I've been sick the last few days, so I've had time to do a lot of reading. I re-read the imbroglio between Dalrock & Susan Walsh. It was a dispute about what constituted frivolous divorce. A lot of guys piled on Susan Walsh, myself included. I didn't do that over at Dalrock's, but I did so here. If you scroll down, you'll note that I've since removed my post that was critical of Mrs. Walsh.
As I re-read the discussions, particularly Susan's comment clarifying her position, I couldn't find any problems with it. If anything, I found her position quite reasonable. I'm going to post her comment below, then comment on it. Here goes...
Well this is quite a discussion. I have not been in hiding, but rather preparing for Christmas, hosting family from Europe, and putting in only the minimal time at my own blog. I am not afraid to engage here, though in truth I do not believe I can get a fair hearing.
Given the sniping to which she was subjected, I can't blame her for feeling this way...
For the purposes of clarifying where I stand on these issues, I will comment on the original statement, and then describe my own beliefs re marriage and divorce.
First, it is true that I retorted to Doug with great emotion in the original comment. My response was overblown and said in great frustration. I apologize for offending anyone here who has experienced frivolous divorce and/or cares deeply about misandrist law. In truth, it was not my intention to say that women do not file for divorce frivolously. I am well aware that they do. However, my desire to have the exchange put in context is legitimate.
Doug’s claim that a woman divorcing for infidelity is engaging in frivolous divorce, and that a double standard for cheating is fair based on sex drive differences, angered many women and men at HUS, generating the longest thread ever, nearly 1,800 comments. There has been great frustration with Doug in recent days at the site, and it was in the interest of fairness that I allowed him to register many comments that I believed to be unethical and unfair. Cherry picking one comment out of a thread of well over 1,000 was deceptive, and I remain surprised that it became the topic of a post.
I will now state my beliefs, to the extent they are informed, about these issues. It is true that I have not devoted myself to the study of marriage or divorce law. While that is Dalrock’s specialty, my own blog covers a very wide range of issues relating to all facets of navigating the SMP. I do agree that I should understand family law if I am promoting marriage, which is why I agreed to write a post about it.
1. Any divorce initiated for the purposes of personal growth or development, having new experiences, getting a new lease on life, etc. is frivolous and wrong. There should be no compensation to the initiating spouse.
That, too, is my definition of frivolous divorce. I don't think that the initiating spouse should get anything, either.
2. Domestic violence laws set the bar too low, and presume male guilt. Female-inflicted violence is ignored or suppressed.
I agree. I have no problem with this.
3. Any parent receiving child support should be fully accountable for the expenditure of those funds, with documentation and review.
I agree with this also. A question to be asked would be: how does one IMPLEMENT this?
4. Every divorce where children are present should presume joint custody.
Which would preclude the initiating spouse from moving hundreds of miles away, as is often the case now. Also, as a practical matter, how should joint custody periods be implemented? This would be important, because a child can't be switching schools all the time. While this wouldn't be an issue if the parents live in the same town, it would be an issue if they lived in different towns, even if those towns are near one another. Where would the child(ren) live, when, and for how long?
5. The Women’s Movement has eliminated the justification for alimony, for the most part. Alimony should never be calculated based on the income of a second spouse, as it was in MA until recently. I do not support lifetime alimony under any circumstances.
I have no issue with this.
6. Infidelity is never a frivolous reason for divorce. In invalidates the marriage contract. I reject outright any claims that because women bond more easily during sex, they should refrain from adultery, while men can have sex on the side without threatening the marriage and family.
I think adultery voids the marriage contract also. One, one of the Ten Commandments tells us not to do it. Two, one of the marriage vows involves 'forsaking all others'. Being faithful is part of the deal-simple as that.
As for Doug's comment, what can I say? Adultery, if committed by the woman, has more impact (both on the couple and society) because the husband can no longer be sure if her children are also HIS children. No matter what happens, a woman is always sure of the paternity of her children. The husband can never have 100% certainty of paternity; the only way to assure the husband that the children are his entails the wife being faithful. Therefore, women's adultery has always been more frowned upon than men's adultery.
Having said that, it's wrong for both parties (i.e. the husband and wife) to commit adultery. As Mrs. Walsh pointed out, it voids the marriage contract.
7. Witholding sex from a spouse indefinitely is a legitimate reason for divorce or sex outside the marriage, if the parties do not wish to divorce.
I agree with this. Though I don't condone adultery, I can understand why the denied spouse would seek fulfillment elsewhere.
Having said that though, what about if one of the spouse has a health issue that precludes sex? For example, a war veteran is impotent due to combat injuries, and he can no longer 'do the deed'. What then? For me, I'd draw the line at WILLFUL DENIAL of fulfilling your spouse's sexual needs.
8. While claims of abuse may be overblown, real domestic violence does occur and is a legitimate reason for divorce.
If it happens on a repeated basis and the guilty party is unrepentant, then I'd agree. I disagree if the DV is a one time thing. Having said that though, according to Erin Pizzey, who had the world's first shelter, DV usually goes both ways, and is indicative of a serious, underlying dysfunctional dynamic in the relationship. IOW, DV is seldom as the feminists say; seldom do we have the situation where one party is guilty of committing the DV.
9. Unhealthy or destructive habits such as substance abuse, excessive spending into extreme debt, or refusal to contribute effort to the family are all valid grounds for divorce by either party.
I don't have an issue with the destructive habits-again, if the offending spouse is guilty of doing these things on a flagrant, repeated, unrepentant basis.
As for the refusal to contribute effort to the family, that is a rather vague and frivolous reason for divorce. Does that mean that, if Hubby refuses to take out the trash twice, that Wifey has good reason for divorce? What if Hubby didn't fix a leaky faucet right away? What if Hubby, for whatever reason, lacks the experience or ability to fix something around the house, yet the family doesn't have the money to call in a contractor? Does this constitute failure to contribute effort to the family? I'm not asking to be a dick; I'm asking because I seek clarification on this. I'm willing to give Mrs. Walsh the benefit of the doubt here, and say that she phrased this part of her statement poorly.
10. I support prenups, and believe they should include severe penalties for cheating by either party.
I have two problems with prenups; one is practical, while the other goes against my values. On a practical level, a judge can set aside part or all of a prenup, thus rendering part or all of it null and void. In terms of my values, a prenup starts off a marriage with the assumption that things aren't going to work, and that an escape hatch is needed. That said, I could see having one if there is a wealth disparity between the would-be spouses.
I do think that, unlike now, prenups should be worth more than the paper they're printed on. They are contracts, so they should be treated as such. That is to say that they should be enforceable. As for the penalties, that would depend on the prenup, and how it's structured.
All of the above statements apply equally to men and women.
I suspect that men here will find them wanting. I can only say that I strive for fairness, regardless of sex.
I have no problems with any of this. If genuine equality before the law existed, then this discussion wouldn't be taking place.
Which brings me to my final remarks. I see that I am characterized here as being biased towards women, helping them to snag husbands at the expense of men. Again, my remarks on my own blog were taken out of context, so I’ll clarify.
I am a woman. As such, despite my efforts and desire to learn, I will never fully grok the male experience. It is not possible. When I am accused of seeing the world through a “female centric” or “Team Woman” lens, I can only say that none of us can ever be fully neutral. I recognize that as a limitation, not a point of pride.
I find this understandable, and I have no problem with it. I, being a man, can never hope to achieve 100% understanding of what it's like to be a woman; I can never fully grok the female experience. None of us is without bias. I give Mrs. Walsh credit for acknowledging hers, and how it might impact her observations, thoughts, and opinions.
I am pro-relationship and pro-marriage, but not because it benefits women. I believe that healthy relationships and good marriages confer great benefits on both sexes. Certainly, the young men who read and comment at HUS desire LTRs and marriage. I do everything I can to help them meet their goals, and appreciate the many male commenters who advise them.
Believe it or not, in my heart of hearts, I agree with this sentiment. I think that men and women were meant to be together; that we belong together; that sex separatism is unnatural; and that men and women have an underlying need & desire to be together. I think that good, healthy marriages give us good, healthy families; and good, healthy families make for a good, healthy nation. I also think that good marriages and relationships can and do benefit both men and women on a physical and psychic level.
Having said that, given the current environment, it's difficult if not impossible to achieve that in the current legal and societal milieu. Where is marriage supported in society? How can a man have a good relationship or marriage when women behave so badly? How can a man take the risk of getting married when he stands to lose everything, all because Wifey wakes up one day and decides to do the "Eat, Pray, and Love" thing? Kobe Bryant just got popped for what, 190 MILLION dollars in his recent divorce? How does that make a man want to take the plunge?
The bottom line is that I am writing for the 80%. I have no use for sluts of either gender. I disrespect promiscuity as a lifestyle, but more importantly I find it damaging to society as a whole. Men and women understand one another far less than they did 40 years ago at the Sexual Revolution. HUS is a place where I hope to chip away at that. I started the blog to make women more suitable for LTRs, and now I write for both men and women. I will continue to do that.
When Mrs. Walsh speaks of writing for the 80%, here's what she means. In one of her comments, Mrs. Walsh is of the opinion that the 80/20 rule isn't hard and fast, nor does it break down that cleanly. IOW, she's saying that 80% of women are not having sex with 20% of men; she's saying that 20% of women are sluts having sex with 20% of the male sluts, as I understand her thesis. That means that 80% of women are NOT getting what they want (a good relationship with a good guy) in the current sexual market place, or SMP. That's what she means by 'writing for the 80%'.
I have deep respect for many in the manosphere, and value the comments that many of you have left on my blog. You are spending your time and energy to make positive changes that you believe in. I support your mission. It is not the same as mine, but we do overlap. I hope we can continue to work together.
I think that men and women can and should work together to fix the mess in which we find ourselves. The War of the Sexes has gone on long enough. Those are my thoughts...