Assortative Mating: a form of nonrandom mating in which pair bonds are established on the basis of phenotype (observable characteristics). For example, a person may choose a mate according to religious, cultural, or ethnic preferences, professional interests, or physical traits.
Although this mytake is written with women in mind, I have no objection to men practicing this as well. In 2017 (soon to be 2018), it just makes common sense. In order to talk about assortative mating, we have to talk about why it is even necessary. Allow me to build the case for this dating/marriage practice.
What do we know about marriage right now? (sources included)
a) 50% of marriages end in divorce. Most of us will marry at some point but yet, a flip of a coin determines whether we stay together or not. It's a risky business.
b) Marriage, although there are some benefits, usually results in more expenses.Now keep in mind this is really an oversimplification here. Just know that a modern couple gets married with the goal of someday raising children. So they will usually end up, after 3ish years of marriage, moving into a larger home or condo, getting a family car, etc to prepare for such life events. Married couples without this goal tend to fare better in my opinion. And singles, especially financially conscious singles, fare very VERY well financially.
c) There is a decline in traditional marriages BUT what constitutes a family is expanding to include various forms of cohabitation.
d) Certain races marry less often. Yeah this is especially true for black women. If you're a racist, you believe black people are inherently immoral and just can't get their shit together. If you're not, you'd understand that marriage is slowly becoming an economic cost that only certain people can afford. As income inequality grows, we will see this marriage gap widen even further between racial demographics. And considering certain races cannot just marry into the dominant majority because of the perceived negatives of their race, the cycle of poverty continues. But I'll expound upon this further in a bit.
So that's just a few things about marriage in general - certain trends we have come to know to be true. Whether reading it online or watching this play out IRL, we understand less people are marrying and even less people are staying married.
How can we increase our chances of having long lasting marriages?
Change your priorities and what you look for. Gone are the days where you can just get married because he was nice and she seemed like a good mother. Women and men need more from their partners - our expectations have changed.
Both genders want to marry someone like themselves. They want to be with someone with similar taste in music, art, literature and achievement. This may sound petty until you realize we all want someone with a similar background because it implies we have a lot in common. This person understands us - if they grew up in the city like we did, it's likely we may both prefer to raise children there. If we both are college educated, there's a good chance we will strongly emphasize academic achievement in our family. These are very real and distinct differences that determine how successful a union will be.
(The former president is a classic example of assortative mating. Michelle was actually one of the most educated and successful First Ladies we have ever had in the White House. You can read about their story here.)
So why should you practice assortative mating?
If it wasn't already clear, I'll make it QUITE clear:
1. The cool kids are doing it anyway.
That's right folks. People are already pairing up, and not by random chance. Men and women with degrees tend to marry others with degrees like themselves. If you're a die hard romantic, this may be hard to hear. But no one is really marrying for love anymore - if that was the case, women would be marrying plumbers and baristas. But they aren't, are they? If this was true, men wouldn't prefer to date someone that would "fit into their circle." Read between the lines ladies - if you can't hang out socially with the elite, you may not have a fighting chance. He doesn't want someone in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. Future hubby wants a woman to impress his buddies at work - beauty and brains, not one or the other.
2. It's the best way to concentrate wealth
Yup. Apparently, if men and women were randomly paired romantically, we would see income inequality drop (Gini coefficient) drop a bit. So it's definitely true that marrying someone within your income bracket will contribute to overall income inequality. Oh well.
And think about this logically - 2 incomes are better than one. If a female lawyer and a male engineer pair up, it's a decent living to raise a family with. Those two incomes can provide a decent living for 2 children, more so than a male engineer and a stay-at-home mother. Two incomes = more money = better living environment for children = children are likely to live better lives themselves.
3. It will increase your chances of a successful marriage, even if it's at the expense of the poor.
So here's some info: educated men and women get married later in life. But, they are more likely to stay married. Across the board, all races of men are much more likely to marry with a bachelor's degree or higher. In a very literal sense, uneducated men have very little dating marketability. Women with little education beyond a high school diploma fare okay though. But will you stay married? Not likely.
This is important for all marriages, but especially so for black men and women. In that same study, we find black marriages are less likely to occur, and more likely to divorce than their counterparts, disproportionately so. It appears that education most certainly matters for this specific race, increasing chances for marriage. But their marriages are more tumultuous, and they are less likely to remarry once divorced.
(Observation: The spurious variable seems to be financial stress. Black couples experience more financial stress which could contribute to overall ability to stay married and possibility of remarriage. Economic status might play a steep role in acquiring enough degrees to outweigh these issues - a BA might not be enough education. Something to consider.)
This issue is pretty nuanced but I can say there's enough evidence to suggest this is a VERY REAL trend and one we should take seriously. No more complaining about men/women not taking you seriously. You better get the degree and the high-earning job to get the mate you want. I wish things were different and everyone had a "fair short" but its not the case.
What are my recommendations?
1. Consider your education as a strong indicator of achievement.
Meaning, where did you go to college? Was it an Ivy League school? What degree did you earn? What is the entry level salary for your major? Consider this heavily because it matters. If you graduate by 22, and most marriages occur by 28-30, you may need to consider your economic status at that age. Will you be prepared to have a family with that income at your target age for marriage? Keep in mind there are always outliers - but you need to understand that you can only marry what you have access to. Education is only one barrier to entry in this regard.
2. If you are a minority, it is doubly important for you to integrate into the dominant society or be VERY picky who you date. Just be selective regardless.
People will hate on you for this, but you must consider it as an option. Black women specifically are more likely to marry below their income level/education level, keeping a cycle of poverty ongoing. You can't accumulate generational wealth when you are the primary breadwinner. I'm sorry, it just doesn't work. You need a partner on your level, especially if you plan on having a family.
3. Never apologize for your standards. Like I mentioned earlier, both men and women can take something from this mytake. You NEED standards. Don't listen to those complaining about what men/women they don't have access to. The reality is, the dating market is competitive and you are more likely to win with the right stats behind you. Your choice in partner matters.
What do you think? Feel free to comment.