Monday, March 09, 2015

Discouraging Shacking Up

In Hour 1 on March 5th's show, Dr. Laura got a call from a shack-up honey who was just nineteen, or maybe that was her age when the shacking up started. She was concerned about how her boyfriend handles money. Now, I'll say yet again that I think shacking up is a terrible idea (I intentionally avoided it) and I adore Dr. Laura and I'm a huge fan of her. It is because I listen so thoroughly and closely that I can pick bones sometimes.

Dr. Laura told her...

  • He can do anything he wants. -Yes, that’s true of course. What would Dr. Laura tell her if this was her husband? Well, since they don't have children, probably to leave him. But technically, he'd still be able to do whatever he wants.
  • This is not a committed relationship. He's entitled to do whatever they hell he wants, and so are you. –I have to wonder what Dr. Laura would tell her gay callers before they could legally marry, if legally marrying is the only thing that could make something a committed a relationship?
  • You can't have the notion of a marital situation with two people with combined goals, etc. when you're in a shack-up situation. –Sure she can, if that’s what they agree to do.
  • There's no benefit whatsoever to you for the shack up. No benefit. How does this benefit you? Are you secure? No.Women get something out of shacking up.
  • Guys used to have to pay women to have sex. Girls like you just move in and you don't even ask for payment. It puts prostitutes out of business... you're an unpaid whore. You're not getting paid. A prostitute gets paid. They have the good sense.One of the messages this gives is that men are supposed to pay money for sex.
  • Twenty-something girls think there's something good about shacking up and there isn't. –Again, see here.
  • Your chances of getting married dropped when you started shacking up. –She bases this on a correlation between shacking up and never marrying, but is this really true for individual couples? Many people who shack up were never going to marry, and in a lot of those relationships, both people knew it. Is that skewing the statistics? I think for most couples, they either were going to eventually marry or not, and shacking up doesn't change that. There may be a few situations in which the guy would have married a woman, but decides against it because they shacked up. In some of those, it is because he realizes they are not compatible. In others, it is because he's getting everything he wants; why would he want to sign a legal contract obligating him to share his finances with her? Either way, isn't it good that she doesn't marry a man like that? 
  • Your chances of the marriage lasting, if you were to get married, dropped. –Much of what I was just saying about not marrying at all applies, but this is a little more of a problem: people who aren't a match marrying because they're already shacking up, and so they end up divorcing. One way to avoid this divorce? Don't pressure them to marry in the first place.
  • The incidents of infidelity and so forth because you start off with the mentality of no commitment.Some people start off with that mentality, not all. But I hope Dr. Laura isn't using "infidelity" in reference to the time shacking up rather than later during the marriage, because as she just said, there's no commitment while shacking up, so it can't be considered infidelity, can it?
  • But the interesting thing with you women is that you still have expectations that the guys are supposed to act like husbands. –Expecting someone to be smart with their money isn't the same thing as expecting them to be husbands. There are many unmarried men who are good with their money, and some people would argue that being good with their money includes not signing a legal document that obligates them to share their money with an irrational creature, nor making a social promise to financially support that other person.
  • The people over twenty-eight make better decisions because they have more experience. –Yes, most of them have the experience of... shacking up!
  • Never think you're above statistics. "We're different." No you're not. –The statistics say some people who shack up make it. They get married and stay married. I'm sure there are some relationship experts who can say why the ones who do make it do, or at least find some correlations. But Dr. Laura isn't interested in that. She's not interested in telling people how to make such relationships work. Instead, she wants the caller to be a warning to her listeners not to get into such situations to begin with.
  • What you're doing now gets in your way of making a decision because once you're sleeping in their beds and having sex with them and having that familiarity every day you tend not to want to look at the reasons you shouldn't be there because it's embarrassing... -Very true! That's one of the most useful statements about the call. Of course, I also think it is possible for people to rush into marriage because they've been "waiting". That has to be something people are warned about, too.
  • you're going to miss some of the stuff, you're going to be alone. –So even in the same call we see that there are benefits to the situation.
  • You really want to raise your daughters to shack up at nineteen? –I'd rather raise my kids to land a professional career that is secure and high-paying than, say, see them get a low-paying job with health risks. That doesn't make taking the low-paying job immoral. I believe shacking up is immoral, but I also believe making moral points needs to be done well.
  • If you move out now, you still have to live with how you're going to explain this in the future to a nice guy who's not going to look at this with a lot of respect. –Interesting, considering this. The reality is, she would still be find a nice guy who will accept her even though she shacked up. Chances are, most of those "nice guys" shacked up at some point, too.

See here and here for other times I've addressed some of these issues.

Dr. Laura is fighting a tough battle. People used to be discreet about fornicating. Now, females of just about all ages are hooking up, doing one night stands, jumping into bed on the first or second date even if they're looking for a husband, and our general culture does not look down on shacking up nor on popping out babies and raising them outside of marriage. Kids are being dropped into daycare at six weeks of age and nobody is supposed to speak against this. So I get why she is so strongly trying to discourage shacking up, and while the "unpaid whore" term might shock the caller into possibly reconsidering their situation, I think overall it is a problematic phrase. The strongest argument to a morally diverse audience is citing that loss of objectivity about the relationship when shacking up, and it being more difficult, practically, to get out of a bad relationship - or one that simply isn't a match. That's where the bulk of the calls need to go, because it has the best chance of convincing the most people. A woman is not going to listen to correlations of domestic violence if her shack up lover has never even yelled at her, let alone beat her.

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