The complaint that “a good man is hard to find” is probably more true now than ever before. Some claim that this statement is backed by a simple statistic: men are outclassed by the women in the dating pool. But the problem is more complex than that.
The Impact of Education
Women now outnumber men on college campuses across the United States. 56% of college students are women, and there are many factors that have led to this gender gap. Beginning in the ‘60s, women began choosing to get educated and build a career rather than to be housewives like their mothers. More recently, Title IX has broadened the scope of female collegiate athletics, but at the same time, has reduced the number of teams and the availability of scholarships for men. Elementary, middle, and high schools are also becoming increasingly feminized, banishing male behavior and tendencies from the classroom and resulting in more boys who dislike school. For these and other reasons, there are more women than men walking around with a college degree.
Women are mostly looking for men with college degrees as that’s an indication of higher earning potential.
Even though it's 2020, women still want to marry a man who is able to provide. A 2017 Pew Research poll shows that 71% of women believe that a man needs to be able to financially support his family. The same poll shows that 44% of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher believe that being well educated is a very important trait in a partner. Typically, the two go hand-in-hand. But if 56% of college degrees are going to women, that's a 12% difference between men and women.
A 2019 study found that those with college degrees make, on average, $30,000 more a year than those with just a high school diploma. So, women are mostly looking for men with college degrees as that’s an indication of higher earning potential. As we have seen, though, there are simply not enough men with college degrees to partner up with all these highly educated women.
Are women asking for too much? It's fair for a woman to want to marry a man who both challenges her intellectually and is capable of supporting her financially. What we might be missing is the fact that a college degree is not the sole indicator of decent earning potential. Marriage itself can increase a man’s earnings.
It would serve women better to consider whether or not his personality traits indicate a drive to commitment, hard work, and responsibility.
According to an extensive study done by Robert Lerman and W. Bradford Wilcox, the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, married men earn more than their single or cohabitating peers, suggesting that the “institution of marriage continues to boost men’s commitment to work and the individual economic success they enjoy.” Instead of looking at a man’s current bank account then, it might serve us better to consider whether or not his personality traits indicate a drive to commitment, hard work, and responsibility.
A Problematic Timeline?
Another issue may be that women are looking too late in life. A 2018 study entitled “Reaching the Modern Independent Woman” showed that more single women prioritize living on their own, establishing a career, and achieving financial security over getting married and having children. Only 20% of single women ranked marriage as their number one priority.
The problem arises when these women want to find a spouse, but can’t find one who is single and a suitable age. Men are often willing to marry a woman who is younger and has less income than they do, which means their dating pool is relatively large. But for a woman in her 30's with a solid career, the number of eligible men for her is considerably smaller. Plus, she's not only competing with other women her age and income status, but with plenty of women younger than her as well.
How Do I Find a Good Man?
So, what’s a single girl to do? First, broaden your search. A college education could be on your list of criteria, but it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Especially in today’s climate of education, there are plenty of good men who chose alternate routes, such as trade school or enlisting in the military.
Second, you should determine sooner, rather than later, if marriage is a priority for you. If it is, then you should pursue serious relationships with the same time and devotion you give to your career. You very well may regret forgoing romantic attachments in favor of your career later in life.
If marriage is a priority, you should pursue serious relationships with the same time and devotion you give to your career.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Focus on if he is honorable, reliable, loyal, and trustworthy. A man you can trust is worth infinitely more than a man with a big bank account and a laundry list of personal problems.
Sadly, it seems to be true that there aren't enough "good men" out there, according to our current standards for men. Both men and women are culpable, and both men and women have the responsibility to reverse the trends. Men must step up to be the type of partner a good woman is willing to marry, and women should look for men with good character rather than a man with a big bank account.