At the end of my recent post, Dating and Verbalization, I left this little bit:
If you’re looking for an LTR or a girlfriend. Just don’t; it’s stupid. If you want sex, get sex through an STR, FWB, or ONS. If you want companionship, get a male friend or a dog. If you want a family and life-partner, get a wife. Getting a girlfriend is the worst of all three worlds while minimizing the benefits of any of them.
I was asked to talk more about it in the comments. Given that I was already planning to write more on it and would have had the post not already been at the 2000+ word mark and had I not run out of time, I will do so here.
Before I begin, I should note that my use of a girlfriend in this case denotes a women with which a man has a long-term relationship (in this case, more than a year) that may or may not include a live-in relationship. It does not include a girlfriend from a short-term relationship or a potential wife you are currently spending time with testing for marriage-potential that you would label a girlfriend. Now, onto my previous assertion.
There are three primary reasons a man pursues a woman romantically: sex, companionship, and for a life-partner/family. Given the vagaries of human interaction, they are probably others, but those are the main ones.
If you are looking for just sex, use short-term relationships of under half a year or friends with benefits. Previous calculations I have done, calculated the economic cost of sex was less the longer your relationship lasted. For the most part though, there was declining marginal utility as the relationship extended. After the first few months, the cost of sex stopped going down significantly.
Also, this was a simplified, assume-a-can-opener calculation. It mostly assumed that the immaterial costs and benefits of a relationship, such as time invested, emotional investment, commitment, and companionship, evened themselves out over time.
Obviously, that is not the case. As the relationship increases in length, it increases in “seriousness” or, at least, the demand for “seriousness” and more commitment from the other half of the relationship. This increases the costs of the relationship, ie. investments in the relationship that don’t lead to sex. For example, going to her mother’s birthday party or picking her up when her car breaks down.
In other words, the longer a relationship continues, the rate of depreciation of the cost of sex in material investment decreases, but the cost of sex in non-material investment increases. Of course, if you choose to live together, both material and non-material investment explodes, bad move.
If sex is what you want, the longer the relationship goes, the more you are investing to receive it. As well, due to the level of commitment a girlfriend requires, you are not allowed to seek out other sexual outlets in which to invest, limiting your options. A relationship of longer than a half-year or so is a bad investment for sex.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for having a sexual partner you can love and trust implicitly, but in that case, get married. Otherwise, there is always that edge of uncertainty eating at that trust.
Next companionship. If you want someone to talk to and hang out with get a male friend. If you want someone to meet you happily when you get home and snuggle up beside you while you watch TV get a dog.
The problem with companionship within a long-term relationship is that it comes with so much other baggage. You can (and should) have a male friendship be the end in itself, but you can not have a long-term relationship and have the companionship be an end in itself. The addition of romance changes the nature of the relationship. It makes the companionship a means rather than an end, limiting the depth of the companionship. (For more on male/female friendship see here).
For this reasons, any companionship within a relationship is contingent on the other aspects of the relationship. If the other parts of the relationship fails, the companionship ends as well. In addition, a relationship without life-long, will almost inevitably end and it is known it will inevitably end (otherwise, the couple would have married). Because of the contingency and purposefully limited time-frame of the relationship, the companionship can never be as deep or as true as that in a male friendship which has no such contingencies or time frames.
A marriage (at least prior to no-fault divorce) provides stability in which to raise a family. It provides an commitment and guarantee of someone you can rely on when needed. It provides a high level of trust and reliability. A marriage is something you can build a mutual life and family together around.
On the other hand, while a long-term relationship has a certain level of commitment, it can be ended at any time. There are no legal or cultural bonds holding the relationship together. There is simply not enough stability and commitment in which to create a family or fully build your lives together.
Now some would say a no-fault marriage could be ended at any time and, to some extent, this is true. But even in these degenerate times marriage still holds a certain cultural value. All but the most morally bankrupt people will put some effort into preserving their marriage and there is a certain level of cultural pressure to work on a marriage that is not their for a LTR. There are also legal commitments that work to support a marriage. While marriage is not as ironclad as it used to be, there are still some moderately strong cultural, moral, and legal forces working to preserve people’s marriages.
So as you can see, the long-term relationship offers only a weakened version of the benefits of marriage, short-term relationships, and/or friendship, while simultaneously having the costs of all. You get sex, but it’s neither the hedonic pleasure-high of STR’s, ONS’, and FWB’s nor the all-consuming, spiritually-fulfilling, trusting love of marriage. You have too much commitment to go outside the relationship and have to invest a lot in the relationship, but you do not have enough commitment and stability to build a mutual life and family together. You have a certain level of companionship, but its always limited by its nature. As I said, you have all the disadvantages of all three worlds, while minimizing the benefits of any of them. It’s a very lukewarm type of relationship.
Of course, the long-term girlfriend is rational in one scenario. Where you are looking for a moderate amount of commitment, but not too much, a moderate, but limited, level of companionship, and regular sexual access with a singular partner at a not too high cost. But I don’t see the point in pursuing such a lukewarm strategy. It lacks both the hedonic thrills of being a player and the meaningfulness of a strong marriage and family. Don’t settle for mediocrity.
To conclude, some talk on morality.
Some might wonder, why I, a Christian, am advocating one night stands and am opposed to long-term relationships. Isn’t a loving relationship what Christians should support?
The answer is I am not advocating either. In fact, I hereby warn all my readers, on the penalty of eternal judgment, to avoid any sexual relationship outside marriage and any romantic relationship outside of marriage and the pursuit thereof, and to repent of their immorality and give their hearts to Jesus.
But confusion on this might come from the fact that long-term relationships are often seen as being “morally superior” in some way to random hook-ups. This is wrong. Christians should be opposed to any romantic relationship other than marriage. Romantic love is not the basis of sex or marriage in the Christian view, marriage is the basis of both sex and romantic love. Anything else is sin. If you are a Christian advocating long-term romantic relationships, your view of Christian sexual morality is fundamentally flawed.
I repeat, there is absolutely NO moral difference between friends with benefits, a living-together relationship, a one-night stand, prostitution, and a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. There is not the tiniest bit of moral difference between Roissy’s pump’n’dump strategy, dissention’s advocacy of escorts, and Susan Walsh’s advocacy of “meaningful” relationships.
Marriage is the only relationship in which sexuality can morally be expressed. The marriage and the pursuit thereof is the only one in which romantic expressions are not sinful.
Sex is made for marriage, romance is made for marriage and the lead-up in marriage.
Seeking to sate your lust in an ONS is sin, seeking to sate your passion in a long-term relationship is sin.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own kbody2 in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, ESV)
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. (Song of Solomon 8:4, ESV)
That being said, I do not judge non-Christians for their moral choices. The condition of their souls is between them and God. My duty is to warn them of their sin and its consequences out of love and let the Holy Spirit work. If they do not heed my warnings, their blood is on their own head.
So morally, do not engage in sex outside marriage.
But as a purely practical matter, if a male sinner is planning to fornicate, obtaining temporal pleasure through low-level commitment relationships is likely the materially preferable option.