IanIronwood, your post (#16) is one of the most accurate, in-depth explanations of what has gone on that I have read to date.
I could not agree more. It is actually rather unfortunate, but as a successful male myself, there is absolutely no incentive at all to be with a woman. So even if a modern man has a vast amount of great qualities (character, integrity and so on) and would prefer lifelong marriage, partnership, kids and the white picket fence, why in the world would he knowingly throw away all control of his future to be with a woman when he has no protection whatsoever in this day and age? The choice then is that many men are choosing to stay single or, as you have stated, avoid marriage altogether and accept the fate of in-and-out, baseless relationships. For at any time if the woman isn't happy, she can just leave or cause all kinds of trouble due to "protections" via the court and family law system. And even if she wanted to be a housewife, that is also no longer desirable because men have come to expect that they no longer need to fill the role of provider and will expect a woman to have something going for herself. The mistake I see women today make is that they seem to believe men don't know all of this and they think they have all the power, when in fact, any man who has any control of himself is making the decision to not only avoid marriage, but avoid the female altogether due to the massive risk and rapidly decreasing reward. The pendulum is slowly starting to swing back but I'm not sure where it has anywhere to go, because the feminism cat is already out of the bag. Society in its totality is NOT better off.
"Leave it to Beaver" (1957 - 1963)
"Happily Divorced" (2011 - Present)
I think that there are also many women anymore who see marriage as a bad deal. I'm sure that there are many women who wonder why they would need a man to take care of when the woman can just as easily and perhaps more happily take care of just herself. It is interesting that statistically, women after divorce are much happier than men after divorce, are more willing to file for divorce, and are more willing to stay unmarried (by choice) after divorce.
I think part of it is a shift in what is considered important for each party to bring to a marriage. No longer can a man simply bring financial security and no longer can a woman simply bring sex and nurturing. BOTH men and women now need to bring a much greater bag of relational skills to a marriage.
I also think that men are having a hard time (some women too maybe) when a woman is pulled off of the virtuous pedestal she had been placed upon in generations past. When you have believed that women are naturally more monogamous, believe that women are somehow better morally than to cheat, or believe that women have a more naturally conversative sexuality, and you actually find out that women are in fact more like men that you would have ever thought (in that none of those beliefs is actually truth), a little bit of the fairy tale dies and disillusionment in women and marriage sets in. It is some of the same disillusionment women have perhaps had about marriage, but often had little choice, until recently, to do anything about.
In essence, we ALL have the same human foibles and failings (as well as the opposite grander virtuous characteristics if we so choose).
I don't watch much TV, but the following are some shows that I can think of that had both strong fathers/mothers and happy marriage/family. I can't document any of recent vintage because I rarely watch TV anymore:
The Cosby Show (1984 - 1992)
Good Times (father portrayed by John Amos)