Singaporebrides | The Groom Room

September 2015

Why Do Men Fear Marriage?

There is more to a man’s fear of marriage than simple commitment phobia. Fu Jinming explains.

The ring around your finger is a noose around your neck. Or so they like to say. For how many times have you heard your female friends lament about having found The One, only to realise that he’s a commitment-phobe?

First, a quick lesson on commitment phobia. It’s serious enough to have a scientific name: Gamophobia, an affliction that turns men into frightened children who’ll run at the slightest sight, sound and smell of the C word.

Ask if you could move in with him, and he’ll hem and haw like a lousy debater.

Ask if he’d like to meet your parents, and his face turns into a rabbit’s in a headlight.

Ask if he’d like to get married, and be prepared for a long, uncomfortable pause.

Which is frustrating to say the least for the ladies. Women deem marriage to be the final piece of the puzzle; the start of a new life with the man she loves.

Men see it as the end of life as they know it. No more freedom, no more “me time”, no more fun.

Yet there was a time when marriage was considered a major milestone in a man’s life. It’s when a boy truly becomes a man, one who was expected to carry real-world responsibilities with real-world consequences. It was a stage of life that demanded maturity and carried a considerable weight of respect.

In fact, bachelors in ancient Sparta were seen as neglecting their duties as men, and were often publicly mocked and humiliated at religious festivals.

These days, the same marital status carries just the weight of burden. Commitment is seen as a way to bind us to a lifetime of bills and fidelity. It is evil and should be avoided by any means necessary.

Or is it?

Just how rational are these fears? Are they a primordial attitude towards monogamy, or just gross misconceptions about marriage?

Let’s examine some reasons your Mr Right may think marriage is wrong. And what you can do about them.

Why Do Men Fear Marriage

Fear 1: You’ll try to change him

The number one fear a man has about marital commitment is change. He fears that you’ll suddenly try to change him, like how you’ve changed his wardrobe, his couch, or even his food. Thing is, men do not like changes. They are totally comfortable in the man cave they’ve created for themselves – figuratively or otherwise – and would loathe for anyone to touch it. Their likes, choices and habits are theirs and theirs alone. And woe be to the woman who’d even think of changing them.

What you can do: Pick your battles. If it’s just an annoying habit that he has, like not putting the toilet seat down, let it go. After all, you’re supposed to live with each other, warts and all. If it’s something more serious, like a gambling addiction, then you two need to sit down and have a real long chat. Then you’d need to decide if you love him enough to run the very real risk that he will not change.

Fear 2: You’ll change

He’s afraid that you’ll change into another person after marriage. You’ll stop being the fun-loving girl he fell in love with, and become the wife who likes to frown and snap at him. Conversations will turn from talking about the movies, to about the grocery budget. Or worse, his future.

Besides the possible friction it’ll cause, he fears a transformation of a relationship that’s full of life, to one filled with boredom.

What you can do: Be happy. It’s that simple. Because unless you can be happy with who you are, and how you live, he won’t be able to feel relaxed and assured around you. And when you’re happy and living your life to the fullest, it keeps him interested. And your marriage, interesting.

Fear 3: He’ll lose his independence

He’s also afraid that you’ll turn into his mother and control his life. Which spells the end of the swinging bachelor, and the start of a life of domestication and subservience. He fears he’d have to ask your permission to go out with his friends, to watch his football matches, or even when he spends. He’ll feel less like a man, and more like a man who’s lost his freedom.

What you can do: You deserve your own friends and life even after you’re married. So does he. So trust him – unless you have a good reason not to. In which case, you have a good reason to leave the relationship.

Fear 4: Hollywood’s right

It’s almost become trendy for men to dismiss the concept of marriage. If you like marriage, you’re somehow seen as less masculine. And you can blame Hollywood for it. For years, Tineseltown has churned out romantic comedies and bromance flicks that seem to champion the fear of marital commitment. Yes, the girl always gets the guy in the end. But along the way, male viewers are treated to the infinite ways marriage will turn their lives upside down.

From Vince Vaughn talking about sex with the same woman for the rest of your life in Old School, to the final farewells to bachelorhood (gone wrong) in the Hangover series, the message is clear: Marriage is bad for men. The bad news is, the longer men are exposed to this celluloid myth, the more they’ll start believing it’s true.

What you can do: Volunteer to watch these movies with him, and laugh along to them. That way, he’d know that you at least appreciate the fears – perceived or otherwise – that men have towards marriage. Make light of the matter like the piece of fiction it is, and he may gradually accept it as such.

Fear 5: Added Responsibilities

Home loans. Parenthood. And let’s not forget the wedding bill. These are just some of the responsibilities the “man of the house” is expected to bear. While more households today have become dual-income ones, in most Asian homes, men are still seen as the main breadwinners. Which means extra pressure that some guys will be happy to avoid. It may even add to his insecurity that you’ll leave him should he fail to finance your lifestyle or the family.

What you can do: Ask him to grow up. Failing which, look for someone else who has. The truth is, a man who’s not man enough to shoulder the responsibilities of a real man, is not man enough for you.

At the end of the day, marriage is a new experience for both parties. It comes with its own sets of changes, challenges and compromises that both you and your other half will have to adapt to. If your partner expects you to do most of the marital heavy lifting, or if he just plain doesn’t want to change anything in his life for you, you’re better off walking away. Because while marriage isn’t right for all men, not all men are right for marriage.

Feature Image: When Love and Art Collide by Govinda Rumi from Terralogical Wedding Photography / cropped