Further, the nightmare stories you hear are only but a subset of women. Many women are able to lead very loving and stable marriages (as long as they don’t pay attention to the debased culture). I do not think that men are incapable of love because some cheat on and hit their wives.
NAWALT (Not All Women Are Like That) is a bit of a lightning rod in the manosphere because it is often perceived as an attempt to shut down discussion of some very real issues. However, I don’t think either Kathy or Flavia were trying to deny the fundamental issue or stop the discussion. Flavia was actually the first person to recommend the Devlin article to me.
I don’t know what percentage of women fit into the description of the article. I doubt it is even 50%. I especially doubt the part about women being naturally programmed to leave after 4 years:
Biochemical research points to a natural four-year sexual cycle for the human female. This apparently allows enough time after childbirth for the average mother in a state of savagery to regain her ability to survive without male provisioning. In the absence of any system of marriage, a woman’s natural tendency is to “liberate” herself from her mate after that point. When her hormones prompt her to reproduce again, she simply takes a new mate.
To clarify, it may well be that there is something biochemical in women that has been observed. But I don’t see this as a particularly strong force. Given that our culture is steeped in a pro divorce message for women complete with cheer-leading movies, websites, newspapers, and magazines, a church which looks the other way, as well as financial incentives, divorce rates should be far higher than they are if this is a universal and strong force. On the other hand, if this is all true, then I would say marriage is simply done for as an institution (which it may well be anyway). As a (cautious) proponent of marriage, I am admittedly less likely to want to accept such a position.
The biggest problem I have with the four year attachment theory is that it makes no sense from an evolutionary point of view. A stepfather is a greater risk to her children than the biological father. Also, women can have children more than once every four years, so one would expect another child to be in the works before the first four year term has expired. Lastly, there is no logical reason to expect that a woman who is older and has had children can attract a better man than she was able to when she was younger and hotter. Pick up a National Geographic if you want proof that women in primitive cultures/conditions don’t age well. Plus the man she attracted in the past is most likely a better catch now than when she first landed him four years ago.
But at the same time something clearly is going on. Devlin’s article accurately describes the way a very large percentage of western women are behaving. Much of it is straight out of your standard movie or TV script (not even including chick flicks).
Last week I shared the Should I Divorce Him website. On that site there is a quiz for women to take to decide if they should throw away their marriage. After answering each question it shows you what the answers of other women were for that question. The questions about infidelity were telling, and in line with what is being discussed in Devlin’s article. Keep in mind that the quiz isn’t a scientific survey but it does come up as the top result to a google search of “should I divorce” (for me at least, try it here). Here is what the women who took the quiz answered regarding infidelity:
Just under 20% of women thinking about divorce thought their husband had cheated on them. Here is how they answered the question about their own infidelity:
A quarter of the women taking the quiz admitted to cheating on their husband. Another 31% have considered it. Only 43% of the women considering divorce answered that it wasn’t something they would do. Given the known tendency for people to be hesitant to admit moral failings even on an anonymous survey, if anything these figures understate the magnitude of the problem.
So while I don’t have a solid estimate on how many women are acting as described in Devlin’s article, it is at the very least an accurate description of a very large number of divorcées. And as Devlin pointed out, the false but near universal assumption in our culture that women are naturally monogamous makes the problem far worse:
Women, says Langley, enter marriage assuming they are naturally monogamous. “Trying to be faithful doesn’t seem natural to them.” They recite the wedding vow in much the same spirit as they wear “something borrowed, something blue”—it is simply what one does at a wedding. Of course, a vow is no very serious undertaking to one who assumes she will never feel any temptation to break it.
Accordingly, over time, most women begin to rationalize their extramarital erotic interests. If women simply want to be married and are not naturally inclined to be attracted to other men, “any unhappiness or infidelity on the part of the women is assumed to be due to the men they married.” This seems to me a critically important and easily overlooked finding: the widely propagated notion that women are naturally monogamous is helping to nourish the contemporary “blame the man for everything” mentality. Hence, odd as this sounds, in order to reestablish the actual practice of monogamy, it may be necessary to discredit the notion that woman are naturally inclined to it.
My main takeaway from all of this is a reinforcement of the fact that we have a very real problem, and those of us who want to save marriage as an institution have an obligation to acknowledge the reality and help others do the same. If not, we will be the generation that history records as having fiddled while marriage burned.