Masculine Monday- Sympathy And Understanding

[Men only]

One of the hurdles that men face today in navigating the Marriage Marketplace is the widespread ignorance of most people where the MMP is concerned. For a variety of reasons most of the people that a man interacts with don’t have a clue how the MMP really works. This applies as much to married men as to men seeking to marry. Most people just don’t get it.

Which drives me to the subject of this post- men shouldn’t expect much in the way of understanding from those around them re: the MMP. In fact, the only ones who might understand are men in the same position (or who recently occupied it). I don’t know about most of my readers, but I find this to be a terribly frustrating matter. On more than one occasion I have been asked why I’m not married yet. And no matter how much or well I explain it, I can see in people’s eyes that they don’t understand. I find this quite isolating at times- it creates a climate of being cut off and without aid.

Now, at this point I should mention that one of Rollo‘s little “laws” is that women are ultimately incapable of understanding the male experience. In this area I agree- the disconnect in experience and thought patterns means that women just can’t “get” what it is like to be a man. My advice is to not even try to go into detailed explanations with women when it comes to this field. You will be wasting your time.

At the same time, while understanding isn’t possible from women, and from most men too (they are too bound up in their “Blue Pill” worldview), sympathy is still possible. Even those who don’t understand why your life is the way it is can still be sympathetic. Personally speaking, I don’t find that nearly as much of a relief as understanding. But it is something, at least. So if you do find those who are sympathetic, appreciate that sympathy for what it is- the best connection you can hope to make with most people you encounter, even the good ones.

I write all of this to perhaps save some man out there the frustration that comes from trying to explain to someone what they cannot hope to understand. Accept that you will never impart that understanding, and the connection that comes with it. Take what sympathy that you can get, and keep moving forward. Such is the burden of being a man in this day and age.

 

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33 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Churchianity, Marriage Market Place, Masculinity, Men, Red Pill, Sexual Market Place

33 responses to “Masculine Monday- Sympathy And Understanding

  1. Anonymous Reader

    Donal
    Which drives me to the subject of this post- men shouldn’t expect much in the way of understanding from those around them re: the MMP. In fact, the only ones who might understand are men in the same position (or who recently occupied it).

    Yes. Not from experience, but from observation.

    A lot of married men are sort of crystallized. Their impressions of the MMP are frozen in time from when they themselves got married. This could be earlier this century, the 90’s, the 80’s, the 70’s…and since they have not been on the market, nor have they observed it closely, they really don’t know what it is like out there. They have a very out of date view. The best one can hope for from such men is sympathy, very abstract sympathy at that. Most such men simply can’t even ask the right questions.

    It is similar to the employment market. I know fairly bright college grads who are working 3 part time gigs to get the equivalent of 1 full time pay / benefit. Talking to a tenured professor, or someone who’s worked for the same company / agency for the last 20 years about this is almost pointless. If you got a job in the mid 90’s you have no clue what the market looks like now.

    All that said I went to two weddings last year. One a middle aged couple who’d been through many things, the other a pair of 20-somethings who have a good future ahead of them. I’m also aware of some success with the religious match services.

  2. Almost at the seventh-month mark of my marriage and I can safely say that remarriage is very much out of the question for me.

    The modern church (and churchianity) has done an absolutely horrible job in imparting and keeping to God’s prescribed standards about marriage as well as men-women relationships from the Bible. This has diluted the essence of fellowship (which is more about evangelising and “reaching out” now more than giving support / encouragement to fellow believers), particularly among male Christians.

    And perhaps the age we’re in is God’s judgement on the degradation of values that our earlier fathers have abandoned.

  3. Novaseeker

    It’s true — it’s hard.

    One of the problems is that the pace of change in the relationship/sex area, including the MMP, really accelerated dramatically post 1980 or so. And the change kept apace. So people who were married in the 50s or 60s were not equipped at all to discuss the market in the 80s and 90s, and people who married in the 90s are not equipped to discuss the market in the teens. It’s just all changing very quickly, even in every 5-year space. It’s a combination of the sexual revolution (my parents who were married in the 50s had no ability at all to navigate the 1990s MMP, and were shocked at some of the things I would tell them), and now in the last 15-20 years, the rise of technology, and how those two intersect, that have made the pace of change very fast. It makes it almost impossible for people to communicate intelligibly about this across generations unless people specifically sit down and learn the current market — which most people will not do if they are not IN the market themselves. Some people do it when their kids are in the market, but even there most don’t.

    Everyone should be able to provide some baseline sympathy, I think, but people who were married in the 90s or even early noughts have no idea what it is like today with FB, Tinder and the like dominating the relationship space. It’s not similar to anything which has come before in fundamental ways that are hard to understand unless you have been exposed to navigating the market in that context.

  4. anonymous_ng

    Add in that for so many, Christianity is synonymous with your local rockband megachurch where you can’t tell the good girls from the whoors without a program, and the number of people who have no religious background at all and you come up with wildly different experiences.

    I have a friend who remarried last year to a moderately attractive woman in her late 30s, a Hispanic Baptist preacher’s kid, and still a virgin. It happens.

    Then, there is a young woman of our parish who is maybe 21 and recently announced her engagement. I was glad to hear nothing but encouragement for her and welcome for him, but I’m not sure even amongst Orthodox Christianity that is a common experience.

    With so few marrying young, it becomes increasingly out of the mainstream and thus harder to even consider for young men as well as young women

  5. LawDog

    This is a timely post, DG, for me personally. I’ve been debating moving back in with my parents for a few months, and redirecting the savings from that move back into my business. Invariably, if I mention that in conversation with friends, the females uniformly immediately mention that it will be hard for me to “date” (i.e., audition for suitability). I actually started down the path of explaining that I’m not exactly in the marriage market the other day, and realized I might as well be talking to a stone wall — they aren’t ill meaning, they just are not capable of understanding what I mean, especially the women. It’s like a frog trying to explain to a tadpole what being a frog is like, I think.

    I’m glad for this reminder that I’m not alone after all. Others are dealing with this too. Just the knowledge that I’m not crazy, it is that bad, and others notice it too is really comforting.

  6. Anonymous Reader

    Lawdog, there is nothing inherently wrong with going into what some men call “monk mode” so long as you have a clear, defined goal and don’t just climb into a hole to get away from the world. Don’t expect women to really understand what “monk mode” entails, though, and don’t forget that your mother is, after all, another woman.

    [DG: Good comment. Especially the point about your mother not understanding. Mothers are the perfect example of sympathy without understanding.]

  7. MK

    Accept that you will never impart that understanding, and the connection that comes with it.

    I think everyone (men and women both, at any age) can not only grok the modern MMP, but are obligated to. It’s their kids, for goodness sake. Are they blind? What the hell, we all helped create the modern MMP. And everyone also has a stake in it as well; marriage is a community act (which is probably why it’s dying when we rejected traditional religion and extended family for individualism).

    Law: the females uniformly immediately mention that it will be hard for me to “date” (i.e., audition for suitability).

    The only real reply to this sort of tripe? First LOL. Then leer: dating is for fools, but sex & living with family? That’s free! QED.

    Single men, denigrated by society at large, should just look out for #1 unless they join a tribe where marriage is supported and men’s role in marriage is respected. Or create one’s own tribe by actively recruiting a high-value girl from a large (read: international) dating pool. But that’s a lot of work, and most men aren’t heroes, and we shouldn’t expect them to be.

  8. Lost Patrol

    In fact, the only ones who might understand are men in the same position (or who recently occupied it).

    This is a hard truth like many in this post. I came up under the “old school” system, and am only aware of the substantial uphill climb facing a younger man these days because young men (in their 20’s) explained it. They were the ones pointing me to blogs like this one, having found the facts on their own without much help from me. More men now than in the last 50 years will understand your struggles, but the majority still will not.

    I don’t know about most of my readers, but I find this to be a terribly frustrating matter.

    Most of your readers are likely equally frustrated. They are in your shoes, or they have children they are concerned for, or they lament the type of societal degradation recently highlighted by “the woman’s march”; but they lack the full understanding of the process that brought us to this point. Something is fundamentally wrong here – can’t quite figure it out. There’s no way you can explain all the moving parts in one conversation.

    On more than one occasion I have been asked why I’m not married yet. And no matter how much or well I explain it, I can see in people’s eyes that they don’t understand. I find this quite isolating at times- it creates a climate of being cut off and without aid.

    Since you have tried this without effect, my personal recommendation is to rock the boat. This is easy for me to say (older, little at stake) and harder to do, but you almost have to take a position along the lines of “I’m holding out for a high quality woman, haven’t found her yet.” Given that there will be no understanding no matter how much or well you explain it, you may as well go for the element of surprise, mystery, and/or indignation. If there is a viable door to be opened, or anything new to be learned about the players, it will be from these things and not from sympathy.

  9. This has diluted the essence of fellowship (which is more about evangelising and “reaching out” now more than giving support / encouragement to fellow believers), particularly among male Christians.

    Given how horrible the church is at evangelizing, it makes sense that what they’ve neglected in favor of (going through the motions paying lip service to and pretending to do) it would be in even worse shape.

    It makes perfect sense, when one stops to think about it, that evangelism has been such a catastrophic failure for the church. Any body that so visibly, cavalierly, and even contemptuously neglects its own –and that includes the neglect of marriage and family– is in no position to reach out to outsiders.

  10. “A lot of married men are sort of crystallized. Their impressions of the MMP are frozen in time from when they themselves got married. This could be earlier this century, the 90’s, the 80’s, the 70’s…and since they have not been on the market, nor have they observed it closely, they really don’t know what it is like out there. They have a very out of date view.”

    I have to admit I suffer from this at times. I haven’t dated or been in the mix for more than 20 years. And as difficult as it was back then, from descriptions from younger men, it is orders of magnitude tougher and more cutthroat now. If I were a single 20-something man now, there’s no way I’d consider legal marriage now. No way in hell.

  11. “Add in that for so many, Christianity is synonymous with your local rockband megachurch where you can’t tell the good girls from the whoors without a program, and the number of people who have no religious background at all and you come up with wildly different experiences.”

    A good majority of unmarried Christian women are not virgins, and have been or are sexually active outside of marriage. Sexual continence and avoiding premarital sex just is not emphasized at most churches claiming to be Christian now. Except for men. Men are urged to avoid premarital sex. But women are not.

  12. Novaseeker

    Men are urged to avoid premarital sex. But women are not.

    Yeah this is based on the (outdated — it was never really true, but it was more true, in praxis, before the sexual revolution) idea that women don’t want sex that much, men are the ones who want sex, so if you can convince men to knock it off, extramarital sex will largely stop. It’s the old “women don’t really like sex that much” canard.

  13. Since you have tried this without effect, my personal recommendation is to rock the boat. This is easy for me to say (older, little at stake) and harder to do, but you almost have to take a position along the lines of “I’m holding out for a high quality woman, haven’t found her yet.” Given that there will be no understanding no matter how much or well you explain it, you may as well go for the element of surprise, mystery, and/or indignation. If there is a viable door to be opened, or anything new to be learned about the players, it will be from these things and not from sympathy.

    I have tried that too. They still don’t understand. In that instance they don’t understand just how few high quality women there are these days. At least, most of them don’t. My pastor gets it though- he is pessimistic when it comes to this generation. If anything he is more cynical than MK is where marriage is concerned here in the West.

  14. @ MK

    I think everyone (men and women both, at any age) can not only grok the modern MMP, but are obligated to. It’s their kids, for goodness sake. Are they blind?</blockquote?

    Yes, they are blind. And of the worst sort- willful blindness. Most don't want to see how things really are. For some its laziness, and for others they would just rather live in their pretend world where things aren't as bad as they are. Why? Because as you point out, then they would be obliged to do something about it. And they don't. In large part because it means policing women, and they definitely don't want to do that.

  15. I’m not trying to be a troll here Donal, but why don’t you talk to your priest about setting up a group in your parish where men can talk about these things? From what you’ve written you attend a traditionalist Eastern rite congregation, so I would think there are individuals who would be interested and your priest would be sympathetic (and it would be easier to do privately if you’re worried about that kind of thing, since I’d guess the congregation is smaller). And it might help you personally regarding the MMP, since you would be showing leadership.

    If you can erase this after its posting, I’d appreciate it; I don’t want to get into a ________ match with somebody yet again about this issue. I only mention it because I think you’re thoughtful and charitable, and there’s a need for guys like you to be active in churches and not just the blogosphere.

  16. Jason, you aren’t trolling. It is a good suggestion. The problem is that I attend a small parish. [The big parishes where I live aren’t orthodox/traditional, only a couple of small parishes are.] There really isn’t another guy like me in my parish. All of the unmarried men are either much older, or much younger (19 or younger). That limits the pool. Also, they all have lives, jobs, families, etc., so getting folks together is easier said than done. Given all the other things they are involved in (which I am as well), not sure there is room for a “men’s group.”

  17. @ Lawdog

    I’m glad for this reminder that I’m not alone after all. Others are dealing with this too. Just the knowledge that I’m not crazy, it is that bad, and others notice it too is really comforting.

    I too am quite glad for the ‘sphere. Not only has it given me info I didn’t have before, but it provides a community you really can’t get anywhere else.

  18. Lost Patrol

    DG
    I have tried that too. They still don’t understand. In that instance they don’t understand just how few high quality women there are these days. At least, most of them don’t.

    I’m sure you are right about this, and I did not expect you would get understanding from rocking the boat. It would be mostly to re-establish this “why aren’t you married” theme in your frame of reference rather than the questioners. Given the unlikelihood of understanding, you may at least find that some people will feel obligated to show or explain to you that there are women that meet your standard. Let the questioners qualify themselves (or some woman they feel meets the standard) to you, not you to them. Let it be a sort of challenge to those asking why you aren’t married yet. This does not resolve a man’s basic frustrations, but it may smoke out information you can use; and it keeps you off the back foot with all this. It’s an active rather than a passive defense, so to speak.

  19. Yes, they are blind. And of the worst sort- willful blindness. Most don’t want to see how things really are. For some its laziness, and for others they would just rather live in their pretend world where things aren’t as bad as they are. Why? Because as you point out, then they would be obliged to do something about it. And they don’t. In large part because it means policing women, and they definitely don’t want to do that.

    Related to this is a particular pet peeve of mine –and, I’m sure, of many others in these parts: Christian parents who wash their hands of any responsibility for providing their children with guidance based on wisdom, experience, and biblical precepts when it comes to courtship and marriage. Most parents, at this stage in their childrens’ lives, act like prisoners who have just been granted parole; they can’t wait to be free of having to play the role of parents anymore now that their offspring are “grown up.” This even though their young adult children are entering a period of their lives where they’re facing one of life’s most important decisions, one with which they need the guidance of strong Christian parents more than ever. Instead, they’re left to blindly navigate a wolf-infested forest on their own, and then the parents are shocked –SHOCKED– when their kids get attacked and devoured.

    One of the saddest things I’ve seen related in the Christian manosphere is the wall of both apathy and outright resistance to the resolution of this problem that Scott and Mychael encountered among CHRISTIAN parents when they took on this issue.

  20. Pingback: Insulated | Christianity and masculinity

  21. MK

    feer, Christian parents who wash their hands of any responsibility for providing their children with guidance based on wisdom, experience, and biblical precepts when it comes to courtship and marriage.

    Look, the term “Christian” or “biblical precepts” mean nothing here (most I’ve met who claim the terms I completely disagree with each other regarding marriage, courtship, and culture. I’m sure we do.). Thus, parents generally must figure things out themselves, make their own rules up, and so marriage and courtship (which involve other families) cannot exist, period. So how can we blame parents rather than ourselves? in fact, if unmarried we should blame ourselves even more because we are doing even less than our parents, right? And the decline continues. Look, it’s real simple: no obedience to a religious tribe, this is what we get. Want to make your own religious and cultural rules? Welcome to the jungle. QED.

    One of the saddest things is apathy and outright resistance to the resolution of this problem that Scott and Mychael encountered among CHRISTIAN parents when they took on this issue.

    Scott & Mychael have no resolution or solution to this “problem” at all. Sorry, but that’s just the reality. Ideas have consequences. One cannot have a tribe (and get the community benefits that come with it) without obedience to a pre-existing tribe, with its beliefs and values. This is especially true regarding courtship, marriage, and religion. Again, QED.

  22. Novaseeker

    wall of both apathy and outright resistance to the resolution of this problem that Scott and Mychael encountered among CHRISTIAN parents when they took on this issue.

    Well, almost all parents, including almost all parents of all stripes of Christianity in the US, want their kids to follow “The Script” to the extent possible. Things that get in the way of The Script don’t get supported other than by a few outliers.

  23. One of the saddest things I’ve seen related in the Christian manosphere is the wall of both apathy and outright resistance to the resolution of this problem that Scott and Mychael encountered among CHRISTIAN parents when they took on this issue.

    That’s because there is no “problem” (coverage soon on my new blog, but nothing I haven’t already said). Marriage is as it should be, and in the minds of 99.9999% of Christians, working exactly as designed and if a man has a problem with it, he needs to just man up and fulfill his part and all will be well.

    Scott & Mychael have no resolution or solution to this “problem” at all.

    There is no resolution or solution to this “problem”, because people do not see it as one, or if they see it as one, they identify the problem incorrectly and rebel against those who do see it.

    A problem well stated is a problem half-solved. – Charles Kettering

    Sorry to sound like a broken record, but as long as no one will accurately own up to the problem, it will never be solved.

  24. “Since you have tried this without effect, my personal recommendation is to rock the boat. …

    I have tried that too. They still don’t understand.”

    You have to be blunt as a sledgehammer to penetrate their bubble. At a recent wedding, I was asked why I wasn’t married. Succinct reply: California girls are nasty, sexually damaged freaks. Nobody asked further. Maybe they just decided I was the problem but it’s still the desired result: we agree it’s best if I don’t get hitched.

  25. LawDog

    @Gunner Q, I live in the American South, and it is the same here. The women here might as well come with business cards from divorce attorneys attached. Red flags are more numerous in today’s women than they would’ve been at a May Day parade in Moscow in 1985. It’s amazing.

  26. @Gunner Q, I live in the American South, and it is the same here.

    The situation is the same everywhere in the northern part of the Western Hemisphere.

  27. “The situation is the same everywhere in the northern part of the Western Hemisphere developed world.”

    FIFY

  28. feeriker:

    “It makes perfect sense, when one stops to think about it, that evangelism has been such a catastrophic failure for the church. Any body that so visibly, cavalierly, and even contemptuously neglects its own –and that includes the neglect of marriage and family– is in no position to reach out to outsiders.”

    Irony is my church has been organising “seeker friendly” activities (there’s one in February — a one-off kickboxing class) for the past year and there has not been any new faces added to our “young adult” small group (most of the current members grew up in this church). Emphasis on marriage, family and husband-wife relationships is a mish-mash of feminism, “Christianity Today” and “Desiring God” precepts. Stuff that Paul and Peter wrote are routinely dismissed as part of the “culture” in Corinth, Ephesus, etc.

  29. Stuff that Paul and Peter wrote are routinely dismissed as part of the “culture” in Corinth, Ephesus, etc.

    I have this recurring fantasy of distributing new bibles to the entire congregation that are devoid of the OT and everything in the NT other than the Four Gospels and Revelation. I would then announce to the Congregation that this is the new Bible that we will henceforth be using for all church-related worship and study. The OT, after all, is a relic of the Old Covenant and therefore is not applicable to Christians. The NT is shorn of everything other than the Four Gospels and Revelation because the rest is a combination of JPO (“Just Paul’s Opinion”), primitive ancient philosophy, and the writings of people who never knew Jesus personally, so how could anything they have to say be considered relevant to Jesus’s Gospel or a charge from Jesus Himself?

    It would be priceless to relish the look of terminal confusion and consternation on their faces when, after they protest this sacrilegious move, they are reminded that this is just a physical manifestation of the attitudes they hold in deed (if not word) anyway.

  30. Yeah, what you say sadly makes sense Donal. People have busy lives, and most Catholics are not traditionalists. If there is not a realistic chance of setting up a group you probably shouldn’t bother.

    Just to qualify things a bit though, I think it is important at least that your priest (assuming he doesn’t have “issues”) and those you can trust in your parish, friends throughout the diocese, connections you might have at your city’s Catholic university (e.g. older Jesuits who have a realistic understanding of female nature), and so forth know that you are looking for someone (don’t neglect your liberal Catholic friends here). Maybe tell them something like this: “I don’t expect you to be a 1950s priest or a Catholic Emma, but I just wanted to tell you that I believe I’m called to a traditional Christian marriage with somebody that I’m emotionally and physically compatible with (I’m no Gnostic). If you don’t know anybody that’s fine; don’t try to set me up with somebody unless there’s a real chance of connection. If you do know of somebody like that though, then please let me know so that I can meet her.” A big part of the problem I think is that clergy and laity simply do not know what to do regarding this issue (add to this that priests just have so many other things to do), and could use intelligent promptings by those who know the score.

    Just one more thought: does she have to be a traditionalist? Can she perhaps be a First Things, John Paul II- type conservative who you feel is off in a few ways (e.g. submission) but basically gets it right?

    Again, I’m not wanting to be a pest here, but simply constructive. It’s the easiest thing in the world to give advice. I’m sure you have thought this matter through already and have acted, and you and others could revise what I’ve said above and greatly improve upon it. And of course I may just be getting things wrong.

    Anyway, I can’t say that I will pray for you concerning this since I’m no longer a believer, but I do wish you the best.

  31. MK

    Law, women might as well come with cards from divorce attorneys.

    Got a chuckle out of this one!

    Jason, older Jesuits with a realistic understanding of female nature

    “Older” & “Jesuit”? Red flags. “Young” & “Dominican”? Much better!

    …does she have to be a traditionalist? Can she perhaps…

    My wife was a pro-choice CINO when first met; trad today. Women who are “good people” will gratefully convert to traditionalism. Who wouldn’t? Traditionalism is the very best way of human life, most women simply never have the option. Men lead, women follow. Men recruit, women join. And less than 1% of men offer a traditionalist family and lifestyle. Too hard today.

    Look, any man expecting perfection in this mess of a culture? He is merely part of the problem; the “solution” will remain forever elusive to him. It’s a cultural war zone. Ideas have consequences, and we are now living them out. Expecting quality women to spring out to the ground today? Fools errand.

  32. Feeriker,

    “Most parents, at this stage in their childrens’ lives, act like prisoners who have just been granted parole; they can’t wait to be free of having to play the role of parents anymore now that their offspring are “grown up.”

    Its not solely about mate choice, either. Many parents encourage their young adult children to do useless degrees, accumulate consumer debt, travel for pleasure, and various other populist choices.

    From my perspective, many of those with young adult children abdicated from the true role of parent a long time beforehand. It was too hard and easier to go with the flow. Their offspring are easy prey for the cathedral.

  33. @ Jason

    I try and never lash out at constructive advice. Even if it is repetitive.

    As for what you suggest….

    My priest knows, and is supportive. At the same time, he has also told me that he has a dim outlook for the millennial generation. He suspects most Catholic men who are part of it won’t be able to marry well.

    There is no Catholic university near me, much less a good one.

    Members of my parish know, but they can’t do much. Several have adult sons of their own who are in the same position I am in, and can’t help them.

    And I try to be reasonable in my expectations.

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