not is the most meaningful relationship you can have with some dogs.

    1. Marry someone who you respect.
    2. Marry someone who you share goals and somewhat lifestyle with.
    3. Marry someone of the opposite sex 🙂
    4. Marry if you are prepared to grow and compromise – someone who is not prepared or looking to grow may as well not bother.
    5. Marry to share something special, being the marital home: it should provide total security for its members.
    6. All marriage is about compromise and communication.
    7. Marry someone stable and mature.
    8. Love is what happens along the way after being with someone for a lifetime.
    9. Attraction is more to do with how you feel about someone than you can imagine.
    10. Keys – know what you want in life, marry someone who knows what they want in life, this should match!

    People who have a bad marriage often suffer not having two mature people in the relationship who know how to respect and communicate!

  6. Single in Tel Aviv

    However challenging you think your situation is, I can tell you it’s a lot worse for single women in the same position.

    Single men usually go for younger single women, which means they have a much wider pool of potential partners to choose from, whereas single women tend to go for older men, so the older the single woman, the smaller her chances of finding a suitable or desirable partner.

    When you get to a certain age and you’re still single for whatever reason, society’s expectations kick in whether you like it or not. You find yourself in a struggling minority while the vast majority of people your age have already partnered off and gone forth and multiplied several times over.

    Sometimes there’s good reason why ‘older’ people are still single at this relatively older age (and by ‘older’ I mean older than the average marrying age of mid to late twenties). Perhaps they are socially challenged, or they focused on aspects of their life other than partnering off during their twenties and thirties, or perhaps they were unlucky in love having wasted years in relationships that would presumably end in marriage but didn’t last. Or perhaps living in the Diaspora, single Jews who hoped to find Jewish partners struggled to find a suitable match from within a limited number of options in their small Jewish community.

    I’m a 36 year old single woman who made Aliyah last year for several reasons, one of which was to maybe find the love of my life here in Israel. It hasn’t been an easy time, what with all the usual challenges of Aliyah made worse by the challenges brought on by the global economic crisis. As for finding love, I have learned that despite J-Dating my ass off in the spirit of “getting out there and really making an effort”, it’s just as difficult finding one’s beshert here as it is anywhere else.

    I once wrote an article about the unfair stigma imposed by society on women in their thirties who happen to be single, despite the fact they have successful careers and fulfilling lives. The assumption is that unless a woman is married, she can’t possibly have found ultimate happiness and fulfillment. Never mind the high divorce rates and high percentage of unhappy marriages everywhere you look.

    I still stand by a lot of what I wrote in that article, but at the end of the day, as successful as one may be in one’s career and as established as one may be in their comfortable home, no one likes to be alone and not have anyone to share his or her life with.

    I agree with Judy’s comment above that it is far better to remain single and happily independent than to marry just for the sake of marrying and living an unfulfilling life with someone you merely ‘settled’ for, rather than married for true love. But I think that single people delude themselves – perhaps as a means of self-consolation – when they try to justify their singledom to a society comprised mostly of pairs. People pair off not because it is socially expected of them (and those who do pair off for this reason are usually the ones who can’t sustain happy marriages), but because it is human nature to seek partnership in life.

    Finding love is really hard, especially for older single people as I already mentioned above. But as long as it moves you to write about it and seek affirmation and advice from both fellow single people and married people alike, you owe it to yourself to keep looking for it. Even if you never find her (although obviously I hope you do, and sooner rather than later), at least you’ll know you did and are doing all that you can to find the love of your life, and will never have to look back and think “if only I’d tried harder”.

    Good luck!

  7. There was a really fascinating TV series here in the UK a year or two back. I think it was called something like “Make Me a Match”. It was based on having a very confident Indian woman as presenter who introduced the Asian network-style shidduchim approach to a series of Anglos with a long histories of not finding a partner or having a series of failed matches.

    Basically in those communities they work through networking very systematically through everyone they know in quite a relaxed (not Jewish-mother-pressuring sort of way). It works a bit on the principle of “the wisdom of crowds”.

    In the programme, the presenter met with groups of friends, colleagues, relatives and asked what sort of person they thought X was and what sort of person they thought he or she would do well with as a partner.

    She also asked X what he or she thought they were and weren’t looking for in a permanent partner – an awful lot of them had never sat down and asked themselves this before – they just previously worked on whether they were attracted to someone or not. They then worked out what sort of person the network was looking for for X. Everyone thought about friends and acquaintances, friends asked friends etc etc. They then made a list of all the suggestions and tried to match them against the ideal characteristics. From that they arrived at a short list of two or three and X would then chose one.

    They would then set up a meeting at an event when everyone was present – sort of as if they’d met at a family wedding party where everyone knew they were having a shidduch encounter.

    But that’s what they do in the Asian community. Anyway, it worked extraordinarily well in the programmes I saw – of course, they’re highly edited, so who knows.

    The upshot was that for each of the programmes, the encounter went very well. Maybe the goodwill that the others were projecting was helpful. In each programme, the pair formed a really good longer term relationship. But in no case did the relationship become permanent. However in two of the cases, although that relationship did not turn into marriage, the X concerned went on to meet someone not long after and marry them.

    I think the lesson of that is that they learned to get out of bad relationship habits, to experience what a good relationship and a good process of looking for a partner is like and to then go on and do it for themselves.

    So, if I’m saying the bleeding obvious, I hope you’ll not mind too much. I think the fact that you’re going public about seeking someone must be positive. However, looking at your past posts on dating and relationships, you’re tending to write rather negatively about the women you’ve been out with – and none of them are evoked with anything like the care and warmth you devote to the Hasmo Legends, even where the said Legends were apparently near-psychopaths.

    Most of us were brought up to be horrified by shidduchim and all the orthodox customs around how partners are found. Having been around a lot of strictly orthodox over the last few years – and considering the practices of the orthodox of my daughter’s generation, I’ve changed my perspective, and think the shidduch system is probably the least worst, especially for the long-term marriage-reluctant. Having said that, it still is remarkable to me that young people of my daughter’s generation marry on the basis of five or six meetings over as many weeks – but they’ve each been pre-screened and there’s no doubt or pretence about what they’re meeting for when they do meet – the whole process is focused on discovering if there’s face to face compatibility and mutual interest (as opposed to physical attraction, though that no doubt works at some level).

    I do think there is room for compromise in partner finding, but not on the basis of the options you suggest in the poll.
    Once you have a basic compatibility and a good feeling around someone, then there are certain compromises you might find yourself ready to make which in theory you otherwise wouldn’t. For example, I’d never be ready to compromise around smoking, ponytail wearing or studs in mouth, but might be about other things which I normally can’t abide.

    I think the falling-in-love or overwhelming initial attraction basis is probably one of the least reliable. Sometimes we’re attracted to the people least good for us – which is one reason why one might not find a partner for decades.

    Another reason might be something you ended one of your posts with – “if anyone knows the perfect woman”……..

    Hope you keep us posted about your next moves (and about any as yet untold Hasmo Legends.)

  8. So far, six more responses than I thought I would get on such a thorny issue. And really thoughtful ones, too. Thanks, all.

    “A.”, I can totally relate to your “do we get along on the little things?” advice. I returned to Israel (following a few years back in London) for a relationship with very strong “chemistry” . . . but we would bicker – on walking home, at one in the morning – about my tendency to walk in the middle of (quiet) roads (to avoid cars parked on the pavement), and to cross on “Do not cross” signs! (I liked your “[he] must not be interested in a job that pays well over one that does something good for the world.” How many are guilty of that?)

    “Married With Kids”, your comments make a lot of sense (and your compliment re the blog is the nicest I have received . . . thanks!)

    Yours, too, “Divorced Male”, though finding “someone stable and mature” at this age, in Tel Aviv especially, is not as straightforward as you might think (see this example of one of my more recent experiences in that regard).

    “Single in Tel Aviv”, I completely understand and sympathise with your predicament. However critical I might be of Israeli – and especially Tel Aviv – women, I always thank God that I am a guy . . . because the women here must have it a lot, lot worse.

    Whilst I agree that sometimes “single people delude themselves – perhaps as a means of self-consolation – when they try to justify their singledom”, I disagree that “People pair off not because it is socially expected of them”. Many, many do.

    Anyway, keep plugging away. If you are as thoughtful and intelligent as you sound, I am certain that your “knight” will soon appear. (And JDate will receive a post all of its own!)

    Judy, your comments – that “the falling-in-love or overwhelming initial attraction basis is probably one of the least reliable” and that “sometimes we’re attracted to the people least good for us” – are both spot on . . . and I hold up my hands in both regards!

    Again, the poll part of my post is a little bit of a gimmick before the more serious comments that I am really looking for. Moreover, my reference to “the perfect woman” was entirely tongue in cheek, and – to those readers who haven’t quite got my sense of humour (you are not alone!) – I don’t believe that I am the superficial misogynist that I might come across as!

    In relation to the various comments about looks waning, I believe that a woman who looks good in her late thirties is a far better bet than an attractive twenty-something . . . who I am, anyway, unlikely to have anything in common with. Unlike many friends my age, I will no longer attend under-thirties parties. There is nothing more depressing. I vividly recall being at “Jew Dos” in London, in my twenties, looking at the few sad forty-something blokes who would turn up – in tweed jackets and buttoned-up collars – and thinking, “If that is me in fifteen years’ time, shoot me.” Well . . . I don’t want to be shot!

    PS Ironically enough, my first love (aged 17) is getting married (for the first time) today, at the age of 42 (to an older, divorced “plus” guy). She has gone through all the single shit, and published two successful novels and a national Sunday newspaper column on the subject. Caroline, sorry I couldn’t make it, but have a fantastic day. If only you had been able to resist non-Jewish boys at the start of Uni, it might have been me! 😉 “Ceddy” x

  9. darren reiss

    great article, especially liked the woody allen quote…

  10. Jammy Dodger

    I met this really good looking bird when I was 17. She had great legs. We dated for a bit. We used to stay up late talking for hours but it was nothing serious.

    I got engaged for the first time when I was 22 to this gorgeous looking young lady. Her legs went on for miles. We used to make each other laugh and occasionally we’d argue, but we were so young it didn’t matter.

    I got married for the first time when I was 23 to a really pretty girl. First time living with a woman. She had the most extraordinary legs. She would come home from work and tell me the funniest stories. I was a terrible flatmate, but she forgave me, I guess.

    I had my first kid when I was 25 with this gorgeous, fit young mum. To be honest, it was a bit of a surprise. We were clueless. We had never really discussed how we would bring up kids and we had no idea how to make it work.

    I came to live in Israel when I was 26 with a smoking hot foxtress. I’m not sure she was as keen to come as I was and it was a major issue in our relationship.

    I had another kid when I was 27 and another when I was 29. Each time the mother was a trendy expat in her 20s juggling work and parenting in ways that I found astonishing.

    I celebrated my 40th birthday recently and spent the day with this delightful MILF in her late 30s. She had the most outstanding set of pins I have ever seen on a woman. Breathtaking. And she made me laugh!

    I have no idea what the next woman I’m going to date will be like, but if she’s half as cool as that girl I met when I was 17, I’ll be the jammiest dodger in the biscuit barrel.

  11. “I came to live in Israel when I was 26 with a smoking hot foxtress. I’m not sure she was as keen to come as I was . . .”

    I can’t delete it, Nick, just for that! 😉

  12. Well, I believe we’ve had conversations about this very issue…

    We’ve been married for 12 years and our relationship has metamorphosized several times. I was never the marrying type but after spending 5 years with my now-husband, it seemed like the next best thing to do… followed with having children.

    There have been several years when I asked myself if marriage is my thing – i still ask myself that to this day – but then i think about the alternative of single life and shut that thought down. Our marriage has changed so much over the years… we started out young and grew and changed over the past 12 years… in that time, we’ve discovered our true selves even more than we could imagine. The sad part of that is that our reformed selves don’t really match up as they did when we were younger. I think that in many marriages, people simply grow apart, especially if their foundation wasn’t solid in the beginning. The problem, then, is what do you do after you’ve drifted apart? For the sake of the children, do you try not to “sweat the small stuff” (as my mother tells me) and be happy that our spouses could be worse? My parents’ generation tells me: deal with it (whatever IT is) and get through it. I was just talking to my mother about this, who has been divorced and remarried an alcoholic who has since dried up and they are – as it seems – happy. After I vented to her about my frustrations to her about my “reformed” husband, she told me this, “It’ll get better, just hang in there. You’ll get to where you want to be, just you wait.” Not real concrete advice, Mom, but thanks.

    I know that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage because human beings are just far to complex to find one person that they can comfortably live with for the rest of their lives. I do believe that finding someone who makes you laugh, who is kind, thoughtful, motivated and generous is key in any relationship. Marriage is about growth, change, compromise and weathering the storms of marital discord and picking up the pieces to make it better down the road.

  13. Tamar Meijers

    I know how much you want me to respond. So here I go…… are you claiming not to be married because you don’t trust your own judgment? Is that because you met too many (ostensibly) wonderful women who actually didn’t meet your expectations or because you simply don’t trust the other sex, or you don’t think you are able to pick the right one? And then who is the right one? Someone who makes you happy, someone who carries the approval of your mother’s septua- and octogenarians friends, or is it possible that they can they actually go together?

    The question is if people feel that you didn’t settle down because you are not married or because you don’t have children. I personally don’t think it is the “I do” which counts for anything. Yet, it is your “pretty agreeable, free and independent existence” that is troublesome to the mentioned above. It is the no framework context that I think is troubling people. Who are you, where do you come from, where do you go thing……… If you had a partner and children (with the same woman) there would be no complaints re your life choice.

    BTW. LOVE the poll thing. Very interested in the results…….

    Love,

    Tamar (your single friend).

  14. Thanks for sharing, Carmen. My question – and apologies if it is none too subtle (you don’t have to answer!) – is . . .

    If you could go back to before you were married, would you do it all over? And what would you do differently? Just getting married when you were older (one excuse I can’t use!) and knew yourself better?

    And a warm melchett mike welcome to the Dutch Dynamo! I am not “claiming” anything . . . other, I think, than never having been sure enough about anyone – barring you know who! 😉 – to Just do it!

    In answer to your questions: I do “trust [my] own judgment” and “the other sex”, have not “met too many wonderful women”, many “didn’t meet [my] expectations”, and – being honest – am not 100% certain I will be “able to pick the right one” (does that contradict my first answer?! I don’t think so) . . . though I will do so without the assistance of my mother’s friends!

  15. I’m not entirely sure i’d do it all over again if i had the opportunity given what i know now. It’s horrible to say but it’s true.I would have made darn sure that I had paved my life on solid ground before settling in with someone AND when i did find someone, I would make damn sure that I had NO reservations about them. Sadly, I had reservations about my current hubby but I didn’t pay attention to that voice within… it’s been a learning experience, to say the least, but if i had a do-over, I would take it and make it different.

  16. No, it doesnt contradict. But this could be a huge problem though……. Off to wedding. How applicable 🙂

  17. VerlinEdgar

    As Ambrose Bierce would say…

    Marriage, n: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.

  18. Stefan Greenfield

    Am I correct in noticing how the rate of comments on melchettmike has dropped off drastically since bringing up the subject of getting married?
    I suggest Mike getting back to politics, Israel, Hasmo, whatever but just dont mention the M word.
    And if you ask me, Marriage is something you do, not something you talk about or labor to death. You might just as well get married if you’re going to drag yourself down to giving it so much thought.
    Umph.

  19. Shows that melchett mike is not afraid to tackle the real issues, Stefan! I hear what you say . . . though I am not sure I agree with the logic that I “might just as well” make a decision that could ruin the rest of my life rather than “drag [my]self down” for a few hours.

  20. Ok here are some observations and thoughts from an unmarried 33 yr old male.

    Starting with the “Do I, or don’t I?”, I can’t offer any advice other than to say the choice is yours.

    Regarding option 2 of the poll/gimmick – “It’s all about compromise – grab and marry the first half-decent bint who’ll take you” – this option more often applies to males who have lost long term partners through divorce or death. The self help books cite that kind of event as the single most stressful thing that can ever happen in life.

    The middle aged or ageing male who for years has taken for granted that his wife will outlive him (hence the saying men die first because they want to), and will always be around to keep him and the home in order, often panics. Add this to the peer pressure from interfering, self proclaimed family friends and the result becomes marry the first bint, leading to more misery and stress than was otherwise needed.

    In conclusion, scratch out option 2 from your list and maybe the difficulty of being in this dilemma is (or isn’t) reduced by 20%.

  21. Ellis Feigenbaum

    As the Sages inform us, “Every man should be married once in his life.”

    The commentaries explain this to mean “No one has the right to be happy their whole life.”

  22. Mark Goldman

    Mike and all,

    Allow me to offer another perspective from a gay male, 42 years old who’s been in a committed relationship for 13 years.

    No kids, no significant financial or other reasons why we’re inextricably tied to each other, “just” companionship, compatibility, sense of growing together, and certainly love.

    Perhaps, that’s why my brother often jests “gay guys have it made” 😉

  23. get married then come visit australia. would love to meet your wife.

  24. Sounds great, Mark . . . perhaps I should try it! 😉

    I used to work in almost entirely gay newsrooms, and a well-known broadcaster – with whom I used to have lunch every day – once gave me his view that monogamy is essentially alien to the gay male. He provided some explanation about males being hunters. And, while I suppose that applies to heterosexual males too, the female may curb (or try to!) this instinct, while two males together . . .
    Your thoughts, please.

    And, if you wish to answer in so public a forum, when did you realise you were gay? Hasmo? Manchester? Or, dare I say it, Jews’ College?!

  25. Another view is that monogamy is alien to males and females alike, regardless of sexuality. I vaguely remember reading this is due to the Darwinian process of natural selection although I don’t subscribe to that theoretical piffle. The explanation goes that all humans are on the look out constantly for potential mating. This carry on is more complex with heterosexuals due to pregnancy and things like family planning. Homosexuals don’t have to worry too much about that type of thing and therefore it’s common practice to go ‘hunting’.

    Two things that the ‘hunters’ must watch out for is the risk of becoming the hunted by sexual predators and in some cases by violent killers. The other one is venereal disease.

    Happy hunting!

  26. Why not set up a weekly/monthly singles event in Tel-Aviv for smart like-minded singles to get together. You could seed it with readers of your blog, ask them to each bring some single friends and announce the venue each week. I suspect you will get a great turnout as word spreads each week and it will be a fun and relaxed way for you (and other readers of your blog) to meet people.

    Best of all, as the author of the blog you will be the celebrity host and everyone knows that male celebrities are attractive to the opposite sex irrespective of how they look – it’s a winner!

  27. Not a bad suggestion, Suggestion! (Though, false modesty to one side, I am not sure about the “celebrity host” bit!)

    Having had enough of mass/commercial parties, TA clubs, and, of course, JDate, I had recently thought about a chilled weekly pub evening for the 30-45 (ballpark) age range. So, what do you say we get the ball rolling with a 9pm meet at Armadillo (Ahad Ha’am) this Sunday (July 12)? (I will publicise it with a dedicated post on melchett mike later this week, in conjunction with a message on my Facebook page.)

    Of course, I might just end up sitting on my tod . . . but at least I’ll have a beer in me hand! 😉

  28. Mark Goldman

    To answer Mike’s questions.

    I don’t know if I’d go so far as to state that monogamy is alien to males, and by your inference to gay couples. Many couples that we know are monogamous while others enjoy a degree of “openness” in their relationship. I think the bottom line for a successful relationship is honesty, communication, and trust, regardless of sexuality.

    I realized I was gay at around 12. If you’re interested (and you think your readers would be), I’ll try my best to answer any other queeries 😉

  29. 12?! Bloody hell, Mark, why didn’t you tell us all? You know you would have got a sympathetic ear at Hasmo . . . and absolutely no piss-taking!

  30. Mark Goldman

    OMG, can you imagine. I would have been thrown out, then sent for psychiatric and rabbinical intervention.
    I wonder what would happen today? I think it’s safe to say that Hasmonean doesn’t have a gay-straight student alliance group.

  31. No, the student alliance group disbanded after Shuli left Hasmo . . . and there was no one to run it anymore. 😉 And I think you mean “psycho rabbis” rather than “psychiatric and rabbinical”!

  32. well established

    As a well established ‘single girl’ marriage is not something I think about on a regular basis – until of course someone looks at me with that ‘oh poor girl’ kinda look. Poor girl??? Don’t be ridiculous – I’m very happy thank you…. If I want to go for dinner – I do so without having to check with my ‘other half’ whether he wants to go – if I want to buy a pair of shoes I do so without having to check what ‘our’ bank balance is looking like, and if I want to watch something on TV I don’t have to argue over the remote. Granted, these are not reasons to stay single, and I’m not averse to the idea of marriage and spending my life with a nice caring bloke. But, I look around and I see, marriage is not all it’s cracked up to be…. Most women (well my friends) – live in ignorant bliss of what their husbands get up to on a weekly basis. Yes, their husbands work hard, but let me tell you – they play hard too and for some reason – a lot of them find me either a kindred spirit, or perhaps a safe haven – someone to share their problems with – someone to vent their anger to – or perhaps someone to ‘hit on’ when their marriage is feeling a little stale.

    So – do I feel like a loser… far from it. I feel like the one who is getting an insight into what marriage is all about before I take the step into the black hole and the unknown. Perhaps it’s even a wise move, by the time I get there…. My beloved will be too old & lazy to look elsewhere!

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