Women Are Getting Married Less And Less — And The Reason Why Might Shock You

Marriage used to be a foregone conclusion.

There was once a very good reason for women to lock it down with a man: Men offered something that we, as women, needed. Men were hunters, providers, and protectors, while women took on the role of child-rearing and maintaining a home. These were our biological roles, the natural order of how things were “supposed” to be, and because of that, for a very long time, no one batted an eye.

However, as we’ve clawed ourselves out of that mold and fought against our inherent biology, our “need” to be married isn’t what it used to be. As Hanna Rosin wrote in “The End of Men,” “What if that era has now come to an end?” Yes, imagine that: The entire human history of women depending on men being wiped out — can you even fathom it? Can men stomach such a reality? Well, they should, we all should, because we’re living it right now as more and more women realize that marriage isn’t a necessity after all.

But, in addition to that realization and awakening that many women are having, there are plenty of other reasons that are contributing to why women are getting married less and less. Here are 10 of them:

1. There just aren’t as many worthwhile guys anymore.

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As Kate Bolick writes in her piece, “All the Single Ladies,”  the caliber of men has declined greatly. Between increased joblessness and lack of prospects out there for men, there are far more deadbeats than guys worth giving a shot. In other words, “marriageable” men are few and far between.

2. Women are the complete package on their own.

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Research from 2010 found that, for the first time in US history, more women than men are in the workforce, holding the majority of the jobs in the country. While there’s still that disgusting gender wage gap, we WILL get that taken care of sooner rather than later. Not only are there more women than men working, but women are surpassing men in education, too. For every two men who walk away from school with a bachelor’s degree, three women will do the same. We’re basically everything but the kitchen sink — and on extra good days, maybe the kitchen sink too.

3. Women have essentially become the men they wanted to marry.

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As Gloria Steinem so accurately put it, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry,” and she’s right. We are no longer the “fairer” gender, but a gender that’s a perfect self-sustaining entity that can take care of itself on every level. There’s no need to marry when everything you need you can give yourself — and on a silver platter, to boot.

4. Marriage is outdated and women know that.

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For thousands of years, marriage existed solely for economic and political reasons and was an institution that was often set up by families. It wasn’t about love; it was about marrying the woman who came from the richest family or the man who had the fattest turkeys in town. It was, for the sake of argument, a necessity. However, that’s no longer the case — so much so that 44% of Millennials and 43%  of Gen-Xers believe marriage is becoming obsolete, according to the Pew Research Center. And given that their data was collected more than a decade ago, you can bet your bottom dollar that number is much higher today. For example, a 2023 study from the Thriving Center of Psychology found that 85% of people think marriage is unnecessary for a happy relationship.

5. Many men continue to be threatened by strong and successful women.

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Masculinity is fragile. Most men don’t like it when they feel their masculinity is threatened in any way. Because of this, as we’ve evolved and shot up into the dark night like the fireworks we are, we’ve alienated men — not because of anything we’ve done in particular, but because they can’t handle being with a woman who makes him feel inferior. It’s hard to get married when so many men cower at even the idea of a self-sufficient woman, let alone the reality of one.

6. The hookup culture is alive and well.


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While the 1990s saw what was referred to as the “hookup culture,” we’re now living in the “Dating Apocalypse,” according to writer Nancy Jo Sales. Dating apps like Tinder have created a culture where hooking up and casual relationships have replaced serious commitment, and because this tends to work for a lot of people, marriage is taking a back seat.

7. The idea of “marrying up” is gone.

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When women were denied the right to be educated and to have careers, the concept of “marrying up” in order to “improve their lot,” as Bolick writes, was just what women did. It was keeping in line with what was socially acceptable without rocking the boat. But if you’re more educated, more successful, and the pool of men to choose from is on par with a wasteland of deteriorated good-for-nothings, why bother?

8. Women have risen and continue to rise.

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Another amazing point that Bolick makes is that while women were fighting — and we still are, make no mistake — for equality and the right to have a career and live their life on their own terms, men were falling behind. Men, especially white men, had nothing to fight for and because of this, they fell behind and were surpassed by women in many ways. This trend is likely to continue, making marriage even less likely in the decades that follow.

9. Marriage isn’t necessary for women to be mothers.

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First of all, 40%t of babies are born to single moms, and there’s a very good chance that percentage will rise as the stigma of being a single mother becomes less and less. There’s also the fact that, thanks to technology, you don’t even need a man if you want to have a baby. All you need is a trip to the sperm bank. That’s a great option for women who don’t want the relationship part of motherhood.

10. Men have lost what little advantage they had.

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As Bolick writes, when there’s an imbalance in the gender ratio, the gender with the smaller amount automatically has a higher value, which makes that gender want to work even harder to make themselves a hot commodity. But here in the U.S. where that current ratio is 50.8% females and 49.2% males, that healthy balance in the population only exacerbates a man’s disinterest in making himself better. Therefore, women, not impressed with what’s out there, continue to excel on their own, turning even further from the idea of marriage.

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Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.