Is your man a stringer?


I was reading some interesting facts on men, women and dating today,  and I came across Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others by John T. Molloy. I have always tried hard to stay away from books like this because they are usually insulting and flat out wrong. But, Molloy’s research comes from marketing statistics, which seemed like an interesting source to learn about who men want to date based on their marketing preference. Anyway,  I was able to glean a bit of fun info.  In an excerpt from his book, he talks about “Stringers,” and I couldn’t help but see the parallel in Avoidants:

If you’re dating a man who has had one or more long-term relationships with other women and didn’t marry them, there’s a real possibility he’s a stringer. A stringer is a man who strings women along. He likes having a woman, sleeping with a woman, eating with a woman, possibly sharing his life with a woman without ever making a real commitment. He often tells women, up front, he never intends to marry, so if and when he decides he wants to cut out, she has no reason to complain.

If you think you may be involved with a stringer, establish a deadline. If he doesn’t commit to you within six months, get rid of him. Pay no attention to his excuses. He may tell you that you’re coming on too strong. He may complain that the two of you haven’t been going together long enough, that he doesn’t know, that he hasn’t made up his mind. In fact, he is likely to tell you anything that will get you to stick around without his needing to make a commitment. Don’t fall for it. The chances a stringer will marry are very slim; he is simply not the marrying kind.

This kind of blew me away and I couldn’t help but think about G and S, my two classically avoidant ex-bfs. Were they stringers or avoidants? Who knows. A rose by any other name is still a rose, right? Equally interesting he writes that “Men who live at home with their parents are less likely to marry than men who have their own places.” And to clarify he doesn’t mean men who are temporarily living back at home after a divorce. He means men who have kinda never left home. I say kinda because, well, taking an extended vacation doesn’t mean you’ve technically moved out. Of course, I thought of S. He technically never moved out of his parents house. I remember how ambiguous his living situation always was because, well, he was embarrassed to say he still lived at home. So, he would say, he lived in an apartment that was annexed to his parents’ home. Truth was, he lived in a room off the kitchen but still hung out in the basement where all his records were. Funnily enough, him not leaving was so extreme, eventually his parents did. They basically packed up one day and just left. Ok so now, technically, he lives on his own.

The reason I share this is because it’s important to not just date anyone if you’re interested in a committed long term relationship. There are signs. And whether these types of characters, either men or women, are called stringers or avoidants it doesn’t matter. It’s the same kind of red-flag behavior that needs to set off an alarm with you, telling you something is not right. I didn’t listen to that alarm because, despite knowing that men over the age of 40 are less likely to get married, and men who still live at home are less likely to remain in a committed relationship, I thought I could outsmart the statistics. I couldn’t. Chances are you can’t either. And even if you can, wheph, it’s a rougher road.

12 thoughts on “Is your man a stringer?

  1. My question is, why does the end point of a long term relationship have to be marriage? What is this big thing about bering ‘owned’? Because that’s essentially what marriage is. Personally, I don’t believe in it. That’s my personal take. But does that mean I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone? No. Marriage is not the be all and end all of a relationship, it’s an outmoded way to get people to stay together. Marriage was the thing you had to do if you wanted to have sex. Not that it stopped our forefathers. In fact it became the thing you had to do because of the results of sex – pregnancy. The need for marriage is largely obsolete in our modern age so why marry. Personally, I would avoid the guy who thought marriage was the end goal. Besides which, being married never stopped anyone from screwing around, lying, cheating or leaving someone.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. I believe that « marriage » at least in the USA is an outmoded institution and not exactly necessary anymore. In fact my use of the term here is more of a euphemism for “long term committed relationship.” And yet, whether it’s necessary or not doesn’t take away from the fact that many women and men still really like the idea. While it may give some a false sense of security, it does give others the impetus to be loyal and committed. 🙂

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      1. I think for many people, and certainly I have done this over and over in the past, you meet someone, sparks fly in a million directions and you can’t imagine ever being without this person. As well as that being a motivation for getting married (well why wouldn’t I, this is my forever partner), there have always been financial securities involved which don’t really apply in the modern world anymore. But I think many people do see this as another valid reason. And of course there are still plenty of people who simply see it as a natural progression to falling in love, moving in and having or wanting to have kids. I don’t diss anyone for wanting it. But I am too cynical to the longevity of relationships to think that one person is going to be the forever partner.

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    2. Oh 100% on point Notyouraveragegirl! Yes the term marriage, and the institution of marriage is outdated, patriarchal and misogynistic. Alternatives, such as the many options I’ve been writing about lately, can be equally complicated but I think GB’s response below is important – committed and long-term. But who defines either of those? Who defines what is a successful relationship? So many questions!

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  2. I think it’s important to always remember no matter what we decide to do with relationships that who, where and how we are right now is not going to be where we stay in life forever. Being single and dating when we’re 30, 40 and 50 is not the same as being single and dating at 65 and 70. We evolve. There’s nothing wrong with living in the moment and having fun, decide not to seek long term relationships as long as we prepare for the reality of life when our looks are gone and our body begins to betray us, when hormone, health circumstances or life-changes tone down the importance of sex and nights in the town (we never know how it’s gonna go) and having someone to love, nurture us or be a companion becomes more of a focus and single men favor a younger woman. (Don’t hate the messenger, we see that all the time). If we are planning to live alone we must start preparing ourselves mentally, socially (nurture family, friendships, interests and real-life relationships) and also financially to go at it alone the long distance.
    Life’s too important to forget that where and who and how we are now is not going to be the same as time goes by, and so to always keep your eyes on the prize: your life in old age. It’s coming fast. For all of usXO
    In my opinion nothing nothing is more important than this no matter what.

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    1. Living alone can happen at any time no matter what you plan for. You could have found your forever partner but we widowed at 60 and never find that same blissful union again. It’s a lottery. I can imagine spending the next 15 years like I am now and then suddenly finding that one person and spending the rest of my natural life with them no matter how long that is. That would be ironic but it wouldn’t surprise me. I hope I’m a fit 80 and not a decrepid one. If I’m not able to be independent I’ll curl up and die. Plus retirement probably won’t be an option for me financially so I need to be great old or find someone financially sound.

      I don’t go out of my way to not seek a long-term relationship, I’m just not finding the one worth the commitment. I don’t push the agenda because the more you look the less you find. I do agree about planning other friendship and family structures for the possibility of being single in old age. Absolutely. I have limited but solid family, I have few but solid friends. But maybe I’ll end up having a really dependable 3 or 4 guys in similar situations to me and like now my relationship status stays the same. I’m sure that if I had real problems, the guys I am seeing now would help where they could. They are perfectly decent people and friends too.

      I fear my life in old age. I am too independent and active to face a slower pace of life with perhaps unpredictable health. Here, all around me I hear horror stories of people reliant on care, of elderly parents screwed over by their kids and other ‘close’ relatives when the sniff of a will hoves into sight so you can’t really predict anything.

      I’m considering ditching everything in my 50s or 60s and finding myself a millionaire with noone to leave his fortune to. ;D

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