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Half of Nothing

Another revelation in the rolling hills of Costa Rica. Men are scared of losing their money!!! I happened upon a huge mansion full of single guys. A crew of cool ass dudes. Not the young college crowd, not a bachelor party gathering, not even the blooming late twenty types. These guys were late thirties, never been married, financially successful, attractive, nice, normal (well…kinda) dudes. They were about 15 deep, and of the entire crew, only one had tied the knot. I was intrigued. I had to find out their thoughts on marriage, and their perspective on being single, so during a pre party at their spot, I found myself tossing all sorts of questions to whoever happened to be at bat. I was amazed at what they returned.

Calculated odds:
To many, marriage was seen from a perspective of calculated odds. A cost benefit analysis if you will. They seemed to be certain that marriage was not worth taking the risk. That it was a losing bet. Given the statistics of 1/2 of all marriages ending in divorce, the heavy financial burden of divorce and alimony, they calculated themselves out of the picture. Marriage = love/X – them.

Legal entanglements… 1/2 my $$$:
Many of the single men expressed extreme disdain with the notion of alimony and a wife’s entitlement to half of their earnings. This was blasphemous to them and alone accounted for their soft cushy retreat into the ‘why bother’ mentality. Even when I mentioned the pre-nuptial agreement thing, ‘she’ll get around it’ they promised themselves, looking with complete certainty at their future would be ex wives bitterness and deceit.

War stories:
Some men were scared straight by example. Their father or friend had been through rough times and divorces that had put a major dent in their golden wallets, and been nothing but a recurring headache (the mainstay of the conversation more about financial loss and burden than emotional pain or conflict which was also quite interesting).

Lack of control
The last thing that stuck out to me in the conversations was the association with marriage and a lack of control. The giving up of one’s autonomy, a surrendering to someone else’s demands over your life. Marriage was not viewed as a partnership, but as a competition. “If we’re married, then she’ll hold all the aces” one said, again reverting to the gambling and odds calculating analogies that kept popping up.

There was on common thread woven throughout the conversations about marriage. Pessimism. The perspective that any attempt at marriage was sure to fail. Women were sure to be life controlling and economically damaging. It was a losing bet. And as smart gambling men they wanted to keep their money.

I was feeling deflated. Could concern over money be that driving of a force? I wondered if on another level, it had something to do with loss of control over feelings as much as finances… maybe, but maybe not. This perspective of marriage as a legal arrangement rather than a union sanctioned by God, or an ultimate expression of love left me drifting off into the hazy clouds of pessimism myself until I finally found and spoke with the one married man. One. One out of 15 men. But you know what he said? He leaned towards me with his tender secret and spoke softly “I have something that these guys don’t have” he said with actual remorse for his friends “when you’re lucky enough to find that one person, that one person you love and you know has your back no matter what…it’s the most beautiful thing.” His words and his certainty gave me fresh hope. Even with all of the benefit analysis and calculating of financial risk, I’m glad at least someone realizes that some things are priceless.


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